Wanka, Karl

Date of birth:
June 1st, 1914 (Auschwitz/Bohemia, Germany)
Date of death:
May 3rd, 1980 (Bad Kissingen/Bavaria, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, German Reich)

Biography

Promotions:
1939: Soldat;
1940: Leutnant der Reserve
1942: Oberleutnant der Reserve;
1943: Hauptmann der Reserve
1944: Major der Reserve

Karl Wanka became Soviet POW after the war and remained there unitl in 1956.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 29th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
January 15th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Oberleutnant der Reserve (1st Lieutenant of Reserves)
Unit:
Führer, I. Bataillon, Grenadier-Regiment 446, 134. Infanterie-Division, Heer
Awarded on:
February 23rd, 1944
Action:
Wanka's battalion (I./GR 446) and I./GR 439 were the primary German units in the effort near the end of 1943 to link up Army Groups Centre and South. Starting from the Paritschi on 21.12.1943 they moved south and were eventually able to link up with 4. Panzer-Division. With this act the linkage between 2. Armee and 9. Armee was achieved, and by extension that of the two Army Groups. For his share in this success Wanka received the Knight's Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major der Reserve (Major of Reserves)
Unit:
Kommandeur, I. Bataillon, Grenadier-Regiment 53, 14. Infanterie-Division, Heer
Awarded on:
March 23rd, 1945
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Action:
When the 14. Infanterie-Division (fighting in the Ortelsburg area) was moved back 25 km to a new position, Wanka and his battalion had the mission of covering the retreat. They not only did this but also delayed the numerically superior Soviets by an extra 48 hours and thus gave the rest of the division additional time in preparing stronger defensive works. For exceeding the demands of his superiors in this way Wanka received the Oakleaves.
Details:
800th Award.

Sources