- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Kommandeur II./ Grenadier-Regiment 189 / 81. Infanterie-Division
- Awarded on:
- April 16th, 1944
The following press article, taken from the ‘Zschopauer Tagesblatt’, describes the Knight’s Cross action of Heinz Herfurth…
“… stormed forward with his Grenadiers — The Knight’s Cross action of Major Herfurth:
At the beginning of March the enemy assaulted the German positions northwest of Newel with strong forces. South of the Frolowo-See they penetrated the frontline with 13 tanks. Elements of the Silesian Grenadier-Regiment fighting here that had managed to hold onto their positions were encircled. The Soviets pushed past these towards the northwest, capturing the village of Schilicha. At the same time superior hostile forces also broken into the German frontline north of the lake, pushing the defenders back.
Major Heinz Herfurth rushed to the scene with the weak reserves. He had recently been in an accident and still had his arm in a cast, however the crisis found him at his post. The 29-year old Regimental commander decided to first deal with the southern penetration. In the armoured battle that was developing here some enemy tanks were destroyed, the rest were separated from their infantry support. Major Herfurth recognized the favourable moment and stormed with his Grenadiers forward against the Bolsheviks, despite the strong hindrance from his cast. The stream near Schilicha was reached. With a handful of men he crossed the stream, reached the high ground on the opposite side and rolled up the Soviet positions. This pressure proved to be too much for the enemy, and the Bolsheviks fled back across the old German frontline. The encircled elements of the Regiment were relieved.
However the danger to the north of the lake still remained. Fortunately the weak friendly forces there had been able to withstand the enemy onslaught so far; however in the long run the Soviet superiority would be too great to resist. After Major Herfurth was convinced that the defensive capabilities south of the lake had been restored, he rushed to the left wing with all available forces. Here he built up a containment line and, under the heaviest Bolshevik fire, explored the possibility of a counterattack. In the night this break-in position was also eliminated. The young regimental commander, who had received the German Cross in Gold in January 1943, was awarded the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross for this deed.”