Rothhaar, Willi

Date of birth:
October 18th, 1915 (Oberbexbach, Germany)
Date of death:
January 12th, 1998 (Saarbrücken, Germany)
German (1933-1945, German Reich)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
3.(MG)/Grenadier-Regiment 544
Awarded on:
September 5th, 1944
On the 14.07.1944, the Soviets attacked along both sides of the Saizewo-Ossweja road with a force of tanks (including flamethrower tanks) and ~750 infantry. Their aim was to break through to Ossweja and thus cut off the bulk of the 389. Infanterie-Division, located east of the town. The main part of the enemy tank forces fell upon the sector of the 3./Grenadier-Regiment 544, commanded by Leutnant Rothaar. Recognizing the danger for his whole division, he rallied the defenders, ordering them to hold their fire until the last possible moment in order to separate the enemy infantry from their tanks.

With this accomplished, 15 enemy tanks rolled into the positions of the company. One flamethrower tank in particularly wreaked havoc as it moved from foxhole to foxhole. Rothaar destroyed this tank with a Panzerfaust, and along with his comrades was able to beat off the Soviet breakthrough attempt in bitter close combat. Thanks to the achievements of Rothaar and his Kompanie, a potentially very dangerous enemy move was checked. In recognition of this Leutnant Rothaar would be awarded the Knight’s Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes