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Kohlauf, Franz

Date of birth:
December 3rd, 1910 (Klosterbeuren, Germany)
Date of death:
April 26th, 1944 (Bay of St.Malo, France)
Buried on:
German War Cemetery Ploudaniel-Lesneven
Plot: 13. Row: 3. Grave: 91.
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)


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Awarded on:
April 1st, 1938
Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht 4.Klasse, 4 Jahre
Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
Awarded on:
June 6th, 1939
Spanienkreuz, Bronze mit Schwertern
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 6th, 1939
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
April 20th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
December 30th, 1940
Second World War (1939-1945)
Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander)
Chef 4. Torpedobootflottille
Awarded on:
October 29th, 1943
Awarded for his success in defeating the British Operation Tunnel, their attempt to destroy the German blockade runner “Münsterland”. This ship, guarded by five Type 39 torpedo boats of Kohlauf’s flotilla, was attacked by the British light cruiser HMS Charybdis and six destroyers. But the British attempt at interception failed and Kohlauf’s ships destroyed the HMS Charybdis and one destroyer. The following press article, dated 02.11.1943, further describes the justification for Kohlauf’s receiving the Knight’s Cross…

“The Führer awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross to Korvettenkapitän Franz Kohlauf at the recommendation of the supreme commander of the Kriegsmarine, Großadmiral Dönitz. As a torpedo boat captain, Korvettenkapitän Kohlauf had already shown exemplary bravery during the Norwegian campaign. However his greatest success took place while he was serving as the flotilla commander of a Torpedobootsflottille. This was namely the sinking of the British cruiser “Charybdis” and the destroyer “Limbourne”.

At the beginning of the nocturnal operation the enemy had been able to get into a good position to employ its overwhelming firepower. Nonetheless, by way of a clever battle maneuver, the German flotilla commander was able to bring his ships to a point where their torpedoes would be certain to hit. Through his personal bravery, Kohlauf was thus able to overcome the critical situation and accomplish a tactical success of extraordinary proportions.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes