- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Major der Reserve (Major of Reserves)
- Kommandeur, Pionier-Bataillon 161, 61. Infanterie-Division, Heer
- Awarded on:
- February 29th, 1944
On 17.01.1944 Major Stürtz received the mission to close a gap between the villages of Glajadino and Volosovo with his battalion. But the enemy got there first and so he was forced to make a stand in the village of Ivanojo with three field-howitzer batteries. Despite destroying eight of the attacking tanke the enemy proved too strong and the group was forced to retreat to a group of barns west of Ropscha. Here Major Stürtz took command of the assortment of units there, which included a heavy howitzer battery, anti-aircraft guns from a Luftwaffe Field Division and other scattered units.
Knowing that holding this strongpoint was essential to prevent the road junction of Ropscha from falling into enemy hands, Major Stürtz resolved to hold his positions against the enemy. In the ensuing battle, and in spite of superior enemy infantry, tank and air forces, all of the Soviet attacks against the strongpoint were defeated and 24 hostile tanks were destroyed.
Only when the group was given the order to retreat did they do so, and were able to conduct this movement successfully. Stürtz even prevented the self-destruction of the heavy howitzers and was able to bring them back along with the rest of the Kampfgruppe.
The actions of Major Stürtz in this battle proved crucial in covering the withdrawal of the 126. Infanterie- and the 9. Luftwaffe-Field divisions, which had been instructed to move south along the Satschina - Narva road on the night of the 19-20.01.1944. Holding the strongpoint prevented the Soviets from cutting the route of these two divisions. Consequently Stürtz was awarded the Knight's Cross.