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Hack, Franz

Date of birth:
February 3rd, 1915 (Mannheim/Baden, Germany)
Date of death:
June 9th, 1997 (Hamburg, Germany)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 20th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 10th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain)
Unit:
Kommandeur, III. Bataillon, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Germania, SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Wiking", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
January 8th, 1943
Award 266/11.
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
May 5th, 1944
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
Unit:
Kommandeur, III. Bataillon, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 9 Germania, 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
May 14th, 1944
Hack’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“During the night attack on the 17.04.1944 against Hill 189.5 and the high ground south of it (1.5 km southwest of Kovel) SS-Sturmbannführer Hack, commander of the III./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. Germania, particularly distinguished himself through outstanding bravery before the enemy.

The enemy was entirely aware of the importance of Hill 189.5, from which it was possible to have a commanding view of the ‘Fortress’ Kovel, the only supply road that led to the city as well as the entire area to the north and northwest of the place. With this in mind they had heavily fortified the hill, and its defenders would fight bitterly for it.

The capture of this commanding enemy position was very much necessary in order to fully bring about the relief of ‘Fortress’ Kovel. Due to the strong enemy defenses both here and on the eastern and western flanks, the only way this could be achieved was by a night attack.

After assembling at Gleisdreieck (west of Kovel), the Bataillon Hack received the order to thrust southwards along the Kovel-Wlodzimicrz railway line in a night attack. The enemy strongpoints along both sides of the railroad would be seized via surprise attack, and thereafter the enemy position on Hill 189.5 would be attacked, captured and held.

The surprise attack against the first strongpoint at the railway bridge, conducted by 2 assault groups, became pinned down in the Soviet barbed wire obstacles. Fire support by heavy weapons was no longer possible as both our troops and the enemies’ were now too close together. Knowing that everything depended on the success of this first phase of the attack, Hack rushed to the forefront of both assault troops. He bombarded enemy resistance nests that had been cleverly positioned between the bridge abutments with 5 Panzerfausts. Then, after a hand grenade salvo, he was the first to penetrate into the enemy strongpoint with one of the two assault troop leaders.

Through this exemplary and ruthless commitment to the battle, Hack brought the two assault troops forward and cleared out the enemy positions while personally participating in the fighting with his own machine-pistol and hand grenades.

Here he was wounded by hand grenade splinters in the face and right hand. However Hack continued the attack undaunted by his wounds, capturing the second strongpoint during the breakthrough. After a swift assembly of the follow-up units of the Bataillon, he led the assault against Hill 189.5, where the Soviets were prepared to defend with grim determination.

However the enemy couldn’t resist the attacking spirit of the Bataillon, with the commander himself fighting in the forward line. After a short, hard close-quarter battle the enemy was thrown out of his positions at Hill 189.5 and forced to retreat to the south. In a swift pursuit thrust, recognizing its importance for the continuation of the attack, Hack attacked further south along the railway line on his own initiative, wresting control of one Soviet strongpoint after another. By first light the Bataillon had captured and occupied the enemy positions at the overpass 400 metres to the southwest of Hill 188. An enemy counterthrust launched shortly afterwards from the southwest was defeated, and over the course of the day the newly conquered position was prepared to take on further enemy counterattacks.

Only now, after he had organized the defense, did Hack allow himself to be treated for his wounds. Through his prudent leadership and personal daring he has a decisive share in the success of this offensive operation, one of great importance for the relief of ‘Fortress’ Kovel.

Hack has been wounded six times in this war, and is a holder of the German Cross in Gold, Close Combat Clasp in Bronze and the Wound Badge in Gold.

Hack is worthy to be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.”
3129th Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
Unit:
Kommandeur, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 10 Westland, 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
April 20th, 1945
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Awarded for the following combat actions...

1) On the 20.10.1944 Hack recaptured the so-called ‘Arko-Hill’, west of Wieliezew, with only 18 men. He then defended it against three strong counterattacks.

2) On the 06.01.1945 Hack and his Regiment attacked the village of Czabdi, as part of the breakthrough of the Vertes mountains south of Tarjan. After bitter urban combat that lasted through the night, the village was firmly in his hands by the start of the day, and it was thereby possible to continue advancing towards Bicske.

3) On the 11.01.1945 Hack and his Regiment captured and held the village of Pilisszentkereszt, located in the Pilisszentlelek area southeast of Gran.

4) On the 02.02.1945 Hack allowed himself to be encircled in Ureghegy in order to tie down the enemy. Only after his side had taken the necessary countermeasures did he break-out to Seregelyes. In this battle 14 enemy tanks and 13 anti-tank guns were eliminated.
Franz Hack was the first person whose awarding of the Eichenlaub did not occur with a number. According to his own words the award was made by SS-Obergruppenführer Gille and SS-Oberführer Ulrich. The awarding was confirmed by an entry between 15th - 20th April in the recommendations book of OKH/PA/P 5 and an entry in the Soldbuch of Hack with the date of 20th April 1945. According the countings it would have been the 844th Award.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
Unit:
Kommandeur, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 10 Westland, 5. SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
May 1st, 1945
Nahkampfspange in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
March 1st, 1943
Nahkampfspange in Bronze
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 1st, 1944
Nahkampfspange in Silber

Sources

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