Lainer, Josef "Sepp"

Date of birth:
March 13th, 1920 (Brixen/Tirol, Austria)
Date of death:
September 4th, 2002 (Vienna, Austria)
Nationality:
Austrian (1918-1938, Republic)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 28th, 1941
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
February 14th, 1943
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Oberscharführer
Unit:
Zugführer 3./ SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 4 “Der Führer” / SS-Panzer-Division “Das Reich” / 8.Armee / Heeresgruppe Süd
Awarded on:
October 8th, 1943
Action:
Lainer’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“SS-Oberscharführer Lainer has served as a Zugführer in the I./SS-Regiment ‘Der Führer’ in all the previous campaigns in Holland, France, Serbia, Russia (1941 & 1943) and is one of our best.

The Russians made a strong tank attack on the 23.08.1943, coming from the north of the main railway line into the northern area of Korotitsch (a suburb of Kharkov) and penetrating into the southern part of the city. In response the 1./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. ‘Der Führer’ was sent to counter this move.

SS Oberscharführer Lainer, commanding the I. Zug, began the counterattack and 3 T-34s were quickly destroyed. Lainer, recognizing the importance of the main railway line, made his own decision to attack into the flank of the enemy with his group despite the overall strength of the enemy. In bitter close combat they were able to get close to the main railway line.

Lainer held and threw back all hostile attacks against the railway line. He went on to push the enemy back towards the north, even extending the main battle line, this being important for the later defensive battle.

In the defense that followed over the next six days and nights, the Russians only temporarily interrupted their continuous artillery fire. Lainer proved his personal bravery again and again as a leader in this close-quarter combat.

Lainer held the left flank of his Bataillon against everything with his few men against the weapons of the enemy again and again. He pushed them back at times with only 3-4 men of his group.

On the evening of the 25.08.1943, a Russian battalion attacked with about 30 tanks. Lainer’s position was held again with only 10 men, and despite the man himself being wounded from a shell splinter he reported himself as ready to fight the next day after being treated by the doctor. In this battle two men from his group destroyed 3 enemy tanks in close combat.

Through these outstanding and brave acts, SS-Oberscharführer Lainer owned a decisive share in preventing the breakthrough of the Russians to the south and the consequent encirclement of several friendly divisions in the area around Kharkov.”
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Hauptscharführer
Unit:
Zugführer 1./SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4
Awarded on:
October 15th, 1943
Nahkampfspange in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Details:
Silver version
Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
September 15th, 1943
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 15th, 1942
Verwundetenabzeichen 1939 in Silber

Sources

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