- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Kommandeur II. / SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment “Der Führer” / SS-Panzer-Division “Das Reich” / 1.SS-Panzer-Korps / Heeresgruppe Süd
- Awarded on:
- April 6th, 1943
Stadler's Knight's Cross recommendation reads as follows...
"SS-Sturmbannführer Stadler has since 07.06.42 been the acting Commander of the II./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. "Der Führer". SS-Sturmbannführer Stadler and his battalion, after breaking weak resistance in two villages, reached the town of Jefremowka on the evening of 01.03.43. Reconnaissance patrols detected strong enemy forces occupying the fortified town.
The intention of the regiment was to attack early on 02.03.43, after a detailed preparation. Then SS-Sturmbannführer Stadler decided independently to take advantage of the night and to start the attack with the support of two assault guns. He himself accompanied the leading Kompanie through the intense defensive fire until he reached the town, deployed there with his Kompanies for the attack and penetrated with them deep into the town. With the first light of the morning he continued the annihilation, and by 08:00 hours the town had fallen. About 250 enemy dead, 12 tanks, 17 artillery guns and 38 anti-tank guns were left on the battlefield.
Thanks to Stadler's independent decision of attacking the town by night without preparation, the first phase of the success was accomplished. An attack in daylight could have been done only with heavy losses. Only through his resolute performance and personal action was he able to push forward his Kompanies through the heavy fight into the town to complete the success. With his daring bravery he allowed the division to establish, the very same day, a link with the SS-Pz.Gr.Div. "Adolf Hitler". With this, the isolation and encirclement of one-and-a-half Russian tank corps in the area of Schljaybwaja was completed, making possible their ensuing annihilation by the Totenkopf-Division."
Stadler's Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows...
"During one of the most dangerous phases of the Fourth Battle of Kharkov, on the 22.08.43, the SS-Pz.Gren.Div. "Das Reich", together with a simultaneous change of attachment from the III. Pz.Korps to the XI. Armee-Korps, was shifted from its current sector to the south of Bogodukhov. They were thrown 45 km to the east in the area of Ljubotin. The task of the division was to hinder the enemy breakthrough over the Udy towards the southeast, which would cut off the divisions defending Kharkov.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler, with elements of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. "Der Führer" pulled out from its current battle area on 21.08.43, had the assignment of taking positions in Korotitsch, dealing with the Soviet break-in points on the boundary between the 168. and 198. I.D., and winning back the old main fighting line.
Stadler, preceding his Regiment, reached Korotitsch for the purposes of reconnaissance and found it empty. The infantry positioned there had abandoned it, falling back to the south. Stadler only found an artillery advance observer that he immediately put under his command. As SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler reached the northern edge of the town, three tanks with mounted infantry rolled towards Korotitsch.
Stadler and his handful of men occupied their positions. He himself manned the machine-gun and halted the opponent. After the destruction of one tank by the Battery of the advance observer, they withdrew to the southeast until their motorcycle company reached the village. With this Stadler held the village against the newly developing strong enemy attacks. Fifteen tanks, along with an infantry battalion, attacked Korotitsch from the north. The bulk of the infantry was separated from the tanks in hard fighting. Some tanks broke through, and with them part of the infantry infiltrated into the village. But SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler decided to hang on to the village, as it was a key point in the gap between the two German infantry divisions engaged in bitter defensive battles. Stadler held the positions here in an all-round defense in spite of the unbroken heavy fire of enemy artillery, rockets and tanks. Demolition troops, anti-tank guns and the attached Heer battery put out of action seven tanks. After a hard defensive battle lasting for two hours, during which SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler was the soul of the defense, the I./SS-Pz.Gr.Rgt. "Der Führer" arrived and battled their way towards the positions on the northern edge of the town, improving the situation. But again and again the opponent attempted to break through. Under unheard-of heavy artillery fire, T-34s in small groups continually approached the village.
The other two battalions of the regiment could reach the objective only under cover of darkness, following a 45-kilometer long march all while being harassed by continuous enemy air attacks and the columns flowing back. Immediately SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler deployed his regiment for an attack northwards, and with the help of parts of the II./SS-Pz.Rgt. "Das Reich" that also had arrived late in the evening, managed to close the six-kilometer wide breach.
The breakthrough of enemy tanks and infantry towards the southeast, and with it the encirclement of the three divisions fighting in Kharkov was prevented through the bold resolution and the defensive skill of SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler and his men. The XI. Armee-Korps was able to move back the divisions fighting along the north bank of the Udy. SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler bears a decisive share in this thanks to his heroic personal performance and his independent decisiveness.
In all the actions of this summer battle, SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler has proven himself best at the head of his regiment, the command of which he assumed on 20.04.43. During the breakthrough across the second system of positions on 07.07.43, near Lutschki north of Belgorod in which he, exploiting the favourable reconnaissance, stormed and penetrated at his own decision and before the scheduled beginning of the attack; in the defensive battle against tanks near Kalinin on the 07. and 14.7.43; during the attack on Marinovka that made it possible to recapture the old main fighting line along the Mius; and in the defensive battles with weak elements of the division at the southwest of Solotschew in the period from 6-11.08.43, SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler proved to be a shining example to his men with his personal readiness for action, courage and bravery. The leadership of his regiment has been wielded with model prudence and skill.
I consider the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to SS-Obersturmbannführer Stadler as especially justified because of the outstanding success of his decisions and personal actions on the battlefield."