Erich Bärenfänger

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Erich Bärenfänger
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Erich Bärenfänger
Born (1915-01-12)12 January 1915
Menden
Died 2 May 1945(1945-05-02) (aged 30)
Berlin
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1936–45
Rank Generalmajor
Unit 50th Infantry Division
Commands held III./GrenRgt 123
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Erich Bärenfänger (12 January 1915 – 2 May 1945) was an officer in the German Army (Heer) during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, awarded to by Nazi Germany to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. In the final days of the war, Bärenfänger was commander of several defense sectors during the Battle of Berlin; he committed suicide on 2 May 1945.

Background

Bärenfänger was born on in Menden, Province of Westphalia, Germany. He was the son of an upper post office secretary.

Bärenfänger joined the Sturmabteilung (SA; "Storm Detachment") in 1933.

In October 1936, Bärenfänger joined an infantry regiment and, after attending a reserve officer candidate training course, he was promoted to sergeant. In April 1939, Bärenfänger was promoted to second lieutenant of the Reserve.

From September 1939 to June 1940, Bärenfänger was a Zugführer (platoon leader) during the Polish and French campaigns. In early 1941, he participated in the Campaign in the Balkans.

In June 1941, Bärenfänger was involved in the attack on the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa. On the Eastern Front, he fought on the Taman Peninsula at the Mius and in the Kuban position on the Crimean Peninsula.

For his actions in the Caucasus campaign, Bärenfänger received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. He also received several foreign bravery medals from nations allied to Germany. He was appointed the inspector of the Hitler Youth military training.

Berlin, 1945

Towards the end of World War II, Bärenfänger took part in the Battle for Berlin.

According to Read and Fisher in "The Fall of Berlin", German dictator Adolf Hitler promoted thirty-year-old Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) Bärenfänger to Generalmajor (brigadier general) on 22 April 1945.[citation needed]

On 24 April, due to the direct command of Hitler, Bärenfänger was given command of defence sectors A and one day later also command of sector B.[1] Bärenfänger mounted at least two unsuccessful armored attacks northwards up the Schönhauser Allee. The second was on 1 May.[2]

Members of SS-Brigadeführer Wilhelm Mohnke's "break out group" saw quite a sight thanks to Bärenfänger. On 1 May, the group left the Führerbunker. As they made their escape, there before them they saw a "host" of new "Tiger Tanks" and "artillery pieces" arrayed around the Flak tower as if "on parade". Bärenfänger was allegedly seated in the turret cupola of one of the Tigers thus arrayed.[3]

On 2 May, Bärenfänger, a devoted Nazi, committed suicide with his young wife in a side street of Berlin.[2]

Awards

Promotions

1 October 1937: Gefreiter[5]
1 December 1937: Officer cadet of the Reserves[5]
1 June 1938: Unteroffizier[5]
1 October 1939: Feldwebel of the Reserves[5]
30 March 1939: Leutnant (second lieutenant) of the Reserves, effective as 1 April 1941, seniority date 1 October 1939[5]
15 October 1941: Oberleutnant (first lieutenant), effective as 1 September 1941, seniority date 1 July 1941, Leutnant seniority date changed to 1 February 1939[5]
31 August 1941: Hauptmann (captain), effective as 1 August 1942, seniority date to be defined[5]
16 November 1941: Hauptmann (captain), seniority date 1 August 1942[5]
10 June 1943: Major (major), effective as 1 April 1943, seniority date 1 April 1943[5]
1 February 1944: Oberstleutnant, effective as 1 February 1944, seniority date 1 January 1944[5]
28 April 1944: Generalmajor (brigadier general), promotion by Hitler bypassing the rank of Oberst (colonel) with a seniority date 20 April 1944[5]

Notes

  1. According to Von Seemen on 7 August 1942 as chief of the 1./Infanterie-Regiment 123 and III./Infanterie-Regiment 123.[9]

References

Citations

  1. Thomas & Wegmann 1987, p. 176.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Beevor 2002, p. 384.
  3. O'Donnell, James. (2001). The Bunker. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80958-3
  4. 4.0 4.1 Thomas 1997, p. 18.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 Thomas & Wegmann 1987, p. 177.
  6. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 24.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 199.
  8. Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 120, 484.
  9. Von Seemen 1976, p. 75.
  10. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 69.
  11. Von Seemen 1976, p. 35.
  12. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 42.
  13. Von Seemen 1976, p. 15.

Bibliography

  • Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin – The Downfall 1945. Viking-Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • O'Donnell, James P. (2001) [1978]. The Bunker. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80958-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Stockert, Peter (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 3 (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. ISBN 978-3-932915-01-7. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1987). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 1: A–Be (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1153-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7909-0051-4. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-643-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • "Erich Bärenfänger". Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45 (in German). Retrieved 10 July 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Erich Bärenfänger". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 10 July 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Military offices
Preceded by
Ernst Kaether
Commanders of the Berlin Defense Area
(Deputy to Adolf Hitler)

22 April 1945
Succeeded by
Helmuth Weidling