Heinrich Gottke

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Heinrich Gottke
Born 7 July 1921
Flensburg, Germany
Died 12 August 1998 (1998-08-13) (aged 77)
Wolfsburg, Germany
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
 Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Bundeswehr Kreuz Black.svg Bundeswehr
Years of service 1931–45
1959–69
Rank Oberscharführer
Unit 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
Wound Badge
Eastern Front Medal

Heinrich Gottke (7 July 1921 – 12 August 1998) was an Oberscharführer in the Waffen SS during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II. He later served in the new German Army, the Bundeswehr.

Early life

Heinrich Gottke was born on 7 July 1921, in Flensburg, Germany.

World War II

During World War II, Gottke volunteered to join the Waffen SS and in April 1940, he was assigned to the Training and Replacement Battalion of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Regiment.

After completing basic training in August 1940, Gottke was posted to the 6th (Flak) Battery, Company, II Battalion, LSSAH Artillery Regiment. He remained with the Leibstandarte during the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). He was awarded the Iron Cross (2nd class) in July 1941. From March 1942 to August 1942, he was stationed with the SS Flak Reserve Regiment in Arolsen. In September 1942, he was posted to the Headquarters Battery of the 3rd SS Flak Battalion, 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf, under the command of Otto Kron.

In June 1943 Gottke was again posted to the SS Flak Training and Reserve Battalion, which was now stationed in Munich, until December 1943 when he was posted to the newly formed 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen as a Forward Observer in the Flak Battalion.

Gottke was awarded the Knight's Cross for his bravery in action when acting as a Forward Observer on the 13 and 14 December 1944. After detecting Allied troops in battalion strength supported by light tanks northwest and southeast of Point 355, and aware that this was a key point, he directed fire down onto the advancing forces which forced the attack back. During a second attack he directed fire onto his own position. During a third attack, he was forced to move to his secondary location from which he managed to direct fire onto the attacking force, again stopping the attack with artillery fire.

Post war

Gottke survived the war and in July 1958, he joined the new German Army, the Bundeswehr. He serving in the first Territorial Defense Command until 1959 and then moved to the defense area command. This was followed by service in the guard battalion at the Federal Ministry of Defense, where from 1964, he was the Envoy of the Federal Ministry of Defense. He also served as a teaching officer in the Bundeswehr's medical center in Bonn. He retired on 30 September 1975 as a Hauptmann, after a combined military service of 21 years.

Heinrich Gottke died on 12 August 1998, in Wolfsburg.

Awards

Notes

  1. According to Scherzer as Vorgeschobener Beobachter (forward observer) in the 3./SS-Flak-Abteilung 17.[2]

References

Citations

  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 200.
  2. Scherzer 2007, p. 343.

Bibliography

  • 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) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fey, Will; Henschler, Henri (2003). Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-2905-5.<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) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>