Rudolf Witzig

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Rudolf Witzig
File:Rudolf Witzig.jpg
Rudolf Witzig
Born (1916-08-14)14 August 1916
Röhlinghausen in Wanne-Eickel
Died 3 October 2001(2001-10-03) (aged 85)
Oberschleißheim
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1935–45, 1956–74
Rank Major (Wehrmacht)
Oberst (Bundeswehr)
Commands held I./Fallschirm-Pionier-Regiment 21
Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 18
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Rudolf Witzig (14 August 1916 in Röhlinghausen, Wanne-Eickel – 3 October 2001 in Oberschleißheim) was a German Fallschirmjäger during World War II and Oberst in the Bundeswehr. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Witzig fought in the German attack against the Belgian fortress Fort Eben-Emael.

Early life and career

Witzig, the son of an engineer, was born on 14 August 1916 in Röhlinghausen, present-day a borough of Herne, at the time in the Province of Westphalia of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1927, the family moved to Kiel where Witzig graduated from a Realgymnasium—a secondary school built on the mid-level Realschule to achieve the Abitur (university entry qualification).[1]

Witzig volunteered for military service in the Wehrmacht on 1 April 1935, as a Fahnenjunker (officer candidate), joining Pionier-Bataillon 16 (16th Pioneer Battalion) at Höxter. Starting in February 1936, he attended the Kriegsschule (military school) at Dresden.[1] Two years later, on 20 April 1937, he was promoted to Leutnant and served as a Zugführer (platoon leader) in the 31st Pioneer Battalion. Witzig volunteered for service in the Fallschirmjäger on 1 August 1938, and joined the Parachute Infantry Battalion under the command of Major Richard Heidrich. A year later, after transferring to the Luftwaffe and then holding the rank of Oberleutnant, he was leader of the Sturmabteilung Koch pioneer platoon. This unit was named after Hauptmann Walter Koch.[2]

World War II

Witzig's greatest military achievement was the capture of Fort Eben-Emael in the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael on 10 May 1940; that same day, Oberleutnant Witzig was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). A special announcement of the Wehrmachtbericht, a propaganda radio report, the first of two such mentions, on 11 May lauded the accomplishments of Witzig and his airborne landing group.[2]

On 16 May 1940, Witzig was promoted to Hauptmann (captain). He was then posted to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM—Ministry of Aviation) in Berlin, serving as Hermann Göring's adjutant in the Stabsamt (headquarters unit) of the RLM from 27 May until 31 July 1940.[3]

Rudolf Witzig led the 9th Company of the Parachute Assault Regiment during the Invasion of Crete. Wounded in the course of the battle, he was transferred from the Luftwaffe hospital in Athens to several other hospitals.[2]

On 10 May 1942, Witzig was placed in command of the Corps Parachute Pioneer Battalion. He received promotion to Major on 24 August 1942. From November 1942, he and his battalion served in Tunisia under the command of Oberst Hasso von Manteuffel, General Friedrich Freiherr von Broich, and General Alfred Bülowius, incorporated into the Barenthin Luftwaffe Regiment. The defensive successes in the northern sector of the Tunisian Front are closely linked with Rudolf Witzig.[2]

Witzig served as the commanding officer of I Battalion, 21st Parachute Pioneer Regiment, from 15 June 1944, and simultaneously as commanding officer of the regiment. Witzig and his unit were mentioned a second time in the Wehrmachtbericht on 8 August 1944, after the destruction of 27 enemy tanks near Kumele.[2]

His last service in World War II was as commanding officer of the 18th Parachute Regiment, from 16 December 1944. He was captured by the British on 8 May 1945 along with his regiment, and went into captivity. Witzig's last honor of the war had come the previous day, when his name was placed on the Honor Roll of the Luftwaffe.[2]

Later life

Rudolf Witzig re-joined the military service in the newly created Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic of Germany on 16 January 1956. He retired on 30 September 1974 holding the rank of Oberst.

Awards

Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Saturday, 11 May 1940 (Sondermeldung) Das stärkste Fort der Festung Lüttich, Eben-Emael, das die Übergänge über die Maas und den Albert-Kanal bei und westlich Maastricht beherrscht, hat sich Sonnabendnachmittag ergeben. Der Kommandant und 1000 Mann wurden gefangen genommen.
Das Fort wurde schon am 10. Mai durch eine ausgesuchte Abteilung der Luftwaffe unter Führung von Oberleutnant Witzig und unter Einsatz neuartiger Angriffsmittel kampfunfähig gemacht und die Besatzung niedergehalten. Als es einem von Norden angreifenden Verband des Heeres nach hartem Kampf gelungen war, die Verbindung mit der Abteilung Witzig herzustellen, hat die Besatzung ihre Waffen gestreckt.
[12]
(Extra) The strongest fort of the fortress Lüttich, Eben-Emael, which dominates the crossings of the Maas and Albert-Canal near and west of Maastrich surrendered Saturday afternoon. The commanding officer and 1000 men were taken prisoner of war.
The fort was already rendered defenceless and the garrison pinned down on 10 May by a specially selected unit of the Luftwaffe under the leadership of Oberleutnant Witzig and deploying new combat means. The garrison dropped their arms when an attacking unit of the Army, after heavy combat, established contact with the detachment Witzig.
8 August 1944 Im Kampfraum westlich Kauen hat sich das 1. Bataillon des Fallschirm-Pionierregiments 21 unter Major Witzig durch beispielhaften Kampfgeist hervorragend bewährt. Das Bataillon vernichtete an einem Tag 27 feindliche Panzer im Nahkampf[13] 1st Battalion of the Fallschirm-Pionierregiments 21 under the command of Major Witzig distinguished themselves and showed exemplary fighting spirit in the combat area west of Kauen. The Battalion destroyed 27 enemy tanks in close combat on one day.

Promotions

Wehrmacht
20 April 1937: Leutnant (second lieutenant), effective as of 1 April 1937 with rank age dated 1 April 1937[4]
31 July 1939: Oberleutnant (first lieutenant), effective as of 1 August 1939 with rank age dated 1 August 1939[4]
16 May 1940: Hauptmann (captain)[4]
24 August 1942: Major (major), effective as of 1 September 1942 with rank age dated 1 September 1942[4]
Bundeswehr
16 January 1956: Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel), effective as of 23 December 1955[4]
26 June 1956: named a professional soldier[4]
18 October 1965: Oberst (colonel), effective as of 1 October 1965[4]

References

Citations

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>
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knights of the Wehrmacht Knight's Cross Holders of the Fallschirmjäger. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military. ISBN 978-0-88740-749-9.<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) <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>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1461-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <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) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williamson, Gordon; Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1939–40. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-641-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Frey, Gerhard; Herrmann, Hajo: Helden der Wehrmacht II - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2003. ISBN 3-924309-62-0.

External links