Erwin Bachmann

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Erwin Bachmann
Allegiance Nazi Germany National socialist Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1938–1945
Rank Obersturmführer
Unit SS-VT
2nd SS Division Das Reich
5th SS Division Wiking
10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
Wound Badge in Silver
Panzer Badge in Silver

Erwin Bachmann (5 May 1921 – 18 February 2010) was a Obersturmführer (Senior Storm Leader/First Lieutenant) in the Waffen SS during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by National socialist Germany during World War II.

Early life

Bachmann was born on the 5 May 1921 in Reinhausen Göttingen. He was educated at home until 1927 when he attended the local school in Reinhausen.[1][2]

After leaving school in April 1935, he started an apprenticeship with a local firm, passing his trade tests in 1938 he was given a position as an administrative assistant.[1]

World War II

In August 1939 he volunteered for the SS-VT and was assigned to the 2nd Company, SS Training and Reserve Battalion Germania stationed in Hamburg.[1]

At the end of the Polish Campaign he was posted as a machine gunner to the 11th Company SS Regiment Germania and took part in the Battle of France. He was promoted to Rottenführer (Corporal) in August 1941 and in September 1941 he was involved in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union until November 1941 when he returned to the SS Training and Reserve Battalion Germania.[1]

He was then selected to become an officer and from February to June 1942 he was posted to the SS-Junkerschule (Officer Candidate School) in Bad Tölz and after graduation his first duties were in the SS Training and Reserve Battalion Germania which at the time was stationed in Arnhem in Holland and he was promoted to Oberscharführer (Senior Squad Leader) in May 1942.[1]

In September 1942 he volunteered for a posting with the SS Division Wiking until January 1943 and the formation of the new SS Division Frundsberg he was posted in as the Adjutant of the II. Battalion, 10th SS Panzer Regiment with the rank of Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant).[1]

In October 1943 he was given his first command which was a platoon in the 3rd Company, 10th SS Panzer Regiment, Frundsberg. After a short retraining course on Sturmgeschütz (assault guns/StuG) he was given command of the 5th Company, Sturmgeschütz Battalion and also promoted to Obersturmführer (Senior Storm Leader/First Lieutenant) in November 1944.[1][2]

After the defeat in the Ardennes offensive the Frundsberg Division in January 1945, was part of Army Group G and involved in Operation Nordwind together with the 6th SS Gebirgs Division Nord over the night of the 16–17 January they were tasked with making a breakthrough of the Allied line and forming a bridgehead at Hagenau for the following attack.[1]

The attack was to be led by the 3rd Company, 10th SS Panzer Regiment with Obersturmführer Bachmann now the Battalion Adjutant in command. Mounted on a motorcycle, he attacked and destroyed a Sherman tank with a Panzerfaust in Herrlisheim, more Allied tanks were destroyed by the accompanying Panther tanks and in the following fighting 60 prisoners were taken and 20 Germans that had been captured by the Americans were released and rearmed, also 12 Sherman tanks were captured intact.[1]

The attack continued from Herrlisheim towards Drusenheim and a further 9 tanks were destroyed. The captured Sherman tanks were formed into the 13th Company, 10th SS Panzer Regiment until the end of the war.[1]

For theses actions Erwin Bachmann was awarded the Knight's Cross in February 1945.[1][2]

Bachman was next in combat in Pomerania with the 1st Company at Christinenberg destroying a number of T-34 tanks. In May 1945 they moved west and in the area Göttingen, Sandbostel were captured by the British.[1]

Bachmann died on 18 February 2010 and was buried in Göttingen.

Further reading

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Mitcham, Jr.Samuel, Retreat to the Reich, Stackpole books 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3384-X
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will, Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45 Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
  • Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8
  • The Combat History of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. available on-line [3]