Otto Büsing

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Otto Büsing
Otto Büsing.jpeg
Birth name Otto Karl Gerd Lorenz Adolf Büsing
Birth date 22 August 1896
Place of birth Kiel, Province of Schleswig-Holstein, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 8 March 1944 (aged 47)
Place of death Rownoje, Eastern Front
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Freikorps Flag.jpg Freikorps
War Ensign of Germany (1921–1933).png Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1914–1919
Rank Major General (posthumously)
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Iron Cross
Honour Roll Clasp
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations ∞ 1922 Barbara Schaefer

Otto Karl Gerd Lorenz Adolf Büsing (22 August 1896 – 8 March 1944) was a German officer, finally Major General and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during WWII.


Kampfgruppe Büsing
Marschgruppe Büsing

Otto was born in 1896 in Kiel where his father at the time was serving as a 1st lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Infanterie-Regiment „Herzog von Holstein“ (Holsteinisches) Nr. 85. His father was later transferred as major to the Infanterie-Regiment "König Ludwig III. von Bayern" (2. Niederschlesisches) Nr. 47 in Posen.

Young Otto attended the Augusta-Victoria-Gymnasium in Posen (with war or Kriegsabitur) until 6 August 1914 and then volunteered for war service as a Fahnenjunker (officer candidate) with the Regiment Königs-Jäger zu Pferde Nr. 1 (mounted Jäger) on 8 August 1914. After basic training, the 18-year-old Büsing came to the Western Front in the Verdun area on 7 October 1914.

He was commissioned in March 1915 receiving a patent from 22 May 1914. He was commanded to a machine gun training course in Döberitz in the spring of 1917 and led a machine gun company in the Infanterie Regiment Nr. 423 which was commanded by his father at the Eastern Front. At the end of 1917, he returned to his regiment in the west and served in the 2. Eskadron. In June 1918, he was appointed ordnance officer in the staff of the 9th Infantry Division. After the return march from France he joined the Freikorps on 22 December 1918 (border protection in Upper Silesia). On 23 August 1919, he retired from the Provisional Reichswehr with the right to wear the uniform. He then became a Landmann (landowner / farmer) on the estate of his father-in-law Alexander Schaefer.

He was reactivated to army service in the Reichswehr on 1 June or 1 July 1934 (depending on the source) serving with the 10. Reiter-Regiment of the cavalry (renamed Reiter-Regiment 10 on 15 October 1935). On 2 August 1934, he was newly sworn in. On 1 October 1934, he was transferred to the 3rd Squadron in Torgau,[1] on 1 June 1935 he was appointed commander of that squadron. In January 1938, he was commanded to a machine gun training course for company commanders. On 24 November 1938, he was appointed adjutant to the 5th Panzer Division.

After having taken part in the Poland Campaign, he was appointed commander of the 8th Reconnaissance-Battalion on 15 December 1939. On 1 October 1940, he was put into the Führerreserve (leader reserve), received leave and then training as a regimental commander. On 15 January 1941, he was appointed commander of the Panzer-Regiment 39.

From 1 May to bis 11 October 1943, he was also commander of the Panzer-Regiment 26 and then adjutant in the Army High Command of the 2nd Panzer-Army. On 8 August 1943, he was ordered by the 26. Panzer-Division to form a combat group (Kampfgruppe) consisting of Staff/Panzer-Regiment 26, 2nd Battalion/Panzer-Regiment 26, 2nd Battalion/Panzergrenadier-Regiment 67 and 3rd Battalion/Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 93 (without the 1st battery). This Kampfgruppe was reorganized as a Marschgruppe Büsing (now with 3rd Company/Pionier-Bataillon 3 and smaller units, c. 20,000 men) on 9 September 1943 and subordinated to the 3. Panzergrenadier-Division with the order to advance to Rome from the north for the occupation of treacherous Italy (Fall Achse).

From 28 December 1943 (another source states November 1943) to mid-February 1944, Büsing was commander of the Panzer-Regiment "Großdeutschland", he was then delegated with the deputy leadership of the Panzer-Division "Großdeutschland" with Willy Langkeit taking over the regiment (Fritz Goecke took over Langkeit's Panzer-Regiment 36).

Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

The following article from the Oppelner Zeitung (dated 2 December 1942) describes why Büsing was awarded the Knight’s Cross (submitted on 9 November 1942):

“This distinguished Panzer leader (who has proven himself in many battles since the start of the war) achieved battle-deciding victories in the area north of Orel, particularly in the middle of August 1942. During this time he received a mission of reaching a forest edge on the far side of the Shisdra river with his Panzers. To this end, Lieutenant Colonel Büsing forded the river at night despite the great difficulties involved and then thrust forwards along the very marshy roads through the enemy occupied forest. When he was orientating himself as to the situation he was informed that heavy enemy traffic was travelling on a major road further forwards. He immediately resolved to attack and interdict this traffic without waiting for all the fighting vehicles of his unit. After eliminating four well-camouflaged enemy tanks the regiment encountered strong direct artillery fire, which meant that the motorcycle troops mounted on the Panzers had to be left behind. Heedless of this fire, Lieutenant Colonel Büsing left his command vehicle in order to locate the Soviet batteries. After he had confirmed their position he ordered the attack to carry on, all while intending to simultaneously capture a heavily occupied enemy hill that dominated the terrain through which the attack was to be conducted. Driving amongst the lead fighting vehicles, Lieutenant Colonel Büsing thrust into the middle of the four firing and desperately defending batteries. These were shot up and overrun in a ruthless assault. However, as this engagement was being fought a force of 35 Soviet tanks approached the commanding hill. Driving swiftly, they sought to prevent Büsing’s regiment from continuing its advance. The Lieutenant Colonel immediately perceived that everything depended on capturing the hill before the enemy reached it, and so he swiftly decided to turn against the newly arrived enemy. 16 enemy tanks were destroyed in the furious tank battle that erupted, and Lieutenant Colonel Büsing was ultimately able to take the hill firmly under his control. By doing so, he had broken through the well fortified defensive system of the Soviets at a decisive point. This great tactical victory was of great importance for the continued operations of his Panzer-Korps.”[2]


On 8 March 1944, Colonel Büsing was fatally injured by enemy artillery fire near Losowatka, 25 km southwest of Kirowograd. He died the same day from his injuries at the Hauptverbandsplatz (main dressing station, 1. Sanko/H.V.Pl. Pz.Gr.Div.Gr.D.) in Rovnoye, Soviet Union. He was promoted pothumously (nachträglich) to the rank of Major General with effect from 1 March 1944.


Otto was the grandson of jurist, politician and member of the Reichstag Dr. h. c. Otto Heinrich Johann Büsing (1837–1916), knight of the Prussian Red Eagle Order 2nd Class and the Prussian Order of the Crown 2nd Class. Ottö's parents were Colonel Otto Hermann Ludwig Büsing (b. 8 September 1867 in Rostock) and his wife (∞ 20 September 1895) Marguerite Frida Marie Emma Sophie, née Böhmer (b. 4 October 1874 in Gotha). His father was a military cadett, Prussian officer and a veteran of WWI with both classes of the Iron Cross. Major Büsing was wounded in the Battle of Tarnovka by a shot in the head. On 18 March 1918, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. After the war, he served with the Freikorps (border protection in Silesia), then with the provisional Reichswehr, was promoted to Colonel on 9 April 1920 and retired on 30 September 1920. Otto had two sisters:

  • Annaliese Margarethe Victoria Elisabeth (b. 4 August 1899 in Neumünster)
  • Marguerite Bechtolde Helene Paula (b. 2. November 1901 in Neumünster; d. 11 November 1924 in Berlin); ∞ 3 August 1921 Bodo Horst von Henning auf Schönhoff (1899-1943), cadet in Berlin, 2nd Lieutenant in WWI, merchant in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Captain in WWII, on 31 January 1943 in Russia

Otto's distant cousin was ophthalmologist Dr. med. Otto Büsing (b. 16 Decemer 1880 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf; d. 28 March 1946 in Eisenach), a renowned ornithologist[3] and language conservationist who complained in one of his magazine articles that the German native language was “excessively interspersed with foreign expressions”. “German, speak German!” he writes.[4]


On 12 July 1922 in Steinsdorf near Haynau (Silesia), 1st Lieutenant (ret.) Büsing married his finacée Barbara Eleonore Dorothea Schaefer (b. 27 July 1903 in Crayn near Liegnitz, Silesia), daughter of lord of the manor (leaseholder of the estates Mittel and Nieder Steinsdorf) and Oberamtmann zu Liegnitz Alexander Schaefer (1862–1927). They had two children:

  • Otto (b. 20 February 1925)
  • Christa (b. 25 December 1929)


  • 8 August 1914: Fahnenjunker (Officer Candidate)
  • 27 January 1915: Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 4 March 1915: Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant) with Patent from 22 May 1914
  • 23 August 1919: Charakter als Oberleutnant (Honorary 1st Lieutenant)
  • 1 July 1934: Rittmeister with Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 January 1934
  • 31 December 1938: Major with Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 January 1939
  • 9 November 1941: Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) with Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 December 1941
  • 15 May 1943: Oberst (Colonel) with Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 March 1943
    • later received a new Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 December 1942
  • 1 March 1944: Generalmajor (Major General)

Awards and decorations

Otto Karl Gerd Lorenz Adolf Büsing.jpg

Further reading

  • Walther-Peer Fellgiebel: Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German), Podzun-Pallas, Wölfersheim 2000, ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6
    • English: The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches, expanded edition, 2000


  1. Reiter-Regiment Torgau
  2. Büsing, Otto
  3. Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds.
  4. Neue Zeitschrift, alte Sorgen
  5. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 127.