Saturday, October 10, 2015

Generalmajor Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski

Generalmajor Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski (2 January 1899 – 19 September 1966) was fought during World War I (as a cavalry officer) and World War II (as a panzer officer). At the 1936 Summer Olympics he won the Gold Medal in the team Dressage. In World War II, he acquired reputation as a bold tank commander, especially in the Eastern Front front when once he only got 39 tanks left (of 104 available at the start of the battle) but kept fighting until the front stabilized. From 6 December 1942 to 5 January 1943 his Kampfgruppe (Battle Group) destroyed no less than 451 Russian tanks, 209 guns and 752 heavy weapons. During the battle for Caen he managed to kept his position for 32 days, without losing even one metre of ground, but lost 50% of his tank forces! In the last months of the war, he fought fiercely for a narrow corridor to the fortress of Breslau. Then he freed the besieged 1200 soldiers of the Fort of Bautzen, and counter all enemy attacks until after arrived at Spremberg. He only surrendered to the American forces in 18 May 1945, a couple of days after the war ended in Europe. Months later they found out that he was the defender of Caen and was accused as a war criminal. Classified in the category of "completely innocent", he was released in 1947. In the post-war period he worked as a civilian advisor and helped setting up of the German Bundeswehr. He also worked for the Canadians as a riding instructor at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was the recipient of the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern (Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords), of which only 159 members of the Wehrmacht received it.

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