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Knight's Cross And Oak-Leaves Recipient Fritz Witt

Discussion in 'German WWII Medals and Awards' started by Jim, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    SS-Brigadefuhrer Fritz Witt

    Fritz Witt was born on 27 May 1908 in Hohenlimburg. An early member of the SS, he was one of the original 120 founding members of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler. He joined the Deutschland Regiment in 1935 and was still with this unit, serving as a company commander, when war broke out in 1939. During the Polish campaign, on 19 September 1939, he was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class and this was followed quickly by the First Class, just six days later. Promoted to SS Sturmbannfuhrer and given command of I Battalion of the regiment, Witt led his troops with considerable elan during the campaign in the West, seeing fierce combat action in Holland and France, in particular the battles around the La Bassee Canal and on the Langres Plateau. In recognition of his spirited leadership of the battalion and its successes during the campaign, Witt was decorated with the Knight's Cross on 4 September 1940. Following the successful conclusion of the Westfeldzug, Witt returned to the Leibstandarte. An extremely popular officer with his troops, he was calm and composed even under heavy enemy fire, setting an example to his men. He received the Oak-Leaves addition to his Knight's Cross on 1 January 1943. At this point he held the rank of SS-Standartenfuhrer and commanded SS-Panzer-grenadier-Regiment 1. When the Hitlerjugend Division was formed in 1943, a cadre of the best officers and experienced NCOs and men from the Leibstandarte was transferred to provide the backbone of the new division. Witt was one of these officers and with the rank of SS-Brigadefuhrer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS, was given command. The Hitlerjugend was thrown into the thick of the fighting around Caen during the battle for Normandy. On 16 June, Witt and his staff were relaxing and playing cards during a lull in the fighting when suddenly a barrage of large-calibre shells fired by Allied warships lying offshore crashed into the German positions. Witt and one of his junior officers were killed instantly. When he learned of the loss, Sepp Dietrich is reported to have said: 'That's one of the best gone. Witt was too good a soldier to survive for long.'

    SS-Brigadefuhrer Fritz Witt was one of the most capable commanders in the Waffen-SS. It was no surprise that when the new 'Hitlerjugend' Panzer Division was formed and a cadre of the finest troops from the elite 'Leibstandarte' was transferred to form the core of this new division, Witt took command of this new unit.


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