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Franz Riedel
File:FRANZ Riedel.jpg
Born (1921-12-02)December 2, 1921
Died 17 May 2001(2001-05-17) (aged 79)
Place of birth Český Těšín, Czechoslovakia
Place of death Straubing , Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Years of service 1939–1945
Rank Obersturmführer
Unit SS Division Das Reich
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
German Cross in Gold
Wound Badge
Panzer Badge "25"

Franz Riedel was an Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) and panzer ace 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 Nazi Germany during World War II. He was credited with the destruction of more than 40 tanks and numerous anti-tank guns with his Panzerkampfwagen IV. He once destroyed 13 T-34's in one action.

Early life

Franz Riedel was born on the 2 December 1921 in Český Těšín, Czechoslovakia. Between April 1939 and September 1939 he completed his compulsory labor service.

World War II

Franz Riedel volunteered to join the SS in October 1939 (SS number 455 613), and was posted to the 3rd Company, SS Panzer Training and Reserve Battalion in Ellwangen and trained as a gunner in a Panzerjäger (tank hunter) unit. At the completion of his training he was posted to the SS Division Das Reich as a gunner in the 3rd Battery, Panzerjäger Battalion Deutschland.

He took part in Operation Barbarossa the invasion of the Soviet Union and in August 1941 he was given command of his own Panzerjäger and was awarded the Iron Cross II class and the Wound Badge in October 1941.

Riedel was posted to the 2 Battery, Panzerjäger Battalion Nord in January 1942. He was then selected to become an officer and posted to the SS-Junkerschule in Braunschweig between June and December 1942. After graduation he was posted to the 2nd Battery, Panzerjäger Training and Reserve Battalion in Hilversum in the Netherlands.

In February 1943, he was posted as a platoon commander in the 21 Panzergrenadier Regiment, 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg which was in the process of forming and shortly afterwards, in May given command of a platoon in the 3rd Battery, 10th SS Panzerjäger Battalion. He attended the Panzer school Sagan between January and February 1944 and returned to the division, to the 7th Company, 10th SS Panzer Regiment. He was awarded the Iron Cross I class and the Panzer Badge in Silver in April 1944.

He was next in action on the Western Front where he was awarded the German Cross in Gold in August 1944 and the Panzer Badge "25" in October 1944. His Knight's Cross came in March 1945, awarded while in command of the 7th Company, 10th SS Panzer Regiment.

Post war

Franz Riedel survived the war and died on the 17 May 2001 in Straubing, Germany.

Promotions

Awards

  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (28-03 1945)
  • German Cross in Gold (19-08 1944)
  • Iron Cross I class (20-04 1944)
  • Iron Cross II class (09-10 1941)
  • General Assault Badge (29-07 1941)
  • Panzer Badge in Silver (16-04 1944)
  • Panzer Badge in Silver "25" (16-10 1944)
  • Wound Badge in Black (15-10 1941)

References

Further reading

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7. 
  • 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 [1]
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