Military Wiki
Hermann Maringgele
Born (1911-11-29)November 29, 1911
Died 21 July 2000(2000-07-21) (aged 88)
Place of birth Tschars, Austria
Place of death Solingen, Germany
Allegiance Kingdom of ItalyFascist Italy
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1935–1937 Italian Army
1940–1945 Waffen SS
Rank Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant)
Unit 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
Battles/wars Second Italo-Abyssinian War
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
German Cross in Gold
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Close Combat Clasp in Gold
Wound Badge
General Assault Badge
Eastern Front Medal [1]

Hermann Maringgele (November 29, 1911 – July 21, 2000) was a Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He was awarded 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 also one of only 631 men to be awarded the very rare Close Combat Clasp in Gold.[2] It was awarded for 50 battles of hand-to-hand or close combat. Maringgele is recorded having served in 84 battles of close combat, more than any other member of the German Armed Forces.

Early life

Hermann Maringgele was born on the 29 November 1911, in Tschars in Tyrol in the Austrian Empire and was the tenth child in the family.[3][4]

At the end of World War I and the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the rest of the Tyrol where the Maringgele family lived was ceded to Italy. This resulted in Hermann Maringgele learning both German and Italian in school. He graduated from school in 1932 and had to do his national service in the Italian Army and served in Abyssinia in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in 1935, until he was released from the Italian Army in 1937.[3]

World War II

During World War II Hermann Maringgele volunteered to join the Waffen SS in 1940. After completing basic training he was posted to the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment, which was part of the SS Cavalry Brigade, under the command of Hermann Fegelein.[3]

Maringgele was then in action as a part of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and was awarded his first combat award, the Iron Cross 2nd class, in December, 1941.[3][4]

In 1942, the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment was located in the Wjasma Rzhev sector in front of Moscow and suffered some heavy losses. Maringgele was again awarded for bravery with the General Assault Badge and the Iron Cross 1st class in June, 1942. He was seriously wounded in August, 1942, which required his evacuation from combat for treatment in hospital.[3][4]

On his return to active service he was posted as a platoon commander in the 2nd Squadron, 15th SS Cavalry Regiment, (formed by renaming the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment), which was part of the new 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer.[3]

In 1943, Maringgele took part in the Battle of Kharkovdisambiguation needed and in 1944 the fighting withdrawal from the Ukraine and Romania into Hungary.[3]

During the winter of 1944, Maringgele along with the rest of the Division fought in the Battle of Budapest, where he was awarded the Close Combat Clasp in Silver, for 25 battles of hand to hand combat, leading 47 successful assault operations in ferocious street fighting.[3][4]

He was awarded the German Cross in Gold on the 28 January 1945 for his achievements during the fighting for Budapest and by the 8 February had qualified for the Close Combat Clasp in Gold, with 50 battles of hand to hand combat. He would reach an unprecedented 84 battles by the end of the siege.[3][4]

In an attempt to escape the encirclement of Budapest, Maringgele then led a Kampfgruppe out and with sixty men managed to reach the new German front line.[3]

Almost immediately after reaching the German line, Maringgele and Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) Joachim Boosfeld were ordered to report to Berlin. There, they were both decorated with the Knight's Cross and the Close Combat Clasp in Gold by Adolf Hitler in person.[3][4]

Hermann Maringgele was also promoted to Untersturmführer and given command of the SS Cavalry reserve Battalion. At the end of the war, he was captured by the Americans, and became a prisoner of war.[3]

Post war

After being released from captivity he returned to his family and set up home in Solingen, where he lived until his death on the 21 July 2000.[3][4]


Further reading

  • Berger, Florian (2004) (in German). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7. 
  • 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. 
  • Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8