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SHARKHUNTERS Salutes Veterans

HANS  SIEGEL  (4095-1995)
Sturmbannführer, Waffen SS



 

SIEGEL took part in the Polish Campaign in 1939 in command of the Heavy Granatwerfer (standard German medium mortar) platoon, 12th (MG) (Machine Gun) Company.  He was then selected to become an officer and sent to the SS Junkerschule at Bad Tolz.  Upon graduation in 1940 he was posted to the 4th (MG) Company, SS Training and Reserve Battalion, LSSAH.

   In 1941 he was promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) and in December posted to command the 1st platoon, 3rd Battery, 1st SS Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun, StuG) Battalion, LSSAH, fighting in Russia in the Taganrog sector beside the Azov Sea.

   He took part in the Battle of Kharkov in March 1943, as part of Kampfgruppe (Battle Group) Peiper which was based on the III. 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Regiment, supported by the 3rd SS Sturmgeschütz Battery, under the command of Karl Rettlinger.  SIEGEL was wounded by a sniper during the attack; wounded in the head and back which had damaged the 3 and 4 vertebrae in his spine resulting in paralysis from his chest to his legs.  He was evacuated first by a Fiesler Storch aircraft to Poltava and then by a JU 52 to Kiev and then by rail to Stettin and finally to Berlin.  He was hospitalised for six months and after recovery was classified as unfit for front line service.

   In the Autumn of 1943 he was given command of the SS Training and Reserve Battalion Truppenübungsplatz in Krakow until January 1944, when he was posted to the Panzer Division Hitlerjugend and given command of the 8th Company, II Battalion, at the request of Lieutenant Colonel MAX WUNSCHE (3964-1994).
   During the Normandy Invasion SIEGEL and his company were always in the thick of the fighting.  He was wounded for the fifth time on 27 June 1944 when his Panzer was hit and he received severe burns on his face and hands.  He refused to be evacuated to the rear and remained with the Division.

   He was awarded the Knights Cross for his bravery and leadership in Normandy, in the Caen sector at le Mesnil-Patry and Cheux when on 27 June his company destroyed 37 Allied tanks, 11 of which SIEGEL destroyed himself.

   After a short stay in a field hospital he returned to the division and was given command of the II.Battalion, 12th SS Panzer Regiment after its previous commander Karl Heinz Prinz was killed in action in August 1944.

   During the fighting in spring 1945, in the Esztergom Bridgehead in preparation for Operation Spring Awakening, the Battalion committed itself to a night attack during the night of 7 and 8 March and overcame a Russian anti-tank force within the first two kilometers advancing towards Puszta Antal which is six kilometers away.  He led the remaining Panzer IV's of the regiment in a number of small actions until the division was forced to withdraw.  He commanded the rear guard, and on 24 March in a duel with a T-34, he received his ninth wound and was evacuated by rail to St. Pölten.  After treatment for damage to his knee he returned to his battalion on crutches with a cast around his knee.

   Siegel remained with the Division and was wounded again on 8 May 1945, after sustaining a shattered left elbow. His arm was amputated in a Russian hospital.

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