Matthäus Hetzenauer an Austrian sniper in the Wehrmacht.

11-11-2017

Matthäus Hetzenauer, born 23-12-1924 in Brixem im Thale, was an Austrian sniper in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany. He served in the 3rd Mountain Division  on the Eastern Front, who was credited with 345 kills. His longest confirmed kill was reported at 1,100 meters (1,200 yards). Hetzenauer was also a recipient of the Knight Cross of the Iron Cross .

 

After spending most of 1943 in basic training, Hetzenauer  trained as a sniper during March – July 1944 at the Truppenübungsplatz Seetaler-Alpe in Steiermark, before being assigned as Gefreiter to the 3rd Gebirgsjäger Division, under command of Generalleutnant Paul Klatt . Klatt survived the war and died 06 June 1973, age 76.

Hetzenauer utilised both a Karabiner 98k snipper variant  with 6x telescopic sight and a Gewehr 43 with ZF4 4x telescopic sight. He saw action against Soviet forces in the Carpathians, Hungary and Slovakia.  and is credited with 345 kills. His longest confirmed kill was reported at 1,100 meters (3,600 ft).

On 6 November 1944 he suffered head trauma from artillery fire, and was awarded the Wounded Badge  three days later.

Gefreiter Hetzenauer received the Knight Cross of the Iron Cross on 17 April 1945. Generalleutnant and Divisions commander Paul Klatt had recommended Hetzenauer because of his numerous sniper kills, which totaled two enemy companies, without fear for his own safety under artillery fire and enemy attacks. This recommendation was approved by General der Gebirgstruppe Karl von Le Suire  and General der Panzertruppe Walter Nehring 

Hetzenauer was captured by Soviet troops the following month, and served five years in a Soviet prison camp and he died on 3 October 2004, age 79, after several years of deteriorating health.in Brixen im Thale.

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