Kressmann, Erwin.

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Kressmann, Erwin, born 02-06-1918 in Trassenheide on the island auf Usedom, , and later moved with his family to Wusswerk in the Spreewald. His military career began after his Reich Labor Service on 20-10-1936 when he joined the 1st Company of the Panzer Defense Department 32 in Kolberg / Baltic Sea as a volunteer. After the basic training, he completed driver training in all classes, a master mechanic assistant training, a non-commissioned officer training course and workshop instruction. After being promoted to Gefreiten on 01-10-1937, he was transferred as a trainer to anti-tank department 12 in Schwerin in 1938, until he became a platoon commander on 01-10-1938.

the Polish campaign he was deployed as a platoon leader, in 1939 his department was relocated to the Rhineland, followed by assignments in Belgium and France in the western campaign in 1940. On 01-06-1940, he was promoted to Feldwebel/sergeant, his unit remained in the Netherlands as a crew, for a time Erwin Kreßmann was also the local commander of Boxtel. This was followed by a course at the armored troop school in Wünsdorf, where he was promoted to Oberfeldwebel/sergeant major on 01-06-1941.

The campaign against Russia, Operation Barbarossa began and on 30-06-1941, Kreßmann was awarded the wound badge in black, after his first of many wounds. After the fighting for Demyansk, Oberfeldwebel Kreßmann was appointed officer candidate and transferred to Panzerjäger Detachment 24, having now also carried the Iron Cross of both classes. The advance on the Crimea up to the conquest of Sevastopol brought the tried and tested front-line fighter, who was promoted to leutnant on 01-06-1942 and was deployed as deputy company commander, further awards such as the Crimean shield, the East Medal and the assault badge. After being promoted to Oberlieutnant on 11-01-1943, he officially became company commander of 2./Panzerjäger-Abteilung 24. under command of Generalleutnant Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Edelsheim. Maximilian survived the war and died 26-04-1994 (aged 96) in Konstanz.

After being wounded and recovered, as well as a short period of service with Panzer-Jäger-Ersatz -teilung 43, he came to Spremberg / Lausitz in July 1943, where the heavy Panzerjäger-Dienst 519 was re-established, which remained his military home until the end of the war. He became chief of the 1st company, which was equipped with the new 8.8 cm anti-tank gun on self-propelled guns, the “Hornet” tank destroyer . In November 1943 the “P 519” was relocated to the central section of the Eastern Front, where it was awarded the Romanian War Merit Medal and the Demyansk Shield. He took part in the two great battles of Vitebsk between 13-12-1943 and 18-02-1944 as part of the 3rd Panzer Army. The third battle took place on 22-6-1944, and the division was almost wiped out. Kreßmann’s most successful platoon leader was Albert Ernst, the “Tiger of Vitebsk”. , born 15-11-1912, in Wolfsburg/Saksen, and died age 73, on 21-02-1986, in Iserlohn/Noordrijn-Westfalen, Germany.

On 18-02-1944, Kreßmann was promoted to Hauptmann after he had won the German Cross in Gold in the battle of Demyansk. The silver wound badge also followed after his fourth wound. After the “P 519” was almost smashed, it came to the Milau military training area to refresh. In August / September 1944 the 1st Company was equipped with 14 new Jagdpanzer V “Jagdpanther” and fought on the German Western Front in the Battle of the Hürtgenwald in the Stolberg area, then in the Ardennes offensive with the 6th SS Panzer Army, under command of SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS, Fritz Kraemer. Kraemer later served as a chief of staff with the 6th Panzer Army and surrendered to the U.S. Army, along with Dietrich, in May 1945. He was tried in 1946 for his role in the Malmedy Massacre and was sentenced to a ten-year imprisonment. He died in 23-06-1959, age 58..

“In the Aachen combat area, a heavy tank destroyer division was ordered to regain a strategically important location. In two days of extremely tough battles against superior enemy forces, against artillery and rolling fighter-bomber attacks, Hauptmann Kreßmann’s Jagdpanther company came to the south exit of the village after shooting down 8 Sherman tanks. When attempting to attack on a broad front, 4 panthers got stuck in the swamp and 2 more were shot down. Then Hauptmann Kreßmann took up the fight against the hostile superiority of Sherman tanks with full commitment, shielding the swamp until all of his Jagdpanthers could be recovered. When the attack by the company of his own combat group stalled in front of a mine barrier, he booted out alone in the strongest enemy fire and looked for a way of bypassing it. Then he recklessly drove into the village without escort, freed a group of neighbors there and inflicted heavy losses on the fleeing Americans. For this dashing act, the company commander Stressmann here on the right, was awarded the Knight’s Cross  “Final battleIn February 1945 Kreßmann was again commanded to the Eastern Front. When he was on special leave, he also visited his substitute department in Spremberg, where the local commander tried to make him commander of an anti-tank brigade in the final battle for Germany. At the beginning of May 1945, he destroyed two T-34 tanks in close combat by detention or plate mines. He was seriously wounded in the legs by fire from grenade launchers and came in an adventurous way to the Elbe, where he was captured by the US as a prisoner of war. After being transferred to a German military hospital in Helmstedt, he fled there and was officially released from captivity in February 1946.

Death and burial ground of Kressmann, Erwin.

The former professional soldier with no less than 14 war awards then worked as a driving instructor and in the trade in automotive technology..Hauptmann Erwin Kreßmann died on 02-06-1918, age 98  in Trassenheide on the island of Usedom and is buried at the North cemetery in Siegburg..

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