Söth, Wilhelm.

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Söth, Wilhelm, born 15-02-1903 in Wilster, Holstein , was a war volunteer in the 6th Infantry Regiment on 01-10-1921, age 18. He retired from the Reichswehr on 30-09-1933 as a Wachtmeister and reactivated on 01-07-1934 in the growing Wehrmacht  as an Oberleutnant. From 01-10-1938 he was the commander of the 2nd Artillerie Regiment. Söth was assigned as commander of the 73rd Panzer Artillery Regiment on 01-09-1939 with the outbreak of World War II. He as a Hauptmann became commander of the II Battalion of the 56th Artillery Regiment in France on 28-11-1940 and received the German Cross in Gold . Promoted to Oberstleutnant on 01-04-1942 and as Oberst on 01-08-1943. Commander of a Grenadier Brigade on 27-07-1944 and promoted to Generalmajor on 30-01-1945. His last command was of the 3rd Panzer Division File:3rd Panzer Division logo 2.svg, nicknamed ” Berliner Bären Division (Bear Division from Berlin)” from 01-01-1945 to 19-04-1945 as he surrendered to the Americans. The German 3rd Panzer Division was established on 15-10-1935 at Wünsdorf under the command of General der Panzertruppe, Ernst Fessmann.  Fessmann was succeeded by General der Panzertruppe, Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg

 . It later participated in the 1939 invasion of Poland, where it was the most numerically powerful Panzer Division in the campaign, with 391 tanks, the 1940 invasion of France and the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. One light company from the 5th Panzer Regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division  participated in the Invasion of Norway. On the Eastern Front it participated in the 1942 drive on the Caucasus. It participated in the Battle of Kursk as part of the 48th Panzer Corps  under command of General der Panzertruppe Heinrich Eberbach,

fighting alongside the 11th Panzer Division File:11th Panzer Division logo 2.svg, the 167th Infantry Division File:167th Infanterie Division Logo.svg under command of Generalmajor Hans Schönhärl  and the elite Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland under command of Generalleutnant Walter Hörnlein . Walter Hörnlein survived the war and died age 68 on 14-09-1961 in Köln-Merheim. During the battle, the 3rd Panzer Division was used to achieve the initial breakthrough and inflicted heavy damage to the Soviet forces. It was then used to protect the flanks of the 48th Panzer Corps. After the Soviet counter-attack at Kursk,  in which the 3rd Panzer Division tried unsuccessfully to defend Kharkov, it retreated as the Germans were driven back westward. In early 1945 the 3rd was transferred from Poland to Hungary and in the spring it was transferred to Austria, where it surrendered to the US at the end of the war. Generalmajor Hans Schönhärl died in 12-07-1954, age 75 in München.

Death and burial ground of Söth, Wilhelm.

  After the war Söth lived in Hollern, where he at the age of 75 died on 06-07-1978 and he is buried with his wife Else, born Dobrowolski, who died age 82, in 1978, on the small cemetery of Hollern in the same family grave as his brother in law, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Kommandeur Korps “ Bork “, Max  Bork..

 

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