Wagner, Gustav Adolf Heinrich “Iron Gustav”

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Wagner, Gustav Adolf Heinrich "Iron Gustav".
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Wagner, Gustav Adolf Heinrich “Iron Gustav”, born 23-09-1890 in Bischofsburg, as the son of the handyman Adolf Wagner and his wife Anna, born Mayer, from Rößel, Gartenstr. 22,. He joined the Army in the Jäger-Bataillon Graf Yorck von Wartenburg  Nr. 1  in Ortelsburg. On 01-10-1909 he came to the Elite Troops, age 19. During the first war he was in the fields of the Eastern Front. He was participated in the big battle for Tannenberg and was wounded . After bravery fighting in the battles for Masuren, Warschau and Lodz, he was promoted to Vizefeldwebel, Aspirant Officer. He joined the NSDAP with Nr. 443217 and the SS with Nr. 276962.
He ended the war wounded in the rank of Leutnant and known as a fearless man. On 20-09-1924 he married Katharina  Siebert and they got a son and a daughter. When World War II started he personal led his Infantry Regiment Rastenburg in the invasion of Poland and promoted to Oberst he was transferred to the Western Front. He had great part in the occupation of Lille, France and the surrender of many French soldiers. During Operation Barbarossa,  Wagner was very successful and with his tanks he crossed all barricades. The 91.000 German POWs taken at Stalingrad, 27.000 died within weeks and only 5-6,000 returned to Germany by 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity. On 02-02-1943, the organized resistance of Axis troops in Stalingrad ceased. Out of the 91.000 prisoners taken by the Soviets, 3.000 were Romanian. These were the survivors of the 20th Infantry Division  , 1st Cavalry Division and “Colonel Voicu” Detachment. According to archival figures, the Red Army suffered a total of 1.129.619 total casualties; 478.741 men killed or missing and 650.878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Don region; in the city itself 750.000 were killed, captured, or wounded. Anywhere from 25.000 to 40.000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by Luftflotte 4 under command of Generalfeldmarschall Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, as the German 4th Panzer under command of Generalleutnant Erich Schneider and 6th Army with Fieldmarshal Friedrich Paulus , approached the city; the total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown. Erich Schneider died 03-08-1980, age 85, in Wiesbaden. In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7-2 million Axis and Soviet casualties. Mid August 1941 Wagner reached Nowgorod, broke the Russian lines and his men gave him the nickname “Eiserne Gustav”, Iron Gustav. The greatest success of his Regiment was the breakthrough near Kirischi on the west side of Wolchows, against a strong defend line of 533 bunkers. For this brave leading Oberst Wagner was awarded with the Iron Cross. In 1942 Wagner, always on the front, was again wounded  and after his recover he got the command of the Replacement Division in Brünn and on 01-10-1943 promoted to Generalmajor.

Death and burial ground of Wagner, Gustav Adolf Heinrich “Iron Gustav”.

In 1944 he was again severely wounded again and in hospital  in the town of Goslar. The death of his son on the Eastern Front, the lost war and his loved Prussia, was to much for this patriotic soldier and broke his heart. Wagner died age 60, washed out, in the hospital in Goslar and is buried on the war section of the cemetery Hildesheimerstrasse in Goslar. In Goslar are also buried Generaloberst, Oberbefehler B 2nd Panzer Armee Heinz Wilhelm Guderian and his sons. Hauptmann with the 25th Panzer Division , (Kurt) and Major and Kommandeur 14th Panzer Brigade, (Heinz Günter). Some further away are the graves of the WWII  Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur von DniepropetrovskErnst Adolph, SS Obergruppenführer, Walter Ricardo Darré, and Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Chef Heeresgruppe “Kurland” Friedrich Foertsch.
         

 

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