Friday, July 16, 2010

Enemy Elite Friday: Franz Bäke (Germany)

"On the 01.01.1943 Bäke and his men conducted a round of bitter urban combat in Nowo Marjewka against 2 Soviet battalions and about 30 tanks.   27 of these were destroyed in the resultant fighting, and after this Bäke launched a counterattack on his own initiative.  The result of this latter move was the destruction of a Soviet armored wedge that had advanced between Nowo Marjewka and the II./Panzergrenadier-Regiment 114 (Werchne Obliwiski).  Another 32 tanks (including 20 T-34s) were destroyed, and with this the latest attempt by the Soviet 25th Tank Corps to break through to the railway line west of Morosowskaja was prevented."  from his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross citation, awarded on 11 January 1943.
"On the 11.07.1943 the reinforced Panzer-Regiment 11 reached the village of Kasatschja, which was located northeast of Belgorod at a point 12 km beyond the Donez river.  Bäke persuaded his regimental commander to go against the divisional order by capturing the village of Rschawez by night and creating a bridgehead over the Sswernyi Donez.  During the following night Bäke’s Vorausabteilung (II./Panzer-Regiment 11 and the II.(SPW)/Panzergrenadier-Regiment 114) thrust past enemy anti-tank gun positions before finding itself side by side with a column of 20 T-34s.  Then 6 T-34s began to surround Bäke’s command Panzer, which was only armed with a wooden gun as camouflage.  Bäke and his Ordonnanzoffizier, Leutnant Zobel, left the command Panzer and eliminated 4 T-34s with magnetic anti-tank grenades.  The charges placed by the Major on the 5th and 6th tanks did not explode.  Bäke clambered onto an approaching Panzer sent to support them and directed it to destroy both of these enemy tanks.  The partially destroyed bridge near Rschawez was taken."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves citation, awarded on 1 August 1943.
"Awarded for the special operation that his specially prepared schwere Panzer-Regiment Bäke (consisting of the Stab Panzer-Regiment 11, 34 Tigers of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 and 47 Panthers of the II./Panzer-Regiment 23) conducted in the time period 23.01.-01.02.1944.   During this armored raid Bäke launched a thrust via Shaskow in order to reduce pressure on the III. Panzer-Korps. In the process 268 Soviet tanks and assault guns as well as 156 guns were destroyed."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords citation, awarded on 21 February 1944.
A truly deadly enemy elite!

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