Friday, August 24, 2012

Enemy Elite Friday: Erich Zillmann (Germany)

"Awarded for actions fought with the 252 Infantry Division over the course of two days during August 1944, northeast of Vilnius.  The right neighbor of this division had been pushed back, exposing its southern flank.  Before it could pull back accordingly the Soviets promptly capitalized on this weakness, threatening the rear of the division.  Zillmann was sent with his platoon of assault guns and an attached pioneer platoon to stop them and permit the division to retreat.  Upon contact Zillmann shot up three AT guns and brought the attack to a halt.  When the Soviets attempted to bypass his small kampfgruppe with about two companies he launched his own attack into their flank, putting them to flight.   Around noon the next day, as the division was beginning its withdrawal, seven Soviet tanks with limbered AT guns in tow succeeded in reaching and cutting off the German's escape route. Zillmann quickly launched a counterattack and his platoon destroyed four tanks as well as two AT guns that were trying to deploy.  The road was thus cleared and thanks to Zillmann's actions the withdrawal could be completed successfully."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on August 8th, 1944 as Stabswachtmeister of the 3 Sturmgeschütz Brigade 245.
Another deadly enemy elite,

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