Friday, April 25, 2014

Enemy Elite Friday: Fritz Arndt (Germany)

"During February 1943 the Panzer Pioneer Battalion 32 was in position about 50 km Northeast of Orel. The Soviets launched a tank-supported attack against this battalion in the middle of the month. Obergefreiter Arndt was thus given the task of proceeding to the forward strong-point “Dora” and delivering orders for its garrison to pull back to the primary defensive strong-point “Cäsar”.  Arndt had barely passed on these orders when the Soviets were upon the defenders.  A tank opened up direct fire on Arndt himself, however Arndt managed to keep control over his nerves and allow the tank to come closer before destroying it with a T-mine.  Despite the warnings of his comrades, Arndt remained in the strong-point as the garrisoning company pulled back. Totally alone, he engaged the attacking Soviets with a captured co-axial machine-gun.  A deadly game of cat and mouse followed, however Arndt was repeatedly able to evade the Soviets via an underground pipe system that the attackers were unaware of. Using this system, he was able to repeatedly appear in the Soviet rear and inflict heavy losses.  He ultimately managed to return to the primary defensive strong-point while also taking back 10 prisoners.  Arndt thereby managed to prevent a potentially devastating breakthrough despite being all on his own.  He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for his bravery."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on March 31st, 1943 as Obergefreiter in Panzer Pionier Bataillon 32 of the 12th Panzer Division.
"On the 30.11.1944 Feldwebel Arndt succeeded in preventing a major Soviet breakthrough north of Autz (Lithuania).  During the course of their attack the Soviets succeeded in taking the German main battle line and thrusting far beyond it.  In response, Arndt rallied about 20 men and ordered them to mount up on 2 SPWs.  With these he drove past the enemy tanks and their mounted infantry up to the old frontline.  Upon arrival he and his men dismounted, captured the MG positions and then rolled up the trenches to either side.  Arndt immobilized a T-34 tank with a T-mine.  The crew bailed out and was taken prisoner.  After this Arndt and two of his comrades clambered into the tank and turned its gun upon the attacking Soviet forces, destroying multiple Soviet tanks.  This compelled the bulk of the attacking Soviet forces to retreat, although a few scattered squads became encircled behind the German lines and surrendered.  Arndt would later receive the Oakleaves for eliminating this Soviet penetration and thereby preventing a possible Soviet breakthrough."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves citation, awarded on December 9th, 1944 as Feldwebel with Panzer Pionier Bataillon 32 in the 12th Panzer Division.

A capable and deadly enemy elite,

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