"On the 19.07.1941 the reinforced Infantry Regiment 20 (mot) was holding the Southern edge of Propoisk, itself located near Mogilev. On this day the regiment had to repel 12 Soviet attacks. One of the most important individual defenders in this engagement was Oberfeldwebel Axtmann. The actions that led to his receiving the Knight’s Cross are described in the following excerpt from his Knight’s Cross recommendation…
The enemy attacked in regimental strength, overran the frontline and achieved a 500 meter deep penetration along the river into the flank of the Regiment. In the face of this disastrous situation, Axtmann took the place of the fallen company commander and gathered up the remaining elements of the overrun Züge as well as individual stragglers from other units. He reordered this hodgepodge of forces and managed to ultimately push back the enemy on his third attempt at doing so. He did so in such a way that it was possible to reestablish a continuous frontline together with those elements that were still holding out and then subsequently defeat all further enemy attacks. By doing all this Oberfeldwebel Axtmann had a decisive role in holding the southern edge of Propoisk on this day, and thereby also ensuring that the bridgehead remained in the hands of the regiment." from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on August 24th, 1941 as Oberfeldwebel in Infantry Regiment 20 of the 10th Infantry Division.
Another capable enemy elite,