Friday, December 4, 2020

Enemy Elite Friday: Theodor Tolsdorff (Germany)


"On the November 21, 1941, when Tolsdorff was acting commander of the II Infantry Regiment 22, the Soviets (fighting from the Vyborgsskaja bridgehead) made a dangerous breakthrough in the Bataillon’s main defensive line.  Scraping together a reserve Kompanie made up of drivers and communications troops from the Bataillon staff, Tolsdorff led a counterattack against this penetration. Despite being wounded three times he and his force succeeded in regaining the line.  For this Tolsdorff was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on December 4, 1941."
"During the Third Battle of Lake Ladoga, taking place on both sides of the Kirov railway, Tolsdorff and his Bataillon were assigned a section of line to defend.  They not only succeeding in holding their own positions for 14 days, but also managed to throw back Soviet forces that broke through in the neighboring one.  In all these battles Tolsdorff led from the front in both offense and defense.  For these actions he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on September15, 1943."
"During the Soviet operation Bagration, Tolsdorff took over command of a scratch force of alert and leave companies, Grenadier Regiment 1067.  He was first ordered to break through to the garrison at Vilnius, which he succeeded in doing (on the way rescuing a German field hospital with 3,000 wounded men).  He then took part in the city's defense, later breaking out with other units when a narrow corridor had been created by German relief forces.  He and his men had distinguished themselves during the time they defended the city, so much so that Tolsdorff was christened "The Lion of Vilnius" by German propaganda.  For his actions here he received the Swords to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on July 18, 1944."

"Awarded for the excellent leadership of his division during the Battle of the Bulge (where it successfully seized and held a river crossing), and later during the retreat through the Eifel region."  He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak leaves, Swords and Diamonds on March 18, 1945.
"After the war, Tolsdorff was charged with the killing of Franz Xaver Holzhey in the closing days of World War II.  He was convicted in 1954 and subsequently acquitted in 1960.  The trials generated substantial public interest and media coverage."
Another capable and ruthless enemy elite,

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