Friday, June 25, 2021

Enemy Elite Friday: Fritz-Hubert Gräser (Germany)

"Oberst Fritz-Hubert Gräser inspired his Regiment to advance forwards into the teeth of a numerically superior and dug-in enemy force along the Aisne river.  He did this while leading from the foremost line and amidst the fierce hostile artillery fire.  He overcame two battlefield crises and even managed to master a third such situation where the enemy launched a counterattack with 20 tanks.  This action took place on the 09.06.1940, when the Infanterie-Regiment 29 had orders to cross over the Aisne river and canal on both sides of Asfelda-Ville.  Gräser faced very strong resistance from a French force (including elements of the 5th and 46th Regiments from the French 10th Division) that apparently did indeed outnumber him.  This defense was made even stronger by French artillery fire from Reims and the left flank, which were out of range of German artillery.  Despite these obstacles Gräser was able to achieve the crossing with his Regiment and reach a point 5 km south of the canal by nightfall.  It is unknown if all three of the aforementioned crises also took place on this day."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on 19 July 1940.
"Awarded for his leadership achievements while commanding the 3. Panzergrenadier-Division.  Of particular note was his unit’s recapture of Aprilia (on the Anzio front) on the 09.02.1944 and its subsequent defense against all Allied attempts to retake it.  The Germans claimed Allied losses of 99 tanks in the sector of Gräser’s Division during this battle."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves citation, awarded on 26 June 1944.

"Following a Soviet breakthrough towards Bautzen and the area south of Spremberg in April 1945, General der Panzertruppe Gräser launched a counteroffensive of his own.  Over the course of the 21.-22.04.1945 his units managed to close the southern front line gap, wherein Gräser himself drove very close to the front line in his command car while being undeterred by the strong enemy anti-tank and mortar fire.  He then personally led an armored group from Barschütz forwards in a decisive attack towards Bautzen.  Although Gräser himself would be wounded for the 7th time on this day (the 23.04.1945), the counterattack he initiated succeeded in recapturing Bautzen by the evening of the same day.  Gräser would be recommended for the Swords as a result of this successful defensive riposte."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords citation, awarded on 8 May 1945.
Another capable enemy elite,
Brian & Mel

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