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Author Topic: Rudolf 'Ralf' Witzig  (Read 5027 times)
Koen
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« on: 22 February 2009, 14:19:53 »
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sources:
Osprey Fortress 030 - Eben Emael
ww2awards.com

Born on August 14th 1916, Röhlinghausen, Westphalia in Germany) Rudolf 'Ralf' Witzig enlisted on April 1st 1935 and joined the 16th Pionierbataillon. He was commisioned in April 1937, and in October 1938 qualified as a parachutist.
He joined the newly established Fallschirm-Infanterie-Batallion, commanded by Major Richard Heidrich.
On January 1st this Batallion was transferred to the Luftwaffe..
He was promoted to Oberleutenant in July 1939 and recieved the command of the PionierZug of Fallschirm-Sturm-Abteilung "Koch".
Oberleutnant Witzig was chosen by Hauptmann Walter Koch to lead Sturmgruppe Granit against Fort Eben Emael in Belgium. SturmGruppe Granit was part of SturmAbteilung Koch which was part of the 7.Flieger Division.
It was through his rigorous training regime that Sturmgruppe Granit proved to be such an effective fighting force despite his abscence at the outset of the attack. Through sheer determination, he obtained another Ju52 to rescue his stranded DFS230 and tow it, together with Trupp 11, to Fort Eben Emael.
For the triumph of Sturmgruppe Granit, Oberleutnant Rudolf Witzig was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuz and got promoted to Hauptmann.
There was only 1 problem. Witzig had not yet been awarded the Eisernes Kreuz 2 & EK 1, necessary to qualify for the Ritterkreuz. Solution: he was awarded with all 3 awards at the same time, in the correct order.

During Operation Mercure, Witzig commanded 9 Kompanie of the III Luftlande-Sturm-Regiment and landed in the Maleme area. He was injured and transferred to a hospital.

May 10th 1942 he got the command of Fallschirm-Korps-Pionier-Batallion and promoted to Major in August 1942.

From November 1942 on he commanded his batallion in Tunisia being attached to the Luftwaffe.

Pulled out of Africa before the general surrender he became commander of 1 Fallschirm Pionier Regiment 21 on June 15th 1944. July 1944 they were sent to Lituania for defensive positions near Dunaburg.

On July 26th the Soviets attacked with a strong armoured regiment. This would become the fiercest battle the regiment got involved in, with heavy losses. Reports state that the regiment took out 27 soviet tanks.

The regiment got pulled back from the Russian theatre in October 1944 to regroup at Mecklenburg.

December 16th 1944 signified the next promotion for Witzig when he was named commander of Fallschirm-Jager-Regiment 18 / Fallschirm-Jager-Division in the Netherlands.
With this division he engaged British and Canadian forces in the heavy fightings in and around the Reichswald.
Under the growing pressure of the Allies they were pushed further into Germany with finally surrendering to the Allies on May 8th 1945.

After the war he returned to military duty and rose to the rank of Oberst and served on the Staff of the PionierSchule of the West-German Bundeswehr.

He retired in 1974 after a military life of 28 years.

Rudolf Witzig died on October 3rd 2001 in Oberschleibheim, Bayern in Germany at the age of 85.

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Koen
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« Reply #1 on: 24 February 2009, 22:32:02 »
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biography updated
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