Germany - Third Reich. A 1941-42 Winter Counter-attack Iron Cross 2nd Class, Gomel Iron Cross 1st Class, and River Narew Silver Wound Badge awarded to Oberleutnant Friedrich Lichtenberg, 104th Artillery Regiment, 102th Infantry Division, later 216th Grenadier Regiment, 102th Infantry Division, who saw over three years of service on the Eastern Front from the Defensive fighting around Moscow up until the Defensive fighting on the East Prussian Border.
This is a typical bravery document group comprising 5 award certficates relating to a former Artillery officer who fought on the Eastern Front.
Fighting as part of an Artillery Regiment, Lichtenberg saw service on the Eastern Front quite possibly from the start of the conflict, the 104th Artillery Regiment fought it’s way through Central Russia during the summer of 1941, fighting through the area of Smolensk, before it was involved in the reduction of the giant pocket at Vyazma that came about as a result of the beginning of Operation Typhoon, the assault on Moscow that began on 30th September 1941. Fighting its way to the Rzhev area north-west of Moscow, the unit was caught up in the Russian winter counter-offensives that began in the 1st week of December. The award of the Iron Cross 2nd Class would have been for an act of gallantry in these Russian winter-counteroffensives that carried on throughout the winter, in Lichtenberg’s case in the area of Rzhev, where he was also wounded on 21st March 1942, leading to the award of the Black Wound Badge on the 23rd March.
The Division remained in this area until the Rzhev salient was evacuated in March 1943, the summer of 1943 saw the unit fighting around Orel in Defence as part of the ‘Citadel’ Operation to the south. The unit was forced out of its positions during the Russian counteroffensives in July and August 1943 and retreated via the Desna back to Gomel, it would have been for fighting in the Gomel area that Lichtenberg received the Iron Cross 1st Class.
Through the early part of 1944 Lichtenberg’s Division was in the Pripyet area, and then fought in the area around Brest-Litovsk during the time of Operation Bagration, when Army Group Centre was decimated. During the later part of 1944 the unit saw service along the River Narew which ran through north-eastern Poland and East Prussia, the scene of intense fighting for several months before the Russian Vistula-Oder Offensive broke the German lines in January 1945. During this fighting Lichtenberg received the Silver Wound Badge for a wound he had received on 8th December 1944 whilst serving with 216th Grenadier Regiment, still part of 102nd Infantry Division. Lichtenberg had clearly changed units during 1944 perhaps as a reduction in size of the Artillery Regiment.
Nothing is known of Lichtenberger’s service after his wounding, although the unit went on to be destroyed as part of the Heiligenbeil Pocket in East Prussia, the survivors joining the 28th Jager Division, and then going into Russian Captivity