Germany – Third Reich. A Battle of Rovno Black Wound Badge, Relief of the Demyansk Pocket Iron Cross 2nd Class and Silver Wound Badge Document Grouping to Wachtmeister Fritz Hain, 2nd Company, 122nd Signals Battalion, 122nd Infantry Division, who was also awarded the General Assault Badge and Ostmedaille for his service on the Eastern Front, the former a rare award to a Signaller.
This a scarce and interesting bravery document group to a former warrant officer in an Infantry Division Signals Battalion.
1) The Black Wound Badge, for a wound received on 23.6.1941 awarded on 30.6.1941 as a Signaller (Funker), 2/122nd Signals Battalion) Signed by von Trossel as Hauptmann and Battalion Commander. von Trossel was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1.12.1943, he had been promoted to Hauptmann on 1.3.1938
2) The Iron Cross 2nd Class, awarded in the field on 5.6.1942 as a Gefreiter, 2/122nd Signals Battalion. Signed by Macholz as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 122nd Infantry Division.
Macholz was awarded the Knights Cross on 16.10.1944 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 49th Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 19.12.1941 as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 122nd Infantry Division.
3) The Silver Wound Badge, for a third wound received on 4.6.1942, awarded in the field on 5.6.1942 as a Gefreiter, 2/122nd Signals Battalion. Signed by Macholz as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 122nd Infantry Division.
It is unusual for a Divisional Commander to sign a Wound Badge certificate
4) The Ostmedaille, issued on 20.8.1942, as a Wachtmeister 2/122nd Signals Battalion. Signed for correctness by an Oberleutnant and Company Commander. This certificate would have been presented to Hain at a much later date as he is now a Wachtmeister (Refer to his General Assault Badge which gives his rank as Unteroffizier in October 1942.)
5) The General Assault Badge, awarded by Divisional HQ on 25.10.1942 as an Unteroffizier, 2/122nd Signals Battalion. Signed by Chill as Oberst and acting General Officer Commanding, 122nd Infantry Division.
Chill was awarded the Knights Cross on 25.10.1943 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 122nd Infantry Division, and the German Cross in Gold on 11.12.1941 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 45th Infantry Regiment, 21st Infantry Division. This is an unusual variant of this certificate as it was printed in the field by 428 Map Section in XXVIII Army Corps which commanded 122nd Infantry Division several times during 1941.
Fritz Hain was most likely a young soldier called up to the Wehrmacht at the outbreak of the war, serving with the 122nd Infantry Division he began the war as a Funker (Signaller), and was part of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. On 23rd June, the second day of the invasion, Hain was wounded during the Division’s attack on Rovno.
Fighting as part of Army Group North, the Division moved forward via the Duna to the area of Leningrad, where it took part in the siege during the winter of 1941-42. The division was then involved in fending off the Soviet counter-offensives which attempted unsuccessfully to relieve the siege of Leningrad, and ended up in combat around southern Lake Ladoga, before being caught up in actions near Staraja Russa and Demyansk.
It would have been in the fighting to relieve the Demyansk pocket that Hain would have been wounded on 4th June 1942 and subsequently awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class. In October 1942 he was awarded the General Assault Badge for his involvement in a minimum of three assaults, by this time he had been promoted to Unteroffizier.
Awarded the Ostmedaille, the date on the certificate is 20th August 1942, but it is likely this was presented to him in 1943, as his rank is given as Wachtmeister. To be promoted to this rank in such a short period of time, indicates that Hain was clearly a very competent soldier.
It is unclear as to Hain’s future service, but the 122nd Infantry Division went on to fight in the defence and evacuation of the Demyansk Pocket, at the Nevel, in the Narva sector, in Southern Finland and finally in the Kurland Pocket in 1945 where it was taken prisoner on the surrender of Army Group Kurland to the Soviets in May 1945.