Germany – Third Reich: A Defence of the Crimea Iron Cross 2nd Class, and Motor Proficiency Decoration in Silver Group of 5 Decorations and Award Certificates to Unteroffizier Rudolf Fahl, 3rd (Flash-ranging) Battery, 32nd Light Observation Battalion, Army Troops, who saw service with his unit for the entire duration of the war beginning in Poland, and ending with its surrender to the American Army on 8th May 1945.
An intriguing group of decorations, documents, award certificates and a pair of shoulder straps to a senior non-commissioned officer who served in a WW2 in the same Artillery Observation Battalion.
- The Ostmedaille, no makers mark with original ribbon
- The Motor Proficiency Badge in Silver, no makers mark
- The War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords, no makers mark, on original ribbon
- The Iron Cross 2nd Class, no makers mark on original ribbon
- The Black Wound Badge, no makers mark
- The Ostmedaille awarded on 10th August 1942 as a Stabsgefreiter, 3/32nd Light Observation Battalion. Signed for correctness by Hesse as Hauptmann and Battalion Commander.
- The Motor Vehicle Proficiency Badge in Silver awarded in the field on 31st December 1943 as a Stabsgefreiter, 3/32nd Light Observation Battalion. Signed by Hesse as Hauptmann and Battalion Commander.
- The War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords awarded by Headquarters on 30th January 1944 as a Stabsgefreiter, 3/32nd Light Observation Battalion. Signed by von Forster as General of Infantry and Commander in Chief Westtauria.
von Forster was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 22.7.1943 as General of Infantry and Commander in Chief Kerch Straits.
- The Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded by Corps Headquarters on 20th April 1944 as a Stabsgefreiter, 3/32nd Light Observation Battalion. Signed by Kochling as Generalleutnant and acting General Officer Commanding XXXIV Army Corps.
Kochling was awarded the Knights Cross on 31.7.1942 as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 254th Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 2.11.1941 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 287th Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division.
- The Black Wound Badge awarded on 13th July 1944 for a wound received on 3rd June 1944 as a Stabsgefreiter, 3/32nd Light Observation Battalion. Signed by a Chief Doctor of the Minor Cases War Hospital/606th War Hospital Battalion (South Ukraine in 1944).
- A 1938-39 shooting score book issued to Kanonier (Gunner) Fahl, 3/32nd Observation Battalion, with entries dated 24.10.1938, 20.1.1939, 3.2.1939, 10.2.1939, 17.2.1939 and 16.3.1939.
- A 2nd Class Rifle Shooting Disc (serial number 12.6.7.) issued on 17.2.1939 for 150 metres lying position to Kanonier Fahl in 3rd Battery, 32nd Observation Battalion. The disc is signed by Sohn as Oberleutnant and Battery Commander.
- A replacement Driving License issued to Obergefreiter Rudolf Fahl in the field on 14.5.1942 for motor vehicle classes 2 & 3. The license is signed by Gerlach as Hauptmann. The license has an entry for Fahl’s place and date of birth as follows: 5th August 1916 in Bochum/Westphalia.
- An undated remarkable very complete contemporary typed listing of the areas of operation of the 32nd Observation Battalion throughout WW2 from 1st September 1939 right through to the end of WW2 on 8.5.1945. It is a list which could be included in Fahl’s Wehrpass. It is signed after the final entry for correctness by a Leutnant and Fahl’s acting Battery Commander and has an official unit stamp for the 32nd.
A worn pair of German Army Artillery Unteroffizier slip-on shoulder straps with a pair of well worn other rank collar dogs taken from a uniform (stitching still in edges).
Rudolf Fahl was born on 5th August 1916 in Bochum, a pre-war soldier he was a Kanonier in 1938, rising through the ranks to become an Unteroffizier. He would have seen service in Poland in 1939, his unit advancing southwards out of East Prussia being involved in the advance to Warsaw, where it was situated nearby on the morning of 17th September.
Involved in the invasion of France, his unit as part of 2nd Army Korps was situated on the shoulders of the breakthrough to the channel coast, being used as a defensive screening force. The Division being involved in the advance to the south in mid-June 1940 which led to the collapse and surrender of France.
For the invasion of the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa, the division saw service as part of Army Group South, being involved in the encirclement battle at Uman and the subsequent advance to the Dnieper, where it remained as part of the southern screening force while the giant encirclement of the Red Army’s troops to the east of Kiev took place in mid-September. After the cessation of these battles, he was involved in the drive east towards Poltava.
Being involved in the winter fighting of 1941-42, Fahl was awarded the Ostmedaille on 10th August 1942. In the summer of 1942 his unit was involved in the advance into the Caucasus, crossing the Don at Rostov in late July and driving towards Mostok and Terek. This offensive was eventually repulsed and reversed in the winter of 1942-43, with Fahl being pushed back into the Kuban bridgehead where it remained for a good proportion of 1943.
Once evacuated back into the Crimea, Fahl was awarded the Motor Vehicle Proficiency Badge in Silver on 31st December 1943, and then the War Merit Cross 2nd Class on 30th January 1944.
The award of these decorations by this point would clearly indicate that Fahl was involved in a support unit and had seen little action on the front line up until this point.
Awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 20th April 1944 for an act of gallantry that most likely took place in the closing days of the Defence of the Crimea, his unit went on to server with Army Group South Ukraine, where it would have been involved in the defence of Romania and the Romanian border areas between April and August 1944, during which time Fahl was wounded on 3rd June 1944.
The Division went on to serve during the retreat across Hungary including at Lake Balaton, and back into Austria where it surrendered in May 1945. It would appear that Fahl survived the war.