Germany – Third Reich: An Advance on Leningrad Iron Cross 2nd Class and Volkhov winter fighting Iron Cross 1st Class Document Group to Medic-Feldwebel Hermann Meyer, 269th Recce Battalion, 269th Infantry Division, then HQ II Battalion, 469th Grenadier Regiment, 269th Infantry Division and finally HQ III Battalion, 862nd Grenadier Regiment, 274th Infantry Division, who was wounded in the first day of a major attack on Leningrad. He finished the war in Norway as part of the Occupation Forces.
An interesting bravery document group consisting of 5 award certificates, a Wehrpass and another document to former warrant officer in the German Army Medical Services.
- The Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded in the field on 11th August 1941 as a Medic-Unteroffizier, 1/269th Division Reconnaissance Battalion. Signed by von Leyser as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 269th Infantry Division.
von Leyser was awarded the Knights Cross on 18.9.1941 as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 269th Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 14.4.1943 as General of Infantry and General Officer Commanding XXVI Army Corps.
- The Black Wound Badge awarded in the field on 20th October 1941 for a wound received on 29th August 1941 as a Medic-Unteroffizier, 1st (Bicycle) Squadron, 269th Division Reconnaissance Battalion. Signed by a Major and Battalion Commander.
- The Iron Cross 1st Class awarded in the field on 24th December 1941 as a Medic-Unteroffizier, 1/269th Division Reconnaissance Battalion. Signed by von Leyser as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 269th Infantry Division.
- The Ostmedaille awarded on 1st August 1942 awarded as Medic-Feldwebel. Signed for correctness by a Major.
The unit stamp is the one for 862nd Grenadier Regiment, the unit to which he had been posted to on 1.7.1943. This certificate therefore must have been issued after this date – probably sometime in 1943.
- The General Assault Badge awarded in the field on 5th December 1942 as a Medic-Unteroffiizier, HQ Company, 269th Mobile (Schnelle) Battalion. Signed by a Major and Battalion Commander.
This certificate has been signed by the same officer who signed the Black Wound Badge certificate. The unit stamp has the Field Post Number 33 287 = HQ 269th Mobile Battalion.
Reichsnahrstand (Territorial NSDAP organisation of farmers’ association) membership card dated 1st September 1938 which includes payment stamps from August 1938 to June 1939. His type of work is noted as being a Gardner. He lived in Bielefeld.
A very informative Werhpass (issued on 13.5.1937) which has been kept well up to date. His whole career is there to be seen: when he was born (10.10.1918 in Thedinghausen near Bremen), his job (Gardner), his service in the Reichsarbeitsdienst (1.6.-20.9.1937 in Goslar (Harz Mountains Area) and the fact he had been married on 25.5.1945. It lists all his units, his decorations and promotions, his two woundings (26.8.1941 in the right arm and 25.3.1942 in the right thigh) and his medical training. There is a comprehensive listing of where he saw active service in France 1940, Eastern Front 1941-42 and Norway 1943-45. It also contains a good photo ID.
Meyer was born on 10th October 198 in Thedinghausen near Bremen as a son of a builder. In his civilian job he was a gardener. Serving with the R.A.D. during 1937, he returned to civilian life, before being mobilised on 13th September 1939 shortly after the outbreak of the war.
Serving with 269th Reconnaissance Battalion, 269th Infantry Regiment, he saw service in the campaign in France in 1940, his unit being part of the second echelon, taking part in the advance between Reims and Dijon in the second phase of the offensive. After the campaign in France, the Division spent a period of time as part of the occupation force in Denmark. In April 1941 the division moved to East Prussia before taking part in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 as part of Army Group North. Initially clearing out the Kurland Peninsula, the division went on to Pleskau, before in early August it took part in the advance on Leningrad. Meyer’s Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded on 11th August 1941 was most likely for an act of gallantry in the early part of this advance. With the heavy fighting that took place on the way to Leningrad, Meyer was wounded on 29th August 1941 receiving a wound to his right arm in the first day of a major assault on the city. The certificate for this was issued some time later on 20th October 1941, perhaps a sign that he had spent a period of time recovering away from the front line.
By December 1941 the German offensives had ground to a halt, partly due to the weather, but also increasing Soviet resistance. This resistance turned into widespread counter-attacks along the whole Eastern Front beginning on 5th December 1941, and whilst defending against these attacks around the Volkhov area to the south of Lake Ladoga, Meyer performed an act of gallantry which led to the award of the Iron Cross 1st Class on 24th December 1941.
The Division continued to fight in the Volkhov area throughout the winter of 1941-42, and presumably Meyer remained with it. His Wehrpass indicates he was wounded for a second time on 25th March 1942. The 269th Infantry Division continued to fight to the south of Lake Ladoga for many months. Later on 1st August 1942, Meyer was awarded the Ostmedaille for his part in the fighting of the previous winter. A few months later Meyer was awarded the General Assault Badge, which would indicate his participation in several assaults in the area, which had again seen heavy fighting in the late summer, early autumn of 1942, when the Red Army pre-empted a major German attack in the area with one of their own, thus preventing the Germans from capturing Leningrad as intended.
By the end of 1942, Meyer’s unit was moved to Norway on Garrison duty, Meyer remained with the unit until 30th June 1943. When he transferred to HQ III Battalion, 862nd Grenadier Regiment, 274th Infantry Division with which he remained based in Stavanger in Norway up until 8th May 1945 and the German surrender at the end of the war.