Germany – Third Reich: An Eastern Front Medic’s Operation Typhoon Iron Cross 2ndClass, Rzhev Salient Infantry Assault Badge in Silver and Operation Kutuzov Iron Cross 1stClass Document Group to Medic-Obergefreiter Hermann Levers, 11thCompany, 473rdGrenadier Regiment, 253rdInfantry Division then 3rdCompany, 453rdGrenadier Regiment, 253rdInfantry Division, who appears to have served throughout his time on the Eastern Front, primarily with Army Group Centre.
A good typical combat bravery award document group consisting of 5 award certificates to a former member of the German Army Medical Services. It is evident that Levers was at one time an Infantry Combat Soldier before transferring to the Medical Services at some point during 1943.
- The Iron Cross 2ndClass awarded by Divisional HQ on 1stNovember 1941 as a Gefreiter, 11/473rdInfantry Regiment. Signed by Schellert as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 253rdInfantry Division.
Schellert was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 28.11.1941 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 253rdInfantry Division.
- The Black Wound Badge awarded in the field on 31stMarch 1942 as a Gefreiter, 11/473rdInfantry Regiment. Signed by an Oberleutnant on behalf of the Battalion Commander.
- The Silver Infantry Assault Badge awarded by Regimental Headquarters on 21stDecember 1942 as an Obergefreiter, 11/473rdInfantry Regiment. Signed by an Oberst as Commanding Officer.
- The Ostmedaille awarded on 20thJuly 1943 as an Obergefreiter in 453rdGrenaider Regiment. Signed for correctness by an Oberleutnant as the Regimental Adjutant.
- The Iron Cross 1stClass awarded by Divisional HQ on 27thJuly 1943 as a Medic-Obergefreiter, 3/453rdGrenadier Regiment. Signed by Becker as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 253rdInfantry Division.
Becker was awarded the Knights Cross on 1.11.1942 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 18thInfantry Regiment (6thInfantry Division), the 829thOakleaves on 14.4.1945 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 253rdInfantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 26.11.1941 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 18thInfantry Regiment (6thInfantry Division).
It is likely that Levers was a wartime conscript, and that he first saw action on the Eastern Front during Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. 253rdInfantry Division fought it’s way to Velikiye Luki where it was engaged in several months heavy fighting before breaking through, and as part of Operation Typhoon advancing towards the Rshev area and then on to Kalinin. It would have been for an act of gallantry during the advance on Moscow (Operation Typhoon) that Levers was to receive his first award, the Iron Cross 2ndClass.
253rdInfantry Division was engaged heavily during the Red Army’s winter counterattacks of December 1941-March 1942, gradually being pushed back from Kalinin into the Rshev area. Levers was wounded towards the end of these attacks on 7thMarch 1942, receiving the Black Wound Badge on 31stMarch 1942.
The Division was involved in particularly heavy fighting in the Rzhev area throughout the summer of 1942, where the Red Army launched consecutive offensives to attempt to drive the Wehrmacht away from what the Red Army saw as a staging platform for another major attempt to take Moscow. The fighting was severe and led to massive losses on both sides, in what became known as the ‘Rzhev meat-grinder’, however, despite the Red Army’s efforts, they failed to dislodge the Wehrmacht from it’s positions in the area.
On 21stDecember 1942, Levers was to receive the Infantry Assault Badge in Silver confirming that he had taken part in a number of frontline assaults as a member of the Infantry, given the date, at least some of these would have taken place during the attacks around Rzhev.
In March 1943, the Rzhev salient was finally abandoned in an attempt to shorten the line, and at the conclusion of this manoeuvre 253rdInfantry Regiment found itself in the Orel salient to the north of the Kursk bulge which had been formed the Red Army’s 1942-43 winter offensive. After the conclusion of the Kursk Offensive, the Red Army launched Operation Kutozov in an attempt to roll up the northern flank of the Kursk attacks in the Orel area. It would have been during these defensive actions that Levers performed an act of gallantry that led to the award of the Iron Cross 1stClass on 27thJuly 1943.
It is unclear what happened to Levers after this point, or whether he managed to survive the war, but his unit went on to fight defensive battles through Belarus, Northern Ukraine, into the Beskidian Mountains in the Czechoslovak border area then into Silesia before surrendering to the Russians in the Moravia area at the end of the war.
Condition: The Black Wound Badge certificate torn with two substantial areas of the corners missing, the EK2 document with a small stain to the obverse, all documents folded and creased, with some signs of wear.