Germany – Third Reich: The Demjansk Pocket Iron Cross 2nd Class and Black Wound Badge, Nevel Defensive Battles Iron Cross 1st Class, Silver and Gold Wound Badge and Demjansk Shield Recipients Document Group to Feldwebel Heinrich Lange, 8th Machine...

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Germany – Third Reich: The Demjansk Pocket Iron Cross 2nd Class and Black Wound Badge, Nevel Defensive Battles Iron Cross 1st Class, Silver and Gold Wound Badge and Demjansk Shield Recipients Document Group to Feldwebel Heinrich Lange, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Grenadier Regiment, 290th Infantry Division, who was heavily engaged in fighting as part of Army Group North for the first two and a half years of the Russian Conflict having previously seen service in the France Campaign of 1940. Eventually wounded severely enough to received the Gold Wound Badge it is likely he was invalided out of the Army after 1943-44 and thus survived the war.

A fine and scarce group of 8 award certificates relating to a former senior warrant officer in the German Infantry. A Scarce hard to find complete document grouping to a recipient of the Gold Wound Badge and both classes of the Iron Cross

Award Certificates:

  1. The German Defence Wall Medal, awarded on 28th February 1940 in Munster as Gefreiter in the 8th Machine-Gun Company, 39th Infantry Regiment, 26th Infantry Division. Signed for correctness by von Viebahn as Oberst and Commanding Officer on behalf of Generalleutnant Fromme as General Officer Commanding Wehrkreis VI
  2. The Infantry Assault Badge in Silver, awarded in the field on 20th September 1941 as an Unteroffizier, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment. Signed by Nickel as Oberstleutnant and Commanding Officer

    Nickel was awarded the Knights Cross on 16.6.1940 as Oberstleutnant and Commanding Officer III/26th Infantry Regiment (30th Infantry Division), the 543rd Oakleaves on 8.8.1944 as Generalmajor and General Officer Commanding 342nd Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 29.3.1943 as Oberst and Commanding Officer 502nd Grenadier Regiment.
  3. The Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded in the field on 7th February 1942 as an Unteroffizier 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment. Signed by Freiherr von Wrede as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 290th Infantry Division.

    von Wrede was awarded the Knights Cross on 22.2.1942 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 290th Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 26.12.1941

  4. The Black Wound Badge awarded at Meerane on 8th June 1942, for a wounding received on 3rd May 1942 as an Unteroffizier, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Infantry Regiment. Signed by Oberstarzt and Chief Doctor of the Reserve Hospital Meerane.
  5. The Iron Cross 1st Class awarded by Divisional HQ on 11th November 1943, as a Feldwebel, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Grenadier Regiment. Signed by Chill as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 122nd Infantry Division.

    Chill was awarded the Knights Cross on 25.10.1943 as Generalleutnant and General Officer Commanding 122th Infantry Division and the German Cross in Gold on 1.12.1941 as Commanding Officer 45th Infantry Regiment (21st Infantry Division)
  6. The Silver Wound Badge awarded on 8th December 1943 for a 3rd wounding received on 7th November 1943 as a Feldwebel, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Grenadier Regiment. Signed by Onasig as Oberfeldarzt and Chief Doctor of the 608th War Hospital Battalion, War Hospital 4.

    The 608th War Hospital Battalion was formed on 10th April 1941 and was deployed with Army Group North from 6.7.1941 before being moved to Wehrkreis XX in August 1944.
  7. The Demjansk Shield awarded by Corps HQ on 1st March 1944 as a Feldwebel, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Grenadier Regiment. With a facsimile signature of von Brockdorf-Ahlfeld as General of Infantry and General Officer Commanding II Army Corps and signed for correctness by a Major.
  8. The Gold Wound Badge awarded at Leslau on 28th April 1944 for the third wounding received on 7th November 1943 as a Feldwebel, 8th Machine Gun Company, 502nd Grenadier Regiment. Signed by Mauer as Oberstabsarzt and Chief Doctor of the Reserve Hospital Leslau

    The award of the Gold class for the 3rd wounding on 7.11.1943 the same wounding which led to the initial award of the Silver class – clearly indicates that the physical health of Lange had deteriorated to the extent that he became totally disabled.

    Lange would have seen initial service on the Western Front during 1939 and the French Campaign of 1940. He served in Russia from the beginning of the conflict to at least November 1943.

Starting out from East Prussia, 502nd Infantry Regiment served as part of 290th Infantry Division, Army Group North during Operation Barbarossa, the early days of the campaign saw quick advances whilst sporadically engaging the Russian defenders, it crossed the Lithuanian-Latvian border area, and then the Latvian-Russian border area in early July before engaging in battles to penetrate the organised Stalin line defences in July 1941. Through late July and early August the division took Staraya Russa and the defended it against Russian counter-attacks made by the 34th Army, it would have been during this phase that Lange would have engaged in some of the Infantry Assaults that resulted in the award of the Infantry Assault Badge. Throughout the remainder of the autumn and into the early stage of the winter the Regiment was involved in fighting up the Postinka.

On 7th January 1942, the Russians as part of their winter counterattack broke through the defence in the area of the Ilmen and Seligen Lakes and the 290th Infantry Division was involved in the fighting inside the resulting Demjansk Pocket until the withdrawal and escape of the forces inside the pocket in February 1943. The Russians made several concerted efforts to crush the pocket, but due to aerial supply by the Luftwaffe it maintained enough defensive strength to continue its existence until its eventual withdrawal. The award of the Iron Cross 2nd Class was most likely made in his units efforts to open and maintain a supply route to the west of the pocket between the end of March and early May 1942, when Lange was wounded for the first time receiving the Wound Badge in Black.

The Russians continued their attempt to crush the pocket for the whole of the summer of 1942 and into the winter of 1942-43, when as part of the unsuccessful Timoshenko Offensive which ran from November 1942 until January 1943 the pocket was again attacked in force. After the conclusion of the offensive, the Germans successfully withdrew their forces from the pocket.

Later in 1943, the 290th Infantry Division was involved in the heavy defensive fighting to the South of Lake Ladoga, and then in the Nevel area, The Iron Cross 1st Class was awarded for Lange’s involvement in this combat, it is likely that the award of the Iron Cross 1st Class came about for the same action in which Lange was wounded severely, and received the Silver and later the Gold Wound Badges for.

Given the award of a Gold Wound Badge for such a severe wound it is likely that Lange saw no further combat action and that he was either invalided out of the armed forces or placed in the German Replacement Army for the remainder of the War.

Condition: All documents at some point folded; EK2, West Wall Medal, Infantry Assault Badge in Silver, Wound Badge in Black certificates at some point hole punched.