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SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Harzer

Knights Cross - 21.09.44
Deutsche Kreuz in Gold - 19.08.1944
Iron Cross I Class - 26.10.41
Iron Cross II Class - 29.09.39
Infantry Assault Badge - 25.02.42
Eastern Front Medal - 15.08.42

Walter Harzer started the war as the commander of the 9.Kompanie/SS-Standarte "Deutschland" which took part in the invasion of Poland. It was there where he was awarded the Iron Cross II Class. However rather than continuing with his unit to the Western Front, Harzer was transfered as an instructor to firstly SS-Junkerschule "Braunschweig" then SS-Unterführerschule "Radolfzell". Prior to the invasion of Russia, Harzer now promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer, was posted as the commander II./SS-Infanterie-Regiment 4. It was with this unit Harzer was awarded hte Iron Cross I Class in October 1941.

He did soe staff training with the SS Division 'Das Reich' in mid 1942 before being transfered to the Stab LVII.Panzerkorps (Heer) as a staff officer. He held this position until Dec 1942 when he was posted to Kriegsakademie to complete his General Staff Course. On completion of the course in Feb 1943 he was firstly posted as a staff officer to the 10 SS Panzer Division for 2 months before moving to the 9 SS Panzer Division in Apr 1943 as the Ia.

He held this postion for 18 months during which the division grew from a small unit of cadre staff to a fully equiped Panzer Division. He was instrumental both as a staff officer and a combat officer with the division in Tarnopol, Normandy, Faliase and the retreat into Holland. As a result, Walter Harzer was awarded the German Cross in Gold in Aug 1944.

During the retreat from France, Harzer took over the division as acting commander. His new role was to get the division to Arnhem, Holland where it was to hand all its vehciles and heavy equipment to its sister division in preparation to move to Germany for refitting. However as we now know that the division was employed in Arnhem during Operation Market Garden. Harzer during the period 17 - 26th September was responsible for eliminating all allied forces north of the Rhine River. By 26th September the division had played a major part in the destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division and secured the front. As a result, SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Harzer was awarded the Knights Cross.

Harzer went on to become the Chef des Stabes V.SS-Gebirgs-Korps before becoming the Commander of the 4th SS-Polizei-Panzer-Grenadier-Division which he held from November 1944 to the end of the war. Walter Harzer passed away in 1982 in the Stuttgart area.

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