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Oberwachmeister d. Res Josef Mathes

© Florian von Aufsess

Knights Cross - 19.09.44 (post.)
Ehrenblattspange - 25.10.44 (post.)
Deutsche Kreuz in Gold - 25.09.1942
Iron Cross I Class - 19.09.42
Iron Cross II Class - 16.06.41

Josef Mathes was a Zug Führer (Platoon Commander) with Stug Bde 280 during the Battle of Arnhem. He was most likely in command of 3 Stug IIIs and would have been instrumental in the attacks against the four British Battalions trying to get to the bridge west of Arnhem on the 19th Sept 1944. It is unknown if he lead the attacks against the two British parachute battalions via Onderlangs (the low road) or against the other two British battalions along the Utrechtseweg 'Bovenover' (the high road) on the western outskirts of Arnhem.

He was a very experienced and a highly decorated soldier fighting on the Eastern Front with units such as 2./ Stu.Art Abt. 191 and StuG Bde 280 (Tarnopol). Due to his experience it is assumed he was chosen by his commander to part of the 10 Stugs sent to Arnhem in September 1944.

Stug Bde 280 did not loose any Assault Guns on the 19th September 1944 so it is assumed that Josef Mathes was killed by small arms fire. He was very highly decorated being awarded three of Germany's highest combat awards: Knights Cross (19.09.44 posthumously), Honour Roll Clasp of the German Army (25.10.44 posthumously), German Cross in Gold (25.09.1942), Iron Cross 1st class (14.09.42) and Iron Cross 2nd Class (16.06.41). He was buried in a military cemetery in Bocholt-Neuer, Germany with his comrades from his unit killed during the Battle of Arnhem.


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