- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Major der Schützpolizei
- Kommandeur, I. Bataillon, Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 2, SS-Polizei-Division, Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- May 11th, 1942
Rudolf Pannier was a battalion commander in the SS-Polizei division during the winter of 1941-42, while it was engaged around Leningrad. In mid-January the Russians launched a major attack north of Lake Ilmen with the intent of relieving Leningrad, and Pannier’s battalion was one of the several German units sent to hold the northern shoulder of the penetration to stop the Russians from widening the breach. Pannier’s men took up positions between Ljubino Pole and Motski on 20 January, and following strong Russian attacks they were encircled three days later. For the next ten days Pannier’s men fought alone against repeated Russian assaults supported by tanks and artillery, while they themselves received only limited supplies from the air. At one point Pannier was ordered to abandon his positions and link up with relieving German troops, however he understood the importance of his position and stayed where he was. Eventually though a relief was made, and shortly afterwards Pannier’s battalion was pulled out of the line. They had fought for a total of fourteen days and, by the end, had only 80 men fit for battle. However their performance had not failed to impress. The commander of 18. Army, General Lindemann, lauded the courage of the battalion and their example to the rest of his army. And so it came to pass that Pannier was given the Knight’s Cross for his defensive triumph.