- Second World War (1939-1945)
- SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
- Kommandeur, SS-Panzer Regiment 10, 10. SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg", Waffen-SS
- Awarded on:
- August 23rd, 1944
Paetsch’s Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…
“I would like to request the award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross for SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch, commander of the SS-Panzer-Regiment 10.
On the 02.08.1944 the 10. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Frundsberg’ had the mission of intercepting an enemy breakthrough that had taken place south of Caumont up to Coulvain-Jurques, and seal it off along the line St. Georges-la Bigne-Hill 301-Hill 321. In the course of this fighting Hill 188, located 1.5 km south of St. Georges, fell on the night of the 03./04.08.1944. In order to recapture this hill, located in the sector of the 326. Infanterie-Division, the SS-Pz.Rgt. 10 along with its subordinated elements (I.(SPW)/Pz.Gren.Rgt. 21, I./Pz.A.R. 10, 1./Pz.Pi.Btl. 10) under the command of SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch was assembled for a counterattack.
During the preparations for this attack the enemy continually reinforced the hill from the northwest with tanks, mounted infantry and strong anti-tank elements, putting it in a much more defensible condition. Armoured spearheads of the enemy succeeded in entering the villages of le Manor and la Lande during the midday hours of the 04.08.1944, bringing them under firm control. Additional armoured spearheads had by this time already made it east of St. Georges as far as Courcelles (1.5 km east of Hill 188). Strong enemy armoured reserves were reported in the forests north of Breuil. A rupturing of the front with a subsequent breakthrough through the left wing of the 326. Infanterie-Division, with the goal of occupying Aunay and thereby rolling up the deep left flank of this Division, seemed inevitable.
At 13:00 SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch, his Regiment (30 Panzers) and the subordinated elements commenced their attack, first against la Lande and le Manoir. After a hard struggle the enemy tank/infantry spearheads here were crushed, 7 enemy tanks and anti-tank guns were destroyed. Heavy losses in infantry were inflicted on the enemy in these village battles, and 130 prisoners were taken. Valuable and revealing maps for the leadership of our units were captured.
Despite heavy drumfire and strong enemy air attacks against this Kampfgruppe, SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch and his troops brought Hill 188 into our control during the late evening hours. All immediately launched enemy counterattacks from the north and northwest were repelled. After the seizure of Hill 188 SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch launched a thrust on his own initiative with a Panzer-Kompanie and mounted Panzer-Pionieren in the direction of Coucelles in order to destroy the enemy tank spearheads there. In a hard night battle 3 tanks were destroyed in close combat along with much enemy infantry, with the rest of the enemy being forced into flight.
By this the great danger of a breakthrough in the left sector of the 326. Infanterie-Division was removed, and the capture of Aunay was prevented. A consequence of this was that the retreat which had in the meantime been ordered by the higher command could in fact be carried out. As far as the Infanterie-Divisionen in the northeast and furthermore the entire left wing of the LVII. Armee-Korps was concerned, such a movement could not have been carried out according to plan without the capture and successful defense of Hill 188.
It is clear without a doubt that a deep penetration into the west flank of the LVII. Armee-Korps was prevented through the capture and successful defense of Hill 188 by SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch and his troops. The consequences of such an enemy penetration would have been the impossibility of both the planned retreat movement and the smooth occupation of the ordered second position.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch, who led this fighting from his Panzer while in the foremost line, has shown himself as one befitting of the award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”