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Paetsch, Otto

    Date of birth:
    August 3rd, 1909 (Rheinhausen, Germany)
    Date of death:
    March 16th, 1945 (Altdamm/Pommerania, Germany)
    Service number:
    230 180 (NSDAP Nr.) / 6143 (SS Nr.)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    April 1st, 1930: NSDAP;
    March 16th, 1931: SS.

    Promotions:
    March 16th, 1931: SS-Anwärter;
    April 20th, 1931: SS-Mann;
    November 1st, 1931: SS-Scharführer;
    March 3rd, 1932: SS-Oberscharführer;
    October 1st, 1933: SS-Sturmführer;
    April 20th, 1934: SS-Obersturmführer;
    September 9th, 1934: SS-Hauptsturmführer;
    1936: Gefreiter der Reserve (Heer);
    November 9th, 1941: SS-Sturmbannführer der Waffen-SS;
    November 9th, 1943: SS-Obersturmbannführer der Waffen-SS;
    1945: SS-Standartenführer der Waffen-SS (posthumously).

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain)
    Awarded on:
    December 16th, 1935
    Julleuchter der SS
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain)
    Awarded on:
    August 3rd, 1941
    Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
    Awarded on:
    September 15th, 1942
    Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
    Unit:
    SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5, 5. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Wiking", Waffen-SS
    Awarded on:
    April 24th, 1943
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    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.

    Rationale:

    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.”
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, SS-Panzer Regiment 10, 10. SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg", Waffen-SS
    Awarded on:
    April 5th, 1945
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    Paetsch’s Oakleaves recommendation reads as follows…

    “Here is presented a request for the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for the commander of the SS-Pz.Rgt. 10, SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Paetsch.

    Justification:

    SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch has especially distinguished himself in the time period 04.-16.03.1945 during the heavy defensive and offensive battles in the Stettin bridgehead by his prudent leadership, unwavering will to fight and courageous decision-making.

    Along the broad defensive front of the Division in the Stettin battle area it was repeatedly the personal initiative of SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch along with his armoured elements that fought along the entire defensive front that saved the day. In this time Paetsch aided the friendly efforts by both his attack spirit during counterthrusts and by his tough will to resist in defense. He was the soul of the resistance for all his employed units.

    Near Gollnow he personally rounded up retreating friendly elements on his own initiative, organized them for defense and brought the attacking Bolsheviks heavy losses. This intervention heavily contributed to the formation of a closed defensive front, and prevented the cutting-off of a friendly Kampfgruppe that was still positioned to the northwest of Gollnow. SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch also continually intervened with his armoured groups when the lines had to be pulled back, and in doing so he laid the groundwork for an orderly resistance.

    80% of the high total of enemy tanks destroyed by the Division, 180 in the time period 04.-15.03.1945, can be attributed to the Paetsch’s SS-Pz.Rgt. 10 and its subordinated armoured elements.

    On the 16.03.1945, as Paetsch again personally wished to lead elements of the I./SS-Pz.Rgt. 10 for a counterthrust, he remained before the enemy. SS-Obersturmbannführer Paetsch died a hero’s death in the foremost line.

    Through his repeated demonstrations of devotion to duty, unbroken fighting spirit and personal courage Paetsch was a shining example to his officers, NCOs and men. He has proven himself as one who is particularly worthy of the high award of the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.”
    820th Award.

    Sources

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