|Georg Robert Besslein|
|Born||December 14, 1911|
|Died||27 April 1993 (aged 81)|
|Place of birth||Augsburg|
|Place of death||Heidelberg|
|Years of service||1939–1945|
|Unit||SS Fortress Regiment 1|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Iron Cross I class
Iron Cross II class
War Merit Cross class I with Swords
War Merit Cross class II with Swords
Georg Robert Besslein was an Obersturmbannführer (Senior Storm Unit Leader/Lieutenant Colonel) in the Waffen SS during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership during World War II.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Georg Robert Besslein was born on 14 December 1911 in Augsburg. He joined the Hitler Youth on 18 October 1931 and the NSDAP and the SS in 1933. His first SS posting was to the 4th Company, SS Standarte 29, but he trained with the German Army's II.Battalion, Infantry Regiment 19 which was stationed in Augsburg in the evenings.
In November 1933, he moved to Munich and attended a NCOs course with the Bavarian Police department until March 1934. He was then sent to the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz in April. He graduated the following April and was promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) and was posted to command a platoon in the 13th (Infantry Gun) Company, SS Regiment Deutschland. He was later given command of a platoon in the 19th (Machine Gun) Company in November 1937.
In July 1938, he was made the Adjutant of the Bavarian State Minister Gauleiter Wagner. He returned to the SSDeutschland in November 1938, as the Adjutant of the III.Battalion. In 1939, he took part in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, as the commander of the 13th Company, SS Deutschland. He was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) on the 1 September 1939.
World War II[edit | edit source]
The newly promoted Hauptsturmführer Besslein, took part in the Polish Campaign and was awarded the Iron Cross II class at the end of September. In February 1940, he was posted onto the staff of the II.Battalion of the Artillery Reserve Regiment back again in Munich. He served with the Artillery Reserve during the Battle of France and in December 1940, was posted to the Waffen SS Administration Department.
In May 1941 he took part in the Invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and in June returned to the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz as a staff instructor. In February 1942, he was posted to the SS Infantry Reserve Battalion Germania as the commander of the Infantry Gun Company.
Promoted to Sturmbannführer (Storm Unit Leader/Major) in January 1943, he was given command of the SS Infantry Gun Reserve Battalion 1, in April and in August took over command of the SS Panzergrenadier school.
He remained at the SS Panzergrenadier school until taking over command of the SS Fortress Regiment 1 in January 1945.
As the Commander of the SS Fortress Regiment 1, he was involved in the Siege of Breslau encircled by the Red Army for 82 days, the garrison held out until 6 May 1945. During this time Besslein was awarded the Iron Cross I class and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (April 30, 1945) and also promoted to Obersturmbannführer (Senior Storm Unit Leader/Lieutenant Colonel).
Post war[edit | edit source]
Besslein surrendered with the rest of the Breslau garrison on the 6 May 1945, he remained in Soviet captivity until October 1955. Georg Robert Besslein died on 27 April 1993 in Heidelberg.
Notes[edit | edit source]
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Hannes Heer & Klaus Naumann (2000). War of Extermination: The German Military in World War II 1941-1944. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1-57181-232-6.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939 - 1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives. Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.