|Born||26 June 1909|
|Died||11 February 1945(aged 35)|
|Place of birth||Mönchengladbach|
|Place of death||Budapest|
|Years of service||1939-1945|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Helmut Dörner (26 June 1909 in Mönchengladbach – 11 February 1945 in Budapest) was a highly decorated German Waffen-SS officer. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Helmut was one of the heroes of the 1941/42 Winter war, in the same category as August Dieckmann, Otto Baum, Georg Bochmann, Hinrich Schuldt, Otto Kumm, Wilhelm Bittrich and Hermann Fegelein.
Career[edit | edit source]
Born in 1909, Dörner soon reminded his superiors of his true potential, winning both Iron Crosses in the Battle of France as a company commander. Promoted to Major and commander of II./Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 2, he and his battalion soon established a reputation within the Army Group North as a crack unit. During one of the numerous combat patrols the battalion managed to smash the Russian frontline and destroy 53 bunkers in 3 hours with minimal losses. The first recognition of his achievements came in December 1941 when he received the German Cross in Gold.
In early 1942 Army Group North sent the battalion to Wolchow to counter the Russian breakthrough there (2nd Army - Andrey Vlasov). Deceiving Russians of his real strength by constant attacks he managed to stop the breakthrough of Wlassow's 2nd Army and thus helped considerably in its encirclement and destruction.
Dörner stayed with the Polizei division (from 1943 named KG Polizei division) until late 1943. After some earned holidays he returned to the division which was reforming in Greece and becoming the commander of SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.8. When Karl Schümers (divisional commander) was killed in a partisan ambush, Helmut took over the command until the arrival of the new commander.
In September 1944 the division, now known as 4. SS-Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, was sent to Rumania and Hungary in order to slow the Russian offensive. Dörner again proved his worth, especially at the Szolnok bridgehead. During this attack a Tiger battalion was sent to reinforce the unit.
During the siege of Budapest, he became the commander of a mixed KG and died while leading the breakthrough attempt.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Wound Badge in Black (15 August 1941)
- Infantry Assault Badge in Silver (2 October 1941)
- Iron Cross
- German Cross in Gold on 24 December 1941 as Hauptmann in the 14./Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 2
- Close Combat Clasp in Silver (24 September 1943)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 15 May 1942 as Sturmbannführer and Major of the Schupo and commander of the II./SS-Polizei-Schützen-Regiment 2
- 650th Oak Leaves on 16 November 1944 as Standartenführer and commander of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 8
- 129th Swords on 1 February 1945 as Oberführer and leader of a Kampfgruppe in the 4. SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division
References[edit | edit source]
- Thomas 1997, p. 126.
- Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 90.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 163.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 92.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 47.
- Berger, Florian (2000). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges (in German). Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941–1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall (in German). ISBN 3-931533-45-X.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2299-6.
- Thomas, Franz and Wegmann, Günter (1998). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 4: C–Dow (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2534-0.
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