|Born||29 November 1911|
|Died||21 July 2000(aged 88)|
|Place of birth||Tschars, Austria|
|Place of death||Solingen, Germany|
|Years of service||
1935–1937 Italian Army|
1940–1945 Waffen SS
|Rank||Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant)|
|Unit||8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer|
Second Italo-Abyssinian War|
World War II
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
German Cross in Gold
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Close Combat Clasp in Gold
General Assault Badge
Eastern Front Medal 
Hermann Maringgele (November 29, 1911 – July 21, 2000) was a Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, which was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II. He was also one of only 631 men to be awarded the very rare Close Combat Clasp in Gold. It was awarded for 50 battles of hand-to-hand or close combat. Maringgele is recorded having served in 84 battles of close combat, more than any other member of the German Armed Forces.
Early life[edit | edit source]
At the end of World War I and the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the rest of the Tyrol where the Maringgele family lived was ceded to Italy. This resulted in Hermann Maringgele learning both German and Italian in school. He graduated from school in 1932 and had to do his national service in the Italian Army and served in Abyssinia in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in 1935, until he was released from the Italian Army in 1937.
World War II[edit | edit source]
During World War II Hermann Maringgele volunteered to join the Waffen SS in 1940. After completing basic training he was posted to the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment, which was part of the SS Cavalry Brigade, under the command of Hermann Fegelein.
In 1942, the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment was located in the Wjasma Rzhev sector in front of Moscow and suffered some heavy losses. Maringgele was again awarded for bravery with the General Assault Badge and the Iron Cross 1st class in June, 1942. He was seriously wounded in August, 1942, which required his evacuation from combat for treatment in hospital.
On his return to active service he was posted as a platoon commander in the 2nd Squadron, 15th SS Cavalry Regiment, (formed by renaming the 1st SS Cavalry Regiment), which was part of the new 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer.
During the winter of 1944, Maringgele along with the rest of the Division fought in the Battle of Budapest, where he was awarded the Close Combat Clasp in Silver, for 25 battles of hand to hand combat, leading 47 successful assault operations in ferocious street fighting.
He was awarded the German Cross in Gold on the 28 January 1945 for his achievements during the fighting for Budapest and by the 8 February had qualified for the Close Combat Clasp in Gold, with 50 battles of hand to hand combat. He would reach an unprecedented 84 battles by the end of the siege.
Almost immediately after reaching the German line, Maringgele and Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) Joachim Boosfeld were ordered to report to Berlin. There, they were both decorated with the Knight's Cross and the Close Combat Clasp in Gold by Adolf Hitler in person.
Hermann Maringgele was also promoted to Untersturmführer and given command of the SS Cavalry reserve Battalion. At the end of the war, he was captured by the Americans, and became a prisoner of war.
Post war[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Berger, Florian (2004) (in German). Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold [Knight's Cross Bearers with the Close Combat Clasp in Gold]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-3-7.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Mitcham, Samuel W (2007). Retreat to the Reich : the German defeat in France, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3384-7.
- Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8