|Born||February 16, 1914|
|Died||18 March 1996(aged 82)|
|Place of birth||Backnang, (Baden-Württemberg|
|Place of death||Fulda, Hesse|
|Unit||667th Sturmgeschutz battalion|
|Commands held||assault gun commander|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves|
Hugo Primozic (16 February 1914 – 18 March 1996) was one of Germany's Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) aces during World War II and was noted for his quick reactions, clever tactical use of ground and the icy nerve which in tense situations enabled him to hold his fire until his opponent had closed to point-blank range. In a five-month period of fighting he was awarded the two grades of the Iron Cross, the Knight's Cross and the Oak leaves. Primozic became the first noncommissioned officer in the history of the German Army, and seventh in the Wehrmacht, to be awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. In the late summer of 1942 he was Wachtmeister (Sergeant) and squad leader of the 2nd battery of the Sturmgeschützabteilung 667.
Career[edit | edit source]
Born in 1914 to a Slovenian father and German mother, Primozic joined the Reichswehr and fought in the French campaign as a field artillery gunner. In 1942 he joined the 667th Sturmgeschutz battalion which was sent to the Eastern Front. On September 15, 1942, his three-gun troop, fighting in isolation, routed a determined Russian breakthrough attempt at Rzhev, destroying a total of 24 enemy Soviet tanks. Allowing the Russian tanks to advance, the StuG crews aimed at the most dangerous opponents first, killing them with one round at a short distance. By January 1943 Primozic had 60 personal kills to his credit and after an equally gallant action on the 28th he was awarded the Oakleaves, being simultaneously commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant.
" Wachtmeister Primozic destroyed tanks day after day during an enemy offensive. One the fourth day, he had to cover the flank of his division, but during that day he fired his last shell... He had to retreat to escape from encirclement by breaking through... There was another StuG, immobilized, and while the Russians were closing in, Primozic came out of his vehicle to connect both vehicles, and drove both back to their own lines..." Primozic was able to connect both vehicles of his platoon with a steel wire rope, and had to fight off the surrounding Russian infantry with a machine gun. For this action he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class.
In September 1942 a large Russian army (including the Stalin Tank Brigade) tried to attack the town and area of Rzhev. As Primozic told: " On September the 15th we had only two StuGs ready, when the Russians wanted to break through. There was heavy artillery fire, and we had to hide in trenches until the storm was over. When the artillery barrage ended, the first enemy tanks already passed our positions, while we still had to climb aboard our guns." Moving from position to position, the StuG platoon was fighting both tanks and infantry. Primozic destroyed 24 tanks on that particular day, first those who had broken through, often with one shot, and altogether 45 Soviet tanks. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on September 19, 1942 promoted to Staff Sergeant.
- He died on March 18, 1996 in Fulda.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Wound Badge (1939) in Black (23 September 1942)
- General Assault Badge (24 December 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Notes[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Thomas 1998, p. 174.
- Thomas and Wegmann 1985, p. 221.
- 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.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1985) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil I: Sturmartillerie [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part I: Assault Artillery]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1447-2.
- Thomas, Franz (1998) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.