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Rudolf Roy Jr.
Born (1920-08-15)August 15, 1920
Died 17 December 1944(1944-12-17) (aged 24)
Place of birth Berlin, Germany
Place of death Ardennes, Belgium
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Waffen SS
Years of service 1938–1944
Rank Untersturmführer
Unit 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Iron Cross I Class
Iron Cross II Class
Panzer Badge
Eastern Front Medal

Rudolf Roy Jr. was a Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in the Waffen SS during World War II, 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.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Rudolf Roy Jr. was born on 15 August 1920 in Spandau, Berlin and was named after his bricklayer father. He attended the local elementary school and at the age of 13 joined the Hitler Youth. In April 1934, he joined the Landwehr (Militia) and was stationed in East Prussia until December 1934. He was then trained as a machine locksmith and became skilled in his trade. In November 1938, at the age of 18, he volunteered to join the Allgemeine-SS.[1][2]

World War II[edit | edit source]

In 1940, Roy was assigned to 1st Company, Training and Reserve Battalion, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler for basic military training and then assigned to the 3rd Battery, 1st SS Panzerjäger (Tank Hunter) Battalion. He took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, in 1941 and was awarded the Iron Cross (2nd class).[1][2] Roy was promoted to Unterscharführer (Sergeant) in January 1943 and transferred to the 1st Battery, then under the command of Karl Heinz Prinz. He was awarded the Iron Cross (1st class) in September.[1][2]

In April 1944, the entire Panzerjäger Battalion was transferred to the newly formed 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. It was classed as unfit for combat when the Allies landed in Normandy on 6 June as it was still forming, so it did not reach the front until July at which time Roy was promoted to Oberscharführer (Technical Sergeant).[1][2]

The 12th SS Panzerjäger Battalion was quickly sent into action and credited with being largely responsible for the defeat of the Allied Operation Totalise over the period 8 to 10 August. Roy and his gunner, Fritz Eckstein, were credited with destroying eight tanks on 8 August and the next day knocked out a further 13 tanks. Within five days, the duo had knocked out a total of 26 tanks, which brought his total up to 36 tanks destroyed.[1]

Roy's efforts resulted in an award of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. His citation for the Knight's Cross reads:

The dawn of 9.8.1944, enemy tanks penetrated into the rear of Kampfgruppe Waldmüller through the gaps in the HKL near Soignolles, dominating all supply lines from Hill 111. Oberscharführer Roy was ordered to attack and destroy the enemy tanks with his Panzerjäger 39. Roy crept up on the tanks with courage and mobility, and within short time knocked out 8 English tanks. By doing so he created the prerequisite for the withdrawal ordered that evening. At 21:30, because of the constantly increasing enemy fire, the Kampfgruppe began its disengagement as commanded. In the middle of the withdrawal enemy tanks launched a surprise attack on the Kampfgruppe in the village of Soignolles. In an independent decision Oberscharführer Roy attacked the tanks in the flank. Of the 15 attacking enemy tanks only 2 were able to escape. Oberscharführer Roy destroyed 13 tanks on this day, within 5 days 26, and increased his total number of knocked out English and Russian tanks to 36.


Roy did not survive the war but was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. On 17 December 1944, while attacking the lines of the US 99th Infantry Divisions, he was killed by a sniper while looking out of his tank's hatch.[1][2] Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) Helmut Zeiner reported:

We followed a narrow, occasionally winding forest lane to a spot where it split and dropped off. There, all hell broke loose. The enemy had armor-piercing weapons, snipers in the trees, and a few Shermans in ambush position. Oberscharführer Roy, who had taken over 1. platoon in my place, was driving behind me. He was killed by a shot to the head.


Roy was posthumously promoted to Untersturmführer and is buried in the War cemetery in Bonn - Bad Godesberg Germany, grave number 756.[1][2]

References[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • 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. 
  • Henschler Henri & Fay Will, Armor Battles of the Waffen-SS, 1943-45 Stackpole Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8117-2905-2
  • Mitcham Samuel, The German Defeat in the East, 1944-45,Stackpole Books, 2007. ISBN 0-8117-3371-8
  • Meyer Hubert, The 12th SS: The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division, Stackpole Books, 2005. ISBN 0-8117-3198-7
  • Reynolds, Michael (1997). Steel Inferno: I SS Panzer Corps in Normandy. Spellmount. ISBN 1-873376-90-1
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