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Vinzenz Kaiser
Nickname Zenz
Born (1904-02-28)28 February 1904
Died 20 April 1945(1945-04-20) (aged 41)
Place of birth Waltersdorf, Austria
Place of death Baveria,Germany
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Waffen SS
Years of service 1927–1945
Rank Obersturmbannführer
Unit
Battles/wars World War II
Awards

Vinzenz Kaiser was an Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) in the Waffen SS during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. It was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Early Iife[edit | edit source]

Vinzenz Kaiser was born on the 28 February 1904 in Waltersdorf near Judenburg. [1]

After Kaiser finished his education, he was employed in a hardware store. He was also active in the efforts to bring Austria into the greater German Reich, forming a SA (Storm Troop) unit in 1927 and four years later being made the commander with the rank of Sturmführer (Second Lieutenant) of Schutzstaffel (SS).[1]

After the attempted coup in Austria failed (July 1934) he fled the country to Bavaria, where he joined the Austrian Legion and later joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe, he attended the SS-Junkerschule and was given the rank of Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant). He was initially posted to the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in Berlin.[1]

He took part in the Anschluss of Austria, in 1938 as a company commander in the SS-Standarte Der Führer.[1]

World War II[edit | edit source]

The SS-Standartes were later converted into infantry regiments, Der Führer became part of the new Das Reich Division, which participated in Polish Campaign, the Battle of France, the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita), and the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa).[1] [2]

It was during the campaigns in Russia that Kaiser started to make a name for himself at the Jelnja Bend in Kiev, and in the Borodino, Mozhaisk position in front of Moscow.[1]

He was in command of an independent Kampfgruppe during the defensive battles at Waluki, which held the Russians at bay until the rest of the Das Reich Division could gather its units to counterattack.[1] It was soon after this that he received command of the SdKfz 4 (Armoured) III. Battalion of the Der Führer Regiment, which he led in the counterattacks on the Donetz and Dnjepr sectors, capturing the vital areas of Losowaja, Novo Nowolago and in the conquest of Kharkov.[1] It was noted that during these attacks Kaiser destroyed 4 Russian tanks by hand, being the only regimental commader in the Waffen SS to do so at this time and was awarded 4 Tank Destruction Badges.[1] [2]

For these achievements he was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (Captain) and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross in April 1943.[1][2] [3]

In 1944 Kaiser was promoted to Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) and posted to the SS Panzergrenadier-Lehr Regiment (Panzer-Lehr-Division), training regiment, which in March 1944 was sent to join the 16th SS Panzer Grenadier Division RFSS which was then used in the occupation of Hungary.[2]

In May 1944, Kaiser and his regiment was relocated to the Ligurian coast in Italy, in an attempt to counter the expected Allied landings at Piombino, Cecina and Livorno.

In June 1944 Kaiser was transferred to the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, for the battles in Normandy and the retreat across the Rhine and back to Nuremberg. Kaiser died on the night of April 19–20, 1945 when he was beaten and shot in American captivity.[1][2]

Kaiser was recommended for the award of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross before his death but this was not officially confirmed by the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH).[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Florian Berger (2004), Ritterkreuzträger mit Nahkampfspange in Gold, ISBN 3-9501307-3-X
  • Mattson, Gregory SS-The realm. The History of the Second SS division, 1939-45. Staplehurst 2002, ISBN 1-86227-144-5
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
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