Weidinger's nomination for the Oak Leaves, November 1944
This nomination by Heinrich Lammerding for Otto Weidinger is dated at the end of November 1944, well after the events at Oradour had taken place and I suspect well after they had been forgotten. Weidinger was now the substantive commander of Der Führer, a position he held to the end of the war. Later he was to win the Swords to the Oak Leaves for the regiment's action in the Westwall, the Ardennes, Hungary and Vienna and this award was conferred on 6th May 1945, just two days before the German surrender.
Lammerding had been wounded in Normandy on the 26th July and only returned to duty on 23rd October, so he was not present with the Division when the events that led to Weidinger's award took place. Comments below are in italics.
2nd SS-Panzer Division Das Reich Division General Staff 30-11-1944
On 19-8-44, at 23:45 hours, the Panzer Grenadier Regiment 4: Der Führer, received (orders) from the Division Command, along the Trun - St. Lambert road, to push forwards westward, and to contact German forces situated in the almost completely closed cauldron (what the allies referred to as the, Falaise Pocket) of Falaise - Argentan and to take on and support their eastward removal.
On 20-8-44, the regiment stepped off under the leadership of Obersturmbannführer Weidinger with a fighting strength of 11 / 53 / 366 (officers / nco's / enlisted men) in the direction of Champosoult. At 12 o'clock, in rapid attack, the regiment reached the road junction at the U-bend, 1 kilometre north-eastward of Goudehard, which the Regimental Commander, swept with his men, the foremost company leading.
At this time the regiment had an open flank of 6 kilometres, as the right neighbour was still standing eastwards of Camenbert. Yet at 12:15 o'clock, the tip of the regiment was able to shake hands with the first section of the enclosed troops. The enemy (the British 2nd and Canadian 1st armies) pressure from the north became ever stronger, until at 13:00 the opponent attacked with 12 heavy tanks and infantry into the open flank of the regiment and SS-Obersturmbannführer Weidinger immediately grasped the bold decision to attack with all available sections northward in order to still make possible the consequent escape of our own troops from the caldron. Leading in the foremost line, SS-Obersturmbannführer Weidinger with his valiant regiment took the height at St. Leger. Again and again he fired the men to the most supreme bravery by his never weakening guts and the prudence of his leadership. In a bitter fight, the height was taken, 7 tanks destroyed and the now following enemy attack was smashed completely. The Regimental Commander grasped the decision to hold the gained position with all resources in order to prevent a renewed closure of the caldron. All further attacks of the opponent led with a superior strength were smashed in tough fighting, with 4 Sherman (tanks) destroyed. SS-Obersturmbannführer Weidinger led the counter-push personally and taught the enemy heavy bloody losses. At 18:15, the regiment of the division could report that the way was held open and that the proper formations were pouring out from the caldron. More than 4,000 soldiers amongst them over 300 officers of all arms of the service and 3 generals; furthermore 800 motor vehicles of all types marched to the east the whole night, on the attack road of the regiment. This outstanding performance of the shrunken Der Führer regiment, was attributed above all to the exceptional bravery and decisiveness of the regimental commander, who with merciless hardness against himself, carried his men to the greatest performance, duty fulfilment and enthusiasm.
Weidinger is worthy to be distinguished with the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.
Lammerding … Division Commandeer.
SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS
© Michael Williams March 2004