ϟϟ-Sturmbannführer der Waffen-SS Wünshe

SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche
SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche
Max Wünsche (April 20 1915 – April 18 1995) joined the SS in 1933 where he attended the NCO training course at Jüterbog. Wünsche was selected to be an officer and attended SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz, graduating in 1936 and posted to the Leibstandarte SS. In 1938 Wünche was assigned to the Begleitkommando des Führers (SS Escort Command of the Führer). In 1940 he returned to the Leibstandarte SS, as platoon commander in the 15.Motor Cycle Company, under the command of Kurt Meyer, for the invasion of Holland and the Battle of France. He was attached to SS-Division Leibstandarte SS during the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) and numerous times he flew over enemy held territory in a Fieseler Storch on reconnaissance missions. In 1942 Wünsche was given command of the Leibstandarte SS Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun Battalion). The Battalion was involved in stopping Soviet attempts to break through the German lines. In early February 1943 Wünsche resumed command of 1.Battalion/SS-Panzer Regiment 1 (Leibstandarte SS). His new battalion's first action was at Kharkov, fighting in blizzard conditions, they halted the Soviet advance and held the town of Merefa. They went on to relieve the encircled 1.SS-Reconnaissance Battalion (Leibstandarte SS), commanded by his old commander SS-Obersturmbannführer Kurt Meyer. Wünsche and his battalion succeeded in breaking through the lines to Meyer's beleaguered troops, saving them from destruction. Together the two battalions formed a SS-Kampfgruppe and continued the attack, defeating the Soviet VI Guards Cavalry Corps at Kharkov. For these actions Wünsche was awarded the Deutsche Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold). Max Wünsche and SS-Obersturmbannführer Kurt Meyer were aggressive and daring in combat and Wünsche´s Panzer battalion often supported the SS-Panzergrenadiers of Meyer´s reconnaissance battalion during the fighting around Kharkov. Their relationship was tempered in the fire of the Eastern Front and each had absolute confidence in the other. On February 25 1943 Wünsche's SS-Kampfgruppe located the Soviet 350th Rifle Division approaching the Division's southern flank. Acting on his own, Wünsche personally led his Panzers in a stunning assault on a Soviet defensive position in the Jefremovka area. Nearly 800 Soviet infantry were killed during the attack, which penetrated into the depths of the Soviet defensive position and destroyed thirty-seven 7.62cm artillery pieces, ten 4.5cm anti-tank guns and several 12.2cm howitzers. For this action Max Wünsche was awarded the Knight's Cross on February 28 1943.
In June 1943, Wünsche was ordered to transfer to a new division forming in France, which later became 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend and take command of the SS-Panzer-Regiment 12. First image: SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche in 1943. Commons: Bundesarchiv. Second image: SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche shortly after receiving his Knight's Cross. Picture taken in the outskirts of Kharkov 1943. Private collection. 

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