Paul Egger - World War II - Waffen SS

Waffen SS

In May 1941 he volunteered to join the Waffen SS, and was trained as an anti-tank gunner. On completion of his basic training he was posted to the Motorcycle Battalion of the Das Reich Division and later transferred to the 8th Company, SS Panzer Regiment 2. Egger started to show his prowess as a tank commander in the Battle of Kiev when he destroyed 28 tanks, 14 anti-tank guns, 40 other vehicles and 8 artillery batteries.

During the Third Battle of Kharkov in February 1943, he recorded his 65th tank destroyed but his company was almost wiped out and by the end of the battle had only two tanks left.

In October 1943, Egger was transferred to command a Tiger tank platoon in the 1st Company, 102 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. The battalion was sent to Normandy after the D Day landings. During the fighting for point 112 he destroyed a further 14 tanks and 4 anti tank guns for which he was recommended for the Knight's Cross but instead received the German Cross in Gold.

Egger's battalion was almost completely destroyed during the fighting in Normandy and, in September 1944, was pulled back to Germany to reform. Stationed in Sennelager the battalion was renamed the 502 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion.

The battalion was sent to the Eastern Front and during the fighting around Stettin he destroyed another 19 tanks. In April 1945 he was directly promoted to Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) and temporarily took over command of the 1st Company. He was also awarded the Knight's Cross by the commander of the XI SS Panzer Army Felix Steiner (due to the circumstances at the end of the war, the award was only provisionally granted.) The certificate was endorsed by Heinrich Himmler and Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel and dated 28 April 1945, but it is recognized by the Ordensgemeinschaft der Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes e.V. (OdR).

On the 3 May 1945, Egger recorded 113 tanks destroyed.

He escaped from Berlin and managed to evade the surrounding Soviet forces, but was forced to surrender to the advancing United States army at the River Elbe after being shot in the arm, which was his ninth wound of the war.

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