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Schäfer, Oskar

* 16.01.1921 Nixdorf/Sudetenland

Knights Cross Awarded: 29.04.1945

as: Untersturmführer Führer 3./schw.SS-PzAbt 503

Oskar Schäfer was born on 6 January 1921 in Nixdorf in the Sudetenland. After completing his high school education in November 1938, he volunteered to join the SS-VT and was assigned to the 12th Company, SS Standarte (Regiment) Deutschland.

Schäfer took part in the Polish Campaign, the Battle of France and the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) as an infantryman, almost reaching the gates of Moscow, with the 2nd SS Division Das Reich and was seriously wounded in the head. After recovering from his wounds he was transferred to the SS Panzer Battalion 5, of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking serving in the south of the Eastern Front.

His time with SS Wiking lasted until 1943 when he was posted back to Germany to help train and form a new SS Battalion in the Armor school at Sennelager. This new Battalion the 103 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion would use the Tiger tank.

He deployed back to the Eastern Front with the Battalion, in command of the 3rd Company, of the now named 503 SS Heavy Panzer Battalion in the spring on 1945 and took part in the fighting at Arnswalde and Stargard. He was again seriously wounded but managed to escape from the Russian encirclement at Kolberg and reach Greifswald.

Back with the rest of the Battalion he prepared for the Russian assault across the River Oder and the defence of Berlin. Now commanding a King Tiger he was wounded again with first degree burns.

On the 28 April while fighting in the Zähringer Strasse area of Wilmersdorf he was ordered to attend the Führerbunker to be awarded the Knight's Cross.

The award was presented by Wilhelm Mohnke who also enlisted Schäfers help in the planned breakout from Berlin on 2 May 1945. His Tiger II leading the Mohnke group was hit crossing the Heer Strasse by a Russian JS II tank. Schäfer was again seriously wounded suffered further burns, temporarily lost his sight and lost his memory.

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