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von Ribbentrop Rudolf
* May 11th, 1921 (Wiesbaden/Hessen, Germany)
+May 20th, 2019 (Ratingen/Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Knights Cross: 15. Juli 1943
As: Führer, 6. Kompanie, II. Abteilung, Panzer-Regiment 1, 1. SS-Panzer-Division “LSSAH”
Postwar signed photo measuring 4” x 6”
Son of the German diplomat and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. He certainly did not take advantage of his father’s position. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, he joined the Infantry Regiment Deutschland in Munich.
In October he was transferred to occupied Czechoslovakia, where he served in the 11th Company of his field regiment. His Company fought in the invasion of France. Von Ribbentrop was wounded in action and was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class. He was promoted to the rank of Sturmmann.
After France, he was trained as a platoon leader in Braunschweig. He received a commission as Untersturmfuhrer, in command of a platoon in the 1st Company of the Reconnaissance Battalion ‘Nord.’ Ribbentrop distinguished himself in the Finnish campaign against the Soviet Union and was awarded the Finnish Freedom Cross Fourth Class.
He was wounded in Finland on September 2, 1941. After nearly six months in a hospital and some rest at home, he was assigned to the Panzerregiment of the 1st Division Leibstandarte . The regiment had only just been created.
In February 1943 Ribbentrop participated as a tank commander in the Third Battle of Kharkov.
Paul Haussler, the commander of the Panzer Corps, was ordered to attack the Soviet spearhead, which threatened to encircle them, from the north. Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Meyer attacked with his regiment at the weakest point of the Soviet encirclement, at Nowaja Vololaga.
The 2nd Platoon of the 6th Company of that Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Erckardt, was caught in a village. Erckardt was killed in the firefight, and Ribbentrop was ordered to assume command of the platoon. Ribbentrop received the news shortly before his tank’s antenna was shot off.
Ribbentrop immediately ordered a high-speed advance, which went relatively unnoticed by the Soviets. Only a few light tanks and anti-air guns were destroyed on the way. This audacious maneuver put Meyer 40 kilometers behind Soviet lines. Having raced through Kharkov and with little resistance, the tanks captured Alexeyevska on February 13. They held out against a fierce Soviet counter-attack.
In that engagement, Ribbentrop was shot through the lung by a sniper. Despite this he continued to rescue wounded soldiers and refused to be taken to a hospital, He was awarded the Iron Cross First Class for his courage. After recovering, he became commander of 7th Company and led it to the recapture of Kharkov on March 15, 1943. The encirclement was broken, and the Soviet advance was temporarily halted.
Ribbentrop then became a Regimental Adjutant. A few weeks later he trained Luftwaffe members of the LSSAH. He returned to the field on June 15 as commander of the 1st Platoon of the 6th Company. He saw action during the retreat from Kharkov in August 1943 and was wounded in the right and left shoulder. On July 20 he received the Knight’s Cross.
He was transferred to the 12th Panzer Division HJ on August 1, 1943, and commanded junior officer training. In November he became commander of 3rd Company I./PzRgt 12. He was wounded yet again on June 3, 1944, when a Spitfire attacked his car returning from a training exercise. But he was back in command only six days later.
Ribbentrop was awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Panzer Assault Badge during the defense of Normandy in June 1944. He was made Regimental Adjutant to Panzer Regiment 12 and fought in Operation Wacht Am Rhein, the last major German offensive (better known by its Allied name, the Battle of the Bulge).
On December 20 he was wounded in defense of Germany and awarded the Wound Badge in Gold. He then commanded I./PzRgt 12. He remained in this command until the German surrender on May 8, 1945. His division gave themselves to the American forces.
Here follows a recommendation for the German Cross in Gold for Rudolf von Ribbentrop, who would instead be awarded the Knight’s Cross…

"Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop was himself a Zugführer in the winter fighting this year and now serves as Führer of a Panzer Kompanie in the present break-in fighting. In both roles he has especially distinguished himself through outstanding courage, coldblooded bravery and circumspect leadership.

After successful close combat in the area Nowaja Wodolaga, he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class on the 01.03.1943 for proven and outstanding courage.

In the hard fighting north of Kharkov, on the 12.03.1943, he penetrated the enemy defenses in street fighting and made a connection with the other Grenadiers around Red Square, which provided further jump-off points for the advance into the city. After the occupation of the city of Kharkov, the resulting push on Belgorod placed him in the lead Kompanie. He penetrated into the city on 18.03.1943 at the head of his Kompanie in a personal, bold action. He thus holds an outstanding share of the success of the attack on Belgorod.

On the 07.07.1943 the II./Pz.Rgt. 1 LAH, following a successful attack on Teterewino, was attacked numerous times in the flanks by strong Russian tank forces. From a favourable attack position a Russian armoured group of 40 T-34s drove right in front of the Kompanie of Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop. He immediately took charge of the situation, attacked the enemy with his smaller force and with this shot up 6 enemy tanks without loss. This courage and boldness resulted in the failure of the enemy attack, also forcing them to retreat.

On the 08.07.1943 the Abteilung attacked Rylski. Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop once again took part in the deliberate attack, within the framework of the Abteilung. The village are was occupied by 80 enemy tanks. He himself shot up numerous tanks and forced the remainder to flee. A large amount of these remained stuck in the swamp. Of the 30 tanks destroyed by the Abteilung by far the largest share fell to the Kompanie of Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop.

On the 12.07.1943, the Russians penetrated near Prochorowka with about 150 tanks of the type T-34 in the early morning, threatening the security of the positions of the Grenadiers. The combat-ready Kompanie of Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop threw itself toward this enemy and became engaged in battle with the much stronger foe. The whole Abteilung fought through a hard 3-hour tank battle and the most important share of the success was on account of the decisiveness and fearlessness of Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop. In this fight he destroyed 14 enemy tanks.

For repeated displays of bravery and outstanding courage by SS-Obersturmführer von Ribbentrop, I ask that he be given the German Cross in Gold as he is worthy of this high award."
Was recommended to receive the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold but was awarded the Ritterkreuz.
The awarding date varies on different primary sources, the date of July 15th, 1943 is reported on the Verleihungsvorschlag and on the Ritterkreuzträgerkarteikarte.

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