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SAUCKEN v Dietrich~NEW

Saucken, von, Dietrich
+May 16th, 1892 (Fischhausen-Samland/Eastern-Prussia, Germany)
*September 27th, 1980 (Munich/Bavaria, Germany)
Knights Cross: January 6th, 1942
As: Generalmajor Führer 4.Panzer-Division / LIII.Armee-Korps / 2.Panzer-Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
Awarded for his vigorous leadership of the Kampfgruppen Grolig and Lüttwitz during the winter of 1941/42. On 28.12.1941 a vastly superior Soviet force broke into the German positions in the area around Blocknja, Bagrinow, Krivzowa and Chmelewaja. This severely threatened the German Oka-position. However after fierce fighting in the period 29.12.1941-02.01.1942 Saucken and the forces were able to crush the enemy forces and restore the situation to a stable state.
790th Award.
Oakleaves: August 22nd, 1943
As: Generalleutnant Kommandeur 4.Panzer-Division / XXXXVI.Panzer-Korps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
Awarded for the performance of the 4. Panzer-Divison during Operation Kutuzov. In the course of the battle the Division took over the defense of an area south of Orel at Jablonowez. Saucken’s troops destroyed 62 enemy tanks, thus robbing the Soviets of the means to conduct a breakthrough and weakening them enough so that it was possible to push them back in a counterattack.
281st Award.
Swords: January 31st, 1944
As: Generalleutnant Kommandeur 4.Panzer-Division / XXXXVI.Panzer-Korps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
Awarded for his Division’s success against the Soviets during the hard defensive battles around Gomel in late 1943.
46th Award.

Saucken took part in Battle of France, Balkan Campaign, Operation Barbarossa as commander of a motorised brigade of the 4th Panzer Division. He was promoted to Generalmajor on 1 January 1942 and appointed divisional commander during the Battle of Moscow. He was wounded and thereafter spent several months in the hospital. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on January 6, and was appointed commandant of the School for Mobile Troops (Schule für Schnelle Truppen). On 1 April 1943 he was promoted to Generalleutnant; in June he returned to the 4th Panzer Division, which he commanded during the Battle of Kursk.
Saucken became acting commander of the III Panzer Corps in late June 1944. He received both the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords in 1944.
In June and July, Saucken formed Kampfgruppe von Saucken (Battlegroup von Saucken) an ad hoc unit composed of the remnants of several units that had been destroyed in the Soviet Operation Bagration against the Army Group Centre. Composed mainly of elements of the 5th Panzer Division, 170th Infantry Division and the 505th Heavy Panzer Battalion, the battlegroup was later designated the XXXIX Panzer Corps. During the Soviet Minsk Offensive, it temporarily maintained an escape route across the Berezina River for retreating German soldiers.
Saucken left the XXXIX Panzer Corps in late September 1944, when he took command of the forming Panzerkorps Großdeutschland. The still incomplete corps was divided when half of it, including Saucken, was ordered eastward to stop the Vistula–Oder Offensive. He led the corps until February 1945, when he was removed from his position and placed in the Führerreserve by Heinz Guderian, the Chief of Staff of the Army at the OKH.
A month later, Saucken commanded the 2nd Army in Prussia and provided logistical support to the Evacuation of East Prussia. In April, his army was renamed to Army East Prussia. On 8 May, Saucken received notice that he had been awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, making him the last of 27 officers to receive this award. Though an airplane stood by to evacuate him, he refused to leave his troops when they surrendered to the Red Army on the following day of 9 May 1945.
Later life
Oryol Prison
After surrendering on the Hel Peninsula, Saucken went into Soviet captivity. Initially he was imprisoned in the Lubyanka Building and the Oryol Prison before being transferred to the Siberian Tayshet camp in 1949. Kept in solitary confinement, ordered to do hard labour and tortured by Soviet interrogators after refusing to sign false confessions, Saucken had to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Released from Soviet captivity in 1955, he settled in Pullach near Munich. He died there in 1980.
Character traits
A cavalry officer who regularly wore both a sword and a monocle, Saucken personified the archetypal aristocratic Prussian conservative who despised the braune Bande ("brown mob") of Nazis. When he was ordered to take command of the Second Army on 12 March 1945, he came to Hitler's headquarters with his left hand resting casually on his cavalry sabre, his monocle in his eye, . . . [and then] gave a military salute and gave a slight bow. These were three 'outrages' at once. He had not given the Nazi salute with raised arm and the words 'Heil Hitler', as had been regulation since 20 July 1944, he had not surrendered his weapon on entering....and had kept his monocle in his eye when saluting Hitler.
When Hitler told him that he must take his orders from Albert Forster, the Gauleiter (Nazi governor, or "District Leader") of Danzig, Saucken returned Hitler's gaze....and striking the marble slab of the map table with the flat of his hand, he said, 'I have no intention, Herr Hitler, of placing myself under the orders of a Gauleiter'. In doing this he had bluntly contradicted Hitler and not addressed him as Mein Führer.
To the surprise of everyone who was present, Hitler capitulated and replied, "All right, Saucken, keep the command yourself." Hitler dismissed the General without shaking his hand and Saucken left the room with only the merest hint of a bow.

Postwar signed photo measuring 3 1/2" x 5 3/4"





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