Obergefreiter Walter Goldschmitt (1 Panzer Division)
Document Grouping for Obergefreiter Walter Goldschmitt – 1/Aufklärungs Abteiling 4 (1 Panzer Division), 1/Kradschützen Bataillon 1; 7,1, and Stabs/Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 1 (1 Panzer Division), 2 Genessenden Komp/Panzer Aufklärungs Ersatz Abteilung 9, Stabs/Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 69 (3 Kavallerie Division), Husarenschwadrong/Schwere Kavallerie Abteilung 3 (3 Kavallerie Division)
Obergefreiter Walter Goldschmitt was born on 25 Oct 16 in Sangerhausen and married to a lady named Marta. They made their home on Adolf Hitler Strasse. He was drafted into the Wehrmacht on 23 Jun 38 and was immediately assigned to an Aufklärungs unit. His entire military career for the duration of the war was spent in these units. Although the Wehrpass is a zweitschrift, all of Walter’s information was faithfully transferred to it and the photo is obviously pre-war.
Walter received extensive weapons training – 98k, P08, P38, MG18, MG34, MP38, MP40, 2cm PAK 30, and 2cm PAK 38.
From 17 Nov 38-31 May 42, he was on active duty with 1/Aufklärungs Abteiling 4 of the 1 Panzer Division. This was a Panzerspah squadron which had Sd Kfz 247, 223, 263, 232, 221, and 222. His Wehrmacht Führerschein shows that he drove leichte Spahwagen so it was likely a Sd Kfz 221, 222, or 223. Furthermore, he was trained on 20mm PAK, so this narrows the list down to a Sd Kfz 221 as the likely vehicle Walter drove.
On 21 Aug 39, Walter and his comrades moved to Silesia in preparation of the Polish campaign which commenced on 1 Sep 39. From the Opole area, they pushed northeast to Warsaw.
After 12 Oct 39, they were sent back to Weimar and then on to Dortmund in Nov. At the beginning of Mar 40, Walther was sent to the Moselle and the Southern Eifel.
On 10 May 40, they crossed the Luxembourg border and entered Belgian territory. They crossed the Meuse and drove to Dunkirk. On 10 Jun, they pushed southeast and reach Gray-sur-Saone on 15 Jun. They then turned northeast and took the fortress Belfort on 18 Jun.
After the end of the fighting in France, the division remained for another 2 1/2 months as an occupation force. On 5 Sep 40, they were move to East Prussia for training and refitting.
On 18 Jun 41, Walter and his comrades were moved into their staging area for the Russian campaign at Tilsit (modern day Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast). On 22 Jun 41, they attacked and eventually crossed the Lithuanian and Latvian borders. By mid Aug, they were on the outskirts of Leningrad. They fought tenacious Soviet defenders here for roughly a month before being reassigned to Army Group Center on 19 Sep. Walther and his unit was assigned to the left wing on the final drive to Moscow. On 11 Oct, they reached the Zubtsovo. The advance towards the capital was bloody, however, and Soviet resistance was stiff.
On 5 Nov 41, Walter received his first medal – the Panzer Assault Badge in Bronze for successfully being involved in 3 assaults in 3 different days.
On 1 Dec, the division attacked several train stations west of Moscow which was the furthest they advanced. In this action, Walter was wounded by anti-tank round shrapnel to his left eye. Likely due to this same day’s events, he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 8 Dec.
Unfortunately, a wehrpass doesn’t necessarily record the lengths of hospital stays like a soldbuch, of course. Therefore it’s impossible to say how long he was off the line. The unit listing, however, doesn’t indicate a Genessenden Kompanie in this timeframe so perhaps it was just a short while.
In the meantime, Walter’s unit was fighting heavy defensive battles in the Rzhev and Olenin areas until May 42. On 1 Jun 42, Walter’s unit was renamed (“umbenannt”) to 1/Kradschützen Bataillon 1. By this time the unit had such high losses that the headquarters staff was dissolved. On 25 Jun 42 he finally received the Wound Badge in Black for his wound 7 months earlier.
At the end of Jul 42, the division was withdrawn from the front and from 2 Aug again used in the 9th Army. Here, the division managed to seal off the dangerous Russian invasion southeast of Sychevka. On 1 Aug, Walter was again decorated – this time with the Ostmedaille.
In early Nov 42, Walter and his comrades were placed in reserve. After the beginning of the Russian winter offensive on 25 Nov 42 and the Russian breakthrough south of Bjeloys, they were used to defend the important cornerstone of Vladimirskoye. On 25 Dec 42, the deployment of the division ended in the East and it was relocated to France for refreshing. They left all of their equipment in the in the USSR and were completely re-equipped with new weapons.
On 1 Mar 43, Walter’s unit was again renamed – this time to Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 1. He stayed with them through 20 Aug 44 and was assigned to 7 kompanie, 1 kompanie, and the Stabs. Throughout, they were subordinate to the 1 Panzer Division.
In Apr 43, the 1st Panzer Division moved to Greece, where they served as an occupation force in addition to further refresh and train. At the end of Sep 43, they were assembled in the Athens area and relocated to the eastern front again in Oct 43. This time they were assigned to Army Group South.
Before leaving for Russia, Walter was reissued a Zweitschrift Wehrmacht Führerschein “issued on the basis of the entries in the wehrpass”. It was given to him on 2 Sep 43 and was certified ty Hauptmann Helmut Huppert (Ehrenblattspange on 7 Mar 44 and the Knight’s Cross on 23 Aug 44).
On 10 Nov 43, Walter was awarded the Driver’s Badge.
In mid-Nov 43, the division attacked the Kiev-Shitomir railway line. On 18-19 Nov, they participated in the conquest of Shitomir. A few days later, they counterattacked Korostychev and Brussilov. The winter mud than hampered all further movements. In mid-to-late Dec, they successfully attacked several Soviet positions.
At the end of Jan 44, they were moved south to the Uman area and fought until the middle of Feb 44 at Cherkassy. In mid-Mar 44, they were moved to Starokostiantyniv and defended the 1st Panzerarmee’s northern flank. In early Apr 44, the Soviets launched an offensive which drove Walter and his comrades to Buchach. Afterwards, they were moved to the area west of Ternopil to be refreshed.
All of these actions were recorded in Wehrpass simply as “29 Apr-16 Jul 44: Campaign against Russia.”
On 28 May 44, Walter was awarded the Drivers Badge in Silver. Fortunately the certificate for this award is included in the grouping and it is signed by Major Huppert like his Wehrmacht Führerschein.
In early Jul 44, Walter and his comrades were used as a reserve force against the Russian summer offensive in the 4th Panzer Army area. During these defensive actions, he was again wounded on 16 Jul 44. This time, it was grenade shrapnel to his right thigh.
This second injury seems to be more debilitating than his first as he is assigned to 2 Genessenden Komp/Panzer Aufklärungs Ersatz Abteilung 9 which was in Sondershausen west of Leipzig. While with the medical recovery unit, Walter was promoted for bravery exhibited on 31 Jul 44 and made retroactive to 1 Jul 44.
On 29 Aug 44, he was reassigned to a frontline unit - Stabs/Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung 69 which was subordinate to the 3 Kavallerie Division. This was the first time in the war that he wasn’t with his original unit. At this time, they were stationed at Narew, Poland. By Oct 44, they were pushed back to East Prussia – where Walter had jumped off for the start of Operation Barbarosa!
In Dec 44, they were moved to the area of Lake Balaton in Hungary and took part in the relief attacks on Budapest. On 6-16 Mar 45, the Wehrmacht launched an offensive named Spring Awakening (Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen). They attacked the Soviet forces at Nagybajom. Unfortunately for the Germans, the Soviets knew of the impending attack on 17 Feb and had prepared defenses in depth and the attack was repulsed.
On the second day of the offensive, 7 Mar 45, Walter was awarded the Wound Badge in Silver.
On 28 Apr 45, Walter was reassigned to Husarenschwadron/Schwere Kavallerie Abteilung 3 (3 Kavallerie Division) where he would remain until the cessation of hostilities. On 1 May 45, he was promoted to Obergefreiter. Shortly afterwards, on 9 May 45, his service in the Wehrmacht ended when the unit surrendered to the American forces at Graz, Austria.
Included with the document grouping a front-and-back typed list of the home addresses of the men in Walter’s last unit. Perhaps this was done in an effort to allow the men to stay in contact after the capitulation. I have boxed Walter’s entry on the list in red on the next page.
Walter survived the war despite being under heavy combat for its entirety. Along the way, he earned a fairly impressive list of awards.
The last document included in the grouping is a postwar appointment postcard dated 4 Jul 57. Interestingly, Walter has changed addresses from Adolf Hitler Strasse in 1945 to Stauffenberg Strasse in 1957. What a contrast!All work above was put together and researched by Jason Karlen. Thank you for allowing your work to be shared on Freedom2collect.
Otto Ploger-Hennings – Panzerjäger Abteilung 195 (95 ID)
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