07 December 2012

Karl Nicolussi-Leck on the Cupola of his Panther #801

Image size: 1600 x 1178 pixel. 402 KB
Date: October 1944
Place: West of Wieliszew, Powiat Legionowski, Poland
Photographer: Unknown

SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Nicolussi-Leck (left) on the cupola of his Panzerkampfwagen V Panther Ausf.A (turmnummer 801), while at right standing SS-Hauptsturmführer Friedrich Hannes, chef 12.Kompanie/SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 9 "Germania". The man in the middle, based on Charles Trang identification, was possibly SS-Obersturmführer Fritz Hanke (Nachrichten-Offizier from SS-Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking"). Nicolussi-Leck was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes during the Battle of Kovel, in the Pripet Marshes while in command of a Kampfgruppe of the II.Abteilung/SS-Panzer-Regiment 5/5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", newly equipped with Panther tanks, along with the III.Bataillon/SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Germania", newly equipped and up to strength, which had just arrived at the front from Germany. Nicolussi-Leck immediately launched an attack with five Panthers. Soon after beginning the attack, he received a radio message from the besieged commander to halt his attack and withdraw. He ordered his radio operator to ignore the call, and continued his attack. Risking court-martial, he then proceeded to fight his way though the Soviet encirclement, destroying several Soviet tanks in the process. His Panther was the first vehicle to break the encirclement. After the relief force established a corridor to the encircled force, the withdrawal began. Unlike the previous encirclement at Korsun, the trapped force managed to escape with most of its equipment intact, and the division was ready for action immediately. For this action, he won the Ritterkreuz on 9 April 1944. Nicolussi-Leck continued fighting until the very end and was taken prisoner on 22 April 1945 in Hannover. The full story of Nicolussi-Leck action can be seen HERE.


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