16 October 2013

Tanks of Panzer Brigade Koll

Image size: 1600 x 673 pixel. 236 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Northern Russia
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

On the endless, sun-scorched steppes of northern Russia, Skoda-built Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) and German Panzerkampfwagen II tanks of Panzer-Regiment 25 / 7.Panzer-Division. ; these were brigaded with 6. Panzer-Division tanks in "Panzer Brigade Koll", led by the commander of Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division, Oberst Richard Koll, for the battles of October 1941.During Operation Barbarossa, units of 6. and 7. Panzer Division crossed the Moscow-Volga Canal to the north of Moscow, and held a bridgehead across the canal for about a month, before having to withdraw with the onset of winter. Richard Koll, born 7 April 1897 in Koblenz, joined the Army Service, age 17, on 10 August 1914 as a Fähnrich in the 4th Telegraph Battalion and was in the fields of the first war in different Signal Regiments. He remained in the new Reichswehr and retired on 31 January 1931, reactivated to the Army Service again on 1 November 1931 as the Company Chief in the 6th Motor Transport Battalion, being a Hauptmann. He started World War II of the 11th Panzer Regiment until 1 January 1940 and became as Oberst Commander of this Regiment until 1 July 1942 and landed in the Führer Reserve to 1 September 1942, appointed to Chief of Motor Vehicle Repair Matters until 1 July 1943. Chief of Repair Matters in OKW under the General of Mechanisation in OKW until 20 November 1943, meanwhile a Generalmajor. He was detached to the 6th Division Leader Course, in Döberitz-Elsgrund to 14 December 1943 and again in the Führer Reserve OKH until 1 January 1944. Then delegated with the leadership of the 1st Panzer Division to 20 February 1944, succeeded by Oberst Werner Marcks on 18 June 1942 (Marcks died age 71, on 27 July 1967, age 71) and Koll landed for the third time, five days, in the Reserve until 25 February 1944. Following the general German retreat to the west, the  1st Panzer Division finally reached the eastern Austrian alps where they surrendered to the US Army. During early 1944 the 1st Panzer Division was attached to III Panzer Corps under General Hermann Albert Breith a brother of Friedrich Breith, a General of the Artillery, and took its place in the relief of the Korsun Cherkassy Pocket. In April 1944, as a part of Generaloberst Hans Valentin Hube's. 1. Panzer-Division. The division was trapped in the Kaments Podolsky Pocket and was involved in the breakout. In September 1944 the division was withdrawn to the Carpathian Mountains, as the Germans strove in vain to stem the Russian advance. By October the division was in Hungary and in January, 1945 it fought in Operation Konrad, the abortive attempt to relieve the encircled city of Budapest. Following the general German retreat to the west, the division finally reached the eastern Austrian alps where they surrendered to the US Army. Assigned as Chief of Wehrmacht Motor Transport Matters OKW and Plenipotentier for Motors Transport Matters in the Five Year Plan to 9 May 1945 as he landed in British captivity.   Released on 24 February 1946 he lived in Berlin, where he at the age of 66 died on 13 May 1963. Koll is buried on the Waldfriedhof Dahlem, Berlin. Close to the grave of Nazi jurist Roland Freisler who got a an Allied bomb on his head. Also buried there is Ulrich Wilhelm Graf Schwerin von Schwanenfeld.

Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

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