SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Fritz Vogt Fritz Vogt was born in Munich in March 1918. He volunteered for service in the SS-Verfugungstruppe in 1935 and was accepted into the Deutschland Regiment. As with all SS officers, a period of service in the ranks was required before a career as a commissioned officer could be considered, but shortly after he completed his training, he was selected as a potential officer and was eventually sent to the SS-Junkerschule in Braunschweig from which he graduated with the rank of SS-Untersturmfuhrer in April 1939. Vogt saw action as commander of a motorcycle reconnaissance platoon during the Polish campaign and distinguished himself by becoming the first man in his unit to win the Iron Cross Second Class. His regiment, as part of the SS-Verfugungs-Division, saw heavy combat during the attack on France and the Low Countries. Vogt's reconnaissance platoon was used as an assault group during an attack on Kleve in Holland in May 1940. His unit was tasked with securing a bridge that lay on the Division's line of advance and the attack was led from the front by Vogt himself. Ignoring fire from several heavily defended bunkers, Vogt and his men stormed the first of the enemy positions, without major injury. Using grenades, one enemy bunker after another was cleared. Eight in all fell, until the remaining Dutch troops surrendered, astonished by the ferocity of the attack. The enemy positions were seized and over 200 prisoners were taken, for the loss of just two Waffen-SS soldiers killed and with a few, including Vogt, suffering minor wounds. Fritz Vogt, shown here as an SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer, was typical of the officer the Waffen-SS sought to create: bold, aggressive, fearless, and prepared to take on superior enemy forces without hesitation. Several of the most successful young officers of the Waffen-SS served, like Vogt, in the Aufklarungsabteilung (reconnaissance detachment) of their divisions. Vogt's was the only assault team in the area that day which achieved total success in its mission. Soon afterwards, during the advance through Flanders, Vogt once again displayed the daring aggression for which he became known. His reconnaissance unit spotted a battalion-sized French column heading towards the main German force, clearly intent on counter-attacking. Vogt went into action immediately. His motorcycle troops, supported by two armoured cars, smashed headlong into the front of the enemy column, taking it completely by surprise. An anti-tank gun had meanwhile been designated to remain in its original position and open fire on the rear of the enemy column while Vogt attacked the front. Overwhelmed by the sheer aggressive energy of the attack, the French quickly surrendered. Vogt's small unit, comprising just 30 Waffen-SS troops, took 650 enemy prisoners. On 7 June, Vogt's platoon came across a retreating French infantry column near Vrely and quickly overcame resistance with a display of sheer aggression. After a brief but heavy exchange of fire, the French surrendered and a further 250 enemy soldiers and two artillery pieces were added to Vogt's tally for the campaign so far. An award of the Iron Cross First Class was immediately authorised, but as news of his exploits during the campaign were collated at Divisional Headquarters, it became clear that something more than this was called for. On 4 September 1940, he was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. During the campaign on the Eastern Front, Vogt continued to show the same levels of daring and elan. On 1 July 1941, after a 27km march, he captured the enemy-held bridge at Pochowiece, holding it against determined counter-attacks. After being laid low by typhus, Vogt was posted as an instructor at various training schools before returning to the front, at his own request, at the end of 1943. He saw fierce action on the Leningrad Front at the Wolchow Bridgehead with the Norge Regiment. At the end of 1944, Vogt's unit was attached to the Wiking Division and in January 1945 was tasked with forcing a passage through to the encircled IX SS-Gebirgs-Korps in Budapest. His force was halted at the old castle at Gutes Hegyiks where they came under attack from enemy forces. For three solid days Vogt's men were engaged in bloody hand-to-hand fighting. When the Germans finally regrouped and tried to begin their advance, they came under attack from a strong force of enemy tanks. Vogt himself single-handedly destroyed three enemy tanks, his personal example of gallantry and determination providing great inspiration to his men. His unit eliminated 54 out of a total of 200 enemy tanks destroyed during this engagement. For his part in this battle, Vogt was decorated with the Oak-Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 16 March 1945. Due to the chaos reigning at this late stage of the war, Vogt never received his own oak-leaf clasp. Only a few days later he was mortally wounded when his field car was strafed by enemy aircraft. His own commander, Karl Ullrich, took off his own oak-leaves and hung them around Vogt's neck, determined to ensure his dying comrade received the honour he was due.