Hans Bach in Photos

Hans Bach   RSS Feed

Hauptmann Hans Bach - 21st Panzer Division - Panzer Grenadier Regiment 104 - North Afrika 1942

Captain Hans Bach served witht the Sch├╝tzen/Panzergrenadier-Regiment 104 of the 21. Panzer Division, which ceased to exist upon the capitulation of the Axis forces in North Africa in May 1943.

The Panzer Grenadier Regiment 104 was formed on July 5th, 1942 in Afrika. The regiment was renamed from the Rifle Regiment 104. Originally it was part of the 15th Panzer-Division. From September 1st, 1942 it becamr part of the 21st Panzer-Division. In the summer of 1942 it took part in the fighting around Tobruk.

After the start of the British counter-offensive in late October 1942, the regiment participated in the heavy fighting retreat. By the end of November 1942 the 13th Company of the Panzer Grenadier Regiment 200 joned it. In December of 1942 the heavy infantry gun Company (motorized) 708 was also incorporated into the regiment.

The regiment came to Tunis in February 1943 and took part in the last German offensive in Africa. In March 1943 the Regiment was shattered by Allied bombers. The remnants of the regiment went on the peninsula or were captured.

It was renamed the Panzer Grenadier Regiment 104 was on 15th July 1943. The new regiment was now with the 15th Panzer-Grenadier-Division. In July 1943, the regimental headquarters was on the outskirts of Troina. During heavy air raids on the town on the morning of the same day, there are losses in the second battalion of the regiment. The Regiment also received major losses in fighting with U.S. forces in the fight for Troina. On 6 August 1943 the remnants went to Cesaro.

On August 1943 the remnants of the regiment marched to Randazzo. It collected a few companies and was reconstructed. Later the regiment moved to the east. The regiment moved toward the coast of the Strait of Messina. Later the regiment went to Torre Faro to Porticello to the mainland. From there it was on to Scilla.

The Close Combat Bar / Nahkampfspange was instituted on 25-11-1942 by Hitler to reward those who had taken part in fierce hand-to-hand combat.

The Close Combat Bar is designed by Wilhelm Ernst Peekhaus of Berlin and it was instituted in three grades. The bronze grade (I Stufe) was awarded for 15 days close combat, the silver grade (II Stufe) for 30 days and the golden grade (III Stufe) for 50 days close combat. The number of combat days was counted from 01-12-1942 onwards. For the soldiers who had already been in combat in Africa and at the Eastern front from 22-06-1941 onwards, there was a special credit system introduced. This system worked as follows;

8 months stood for 5 days

12 months stood for 10 days

18 months stood for 15 days

The Close Combat Bar was highly regarded among the combat troops and was considered as the highest infantry award.