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Major Paul Anton Wichmann

2. / Sich. Btl. 313

I had the privilege of meeting the grandson of Major Wichmann recently and together we would like to share as much of his story as we can piece together.

Paul Wichmann was born on February 23rd, 1898 and at the age of 17 (Feb 9th, 1915) joined the German Army. He fought in WW1 with the 2nd Guards Regiment and rose to the rank of Unteroffizier. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Wound badge in Black, the German Austrohungarian WWI medal and later the Hindenburg Cross with Swords.

Some time after WW1 Paul eventually joined the "DAF - Deutsche Arbeitsfront" which was the German Labour Front. This was the National Socialist trade union organization which replaced the various trade unions of the Weimar Republic after Adolf Hitler's rise to power. During this interwar period Paul won the SA Sports badge in bronze for his athletic prowess.

On August 26th, 1939 Paul once again began to serve his country. On June 13th, 1940 he became a Reserve Officer. He like so many others ended up fighting in Russia with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sich.Btl.313. They were security troops, intended to be assigned mostly to duties like guarding railways and factories.

On the early morning of July 14th, 1944 Hauptmann Paul Wichmann and his men were attacked by a large force of Russian soldiers at Szylin. Hauptmann Wichmann and his men stopped the attack, however Paul received several gunshot wounds to the chest and was immediately taken to an aid station where he died at 8:00 on the same day without regaining consciousness. He received high praise for his leadership and sacrifice. He was buried in Karpiesze 35 km northeast of Kobryn. The entire battalion was deeply affected by his loss. Paul was posthumously promoted to Major.

During his service as an Officer, Major Wichmann was repeatedley awarded medals for bravery. On September 1st, 1942 he was awarded the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords. On March 8th, 1943 he was awarded the Spange for the Iron Cross 2nd Class and on September 1st 1943 he was awarded the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords. He was also awarded the General Asault badge.

Major Wichmann made the ultimate sacrifice for his family and country. He died hundreds of miles away from home in a small Russian town. Now 69 years later we can tell some of his story.