Max Wünsche

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Max Wünsche
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1976-096-007, Max Wünsche.jpg
Born 20 April 1914
Kittlitz, Kingdom of Saxony, German Empire
Died 17 April 1995 (1995-04-18) (aged 80)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Buried at Munich Northern Cemetery
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen-SS
Years of service 1933–45
Rank SS-Obersturmbannführer Collar Rank.svg Obersturmbannführer
Service number NSDAP #5,508,247
SS #153,508[1]
Unit 1. SS-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler.svg 1st Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH); Führerbegleitkommando
12SSHJinsig.svg 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend[2]
Commands held 12th SS Panzer Regiment[2]
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Wound Badge
Infantry Assault Badge in Silver
German Cross in Gold
Eastern Front

Max Wünsche (20 April 1914 — 17 April 1995) was a SS-Standartenführer in the Waffen-SS during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.[2]


Max Wünsche was born on 20 April 1914 in Kittlitz. In July 1933 Wünsche joined the SS. In 1935, he graduated from SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz and was promoted to Untersturmführer.[2] Wünsche was then posted to the Leibstandarte as a platoon leader.[2]

In October 1938, Wünsche was assigned as an orderly officer for Hitler. In that role, Wünsche joined the Führerbegleitkommando (the SS bodyguard unit) which provided personal security for Hitler.[3]

In January 1940 he was again posted to the Leibstandarte, as a platoon commander in a motorcycle company under the command of Kurt Meyer, for the invasion of the Netherlands and the Battle of France. In December 1940 he became an adjutant to Sepp Dietrich where he stayed during the invasion of the Balkans (Operation Marita) and the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). In February 1942 Wünsche was given the command of the LSSAH Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) battalion.[2]

In 1942 Wünsche completed the General Staff training course at the Staff College in Germany and was promoted to Sturmbannführer. In September 1942 he was posted to the LSSAH and resumed command of the Sturmgeschütz battalion; in October he assumed command of a battalion in a panzer regiment of LSSAH. His battalion's first action was at Kharkov, which was abandoned by the Soviet forces by 15 February 1943. For his actions during the battles for Kharkov, Wünsche was awarded the German Cross in Gold and later the Knight's Cross, both in February 1943.[2]

On 25 February 1943 Wünsche led his tankers into action against a defensive position manned by the Russian 350th Rifle Division. Supported by artillery and a company of SS Grenadiers, Wünsche's battalion launched an attack and rolled over the Russian front lines, destroying a number of anti-tank guns.[2] Wünsche's assault would lead to the destruction of 47 artillery pieces and anti-tank guns. The assault also led to 800 Russian troops being killed.[2]

Hitlerjugend Division

Max Wünsche (left), Fritz Witt (center), Kurt Meyer (right) at a commanders strategy session on or about 7–14 June 1944 in the vicinity of Caen, France

In June 1943, Sturmbannführer Wünsche was transferred to a new division forming in France, 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, and take command of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment. On 6 June 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy (Operation Overlord) and the division was committed to action on 7 June. The division was later trapped in the Falaise pocket, on the night of 20 August, Wünsche escaped out of the pocket on foot; he was wounded and captured by British soldiers.[2]

In 1944, Wünsche was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in camp 165 at Caithness, Scotland, a special camp for high-ranking German officers.[4]

In 1948 Wünsche was released and returned to Germany.[4] Wünsche died on 17 April 1995.[2]

Summary of SS career


Dates of rank

31 January 1936: SS-Standartenjunker[13]
20 April 1936: SS-Untersturmführer[13]
25 May 1940: SS-Hauptsturmführer[13]
1 September 1942: SS-Sturmbannführer[14]
April 1943: SS-Obersturmbannführer[15]
9 November 1944: SS-Standartenführer[16]


  1. According to Krätschmer and Scherzer as commander of the I./SS-Panzer-Regiment 1.[9][10]
  2. According to Krätschmer as commander of SS-Panzer-Regiment 12.[9]



  1. Westemeier 2013, p. 664.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Nipe & Spezzano 2002, p. 129.
  3. Hoffmann 2000, p. 55.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gordon, Barry (18 December 2007). "scotsman". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas 1998, p. 461.
  6. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 525.
  7. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 453.
  8. Von Seemen 1976, p. 366.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Krätschmer 1999, p. 378.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 799.
  11. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 86.
  12. Von Seemen 1976, p. 47.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Stockert 2012, p. 164.
  14. Stockert 2012, p. 166.
  15. Stockert 2012, p. 167.
  16. Stockert 2012, p. 169.


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