Knights Cross Holder Biography

Gerhard  Tuerke

RankOberleutnant d.R.
 3 Infanteriedivision(mot)
DetailsGerhard Tuerke (Türke) was born on 1st May 1914 in Heinersdorf, District Lebus in the German state of Brandenburg. From 1934 until 1936 Tuerke studied at the College of Education in Frankfurt / Oder and later became a professional teacher at an elementary school.

On 17th October 1936 Tuerke joined Infantry Regiment (IR) 29. During the Western Campaign in 1940 he participated in the advance through Luxemburg, in advance combats against Belgian frontier fortifications, in the battles around Sedan, Charville, and combats at the river Maas and at the Rhine-Marne canal.

In Russia Tuerke was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant d.R. (First Lieutenant in reserve) and he was nominated chief of the 3.Kompanie, Grenadier-Regiment 29 (mot.) of the 3.Infanterie-Division (mot.) in Stalingrad. There he particularly excelled in defending the landmark hill 135.1 north of Marinowka. On 24th November 1942 Soviet forces succeeded in breaking through the German front line. That night Gerhard Tuerke with his company sealed off the location of this break-through and succeeded in holding the position for several days. For these operations he was awarded with the Knight Cross of the Iron Cross on the 17th December 1942.

Tuerke was soon after promoted to the rank of Hauptmann d.R. (reserve) and was flown out of the Stalingrad pocket in order to join the formation and installation of the new 6th army, which took place in Biarritz, France. There he became Kommandeur of the I.Battalion / GR 29 (mot) to operate in Nettuno, Italy and further combats and battles in the region.

On the 13th June 1944 Tuerke was awarded with the Nahkampf-Spange in silver and on the 22nd December 1944 with the German Cross in Gold.

Operating against US troops in the Aachen area Tuerke was taken POW on 16th April 1945.

Gerhard Tuerke survived WWII and Allied captivity. For nearly 30 years after WWII Tuerke spent time as a teacher and director in a German grammar school. Tuerke passed away peacefully in 1991.

Special thanks to Axel Kopsch for much of this information.