Fritz Urban

Fritz Urban was born on 23 September 1904 in Lehlitz, Merseburg.
He was married to Elisabeth and together they lived in Neukölln, Berlin. As profession Fritz was an agricultural-worker.

In early 1943 Fritz was conscripted in the German army.
He was send to trainings unit Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon 67, based in Spandau, Berlin. Here he received his Soldbuch on 26 Februari 1943. He also received his uniform and basic cequipment. On 23 March
Fritz received a rifle, bayonet and some other equipment.

After basic training Fritz was send to the second company of Reserve-Grenadier-Bataillon 188. This reserve unit was based in the Ukraine. Fritz remained in this unit during 1943 and early 1944. Frits changed from the second to the third company and was promoted to Obergrenadier (private second class) on 31 December 1943.

Around this time the situation for the German army in the Ukraine was bad. The German army had to retreat allot. In early 1944 the German XI and XXXXII corps got encircled in South-Ukraine at Tscherkassy. They were able to break out, but with heavy costs. They suffered many cassulties and lost most equipment. Many other Divisions were also destroyed against the constant Russian attacks.

The German frontline in the Ukraine, December 1943

On the 6th of January 1944, Fritz's Bataillon was used to create an emergency unit to help halt the Russian attacks. Together with two other reserve Bataillons (169th and 512th) they made up Bataillon "Heister". This Bataillon became part of Grenadier-Regiment "König", under command of Oberstleutnant König. At this time this Regiment consisted of the following troops, named after their commanders:

• Regiments HQ with HQ troops
• Bataillon Heister (Res.Gr.Btl. 169, 188 and 512)
• Bataillon Wander (Res.Gr.Btl. 230, 323 and 386)
• Artillerie-Abteilung Hartwig (Res.Art.Abt. 257)

Grenadier-Regiment König was assigned as "Heerestruppe" (Army troop) so it operated independently and was not part of a Division. The Regiment was placed under Korps-Abteilung C.
Korps-Abteilung C was a make-shift Corps level unit consisting of various (partly) destroyed Divisions and emergency units.

On 25 January 1944 Regiment König was transported with trucks to the Zlazno area in the Ukraine.
Here the Regiment was temporary attached to Kampfgruppe (battlegroup) Prützmann.

On the 27th of January the Regiment was engaged in battles in the area of the towns Rzeczyca, Lasopol, Berostowiel, Trubiza and Japoloc. The Regiment was cut-off from the German front.
On the 28th the Regiment attacked in the line of Zlotolin – Mydzk towards Werbeze. They did this together with Sturmgeschütz tanks from Stug-Abteilung 118, Füsilier-Bataillon 217 and other troops. On the same day the Regiment had defensive battles between Lasopol and Berestowiec. They also attacked the towns Japoloc, Zbuz and Stydyn-Mali.

German trench in the Ukraine

On the 29th the Regiment met up with Abteilung Koellner, this unit was also cut-off from the German lines and had been surrounded by the Russians. They were able to break free towards Regiment König in Zlasno. Together with other German units, the Regiment formed "Gruppe Koch". This group of cut-off German units consisted of the following troops:

• Grenadier-Regiment König (Bataillon Heister, Wander and Füsilier-Bataillon 217)
• Abteilung Koellner
• Abteilung Auscher
• Unknown Pionier-Kompanie
• 5./Artillerie-Regiment 339
• Abteilung Boenicke
• Part of Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 118

On the same day the Russians surrounded Gruppe Koch in the Zlazno-Stawek area, but they were able to hold the Russian attacks. On the 30th Gruppe Koch was able to break out of the encirclement at Derazne. They continued to retreat towards the German lines, they were still cut-off. On 2 February Gruppe Koch attacked through Cuman to Stawek and the highway west of Klewan. On 3 February Gruppe Koch tried to break through the Russian lines towards Luzk, this failed. They suffered heavy cassulties at Palac-ze and went towards Mastanka.

On 4 February, Gruppe Koch had the following units and soldiers left:
• HQ Gruppe Koch: 32 soldiers
• HQ Regiment König: 40 soldiers
• Bataillon Wander: 446 soldiers
• Bataillon Heister: 490 soldiers
• Unknown Pak-Zug (mot): 30 soldiers
• Unknown leichte IG-Zug: 24 soldiers
• Unknown Reiter-Zug (mot): 30 soldiers
• Unknown Pionier-Zug: 100 soldiers

In total Gruppe Koch had 1192 soldiers.

On the same day Gruppe Koch was engaged in break-through battles west of Dorohostaja – Wielki in the direction of Dubno. On the 5th they succeeded in breaking through the Russian lines South of Maslanka and North-west of Pedhaice. they were able to reach the German lines and made contact with the 7.Panzer-Division.

Gruppe Koch was disbanded and Grenadier-Regiment König was re-organized as follow:
• Regiment HQ with HQ troops
• I.Bataillon (4 company's)
• II.Bataillon (4 company's)
• Pionier company

The Regiment continued fighting in the Ukraine as independent unit.
At some date in February 1944 Fritz got wounded due to shrapnell. He arrived in Reserve-Lazarett Lemberg on the 22th of February. On the 26th Fritz's Regiment awarded him the Sturm-Abzeichen in Silber. he received this medal for the assaults he made with his Regiment. On the 29th he was send to another Lazarett; Reserve-Lazarett Schweidnitz. Fritz arrived at this Lazarett on 2th of March and stayed untill the 6th of April when he was send to another Lazarett; Reserve-Lazarett Schreiberhau. Fritz had lost allot of his equipment and clothing during the battles, the lazarett wrote down on the equipment page what Fritz still had. On the 4th of May 1944 Frits was healed, he was released from the hospital and send to his Ersatz (replacement) unit. This was Grenadier-Ersatz-Bataillon 188.

On the 9th of May Fritz was granted leave, starting on the 11th and ending on the 1st of June 1944. After this leave Frits was send back to the front. On the 9th Frits was awarded the Verwundeten-Abzeichen in Schwarz for the wound that he got in February. This wound-badge was noted in the Soldbuch on a later date. They forgot to do it right away. Fritz's old unit, Grenadier-Regiment König, was disbanded while he was in the hospital. Therefore Fritz was send to another combat unit. He arrived at the second company of Feld-Ersatz-Bataillon 168. This Bataillon was the field-replacement unit of the 68.Infanterie-Division. After this, Fritz was send to the 6th Company of Grenadier-Regiment 188, part of the same Division. The Division was engaged in the area of Lemberg in North-Ukraine. On the 21th they noted a new rifle in Fritz's Soldbuch.

On the 20th of July 1944, or shortly before that, Fritz became wounded again. He was hit by bullet(s). After first medical care Fritz was send to Reserve-Lazarett Oppeln where he arrived on 23 July.
On the 16th of August 1944 he was healed and released from the hospital. Fritz was granted healing-leave from the 17th untill the 25th. After his leave Fritz went to his Ersatz unit. Fritz stayed with his ersatz unit for same time. He also received new equipment/clothing. On 12 November 1944 Fritz was promoted to Gefreiter (private first class) and his old rifle, which he probably had lost, was removed from his weapons page of the Soldbuch. On the 21th of November Fritz was granted another leave, this started on 22th and ended on 7 December. At some date in December 1944 he was send back to the front.

He went back to the 6th company of Grenadier-Regiment 188, 68. Infanterie-Division. At this time the Division was engaged in the Baranow bridgehead battles. The battles in this area continued into 1945, after which the Division retreated into Oberschlesien and continued to try to halt the Russian advance.
In March 1945 Fritz was wounded for the third time. He arrived at Reserve-Lazarett Quedlinburg on 14 March 1945. On 23 March 1945, Fritz was awarded the Verwundeten-Abzeichen in Silber for the 3 wounds that he had suffered.

At what date Fritz was released from the hospital is unknown, they forgot to note that into the Soldbuch. The city of Quedlinburg was captured by American troops on 19 April 1945. There is a good possibility that Fritz was still in the hospital at that date and made prisoner by the Americans. This would explain why they didn't wrote the date of release from the hospital into the Soldbuch.
What happend to Fritz later on is unknown to me.