Among the many notable accomplishments of the 44th Division, is the capture, during hostilities, of the highest ranking Waffen SS Officer during the war, SS-Standartenführer Hans Lingner, the Commanding Officer of Waffen SS 17th Panzer-Grenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen.”
A patrol from “A” Co. of the 114th Infantry Regiment, led by T/Sgt. Dunnuck, penetrated the front lines of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division. In the Rimling vicinity, the patrol caught the Division Commander, his aide, and a sergeant and brought them back through the German Lines. The Division Commander was a pet of Hitler, once served as the Chief of Staff of the Fuehrer’s Life Guard or “Leibstandarte”, the 1st SS Panzer Division. Sgt. Robert Brindle, Marshalltown, Iowa and Pfc. Harry Lee Daffin Jr., Baltimore, Maryland were also part of this patrol.
Lingner’s vehicle was stuck in a snow drift. The captured German sergeant, Unterscherführer Weissenborn, who had been in Rimling only once before, then got his valuable party lost. The “A” Co. patrol, operating well behind the “Jerry” line, cleverly made the capture.
Standartenführer Lingner refused to talk to anyone below his rank despite being captured by four enlisted men. Interrogators, Captain James Hayes, 2nd Lt Jack Levy and T/Sgt. Frank Mossback, were the first to get the real facts about Colonel Lingener and his aide-de-camp Untersturmführer Mund. Lingner served with “Leibstandarte” France in 1940, the Balkans, in 1941, Russia in 1941 with and France in 1944, as acting Commander of the 17th SS. He had been wounded four times.
Capturing a division commander of the fearsome Waffen SS, behind enemy lines, and evading capture to bring the officer, and two others across the enemy lines, back to the 44th, is an act of heroism and moxie. This took guts.
The feat of the 44th division mentioned in this post definitely deserves the credit, for all the strategy, the presence of mind and capability of bringing the highest and bravest officer of the enemy battalion from under its nose. The mental integrity and power of the prisoned officer can be read out just from the fact that even in the enemy’s captivity and despite the wounds, he demanded an officer of his own stature for interrogation.
The 44th locked horns, in battle, with the 17th SS on numerous occasions. Three times the artillery destroy the 17th SS command post, and once, the 44th totally destroyed the infantry of the 17th SS in battle