Matthäus Hetzenauer

Matthäus Hetzenauer
Matthäus Hetzenauer
Gefreiter Matthaeus Hetzenauer.jpg
Born 23 December 1924(1924-12-23)
Brixen im Thale, Tyrol (Austria)
Died 3 October 2004(2004-10-03) (aged 79)
Brixen im Thale, Tyrol (Austria)
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1943 - 1945
Rank Gefreiter
Unit 3rd Mountain Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Iron Cross 2nd & 1st class
Infantry Assault Badge
Wound Badge (black)
Sniper's Badge (gold)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Matthäus Hetzenauer (December 23, 1924 in Tyrol, Austria - October 3, 2004) was a German sniper in the 3rd Mountain Division on the Eastern Front of the World War II, who was credited with 345 kills. His longest confirmed kill was reported at 1100 metres.

Hetzenauer trained as a sniper from March 27 through July 16, 1944, before being assigned to the 3rd Gebirgsjäger Division, issued both a K98 rifle with 6x scope and a Gewehr 43 rifle with 4x scope.

On November 6, 1944, he suffered head trauma from artillery fire, and was awarded the Verwundeten-Abzeichen three days later.

On multiple occasions he served with fellow sniper Josef Allerberger. The two of them killed many Soviet soldiers.

Gefreiter Hetzenauer received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 17 April 1945. Generalleutnant and Divisions commander Paul Klatt had recommended Hetzenauer because of his numerous sniper kills, which in sum defeated two strong enemy companies without fear for his own safety under artillery fire and enemy attacks. This recommendation was approved by General der Gebirgstruppe Karl von Le Suire and General der Panzertruppe Walter Nehring.[1]

Hetzenauer was captured by Soviet troops the following month, and eventually served 5 years of routinely appalling conditions in a Soviet prison camp.

He died on October 3, 2004, after several years of deteriorating health.



  1. ^ Thomas & Wegmann 1994, p. 305.
  2. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 388.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Thomas, Franz & Wegmann, Günter. Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 - Teil IV: Die Gebirgstruppe (in German). Band 2: L-Z, Biblio Verlag, 1994. ISBN 3-7648-2430-1.

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