Erich Barenfanger was awarded the Knights Cross with Oakleaves on 17 May 1943 while serving as 3rd Battalion commander, 123rd Grenadier regiment, 50th ID on the Russian Front.
He first enlisted into military service on 16 October 1936 with assignment to Infantry Regiment 67 and was commissioned as a Leutant d. Res. three years later. Virtually al of his service was with the 50th Infantry Division, going from platoon leader to battalion commander. He was promoted to rank of Oberstleutant on 1 January 1944, skipping the rank of Oberst and became THE YOUNGEST ARMY OFFICER to be promoted to the rank of Generalmajor on 20th April 1945
He was also the 45th recipient of the Knights Cross with Oakleaves & Swords