Adrian von Fölkersam
|Adrian von Fölkersam|
20 December 1914|
St Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Died||21 January 1945
|Years of service||1940–1945|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Fölkersam was born into an aristocratic Baltic German family with a long record of service to the Russian Empire. His grandfather, Dmitry von Fölkersam was an Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy who died at Tsushima. His great-grandfather Gustav von Fölkersam was a general in the Imperial Russian Army.
Fölkersam's family fled Russia after the Russian Revolution and settled in Latvia, where Fölkersam attended the Gymnasium (grammar school) in Riga. From 1934 he attended university in Munich, Königsberg and Vienna studying economics, at this time he became a member of the National Socialist movement and the SA. He subsequently returned to Latvia but moved to Germany in 1940.
In early August 1942, a Brandenburger unit of 62 Baltic and Sudeten Germans led by von Fölkersam penetrated farther into enemy territory than any other German unit. They had been ordered to seize and secure the vital Maikop oilfields. Disguised as men of the dreaded Soviet security police, the NKVD, and driving Soviet trucks, Fölkersam's unit passed through the Soviet front lines and moved deep into hostile territory. The Brandenburgers ran into a large group of Red Army deserters fleeing from the front. Fölkersam saw an opportunity to use them to the unit's advantage. By persuading them to return to the Soviet cause, he was able to join with them and move almost at will through the Russian lines.
Operating under the false identity of NKVD Major Truchin, based in Stalingrad, Fölkersam explained his role in recovering the deserters to the Soviet commander in charge of Maikop's defences. The commander not only believed Fölkersam, but the next day gave him a personal tour of the city's defenses. By August 8, the German spearheads were only 12 miles away and the Brandenburgers made their move. Using grenades to simulate an artillery attack, they knocked out the military communications centre for the city. Fölkersam then went to the Russian defenders and told them that a withdrawal was taking place. Having seen Fölkersam with their commander and lacking any communications to rebut or confirm his statement, the Soviets began to evacuate Maikop. The German spearhead entered the city without a fight on August 9, 1942.
In 1944 Fölkersam's unit transferred to the Waffen-SS and became the major part of SS-Jagdverband Ost. This unit was active on the Eastern Front and took part in the kidnapping of Miklós Horthy, Jr. and the deposition of his father, the Hungarian regent Miklós Horthy (Operation Panzerfaust). During the Battle of the Bulge, von Fölkersam participated in Operation Greif, and worked in close coordination with Otto Skorzeny. In January 1945, having posted to the Eastern Front, he fought against the advancing Soviet troops in Central Poland. Adrian von Fölkersam was killed in action on 21 January 1945 near Inowrocław, Poland. At the time of his death, he was an SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain), and was in command of the SS-Jagdverband Ost.
Awards and decorations
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Wound Badge (1939)
- in Black
- in Silver
- Infantry Assault Badge
- Honour Roll Clasp of the Army
- Eastern Front Medal
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 14 September 1942 as Leutnant der Reserve and adjutant in the Stab of the I./Lehr-Regiment z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
- Mortimer 2012, p.234.
- Mortimer 2012, p.235
- Mortimer 2012, p.235
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 183.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 313.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Mortimer, Gavin. (2012). Daring Dozen, 12 Special Forces Legends of World War II. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8490-8832-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.