||This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
8 December 1894|
|Died||24 January 1986
Ahlten near Hannover
|Years of service||1913 – 1945|
|Rank||General der Fallschirmtruppe|
|Commands held||XI Fliegerkorps
II Luftwaffe Field Corps
Battle of the Reichswald
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Alfred Schlemm (December 8, 1894 – January 24, 1986) was a German General der Fallschirmtruppe in the Wehrmacht. His last command in World War II opposed the advance of the First Canadian Army through the Reichswald in February 1945.
Early life & early military career 
Schlemm was born in Rudolstadt in the Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, a part of the German Empire. He joined the Imperial German Army on 8 March 1913 as a Fahnenjunker in the 2. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.56 and he transferred temporarily to the Danzig War School in October 1913. He returned to his regiment before the start of World War I, where he remained until September 1919, progressing in various roles (Platoon Leader, Ordonnanzoffizier, Battery Commander and Regimental Adjutant).
During the inter-war years, Schlemm served in a variety of staff, training and regimental posts until, in October 1937, he was attached to the Reich Air Ministry. In February 1938, he transferred from the Army to the Luftwaffe and was appointed an Oberst in the Luftwaffe General Staff and in June 1938, he became Chief of Staff of Air Defense Zone West.
Military career 
In October 1939, he became Chief of Staff of Luftgau [Air Zone] XI, under Generalleutnant Ludwig Wolff and in December 1940, Schlemm was appointed Chief of Staff of the XI Fliegerkorps [Air Corps] under General der Flieger Kurt Student. XI Fliegerkorps was the headquarters staff of Germany’s parachute and air landing forces which, on 20 May 1941, the Germans used for Operation Merkur, the airborne invasion of Crete. At least 6,000 airborne troops were lost and the conquest of Crete effectively ended all plans for large-scale German airborne operations.
Eastern Front 
From February 1942, Schlemm was attached to the General Command of the VIII. Fliegerkorps (Generaloberst Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen) on the Eastern Front, where he became Commander of Luftwaffen-Gefechtsverbande ("Battle Formation") Schlemm assigned to the XXXX Panzer Corps and the LVI Panzer Corps in General der Infanterie Gotthard Heinrici’s 4th Army. Schlemm became commander of the 1st Flieger-Division (Air Division) from June 1942, based at Dugino and controlling various Luftwaffe air and ground support units.
In October 1942, he became Commanding General of the II Luftwaffe Field Corps on the Eastern Front and, later, in Italy. Schlemm’s corps comprised four Luftwaffe Field Divisions and held the line from south of Nevel to the Dvina River east of Vitebsk, under the 3rd Panzer Army of Army Group Centre. In February and March 1943, the II Luftwaffe Field Corps participated in Operation Kugelblitz against the partisan infested region of Surazh Rayon northeast of Vitebsk. On 6 October 1943, part of Schlemm's corps collapsed under a major Russian attack, resulting in a 10-mile rip in the German lines and the capture of Nevel. The entire II Luftwaffe Field Corps fell back to new positions west of Gorodok.
Withdrawn from the line in November 1943, Schlemm’s four divisions transferred to the LIII and IX Army Corps and were transferred to Italy. On 1 January 1944, Schlemm’s headquarters staff, redesignated as Ist Fallschirm-Korps with Schlemm as Commanding General, took control of a reserve force of over 24,000 troops in the Rome area. They were initially dispatched from Rome to bolster the Gustav Line, or Winter Line, along the Garigliano River, but soon Schlemm’s corps were urgently transferred to oppose the Allied beachhead at Anzio (Operation Shingle). Schlemm led the German defenders successfully for three days until command formally passed to Generaloberst Eberhard von Mackensen, Commander-in-Chief of the 14th Army. The Ist Fallschirm-Korps fought at Anzio for the next three months. Schlemm was cited in the official Armed Forces Communiqué and received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for his efforts.
After the Gustav Line was breached at Cassino and the Anzio bridgehead breakout, Schlemm's Ist Fallschirm-Korps joined the German withdrawal through central Italy. By August 1944, they were lodged in the Arno and Gothic Line defensive positions in the northern Apennines. Schlemm relinquished command of the Ist Fallschirm-Korps to Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich.
Schlemm became Commanding General of the IIIrd Fallschirm-Korps but this formation was never activated. Instead, he succeeded Generaloberst Kurt Student as Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Fallschirm-Armee (Parachute Army) on the Western Front in the Netherlands. The 1st Fallschirm-Armee was engaged defending the Reichswald against the Canadian First Army. Schlemm's troops were a motley, but effective, collection of under-strength infantry divisions and battle groups entrenched in the West Wall (Siegfried Line). Schlemm disagreed with the current view that the next Allied attack would be further south and ensured that his troops built formidable defences.
The Canadian First Army and Lieutenant-General William H Simpson’s U.S. Ninth Army compressed Schlemm’s forces into a small bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine opposite Wesel. On 10 March 1945, the rearguard of the 1st Fallschirm-Armee evacuated their bridgehead, destroying the bridge behind them, and Schlemm prepared to meet the inevitable Allied crossing of the river. He was wounded in an air attack on his command post at Haltern eleven days later and command of the 1st Fallschirm-Armee passed to General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt.
Post war 
At the end of the war in May 1945, Schlemm became a prisoner of war held by the British — he was repatriated to Hamburg in October 1947. Alfred Schlemm died on 24 January 1986 at Ahlten near Hannover.
Awards and decorations 
- Iron Cross (1914)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Wound Badge (1914)
- in Black
- Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords (15 October 1918)
- Cross of Honor
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th to 1st Class
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
- Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe
- German Cross in Gold (25 June 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 11 June 1944 as General der Fallschirmtruppe and commander of I. Fallschirm-Korps
- Ärmelband Kreta
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht (29 May 1944)
- "General der Fallschirmtruppe Alfred Schlemm". Some of the Prisoners held at Special Camp 11. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
- Thomas and Wegmann 1986, p. 263.
- 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Thomas, Franz and Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-1461-6.
General Martin Fiebig
|Commander of 1. Flieger-Division (1942-1945)
July 1, 1942 – October 1, 1942
Generalleutnant Hermann Plocher
Generaloberst Kurt Student
|Commander of 1. Fallschirmarmee
November 18, 1944 – March 20, 1945
General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt