Gerhard Engel

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Gerhard Michael Engel
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1985-015-03, Gerhard Engel.jpg
Gerhard Engel
Born 13 April 1906
Died 9 December 1976(1976-12-09) (aged 70)
Allegiance Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1925–45
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 12. Infanterie-Division
12. Volksgrenadier-Division
Infanterie-Division "Ulrich von Hutten"

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Gerhard Michael Engel (13 April 1906 – 9 December 1976) was a highly decorated Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded several divisions after serving as an adjutant to Adolf Hitler. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Gerhard Engel joined the Prussian military in October 1925, in the 5th Prussian Infantry Regiment. In 1930, he received his lieutenant promotion and was put in charge of two infantry companies in Dresden. From 1933 to 1937, Engel served as an adjutant to the battalion commander of Rostock, where he was promoted to captain. In 1938, while working as commander of the 11th Infantry Regiment, he was transferred and served as adjutant to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. In 1941, he was promoted to major, and appointed an army adjutant to Hitler.

In 1943, Engel was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and, by his own request, transferred to the Western Front. He would go on to be an extremely experienced soldier, serving in notable battles like the Battle of Aachen, the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Battle of Halbe. In May 1944, he was promoted to major general, and would spend the rest of the war commanding infantry divisions. With the unconditional surrender of Germany, he was held in American captivity and released in December 1947.


After his release, Engel was manager of a sugar factory in Nörvenich, and then of a machine factory in Düsseldorf. From April 1958 to December 1976, he worked as State Commissioner of the Society for Military Customer in North Rhine-Westphalia. Engel died in 1976.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht reference[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
26 November 1944 In den bisherigen Kämpfen bei Aachen haben sich die 3. Panzergrenadierdivision unter Führung von Generalmajor Denkert und die 12. Volksgrenadierdivision unter Generalmajor Engel durch unerschütterliche Standhaftigkeit und hartnäckiges Zupacken bewährt.[5] In the recent fighting near Aachen, the 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division under the leadership of Major-General Denkert and 12th Volks Grenadier Division under Major-General Engel have proven themselves by showing unwavering steadfastness and persistent grab.


  1. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 156.
  2. ^ Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 539.
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 145.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 78.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 347.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • 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. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]

  • "Gerhard Engel". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  • "Gerhard Engel". World War 2 Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Rudolf Bamler
Commander of 12. Infanterie-Division
28 June 1944 – October 1944
Succeeded by
Renamed 12. Volksgrenadier-Division
Preceded by
Previously 12. Infanterie-Division
Commander of 12. Volksgrenadier-Division
October 1944 – November 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Günther Rohr
Preceded by
Generalmajor Günther Rohr
Commander of 12. Volksgrenadier-Division
November 1944 – 1 January 1945
Succeeded by
Oberst Langhäuser
Preceded by
Oberst Langhäuser
Commander of 12. Volksgrenadier-Division
27 March 1945 – 12 April 1945
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Edmund Blaurock
Commander of Infanterie Division "Ulrich von Hutten"
13 April 1945 – May 1945
Succeeded by