30 April 1907|
Königsberg, East Prussia
|Died||26 September 1972
|Years of service||1924–45|
|Commands held||Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Karl-Lothar Schulz (30 April 1907 – 26 September 1972), was a highly decorated German Fallschirmjäger and general during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Early life and career
Schulz, the son of a cantor, was born on 30 April 1907 in Königsberg in the Kingdom of Prussia of the German Empire. Today it is Kaliningrad in Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. He attended the Wilhelms-Gymnasium, a secondary school, where he graduated with his Abitur (diploma).
He joined the Army on leaving school and briefly served with an Artillery regiment, though his own personal training was as a pioneer. He joined the Police in 1925 and in 1933 was transferred to the newly formed Polizei Abteilung z.b.V. Wecke, the forerunner of the elite Hermann Göring Division. He was commissioned as a Police Lieutenant in 1934 and remained with the unit as it evolved into Landespolizeigruppe General Göring. In September 1935 the unit was transferred into the Luftwaffe as Regiment General Göring.
Göring decided that amongst his new elite troops would be a body of men trained as paratroopers. A call for volunteers went out, and Schulz was one of the first to come forward. He subsequently underwent paratrooper training and served as company commander of 15 (Pionier) Kompanie, a component of the parachute-trained IV. Battalion/Regiment General Göring.
In March 1938, a further re-organisation took place and IV. Battalion was separated from the Regiment and became I. Battalion of the newly formed Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1. By 1940 Schulz had been promoted from company commander and was serving as commander of III. Battalion/ Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1.
World War II
During the campaign in the West, Schulz and his men dropped into Holland to seize the airport at Waalhaven near Rotterdam, in order to allow the rapid landing of more German air-landing troops. The airport was defended by a battalion of Dutch troops supported by an AA battery of 7.5 cm guns, two light armoured vehicles (Vickers universal carriers) and a platoon of 2 cm anti-aircraft guns. The Dutch defenders opened fire on the German paratroops as they descended but the Fallschirmjaeger suffered only relatively light casualties. Shortly after the paratroopers had landed, elements of two companies of Infanterie-Regiment 16 (22. Infanterie-Division) arrived on the scene to give support, and with their help the Schulz-led paratroops secured the airfield. Schulz was able to send out a message giving the all clear for German aircraft to begin landing elements of 22 Air Landing Division
The RAF attacked with six light bombers the German positions, before being driven off by the Luftwaffe with all but one of them shot down. A further Dutch counter-attack during the first war-night was repelled before it even started. A large scale RAF night raid - involving six Vickers Wellington medium bomber squadrons - caused quite some damage on landed German material, but hardly paid out operational gains.
On the second day of the invasion Schulz and his III.Battalion (of 1.Fallschirmjaeger Regiment) were transferred to the Dordrecht areas, where another set of bridges was held by German airbornes. Schulz and his battalion got tied up in a series of battles and skirmishes with Dutch elements countering the German bridgehead. On the third day of the invasion the 9th Panzerdivision crossed the bridges at Moerdijk linking up with the airborne regiment holding these crossings. From then on the airbornes were more or less released of their duties, although few would still see some more action in the consecutive fights remaining during the last two days before the Dutch capitulation.
During his command of III./Fjr.1 in the Netherlands campaign Schulz was accused by the Dutch of several cases of infringements of the international law. On the first day he was accused of abusing POW's at Waalhaven AFB and on the second day of using POW's as human shields provoking the surrender of a Dutch infantry battalion. The accusations were dismissed by the German Luftwaffe.
For the part played by the troops under his command in seizing and holding the vital airfield against strong enemy counter-attacks, Schulz was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 24 May 1940.
He was promoted to Major on 19 July 1940, took part in the Battle of Crete, and subsequently served with great distinction on the Eastern Front, first as a battalion then as a regimental commander. He was awarded the Oak-Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 20 April 1944 as Oberst in command of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1. Subsequently promoted to command 1. Fallschirm-Division, he fought in Italy on the Anzio-Nettuno bridgehead and at Monte Cassino. On 18 November he received the Swords addition to his Oak-Leaves. He was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor on 17 January 1945.
Karl-Lothar Schulz died of natural causes on 26 September 1972 in Wiesbaden.
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Wound Badge in Black
- German Cross in Gold on 26 February 1942 as Major in the III./Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Stockert 2007, p. 125.
- Thomas 1998, p. 302.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 429.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 691.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 393.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 82.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 46.
- Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
- 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.
- Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knights of the Wehrmacht Knight's Cross Holders of the Fallschirmjäger. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military. ISBN 978-0-88740-749-9.
- 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.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2005). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color III Radusch – Zwernemann] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-22-5.
- 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.
- Stockert, Peter (2007). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 5 [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 5] (in German). Bad Friedrichshall, Germany: Friedrichshaller Rundblick. OCLC 76072662.
- Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part II: Paratroopers] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1461-8.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Williamson, Gordon Williamson and Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves Recipients 1939-40 — Volume 114 of Elite Series. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-641-0.