Karl Mauss

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Karl Mauss
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2006-0822-500, Gotenhafen, Generalleutnant Karl Mauss.jpg
Dr. Karl Mauss
Born (1898-05-17)17 May 1898
Ploen in Schleswig-Holstein
Died 9 February 1959(1959-02-09) (aged 60)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1922)
 Nazi Germany
Years of service 1914–22, 1934–45
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Unit 10th Panzer Division
7th Panzer Division
Commands held Panzergrenadier-Regiment 33
7th Panzer Division

World War I

Silesian Uprisings

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Other work Dentist

Dr. med. dent. Karl Mauss[Notes 1] (17 May 1898 – 9 February 1959) was one of the most distinguished tank commanders of the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was a lieutenant general and commander of the 7th Panzer Division, and one of only 27 ever to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early career[edit]

Karl Mauss was born on 17 May 1898 in Plön in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He was the first child of Karl Mauss and his wife Minna, née Lohoff. He had a younger sister Anneliese and brother Wilhelm. In 1914, at only sixteen years of age he volunteered to serve during World War I.[1] Thanks to his obstinacy and the support of his father, he was accepted and joined Jägerregiment 162, serving during the war at Arras, La Bassee, Flanders, Somme and Isonzo. In 1915, barely seventeen as the youngest man in the division, he was awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd class for distinguishing himself as the best scout in the region during the Battle of the Somme.[2] The year after, he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant (becoming one of the youngest commissioned officers of the entire army) and, a short time later after the transfer of his division to the East into the Carpathians, received the Iron Cross, 1st class.

Following World War I Mauss joined the Freikorps Oberland and Marinebrigade Ehrhardt and fought in the Silesian Uprisings. He stayed in military service until 1922. He then moved to Hamburg to study dentistry at the University of Hamburg, and attained his doctorate on 1 March 1929. He then opened a dental surgery in Lübeck.[3] While at university he was an active member of the Burschenschaft Germania in Hamburg. Apparently, civilian life did not suit him, so he re-enlisted as a captain in 1934, serving with Infanterieregiments 69 in Hamburg. He was promoted to Major on 1 April 1938.

World War II & Post-war career[edit]

At the start of the war, Mauss served with the 20th motorized infantry division, with which he participated in the 1939 Invasion of Poland. In May 1940 his 10th Panzer Division traveled west to take part in the Battle of France together with Heinz Guderian's XIX Army Corps.

Already in these first engagements Mauss successfully utilized his war experiences from 1914/18, his energy and enthusiasm transferring to his men. In the second phase of the French campaign, Mauss participated in the battles against the French 7th Army.

Mauss, now lieutenant colonel (promoted on 1 April 1941), also fought in the Soviet campaign, Operation Barbarossa, from its outset. In November 1941, when his battalion successfully defended their positions on the bridgehead by Ugra despite heavy Soviet attacks and calamitous weather conditions, Mauss was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

In the year 1942 Mauss was promoted to Colonel, and after leading his troops with small losses from the Battle of Kursk, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross in November, 1943. In January 1944 he took command of the famous 7th Panzer Division. In April the same year, he was promoted to Major General. Furthermore, on 23 October 1944 he received the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords before he was seriously injured by artillery shell fragments in February 1945 in Gotenhafen and had a leg amputated. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in April, and received as the last commander of the 7th Panzer division the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds on 15 April 1945.

Following the surrender to British troops, Mauss learned that his wife, mother of his three children Gisella, Karl, and Hansjuergen, had died. A request to go to Lübeck for the funeral was denied. In 1949 he remarried and a year later his son Dietrich was born.[4]

After the war Mauss worked as a dentist in his own practice. His request for re-enlistment was rejected by the Bundeswehr for health reasons. Karl Mauss died of a heart attack following a lengthy illness on 9 February 1959 in Hamburg, at the age of 60.


Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
13 March 1944 In den schweren Abwehrkämpfen der letzten Tage haben sich im Raum östlich von Tarnopol die 1. SS-Panzerdivision "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" unter der stellvertretenden Führung des Obersturmbannführers Lehmann und die thüringische 7. Panzerdivision unter Oberst Dr. Mauß hervorragend bewährt.[9] During the heavy defensive battles of the past few days in the area east of Tarnopol, the first SS-Panzer-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" under the deputy leadership of Obersturmbannführer Lehmann and the Thuringian 7th Panzer-Division under Colonel Dr. Mauss have proved themselves to be excellent.
15 August 1944 (addendum) Durch den heldenhaften Widerstand der Truppen dieses Korps wurde unter entscheidender Beteiligung der 7. Panzerdivision unter Generalmajor Mauß der angestrebte Durchbruch in den Raum nördlich Tilsit verhindert und die Voraussetzung für eine weitere erfolgreiche Verteidigung der ostpreußischen Grenze geschaffen.[10] Due to the heroic resistance of the troops of this corps, with decisive participation of the 7th Panzer-Division under Major General Mauß, was the intended breakthrough in the area north of Tilsit prevented, and thus laid the foundation for a further successful defense of the East Prussian border.
20 February 1945 (addendum) Bei den schweren Kämpfen um Elbing hat sich der mit den Schwertern zum Eichenlaub des Ritterkreuzes ausgezeichnete Kommandeur der 7. Panzerdivision, Generalleutnant Mauß, durch hohe persönliche Tapferkeit und Entschlußkraft besonders hervorgetan. Bei einem Vorstoß aus Elbing nach Westen feuerte er, an der Spitze seiner Division selbst mit dem Maschinengewehr kämpfend, seine Soldaten durch Vorbild zu hervorragenden Taten an.[11] In the heavy combat around Elbing, has the with the Swords to the Oak Leaves of the Knight's Cross awarded commander of the 7th Panzer-Division, Lieutenant General Mauss, excelled through high personal bravery and determination. During an advance from Elbing to the west, he encouraged at the head of his division, himself fighting with the machine gun, by example his troops to great deeds.


  1. ^ In German a Doctor of Medical Dentistry is abbreviated as Dr. med. dent. (Doctor medicinae dentariae).


  1. ^ Fraschka 1994, p. 325.
  2. ^ Fraschka 1994, p. 326.
  3. ^ "Über uns". Zahnarztpraxis Mauss (in German). Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Fraschka 1994, p. 337.
  5. ^ a b c d Thomas 1998, p. 64.
  6. ^ Berger 1999, p. 212.
  7. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 299.
  8. ^ a b c d Scherzer 2007, p. 531.
  9. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 56.
  10. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 203.
  11. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 454.
  • 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 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. 
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 978-0-88740-580-8. 
  • Huß, Jürgen; Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Bearers of the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck 1939–1945] (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 978-3-925480-79-9. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 (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 (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-644-7. 
  • 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]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberst Wolfgang Gläsemer
Commander of 7th Panzer Division
30 January 1944 – 2 May 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Gerhard Schmidhuber
Preceded by
Generalmajor Gerhard Schmidhuber
Commander of 7th Panzer Division
9 September 1944 – 31 October 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Hellmuth Mäder
Preceded by
Generalmajor Hellmuth Mäder
Commander of 7th Panzer Division
30 November 1944 – 5 January 1945
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Max Lemke
Preceded by
Generalmajor Max Lemke
Commander of 7th Panzer Division
23 January 1945 – 23 March 1945
Succeeded by
Oberst Hans Christern