Richard Heidrich

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Richard Heidrich
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L19501, Richard Heidrich.jpg
Richard Heidrich
Born (1896-07-27)27 July 1896
Lawalde, Kingdom of Saxony
Died 22 December 1947(1947-12-22) (aged 51)
Hamburg-Bergedorf, Germany
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Weimar Republic Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Luftwaffe
Rank General der Fallschirmtruppe
Commands held 7. Flieger-Division
1st Fallschirmjäger-Division
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

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

Richard Heidrich (27 July 1896 – 22 December 1947), 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.

Military career[edit]

Richard Heidrich volunteered for military service in World War I. He became an officer and won the Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse). After the war he was accepted by the Reichswehr, where he served in a number of posts in the infantry.

In 1938 Heidrich commanded the parachute battalion which he had formed as a Major in the infantry. Heidrich and his unit were transferred into the Luftwaffe on 1 January 1939. The Fallschirmjäger, while still in an early stage of formation, were thus augmented by a 2nd Battalion for the 1st Parachute Regiment. Heidrich was transferred to the staff of the 7th Air Division, but then left the Luftwaffe to lead the 514th Infantry Regiment in the Battle of France.

In June 1940 General Kurt Student was able to persuade Heidrich to transfer back to the Luftwaffe. He then formed the 3rd Parachute Regiment which he led with great success in the Battle of Crete.

In November 1942 Heidrich commanded the 1st Parachute Division, which was deployed on the Eastern Front. Starting 12 July 1943, the 1st Parachute Division was deployed to Sicily to counter the Allied invasion of the island. The division was directly involved in fighting around the Primosole Bridge.

The 1st Parachute Divisions toughest fighting came after the Allied landings on the Italian mainland, particularly in the three battles of Monte Cassino. Elements of the division under Heidrich's command also participated in the fighting at Anzio-Nettuno. As commanding general of the I Parachute Corps, Heidrich oversaw the corps’ withdrawal up the entire length of Italy.

Richard Heidrich was captured by the Americans on 2 May 1945 and was later handed over to the British. He died in a hospital in Hamburg-Bergedorf on 22 December 1947.

Awards[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 9 June 1941 Die unter Führung von Generalmajor Meindl, Oberst Heidrich, Oberst Bräuer, Oberst Ramke und Oberst Sturm stehenden Fallschirmverbände schufen in harten Kämpfen die entscheidenden Voraussetzungen für die Eroberung von Kreta.[4] The parachute units under the leadership of Major General Meindl, Colonel Heidrich, Colonel Bräuer, Colonel Ramke and Colonel Sturm, created in hard fighting, the crucial conditions for the conquest of Crete.
24 December 1943 In diesen Kämpfen zeichnete sich die 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision unter Führung von Generalleutnant Heidrich durch beispielhafte Standhaftigkeit besonders aus.[5] In these battles especially distinguished itself the 1st Parachute Division under the command of Lieutenant General Heidrich through exemplary steadfastness.
25 March 1944 Die mit starken Kräften während des ganzen Tages gegen den Ost- und Nordteil geführten Angriffe brachen am zähen Widerstand der dort unter Führung des Generalleutnants Heidrich eingesetzten 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision zusammen.[6] The attacks of strong forces throughout the day, targeted against the eastern and northern part, collapsed by the stubborn resistance of the here deployed 1st Parachute Division under the leadership of Lieutenant General Heidrich.
29 June 1944 Bei den schweren Abwehrkämpfen in diesem Abschnitt haben sich die 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision unter Generalleutnant Heidrich und die 334. Infanteriedivision unter Generalmajor Böhlke durch besondere Tapferkeit und Standhaftigkeit ausgezeichnet.[7]

In the heavy defensive battles in this sector have the 1st Parachute Division under Lieutenant-General Heidrich and the 334th Infantry Division under Major General Böhlke distinguished themselves by showing bravery and steadfastness.

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 259.
  2. ^ Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 172.
  3. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 374.
  4. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 555.
  5. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, pp. 632–633.
  6. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 65.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 142.
Bibliography
  • 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. 
  • 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 (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. 
  • 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; 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 (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 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
  • 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
Generalleutnant Erich Petersen
Commander of 7. Flieger-Division
August 1, 1942 – May 1, 1943
Succeeded by
1st Fallschirmjäger-Division
Preceded by
1. Flieger-Division
Commander of 1st Fallschirmjäger-Division
May 1, 1943 – November 18, 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Karl-Lothar Schulz