Emil F. Reinhardt

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Emil Fred Reinhardt
Emil F. Reinhardt.jpg
Nickname(s) "Ducky"
Born October 27, 1888
West Bay City, Michigan, United States
Died July 24, 1969 (aged 80)
Fort Sam Houston, Texas, United States
Buried Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1910–1946
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Service number 0-2887
Unit USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands held 41st Machine Gun Battalion
20th Infantry Regiment
76th Infantry Division
XIII Corps
VIII Corps
69th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star (2)

Major General Emil Fred Reinhardt (October 27, 1888 – July 24, 1969) was a senior United States Army officer. He is most noted during World War II as commander of the 69th Infantry Division, which became the first American unit to come into contact with units of the Soviet Red Army.


Early life and military career[edit]

Emil Fredrich Reinhardt was born in West Bay City (now Bay City), Michigan on October 27, 1888, the son of Christoph L. Reinhardt and Seyville L. (Tomhafe) Reinhardt. He graduated from Bay City Western High School in 1906 and subsequently he attended the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. He graduated four years later in June 1910, at the age of 21, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Infantry Branch of the United States Army.[1] Among his fellow graduates were Ernest J. Dawley, David McCoach, Burton O. Lewis, John Millikin, Jack W. Heard, Oscar Griswold, Durward Saunders Wilson, James Muir, all of whom would, like Reinhardt, become general officers in the future.

After his graduation, Reinhardt served initially with the 26th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wayne, Michigan. Subsequent assignments included Texas City, Texas and the Philippines as a member of the 8th Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1916 and captain in 1917.

During World War I, which the United States entered in April 1917, Reinhardt was promoted to temporary major. Recognized as an effective trainer and instructor, he did not see service overseas during the war and instead remained in the United States, where he served at Camp Fremont in California, Camp Pike in Arkansas, and Camp Hancock in Georgia, primarily as an instructor of infantry tactics and in the use of machine guns. In January 1919, just two months after the war came to an end with the signing of the Armistice with Germany, he was assigned as commander of the 41st Machine Gun Battalion at Camp Custer, Michigan. In 1919 and 1920 he also commanded the Camp Custer Convalescent Center.

Between the wars[edit]

After the war Reinhardt was assigned to the 50th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School in 1923 and the U.S. Army War College in 1931. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1935 and colonel in 1939.

From 1934–1938, Reinhardt served as an instructor with Pennsylvania National Guard, and in 1938 was transferred to Washington, D.C. as the executive officer (XO) of the Washington Provisional Brigade.[2]

World War II[edit]

Reinhardt then served as commander of 20th Infantry Regiment until April 1941, when he was promoted to the general officer one-star rank of brigadier general.[3]

After his promotion, Reinhardt was appointed the assistant division commander (ADC) of the 7th Infantry Division, then under the command of Major General Charles H. White. His next assignment was at Camp Wolters, Texas, where he was appointed commanding general (CG) of the Infantry Replacement Training Center.[4]

In 1942, after the American entry into World War II, Reinhardt attended the Divisional Commanders Course at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and was then promoted to the two-star rank of major general on April 17, 1942 and also appointed the first CG of 76th Infantry Division.[5]

In September 1944 he was appointed commander of the 69th Infantry Division (United States) at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The division was sent to the Western Front in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) in December 1944 and entered combat in January 1945 when it relieved the battered 99th Division in Belgium. The division then attacked rapidly eastward, crossed the Rhine on March 27, 1945, and captured Leipzig in mid-April.

On April 25, 1945, during the Allies' rapid advance into Germany and towards the end of World War II in Europe, elements of the 69th Division reached the Elbe and became the first American unit to come into contact with the Soviet Red Army. After the end of the war the division was placed on occupation duty in Germany.

Major General Reinhardt returned to the United States in August 1945 and commanded the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. He served in this capacity until September 30, 1946, when he retired from the military service.


For his service during World War II, Major General Emil Reinhardt was awarded with Army Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, French Legion of Honour, Grade Officer, French Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 with Palm and Soviet Order of Suvorov, 2nd Class.[6] [7]

Reinhardt died on July 24, 1969, aged 80, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery together with his wife Laura Bishop Reinhardt (1887–1965).[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Major General Emil Reinhardt's ribbon bar:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster World War I Victory Medal Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
2nd Row American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three service stars World War II Victory Medal
3rd Row Army of Occupation Medal Officer of the Legion of Honour French Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 with Palm Soviet Order of Suvorov, 2nd Class

In film[edit]

Emil F. Reinhardt was portrayed by Stephen Lang in the 2016 World War II film Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the 4th Reich.


  1. ^ "Officers of the U.S. Army 1939-1945". unithistories.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  2. ^ "Biography of Major-General Emil Fred Reinhardt (1888 - 1969), USA". generals.dk. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  3. ^ "Officers of the U.S. Army 1939-1945". unithistories.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  4. ^ "Biography of Major-General Emil Fred Reinhardt (1888 - 1969), USA". generals.dk. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  5. ^ United States Military Academy. The Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point: 2004. Connecticut. Elm Press. 2004. pg. 2:110
  6. ^ "Valor awards for Emil Fred Reinhardt". militarytimes.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  7. ^ "West Point deceased search". apps.westpointaog.org. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  8. ^ "Emil F. Reinhardt (1888 - 1969) - Find a Grave Memorial". findagrave.com. 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 

External links[edit]

  • Generals.dk
  • [1] Papers of Emil F. Reinhardt, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
  • [2] Photograph of Major General Emil F. Reinhardt giving blood, Georgia State Archives. Retrieved 02-06-09.
Military offices
Preceded by
Newly activated post
Commanding General 76th Infantry Division
June 1942 – December 1942
Succeeded by
William R. Schmidt
Preceded by
Newly activated post
Commanding General XIII Corps
Succeeded by
Alvan C. Gillem
Preceded by
Daniel I. Sultan
Commanding General VIII Corps
Succeeded by
Troy H. Middleton
Preceded by
Charles L. Bolte
Commanding General 69th Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Robert V. Maraist