Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski
Hermann Leopold August von Oppeln-Bronikowski
|Born||2 January 1899|
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
|Died||19 September 1966 (aged 67)|
Gaißach, Bavaria, West Germany
|Allegiance|| German Empire|
|Commands held||20th Panzer Division|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
World War II
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski (2 January 1899 – 19 September 1966) was an Olympic equestrian, winning a gold medal in the team dressage at the 1936 Olympics. He later served as a panzer general during World War II.
He won an Iron Cross in 1918 as a lieutenant during World War I. During World War II, in Poland in 1939 and then the Russian Front where he served with distinction, having several panzers shot out from under him and personally leading several ad hoc attacks. He was considered an excellent panzer commander, but had problems with higher authority as he was an excessive drinker. An Oberst commanding the 100th Panzer Division at Falaise, France; he was visited at 8.15 on 11 May 1944 by Rommel, who is satisfied with the forces' defensive preparations, but says to him – You're lazy stinkers, what happens if the enemy invasion begins before 8.30! Von Oppeln (who had gone to sleep in his now crumpled and tobacco-smelling uniform, and still has alcohol on his breath) could only reply Catastrophe and Rommel laughs. Von Oppeln led a panzer counter-attack on the invading forces immediately after the D-Day Invasion, and was told by his commanding officer that if he did not throw the British back into the sea, the war would be lost. The counter-attack subsequently failed. Some of his panzers managed to reach the coast, but were soon forced to withdraw. D Day was the major turning point of the war in the west, and as well as being there and leading the Whermachts last chance counter attack, he had also been present at the Eastern fronts turning point battle too. He led the doomed counter attack of 22nd Panzer division on 19th November 1942 against the Soviet attack that encircled Stalingrad. So he led both of the German attacks that failed, and sealed the fate of their respective campaigns.
He commanded the 20th Panzer Division and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
He died of a heart attack in 1966.
- Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class (28 May 1918) & 1st Class (14 October 1918)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (25 September 1939) & 1st Class (10 November 1939)
- German Cross in Gold on 7 August 1943 as Oberst in Panzer-Regiment 11
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- 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 Militaer-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.