Rudolf Koch-Erpach

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Rudolf Koch-Erpach
Born 9 April 1886
Died 27 November 1971(1971-11-27) (aged 85)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1904–45
Rank General der Kavallerie
Commands held 8. Infanterie-Division
LVI. Panzerkorps
1. Armee

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Rudolf Koch-Erpach (9 April 1886 – 28 November 1971) was an officer in the German Army (Heer) during World War II.


Koch-Erpach was born in Munich, and eventually rose to the rank of General der Kavallerie (General of Cavalry). In 1939, he commanded the German 8th Infantry Division during the invasion of Poland. On 23 September 1939, Koch-Erpach was taken prisoner of war by Polish forces during the Battle of Krasnobród.

On 24 June 1940, after the Battle of France and while still commanding the German 8th Infantry Division, Koch-Erpach was awarded a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

From 1 November 1940 to 1 March 1941, Koch-Erpach commanded the German LX Corps. After a short break, he briefly commanded the XXXV Corps from 1 April 1941 to 1 May 1941.

Koch-Erpach commanded Military District VIII from 1 May 1942 to 26 January 1945. The headquarters for this military district was Breslau and the district included Silesia, Sudetenland, parts of Moravia, and parts of southwestern Poland. Military District VIII ceased operations in February 1945.

From 26 January 1945 to 10 April 1945, Koch-Erpach experienced another command of brief duration as commander of the LVI Panzer Corps.

In March 1945 Koch-Erpach and his H.Q were encircled by the Red Army near Oppeln—present-day Opole. To bring him out of there, Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner gave orders to an Estonian officer, Colonel Alfons Rebane from the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, famous for breaking out of circles . Rebane picked 4 Estonian volunteers from his group and brought Koch-Erpach and his H.Q to safety with no casualties. For this Koch-Erpach suggested Rebane to be awarded with Oak leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Later in 1945, Koch-Erpach was acting commander of the German 1st Army for two days before the war ended, from 6 May to 8 May. He died in Bad Boll.

Command history[edit]

  • 1934–1935 Commanding Officer, 3rd Cavalry Brigade
  • 1935–1940 General Officer Commanding, 8th Division
  • 1940–1941 General Officer Commanding, LX Corps
  • 1941 General Officer Commanding, XXXV Corps
  • 1941–1942 Chief of Liaison Staff, Breslau
  • 1942–1945 General Officer Commanding, Military District VIII
  • 1945 General Officer Commanding, LVI Panzer Corps
  • 1945 Acting General Officer Commanding, 1st Army

Awards and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 217.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 8. Infanterie-Division
15 October 1935 – 25 October 1940
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Gustav Höhne
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Johannes Block
Commander of LVI Panzer Corps
26 January 1945 – 10 April 1945
Succeeded by
General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Hermann Foertsch
Commander of 1. Armee
6 May 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by