Hans Schmidt (Generalleutnant)

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Hans Schmidt
Schmidt, Hans (1895).jpg
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1914–1945
Rank Generalleutnant
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Hans Schmidt (b. 14 March 1895 in Bayreuth, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire; d. 28 November 1971 in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, FRG) was a German officer of the Imperial German Army, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, at last Generalleutnant of the Heer during World War II and Recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Life

Hans Schmidt joined the Königlich Bayerisches 7. Infanterie-Regiment „Prinz Leopold“ of the Royal Bavarian Army as part of the Imperial German Army on 10 August 1914 as an officer candidate (Fahnenjunker). On 24 June 1915 he was promoted to lieutenant in the Königlich Bayerisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 23. As such, he was then deployed as a company officer. In World War I he was not only wounded, which was reflected in the award of the Wound Badge in Black. During the First World War he was awarded both Iron Crosses and other awards. After the end of the war he was accepted as a lieutenant in the Vorläufige Reichswehr. In the 200,000-man transitional army in the spring of 1920, he belonged to the 46th Reichswehr Infantry Regiment.

When the 100,000-man army of the Reichswehr was formed, he was then transferred to the 21st (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment. In this he was then used for the next few years as a company officer. On October 1, 1923 he was promoted to Oberleutnant. He was then as such no later than the spring as adjutant of the III. Battalions of the 21st (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment deployed in Bayreuth. In 1924/25 he was then transferred as a company officer to the 12th (MG) company of the 21st (Bavarian) infantry regiment, also in Bayreuth. He was then used for several years. On May 1, 1928, he was promoted to captain and commander of the 15th company of the 21st (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment in Erlangen. He was again employed in this function for several years. In 1931/32 he was appointed chief of the 2nd company of the 21st (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment in Würzburg. When the Reichswehr expanded into the Wehrmacht, he was promoted to major. When the associations were exposed, he was promoted as such on October 15, 1935 to the commander of the III. Battalions of the 41st Infantry Regiment in Erlangen. As such, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 1, 1938. At the beginning of World War II he led his battalion in the summer of 1939 in the Polish campaign. At the end of January 1940 he relinquished his command. He was appointed commander of Infantry Replacement Regiment 46 in Bayreuth. After a few weeks he relinquished his command and was transferred to the leader reserve. At the beginning of April 1940 he was appointed commander of the 245th Infantry Regiment. Then he led his regiment at the end of spring 1940 in the second part of the Western Campaign (Westfeldzug). On November 1, 1940 he was promoted to colonel. At the end of 1941 he led his regiment in the Eastern Campaign in the attack on southern Russia. Even when the regiment was renamed Grenadier Regiment 245, he was still its commander.

On January 27, 1943, he was appointed as the successor to Generalleutnant Robert Meissner to lead the 68th Infantry Division in the Voronezh area. On April 1, 1943 he was promoted to major general. He was then appointed commander of the 68th Infantry Division. He continued to lead the division in heavy fighting in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. On April 21, 1943 he was awarded the German Cross in Gold. On October 1, 1943 he was then promoted to Generalleutnant. In the fall of 1943 he relinquished his command of the 68th Infantry Division. He was then transferred again to the Führerreserve. In early December 1943 he was then appointed commander of the 275th Infantry Division in western France were he fought during the Invasion at Normandy. Schmidt was wounded on September 12, 1944 west of Fouron le Comte not far from the West Wall, a staff officer and his driver were shot, he managed to walk back to his own lines with a gunshot wound. An attempt to free the captured comrades failed.

On October 10, 1944, during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, he relinquished his command of the division (officially commander until 22 November 1944, but deputized by Knight's Cross recipient Oberst, later Generalmajor, Helmut Bechler) due to his wounds and was again transferred to the Führerreserve. On October 16, 1944, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his previous work. In mid-December 1944 he was appointed commander of the new 275th Infantry Division in the Flensburg area. With this he was then transferred to the Eastern Front. He remained in command until the division was destroyed in the spring of 1945 in the Halbe pocket (Kessel von Halbe).

On May 6, 1945, Schmidt was taken prisoner of war by the British near Tangermünde. It is said that he was finally handed over to the US-Americans, which was not unusual, presumably for use by the Operational History (German) Section of the Historical Division of the United States Army. Released from captivity in 1947, he took up residence in Weiden in the Upper Palatinate. On 21 December 1953, he became a corps ribbon wearer (Corps) at Guestphalia Erlangen. He worked successfully as an insurance salesman until 1970. In his hometown of Bayreuth, he was chairman of the Bavarian Soldiers' Association (Bayerischer Soldatenbund) for many years.

Family

Hans was the son of wholesaler Georg Schmidt and his wife Johanna, née Heinz (d. 1922). On 8 September 1921, Leutnant Schmidt married his fiancée Sophie Münch (b. 1901). They had two daughters born 1929 and 1932.

Promotions

  • 10 August 1914 Fahnenjunker
  • 24 June 1915 Leutnant (without Patent)
    • 9 October 1917 received Patent as Leutnant back-dated to 15 November 1913
    • 1 July 1922 received new rank seniority (Rangdienstalter) from 1 April 1914
  • 1 October 1923 Oberleutnant
  • 1 May 1928 Hauptmann
  • 1 March 1935 Major
  • 1 January 1938 Oberstleutnant
  • 1 November 1940 Oberst
  • 20 April 1943 Generalmajor with rank seniority (Rangdienstalter) from 1 April 1943
  • 8 October 1943 Generalleutnant with rank seniority (Rangdienstalter) from 1 October 1943

Awards and decorations

Career (in German)

Writings

Further reading

  • Walther-Peer Fellgiebel: Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German), Podzun-Pallas, Wölfersheim 2000, ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6
    • English: 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, expanded edition, 2000
  • Klaus D. Patzwall / Veit Scherzer: Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941–1945 Geschichte und Inhaber, Band II (in German), Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt 2001, ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8
  • Veit Scherzer: 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 (in German), Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag, Jena 2007, ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2

References

  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 310.