Rudolf Veiel

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Rudolf Veiel

Rudolf Veiel (b. 10 December 1883 in Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire; d. 19 March 1956 in Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany) was a German officer of the Army of Württemberg, the Imperial German Army, the Freikorps, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, at last General der Panzertruppe and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II.

Life

Signature
Career
General der Panzertruppe Veiel greeting German POWs of the Afrika Korps, who have returned home after a prisoner exchange with the British.
Family grave

After Veiel's Abitur at the Gymnasium around Easter 1904 he joined the the Ulanen-Regiment “König Karl” (1. Württembergisches) Nr. 19 in Ulm as an officer candidate (Fahnenjunker) and was commissioned to Leutnant 1905. At the beginning of World War I, Veiel was a commander of a Squadron in the Württemberg Reserve-Dragoon-Regiment. He served in this regiment until the end of the war.

After World War I, Veiel was adjutant by the Gruppenkommando West, then a member of the Freikorps (Freiwilligen-Abteilung Haas) in Württemberg (1919). He was adjutant of the 27th Division (2. Königlich Württembergische), adjutant of the higher Auflösungsstabs 51, leader of the Feldkolonne 49 and then served in the Reichswehr-Fahr-Abteilung 13 of the Reichswehr-Brigade 13.

From 1 October 1920, he was in the 18th (Saxon) Cavalry Regiment (Reiterregiment 18) of the Reichswehr. From 1 June 1923, Veiel commanded the 2nd Squadron of the 10th (Prussian) Cavalry Regiment where he was promoted to Major on 1 February 1927. In the same year, Veiel became an adjutant in 3rd Cavalry Division. He stayed in this division as an adjutant until 1 April 1931 when he became an Oberstleutnant.

From 1 November 1932 to 1 October 1935, Veiel commanded the 18th Cavalry Regiment. He then commanded the 2nd Rifle Brigade (2. Schützenbrigade) until 1 February 1938 when he was given command of the 2nd Panzer Division, serving in the Sudetenland and in Austria, when it joined the German Reich.

WW II

In the early stages of World War II, as commander of the 2nd Panzer Division, Veiel played a distinguished role in the Poland campaign in 1939, during the Western campaign in 1940, during Yugoslavia and Greece (Balkanfeldzug) in 1941, and of the Soviet Union in 1941. On 3 June 1940, for his achievements as a divisional commander, Veiel was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The following wartime excerpt (dated 30.08.1940) describes why Veiel received the Knight’s Cross…

“Generalleutnant Rudolf Veiel broke through the Belgian border fortifications with his Panzer-Division and then forced a crossing over the Maas river north of Sedan. Thereafter his troops succeeding in breaking through to the Channel coastline in the direction of Boulogne under his outstanding personal leadership.”

Since the 19th February 1942 he led the XXXXVIII. Armeekorps (48th), later known as the XXXXVIII. Panzerkorps. On 1 April 1942, after the German defeat at Moscow, Veiel became General der Panzertruppe. After 28 September 1942, Veiel was made Chief of revitalization in the Headquarters of the Army Group Center (Kommandierender General im Auffrischungsbereich Mitte). He continued in this position until 6 June 1943.

In September 1943 General Veiel was Commanding General of Battle Sector V (Wehrkreis V) in Stuttgart (Kommandierender General des stellvertretenden V. Armeekorps und Befehlshaber im Wehrkreis V). In FMS B-193 he writes:

"On 1 September 1943 I took over from my predecessor, General der Infanterie Osswald, command of the Deputy Army Area V and was therewith simultaneously commander in Wehrkreis V and in Alsace. On 15 April 1945 I gave up the command over the Wehrkreis and Alsace to General der Artillerie Felzmann."

And yet most searches on Google say that Veiel was relieved of command of Wehrkreis V because of his behaviour on 20 July and replaced by Hans Schmidt. This is not accurate, although Generalleutnant Wilhelm Burgdorf had planned to place him in the Führerreserve of the OKH around 30 September 1944 and to dismiss him afterwards because of age. The Reichsführer-SS and Chief of Army Equipment and Commander of the Replacement Army (Chef der Heeresrüstung and Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres) informs that:

"The commander of Military District V, General der Panzertruppe Veiel, exactly like many other deputy commanding generals, received the orders of the traitors von Witzleben and von Stauffenberg in the night of 20th to the 21st of July 1944. According to him [Veiel], he initially tried to clarify the situation in Berlin, however didn't attempt to do anything else. Especially, he omitted to inform the Gauleiter. Later – I do not know the exact time – he rightly reported his intended political advisor from Karlsruhe, the lawyer [and member of the] Centre Party Frank [Reinhold Frank, 1896–1945, one of the conspirators] to the Geheime Staatspolizei Gestapo so that he could be arrested. I cannot assess if and to what degree the General's conduct was culpable. However, I feel obliged to report the aforementioned. According to my experience, General Veiel is an unpolitical soldier, and although he is no opponent of National Socialism, he is no advocate either. General Veiel never neglected cooperation with the Party authorities and myself. I can even say the opposite, that the General was keen to be on the best possible terms with the Party."

On 16 April 1945 he was put in the Officer Reserve (Führerreserve) of the Army High Command (Oberkommando des Heeres or OKH). After World War II, Rudolf Veiel spent two years in American captivity. On 12 May 1947, he was released and returned home to his family.

Death

General der Panzertruppe a. D. Rudolf Veiel died on 19 March 1956 in his hometown of Stuttgart and was buried in the family grave on the cemetery "Pragfriedhof"; final resting place: section (Abteilung) 34, row (Reihe) 11, grave (Grab) 1.

Family

Rudolf was the son of the Imperial Judicial Council (Reichsgerichtsrat) at the Reichsgericht in Lepzig (III. Zivilsenats Leipzig) Ludwig Alfred von Veiel (1845–1905), who was also a member of the Reichstag. His mother was Hedwig von Veiel, née Kleiner (1857–1920). Rittmeister Veiel married on 6. October 1916 his fiancée Elisabeth Diefenbach. They had two children, the daughter was born 1917, the son 1919.

Promotions (day, month, year)

  • 4.4.1904 Fahnenjunker
  • 18.8.1905 Leutnant with Patent vom 17.2.1904
  • 25.2.1913 Oberleutnant mit Patent vom 18.2.1913
  • 24.12.1914 Rittmeister
    • 1.2.1922 new rank seniority from 24.12.1914 received
  • 1.2.1927 Major
  • 1.4.1931 Oberstleutnant
  • 1.12.1933 Oberst
  • 1.1.1937 Generalmajor
  • 1.10.1938 Generalleutnant
  • 12.4.1942 General der Panzertruppe with rank seniority from 1.4.1942

Awards and decorations

  • Iron Cross, 2nd and 1st Class
  • Military Merit Order (Württemberg), Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz) on 2 August 1917 (WMV3/WM3)
  • Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award (Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung), 4th to 1st Class, 1936
  • Anschluss Medal (Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13. März 1938)
  • Sudetenland Medal (Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938) with Spange Prager Burg (The Prague Castle bar)
  • Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class on 18 September 1939
    • 1st Class on 29 September 1939
  • Wound Badge (1939) in Black on 3 November 1941
  • Eastern Medal (Ostmedaille)
  • Order of Military Merit (Bulgaria), Grand Cross with War Decoration (Kriegsdekoration) on 15 August 1941
  • Knights Cross of the Iron Cross on 3 June 1940 as Generalleutnant and Komamndeur of the 2. Panzer-Division
    • he was also nominated for the Oak Leaves, this was declined on 19 January 1942

External links