SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl (Luftwaffe)
PW NO: A451668
RANK: General der Fallschirmtruppe
DATE: 25 May 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 16
PLACE OF BIRTH: Donaueschingen
DATE OF DEATH: 24 January 1951
PLACE OF DEATH: München
OCCUPATION: Regular Air
NEXT OF KIN:
27 July 1912
22 March 1913
17 February 1914 – Patent 21 February 1912
18 April 1917
1 August 1924
1 April 1934
1 August 1936
1 April 1939 – RDA later changed to 1 April 1938
1 January 1941
1 February 1943 – RDA 1 October 1942
der Fallschirmptruppe: 1 April 1944 (3)
July 1912-30 September 1919: Fahnenjunker, Battery Officer, Battery Leader
and Adjutant in the 2. Unter-Elsässisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.67
as well as Adjutant of Artillery Commander 52.
October 1919-30 September 1920: Battery Officer in Light Reichswehr Artillery
Regiment 13 (later redesignated Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 13) of Reichswehr-Brigade
October 1920-30 September 1924: Battery Officer in the 5th Artillery Regiment
upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional
October 1924-30 September 1925: Leader Assistant training with the staff
of Wehrkreis [Military District] Command V, Stuttgart.
October 1925-30 September 1926: Transferred to the staff of the 5th Division.
October 1926-30 September 1927: Transferred to the Army Organization Department
(T 2) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry.
October 1927-30 September 1928: Transferred to the staff of the II. Battalion
of the 5th Artillery Regiment.
October 1928-30 September 1929: Squadron Chief in the 5th Transport Battalion.
October 1929-30 September 1930: Hauptmann on the Staff of the 5th Artillery
October 1930-30 September 1931: Regimental Adjutant of the 5th Artillery
Regiment. [During this period, Hauptmann Meindl served as Adjutant to
the regimental commander, Oberst Ludwig Beck. After commanding the 1st
Cavalry Division, General der Artillerie Beck served as Chief of the Troop
Office from 1 October 1933-1 July 1935 and then Chief of the Army General
Staff from 1 July 1935-27 August 1938. He retired from the Army on 31
October 1931-14 September 1933: Hauptmann on the Staff of the 5th Artillery
September 1933-14 October 1935: Tactics Instructor at the Artillery School
October 1935-9 November 1938: Commander of the I. Battalion of Artillery
Regiment 5 of the 5th Infantry Division.
November 1938-9 August 1940: Commander of Mountain Artillery Regiment
112 of the 3rd Mountain Division. [After taking part in the invasion of
Poland in September 1939, Generalmajor Eduard Dietl’s 3rd Mountain Division
served on the Western Front until tasked to play a key role in Operation
“Weserübung,” the invasion of Denmark and Norway. On 9 April 1940, the
10 destroyers of Kommodore Friedrich Bonte’s Warship Group 1 transported
Dietl’s staff and 2,000 soldiers, primarily of Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 139
of the 3rd Mountain Division, to Narvik where the troops quickly captured
the town. After the loss of all 10 of the German destroyers in two separate
naval actions against the British in Narvik harbor, the 2,600 beached
crewmembers reinforced Dietl’s mountain troops defending the town.
With Narvik the key to the Norwegian campaign, an Anglo-French force landed
north of the town and, in conjunction with the Norwegians, began operations
to destroy Dietl’s isolated command. Reinforced by additional troops including
French Foreign Legionnaires and a Polish brigade and supported by naval
gunfire, the Allies recaptured Narvik on 28 May 1940. Forced into a small
pocket backed against the Swedish border, Dietl’s command, dangerously
low on supplies and ammunition, grimly clung to its reduced defensive
June 1940-31 October 1940: At the same time, Leader of Group “Meindl”
at Narvik, Norway. [On 7 June 1940, without any parachute training, Oberst
Meindl volunteered to jump with paratroopers and other reinforcement into
Norway to bolster Dietl’s beleaguered forces outside of Narvik. However,
unbeknownst to Dietl, the Allies had been quietly evacuating their forces
from Norway for the past several days due to the imminent collapse of
France. On the morning of 8 June 1940, Dietl’s troops reentered the deserted
town of Narvik effectively ending the Norwegian campaign.]
August 1940-31 October 1940: Leader Reserve – placed at the disposal of
the Commander of Wehrkreis Command XVIII, Salzburg.
August 1940-31 August 1940: At the same time, detached to the service
of the Luftwaffe Parachute Troops.
November 1940: Transferred from the Army to the Luftwaffe.
September 1940-25 February 1942: Commander of Parachute Air Landing Assault
Regiment 1 (Assault Regiment “Meindl”).
May 1941-1 June 1941: At the same time, Leader of Battle Group West during
Operation “Merkur” (Mercury), the German airborne invasion of Crete. [On
20 May 1941, Generalmajor Meindl’s assault regiment landed by parachute
and DFS 230 gliders in the vicinity of Maleme airfield on Crete. Parachuting
in west of Tavronitis along with his regimental staff, Meindl was badly
wounded by machinegun fire shortly after hitting the ground. Temporary
leadership of the regiment and Battle Group West passed to Oberst Hermann-Bernhard
Ramcke, who, along with 550
German reinforcements parachuted in the next day.
Ramcke led several battle groups
in the fierce fighting that culminated with the capture of Chania on 27
May 1941. The regiment suffered very heavy losses,
including one battalion commander and seven company commanders killed
in action, during the conquest of Crete.]
February 1942-30 September 1942: Commander of Division “Meindl” on the
Eastern Front. [The critical need for manpower during the disastrous Russian
winter of 1941-1942 forced the Germans to raise several regiments of excess
Luftwaffe personnel to plug gaps in the Eastern Front. Formed from the
staff of Parachute Air Landing Assault Regiment 1, Division “Meindl” was
established in northern Russia to control five geographically separated
Luftwaffe field regiments (numbered 1 through 5), a signals battalion
and a Luftwaffe ski battalion. The first such divisional sized Luftwaffe
field formation, Meindl’s command was not brought together as a coherent
whole until June 1942. The bulk of the division fought on the right flank
of the Demyansk salient while detached elements served to the south in
relief of the Cholm Pocket.]
Eugen Meindl (right), the Commander of Division “Meindl,” in conversation
with Generaloberst Ernst Busch, the Commander-in-Chief of the 16th Army,
in northern Russia, 1942. Note the Narvik Shield on Meindl’s left arm.
October 1942-1 August 1943: Commanding General of the XIII. Flieger-Korps
[Air Corps]. [Formed from the staff of his old command, Division “Meindl,”
with headquarters at Gross-Born in Germany, Generalmajor Meindl’s air
corps supervised the formation of 22 new Luftwaffe Field Divisions.]
October 1942-15 June 1943: At the same time, Commanding General of the
I Luftwaffe Field Corps (corps never actually formed; continued to be
listed as the XIII. Flieger-Korps on German orders of battle).
June 1943-20 July 1943: At the same time, detached to the Reich Air Ministry/L
July 1943-4 November 1943: At the same time, Inspector of the Luftwaffe Field
Formations (L In 18)/Reich Air Ministry.
Erwin Rommel, the commander-in-chief of Army Group B, visiting the headquarters
of the II. Fallschirm-Korps in France, 1944.
General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl
(Note his “KRETA” Campaign Cuff-Title and Luftwaffe Parachutist Badge);
Oberst Ernst Blauensteiner
(Note his Luftwaffe Parachutist Badge), Meindl’s chief of staff.
- 5 November
1943-25 May 1945: Commanding General of the II. Fallschirm [Parachute]-Korps.
[Formed from the XIII. Flieger-Korps, Meindl’s command completed formation
in February 1944 and was subordinated directly to the Commander-in-Chief West
in reserve near Paris. Placed at the disposal of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann’s
7th Army in May 1944, Meindl’s corps oversaw the formation and training of
the 3rd and 5th Fallschirmjäger-Divisions. Following the Allied landings in
Normandy on 6 June 1944, the II. Fallschirm-Korps with the 3rd Fallschirmjäger-Division
and the 17th SS-Panzer Grenadier Division “Götz von Berlichingen” deployed
from Brittany to counter U.S. forces in the area of St. Lô.
Following an unsuccessful bid to recapture Carentan in mid-June, Meindl’s
corps remained heavily engaged with American forces in the St. Lô sector for
the next two months.
Following the virtual destruction of the corps in the Falaise Pocket (see
below), Meindl’s command was refitted in Germany and then rushed to the Nijmegan
area of the Netherlands in September 1944 to counter Operation Market-Garden, the Allied airborne
and ground thrust against the lower Rhine. Assigned to Generaloberst Kurt
Student’s 1. Fallschrim-Armee
[Parachute Army], Meindl’s corps engaged the Allies on the Groesbeek Heights
southeast of Nijmegan during the battle. For further details on the
II. Fallschirm-Korps please refer to the profile of General der Fallschirmtruppe Alfred Schlemm also hosted on this
May 1945-29 September 1947: Prisoner of war.
January 1946 transferred from Camp 1 to Island Farm Special Camp 11
4th December 1946 transferred from Island Farm Special Camp 11 to Allendorf
30th September 1947 transferred to US custody for discharge
Cross of the Iron Cross: 14 June 1941, Generalmajor, Commander of Parachute
Air Landing Assault Regiment 1.
(No. 564): 31 August 1944, General der Fallschirmtruppe, Commanding General of the II. Fallschirm-Korps.
(No. 155): 8 May 1945, General der Fallschirmtruppe, Commanding General
of the II. Fallschirm-Korps.
Cross in Gold: 17 August 1942, Generalmajor, Commander of Division “Meindl.”
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 17 January 1916.
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 18 July 1915.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 10 June 1940.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 22 October 1939.
for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”): 9 August 1942.
Albert Order, Knight 2nd Class with Swords
Order of the Zähringer Lion, Knight 2nd Class with Swords
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration
War Medal (“Iron Crescent”)
Badge in Black – World War II award: 25 October 1941.
Shield: 10 November 1940.
Campaign Cuff-Title: 25 May 1943.
der Fallschirmtruppe Meindl in Normandy
the evening of 6 August 1944, Oberstleutnant von Kluge, the son of Generalfeldmarschall
Günther von Kluge, the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group B and Commander-in-Chief
West, visited General Meindl’s command post. Oberstleutnant von Kluge passed
on his father’s order for the II. Fallschirm-Korps to “hold its positions” so
that a major German panzer force could counterattack the rapidly advancing U.S.
Army the next morning. In his book Invasion—They’re Coming!, German author
Paul Carrel recounted Meindl’s reply to Oberstleutnant von Kluge:
convey to your father exactly what I’m going to say to you. The time
has come when Normandy can no longer be held. It cannot be held because
the troops are exhausted. This is the fault mainly of orders to hold
out in hopeless positions; but we are still being ordered to hold
out even now. The enemy will break through to the west of us and outflank
us. If your father knew what it means to operate against an enemy
with a downright fabulous command of the air, then he would know that
our only chance of doing anything useful at all is by attacking at
night. Tomorrow’s tank attack is going to be a failure…and all that’s
left for the grenadiers to do is to lie down and sacrifice their lives.
It’s heartbreaking to have to stand by and watch!
prediction proved accurate. The already depleted panzer divisions launched their
daylight counterattack (Operation “Lüttich”) against stubborn U.S. resistance
at Mortain and under the full weight of the overwhelming Allied tactical air
forces. After penetrating about five miles, the mauled panzer divisions ran
out of fuel. Rather than retreat, Adolf Hitler once again ordered the Army to
hold its dangerously exposed positions—an order that led to the encirclement
and virtual destruction of two German armies in the Falaise Pocket.
the German 5th Panzer Army and 7th Army almost completely encircled between
the advancing American and Anglo-Canadian-Polish forces, the remnants of Meindl’s
corps desperately held open a narrow corridor that allowed thousands of German
troops to escape. On the night of 19-20 August 1944, Meindl and his chief of
staff, Oberst Ernst Blauensteiner, each led an assault group formed from the
remnants of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division, the 7th Army staff and a few Waffen-SS
tanks in a last chance bid to escape from the Falaise Pocket.
After a desperate march through enemy-controlled territory, Meindl’s depleted
battle group finally broke free of the encirclement.
first photo depicts three senior German commanders during the Normandy
Campaign in the summer of 1944.
From left to right:
der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl, Commanding General of II. Fallschirm-Korps.
- The one-eyed
SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser, Commander-in-Chief of 7th Army
Dipl. Ing. Richard Schimpf, commander of 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division
Stephen. Osprey Campaign 24: Arnhem 1944 – Operation
‘Market Garden’. Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford, United Kingdom, 1993.
Paul. Invasion—They’re Coming! Ewald Osers, translator. Bantam Books,
New York, New York, 1984 printing.
Gordon A. Cross-Channel Attack – The United States Army in World War
II: The European Theater of Operations. Washington D.C.: Center of Military
History, United States Army, 1951.
Karl-Friedrich. Die Generale der Deutschen Luftwaffe, 1935-1945, Band
2 (Habermehl-Nuber). Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1991.
Roland. Krieg amd Eismeer: Gebirgsjäger im Kampf
um Narvik, Murmansk und die Murmanbahn. Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz,
Antonio J. Göring’s Grenadiers: The Luftwaffe Field
Divisions, 1942-1945. Axis Europa Books, Bayside, New York, 2002.
Jean Paul. “Operation Merkur: The German Invasion of Crete,” After
the Battle, Number 47 (1985), pp. 1-31.
M.J. Destroyer! German Destroyers in World War II. The Naval Institute
Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1983.
Earl F. The German Northern Theater of Operations,
1940-1945. Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-271, Washington, D.C.,
 On 10 April 1940, five British destroyers of the 2d Destroyer Flotilla
(Captain Bernard A.W. Warburton-Lee) entered Narvik harbor and, in the ensuing
battle sank two of the German destroyers and damaged three others. Kommodore
Bonte was killed in action when his destroyer, the Wilhelm Heidkamp (Z 21), was sunk during the action. The British lost two destroyers
in the battle including the HMS Hardy
aboard which Captain Warburton-Lee lost his life (posthumously awarded the
Victoria Cross). On 13 April 1940, the remaining German destroyers were
sunk at Narvik by the British battleship HMS Warspite
(Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth) supported by nine destroyers and aircraft. Fregattenkapitän Erich Bey, who took command of the destroyers at Narvik
from the fallen Bonte, fought a defensive action during which the Germans
severely damaged two of the British destroyers and caused one to go aground.
After expending their remaining ammunition, Bey ordered his surviving destroyers
to beach themselves in the Rombaksfjord.
 In December 1942, Division “Meindl” was reorganized
and redesignated the 21st Luftwaffe Field Division.
 To make good manpower losses incurred on
the Eastern Front, 22 field divisions were formed from surplus Luftwaffe
personnel beginning in September 1942. Initially remaining under Luftwaffe
administrative control, the field divisions generally suffered from poor
training and morale as well as shortages of equipment, artillery and vehicles.
Although originally intended for service in quiet sectors of the front and
occupation duties, the troops of the Luftwaffe field divisions often found
themselves in the thick of combat. Ill-suited for frontline service against
veteran Russian troops, the Luftwaffe divisions more often than not collapsed
when on the receiving end of an attack. Effective 1 November 1943, the surviving
Luftwaffe field divisions were transferred to Army control.
 Numerous divisions and elements thereof would
ultimately pass in and out of II. Fallschirm-Korps control during the Normandy
campaign. The 5th Fallschirmjäger-Division was initially held in 7th Army
reserve before being committed to battle under the LXXXIV Army Corps on
the left flank of the II. Fallschirm-Korps.
 On 12 June 1944, Meindl briefly assumed leadership
of the LXXXIV Army Corps following the death of General der Artillerie Erich
Marcks in an air attack near Carentan. Arriving the next day, General der
Artillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher took command of the corps.
 On 4 November 1944, General der Fallschirmtruppe
Alfred Schlemm replaced Generaloberst Student as commander-in-chief of the
1. Fallschirm-Armee. Both Student and Schlemm were later held as prisoners
of war at Island Farm Special Camp 11.
 On 20 August 1944, Generalleutnant Dipl.
Ing. Richard Schimpf, the commander of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division,
was severely wounded in the leg during the breakout from the Falaise Pocket.
He remained hospitalized and in convalescence until 6 January 1945 when
he resumed command of the division.