NAME: General der Fallschirmtruppe Alfred Schlemm (Luftwaffe)
RANK: General der Fallschirmtruppe
DATE: 8 May 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 18
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rudolstadt/Thüringen
DATE OF DEATH: 24 January
PLACE OF DEATH: Ahlten bei Hannover
OCCUPATION: Regular Air
NEXT OF KIN:
8 March 1913
20 October 1913
19 June 1914 (Patent 23 June 1912)
16 September 1917
1 June 1925
1 June 1934 (RDA 1 February 1933)
1 September 1935 (RDA 1 August 1935)
1 February 1938
1 June 1940
1 June 1942
der Flieger: 30 January 1943 (without RDA)
der Flieger: 15 March 1943 (RDA 1 March 1943 (2))
General der Fallschirmtruppe: 4 November 1944
March 1913-19 October 1913: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the
2. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment Nr.56.
October 1913-18 June 1914: Detached to the Danzig War School.
June 1914-30 September 1919: Platoon Leader, Ordonnanzoffizier, Battery Commander
and Regimental Adjutant in Field Artillery Regiment 56.
October 1919-30 September 1920: On the staff of the Artillery Commander
of Reichswehr-Brigade 5 and, at the same time, on the staff of Artillery
Leader 5/Border Defense East.
October 1920-31 December 1920: On the staff of the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery
Regiment and, at the same time, on the staff of Artillery Leader 3.
January 1921-30 September 1922: Leader Assistant training with the staff
of Wehrkreis [Military District] Command III, Berlin.
October 1922-30 September 1924: Platoon Leader in the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery
October 1924-30 September 1925: General Staff training in the Army Training
Department (T 4) of the Reich Defense Ministry.
October 1925-28 February 1930: General Staff Officer in the Army Department
(T1) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry. [This department was responsible for the operational planning of
the Army. As such, it handled all matters relating to the internal and
external military situation, border defense, land fortifications, troop
employment and organization, military transportation and military measurement,
mapping and charting.]
March 1930-30 September 1932: Battery Chief in the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery
October 1932-30 September 1934: Consultant in the Army Training Department
(T4) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry.
[This department was responsible for military training (also for the officers),
military training maneuvers and the collection of lessons learned.]
October 1934-15 October 1935: Operations Officer (Ia) on the staff of
Wehrkreis [Military District] III, Berlin.
October 1935-30 September 1936: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General
Staff of the III Army Corps, Berlin.
October 1936-30 September 1937: Detached to the Armed Forces Academy,
October 1937-31 January 1938: Detached to the Reich Air Ministry.
February 1938: Transferred from the Army to the Luftwaffe.
February 1938-31 May 1938: Appointed an Oberst in the Luftwaffe General
June 1938-4 October 1939: Chief of Staff of Air Defense Zone West.
October 1939-14 December 1940: Chief of Staff of Luftgau [Air Zone] XI
commanded by Generalleutnant Ludwig Wolff (headquartered at Hannover and
then Hamburg from March 1940).
December 1940-6 February 1942: Chief of Staff of the XI. Fliegerkorps
[Air Corps]. [Commanded by General der Flieger Kurt Student, the XI. Fliegerkorps
served as the controlling headquarters staff of Germany’s parachute and
air landing forces.
After overrunning Yugoslavia and mainland Greece in April 1941, the Germans
prepared for the final stage of their Balkan conquest: Operation “Merkur”
(Mercury), the airborne invasion of Crete. On 20 May 1941, the XI. Fliegerkorps
opened its attack by dropping two massive waves of paratroopers and glider-borne
troops from Generalleutnant Wilhelm Süßmann’s 7th Flieger-Division onto
Reinforced by Generalmajor Julius Ringel’s 5th Mountain Division (plus
a regiment from the 6th Mountain Division), Student’s forces captured
their primary objectives—Maleme, Canae, Retimo and Heraklion—despite incurring
heavy casualties and facing determined resistance. On 1 June 1941, the
last British and Dominion troops who had not been evacuated from Crete
surrendered to the Germans north of Sphakia. At a cost of least 6,000
dead, the conquest of Crete effectively ended all future plans for large-scale
German airborne operations.]
February 1942-11 February 1942: Detached to the area of the General Command
of the VIII. Fliegerkorps (Generaloberst Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen)
on the Eastern Front.
February 1942-31 May 1942: Commander of Luftwaffen-Gefechtsverbande [Battle
Formation] Schlemm on the Eastern Front. [NOTE:
To date, no information has been found detailing the operational history,
composition and size of Luftwaffen-Gefechtsverbande Schlemm. The German
Army Kriegsgliederung dated 22 April 1942 indicates “Gruppe Schlemm (Luftwaffen-Verbande)”
was assigned to the XXXX Panzer Corps. The Kriegsgliederung dated 11 May
1942 and 24 June 1942 lists “Gruppe Schlemm (Luftwaffen-Verbande)” serving
with the LVI Panzer Corps. Both corps were components of General der Infanterie
Gotthard Heinrici’s 4th Army under Army Group Center.
June 1942-30 September 1942: Commander of the 1. Flieger-Division [Air
Division] on the Eastern Front. [Headquartered at Dugino, Schlemm’s air
division controlled various Luftwaffe air and ground support units under
General der Flieger Robert Ritter von Greim’s Luftwaffe Command East.]
October 1942-31 December 1943: Commanding General of the II Luftwaffe
Field Corps on the Eastern Front and in Italy. [After formation in Russia,
Schlemm’s corps took control of the 3rd, 4th and 6th Luftwaffe Field Divisions.
Later joined by the previously battered 2nd Luftwaffe Field Division,
Schlemm’s four divisions held the line from south of Nevel to the Dvina
River east of Vitebsk under the 3rd Panzer Army of Army Group Center.
In February-March 1943, the II Luftwaffe Field Corps participated in Operation
“Kugelblitz” (Ball Lightning) against the partisan infested region of
Surazh Rayon northeast of Vitebsk. On 6 October 1943, a major Russian
attack by two armies of the Kalinin Front crushed the 2nd Luftwaffe Field
Division (many of its inexperienced troops broke and ran) resulting in
a 10-mile rip in the German lines and the capture of Nevel. By the end
of the month, the entire II Luftwaffe Field Corps had fallen back to new
positions west of Gorodok. Pulled from the line in November 1943, Schlemm’s
corps released its four divisions to the LIII and IX Army Corps and began
transferring to Italy. Redesignated the I. Fallschirm-Korps on 1 January
1944, Schlemm’s headquarters staff took control of over 24,000 troops
in the Rome area as a reserve force against Allied amphibious landings
and/or to plug breakthroughs in the Gustav Line.]
December 1943-24 December 1943: In the Reserve Hospital at Bad Warmbrunn.
January 1944-31 October 1944: Commanding General of the I. Fallschirm-Korps
[Parachute Corps] in Italy. [Within 48 hours of being dispatched from
Rome to bolster the Gustav Line along the Garigliano
River, Schlemm’s corps received new orders to respond immediately to the
Allied beachhead at Anzio following the British and American amphibious
landings on 22 January 1944 (Operation Shingle).
Arriving at Anzio later that day, Schlemm led the German defenders until
command of the beachhead defenses formally passed to Generaloberst Eberhard
von Mackensen, the Commander-in-Chief of the 14th Army, three days later.
For the next three months, the I. Fallschirm-Korps continued to serve
under von Mackensen’s army containing the Allied beachhead. (Schlemm was
later cited in the official Armed Forces Communiqué and received the Knight’s
Cross of the Iron Cross in recognition of his energetic and resourceful
leadership during the Battle of Anzio.) After
cracking the Gustav Line
at Cassino and breaking out of the Anzio bridgehead, the Allies
captured Rome on 4 June 1944. The 14th Army (commanded by General der
Panzertruppe Joachim Lemelsen since 2 June 1944), in conjunction with
Generaloberst Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghoff genannt Scheel’s adjacent
10th Army, executed a difficult withdrawal through central Italy.
By August 1944, both armies were ensconced in the Arno and Gothic
Line defensive positions in the North Apennines. Tapped for another assignment,
Schlemm relinquished command of the I. Fallschirm-Korps to Generalleutnant
November 1944-3 November 1944: Commanding General of the III. Fallschirm-Korps
(corps not activated).
November 1944-20 March 1945: Commander-in-Chief of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee
[Parachute Army] on the Western Front. [Upon succeeding Generaloberst
Kurt Student, Schlemm found his new command engaged against the British
and Canadians on the Maas and Waal Rivers. A motley but effective collection
of under strength infantry divisions and battle groups, the 1. Fallschirm-Armee
controlled the II. Fallschirm-Korps and the LXXXVI Army Corps.
On 8 February 1945, General Henry D.G. Crerar’s Canadian First Army launched
Operation Veritable to clear
the German forces between the Maas and Rhine Rivers. Jumping off from
the area of Nijmegan under a massive artillery bombardment, the Anglo-Canadians
met with fierce resistance from Schlemm’s infantry entrenched in the West
Wall (“Siegfried Line”) positions of the Reichswald.
After a bitter struggle through the forest resulting in the capture of
Kleve, the Canadian First Army encountered Schlemm’s armored reserves—the
116th Panzer Division and the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division—during its
push on Goch and the Hochwald. Under the codename Blockbuster,
the British and Canadians penetrated the Kalkar-Udem ridge, cleared the
Hochwald and captured the town of Xanten in the face of “fanatical” German
resistance. The linkup of the Canadian First Army and Lieutenant General
William H. Simpson’s U.S. Ninth Army finally compressed Schlemm’s forces
into a small bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine opposite Wesel.
On 10 March 1945, the rearguard of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee evacuated the
bridgehead to the east bank of the Rhine where Schlemm prepared to meet
the inevitable Allied crossing of the river. Wounded in an air attack
11 days later, Schlemm relinquished command of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee
to General der Infanterie Günther Blummentritt and spent the rest of the
war convalescing in reserve status.]
March 1945-8 May 1945: Wounded by a direct hit from an aerial bomb on
his command post at Haltern/in hospital/Luftwaffe High Command Leader
Reserve. [Two days after Schlemm’s wounding, Field Marshal Bernard Law
Montgomery’s 21st Army Group launched Operation Plunder,
the assault crossing of the Rhine supported by airborne landings against
the sector held by the 1. Fallschirm-Armee.]
May 1945-22 March 1948: Prisoner of war in British captivity.
Decorations & Awards:
Cross of the Iron Cross: 11 June 1944, General der Fallschirmtruppe, Commanding
General of the I. Fallschirm-Korps.
Cross in Gold: 17 August 1942, Generalleutnant, Commander of Luftwaffen-Gefechtsverbande
Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight’s Cross with Swords: 15 October
1918 (date gazetted in the Militär-Wochenblatt or Weekly Military
Journal; not the actual award date).
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914)
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914)
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 22 June 1941.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 10 August 1940.
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)
Ground Combat Badge
Badge in Black – World War I award
in the Wehrmachtbericht [Armed Forces Communiqué]: 29 May 1944.
Martin. Salerno to Cassino – The United States Army in World War II: The Mediterranean
Theater of Operations. Washington D.C.: Center of Military History,
United States Army, 1988.
Franklin M. Jr. Time-Life World War II: Across the Rhine. Time-Life Books,
Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, 1980.
Ernest F. Jr. Cassino to the Alps – The United States
Army in World War II: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Washington
D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1989.
Heinz Günther. From Normandy to the Ruhr: With the 116th
Panzer Division in World War II. Ulrich Abele, Esther Abele &
Keith E. Bonn, translators. The Aberjona Press, Bedford, Pennsylvania,
Karl-Friedrich. Die Generale der Deutschen Luftwaffe, 1935-1945, Band
3 (Odebrecht-Zoch). Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1992.
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.
Army Kriegsgliederung (Order of Battle), 1 September 1939-30 April 1945.
 Achieving the rank of Generaloberst, Kurt
Student was held for a time at Island Farm Special Camp 11 after the war.
 Generalleutnant Wilhelm Süßmann was killed
while en route to Crete when his DFS 230 glider crashed on the island
of Aegina after the tow rope parted. Temporary divisional command passed
to Oberst Alfred Sturm, the commander of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 2.
 Achieving the rank
of Generaloberst, Gotthard Heinrici was held as a prisoner of war at Island
Farm Special Camp 11 until repatriated in May 1948.
 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
 Generals Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghoff
genannt Scheel and Joachim
Lemelsen were both held for varying periods of time at Island Farm Special
Camp 11 after the war.
 General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl
commanded the II. Fallschirm-Korps from November 1943 until the end of
the war. He was later held as a prisoner of war at Island Farm Special
Camp 11. General der Infanterie Carl Püchler commanded the LXXXVI Army
Corps until succeeded by General der Infanterie Erich Straube on 17 December
1944. Following the launch of Operation Veritable
on 8 February 1945, the 1. Fallschirm-Armee was reinforced with the XXXXVII
Panzer Corps (General der Panzertruppe Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz)
and the LXIII Army Corps (General der Infanterie Erich Abraham).
 Generalmajor Heinz Fiebig’s 84th Infantry
Division manned the West Wall positions in the Reichswald. Shortly after
the launch of Operation Veritable,
Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 16 from the 6th Fallschirmjäger-Division (Generalleutnant
Hermann Plocher) was attached to Fiebig’s division and positioned on his
right flank. Additionally, the 7th Fallschirmjäger-Division (Generalleutnant
Dipl. Ing. Wolfgang Erdmann) was deployed on Fiebig’s left flank. Anecdotal
sources suggest that Fiebig was later held as a prisoner of war at Island
Farm Special Camp 11.
 General der Infanterie Günther Blummentritt
was held for a time at Island Farm Special Camp 11 after the war.