SOME OF THE PRISONERS
This profile is
based on a copy of Generalmajor Kreipe’s microfilmed service record housed
at the United States National Archives and Records Administration in Washington,
NAME: Generalmajor Karl Heinrich Georg Ferdinand Kreipe
PW NO: 46002
DATE: 26 April 1944
DATE OF BIRTH: 5
PLACE OF BIRTH: Niedererspier/Kreis
DATE OF DEATH: 14 June 1976
PLACE OF DEATH: Northeim
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
NEXT OF KIN:
Parents: Friedrich and Maria (née Pfannschmidt) Kreipe. A pastor in Niedererspier,
Friedrich Kreipe died on 30 October 1914 in Sondershausen.
Wife: None (Bachelor).
Volunteer: 11 August 1914
7 February 1915
1 October 1915
20 October 1915
der Reserve: 24 December 1915
without Patent (Active): 3 April 1918 (RDA later established at 1 September
1 April 1925 (67)
1 February 1930 (28)
1 November 1935 (49)
1 October 1938 (17)
1 September 1941 (47); RDA later changed to 1 October 1940 (12b)
1 September 1943 (17)
Commands & Assignments:
Attended Volksschule (Elementary School) at Niedererspier;
Lateinschule (Latin School) at Greussen; and Gymnasium (High School) at
August 1914: Entered the Army as a War Volunteer in the Replacement Battalion
of the 1.Thüringisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment
October 1914: Transferred to the 2. Ostpreußisches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment
June 1915: Transferred to the Recruit Depot of the XXVI Reserve Corps.
July 1915: Transferred to Reserve Infantry Regiment 237.
August 1915: Assigned to Reserve Replacement Infantry Regiment 29.
September 1915-22 December 1915: Detached to the Officer Aspirant Course
January 1916: Returned to the field.
September 1916-4 December 1916: Adjutant of the I. Battalion of Reserve
Infantry Regiment 237.
December 1916: In the 3rd Machinegun Company of Reserve Infantry Regiment
January 1917: Detached to the Machinegun School at Solesines.
April 1917: Transferred to the 1st Machinegun Company of the 3.
Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.71.
July 1917-29 August 1917: Deputy Leader of the 2nd Machinegun Company of
Infantry Regiment 71.
November 1917-2 January 1918: Deputy Leader of the 3rd Machinegun Company
of Infantry Regiment 71.
January 1918: Deputy Leader of the 3rd Machinegun Company of Infantry Regiment
February 1918-17 March 1918: Leader of the 3rd Machinegun Company of Infantry
May 1918: Deputy Machinegun Officer on the Staff of Infantry Regiment 71.
September 1918: Deputy Machinegun Officer on the Staff of Infantry Regiment
71 while retaining his leadership of the 3rd Machinegun Company.
October 1918-18 December 1918: Deputy Machinegun Officer on the Staff of
Infantry Regiment 71 while retaining his leadership of the 3rd Machinegun
February 1919: Assigned to the Hessen-Thüringen-Waldeck Freikorps.
October 1919: Transferred to the I. Battalion of Reichswehr Infantry Regiment
21 of Reichswehr-Brigade 11.
November 1919-28 February 1920: Detached to the Military
Physical Institute at Wünsdorf.
August 1920: Leader of the 2nd Machinegun Company of Reichswehr Infantry
Regiment 21 of Reichswehr-Brigade 11.
November 1920: Deputy Battalion Adjutant of the II. Battalion of Reichswehr
Infantry Regiment 21 of Reichswehr-Brigade 11.
December 1920: Transferred to the 15th Infantry Regiment
upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional
January 1921-11 March 1922: Detached to the 5th Transport Battalion for
training as a Driving and Equipment Instructor.
October 1923-31 March 1924: Detached to the 16th Reiter [Mounted]-Regiment
as a Riding Instructor.
April 1924-30 September 1924: Detached to the Infantry School.
March 1925-30 September 1927: Detached to the Infantry School.
October 1925-28 February 1926: At the same time, detached to the 5th Motorized
October 1927: Adjutant of the II. Battalion of the 15th Infantry Regiment.
March 1929: Participated in a Course for Physical Training at Wünsdorf.
July 1929: Chief of the 8th Company of the 15th Infantry Regiment.
October 1930: Detached to the Firing Course for Heavy Infantry Weapons at
May 1932: Detached to the Firing Course for Heavy Infantry Weapons at Döberitz.
October 1934: Transferred to the I. Battalion of Infantry Regiment “Kassel.”
April 1935-30 September 1935: Detached as an Instructor to the Döberitz
October 1935: Instructor at the Hannover War School.
August 1939: Commander of Infantry Regiment 209 of the 58th Infantry Division.
[In May-June 1940, the 58th Infantry Division, commanded by Generalmajor
(later Generalleutnant) Iwan Heunert, took part in the invasion of France as a component of the 16th
Army. After marching through Luxembourg, the division wheeled southwards
and advanced to Verdun and Toul by the end of the campaign. After occupation
duty in Belgium, the 58th Infantry Division transferred to East Prussia
in May 1941 preparatory to the launch of Operation “Barbarossa,” the invasion
of the Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941. Assigned to Army Group North, the
division advanced across
the Baltic States into northern Russia.
On 12 September 1941, Oberst Kreipe’s regiment captured Krasnoye Selo during
the drive on Leningrad and shortly thereafter reached the suburb of Uritsk,
only 10 kilometers from the center of the city. After serving on the Leningrad
front until March 1942, the 58th Infantry Division saw action on the southern
edge of the Volkhov pocket (created by the breakthrough of the Soviet 2nd
Shock Army north of Lake Ilmen) where Oberst Kreipe’s regiment was mauled
by a Russian armored counterattack later that month. An evaluation dated
1 April 1942 prepared by Generalmajor Dr. phil. Friedrich Altrichter,
the Commander of the 58th Infantry Division, and endorsed by General der
Infanterie Siegfried Haenicke, the Commanding General of the XXXVIII Army
Corps, assessed Oberst Kreipe’s personal and professional qualities: A dignified character. Strong leader personality.
Rough exterior, golden heart. Loved by his subordinates and admired. Clear
tactical judgment. Outstanding issuance of commands. Daring devotion to
duty of the highest gallantry before the enemy. Sharp judgment. Perfect
views on the education of the Officer Corps and the troops. Both generals
recommended Kreipe for employment as a division commander.]
May 1942: Transferred to Infantry Replacement Battalion 209.
June 1942: Transferred to the Army High Command Leader Reserve – after regaining
his health, further duties determined by the Deputy Commanding General of
the XI Army Corps and the Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] XI,
July 1942: At the same time, detached as Commander of School I for Infantry
Officer Candidates at Dresden.
August 1942: Commander of School I for Infantry Officer Candidates at
January 1943: Transferred to the Army High Command Leader Reserve – duties
determined by the Deputy Commanding General of the IV Army Corps and the
Commander of Wehrkreis IV, Dresden.
March 1943: At the same time, appointed Chief of the 2nd Department of the
Army Personnel Office.
June 1943: Delegated with the leadership the 79th Infantry Division on the
Eastern Front. [After being destroyed at Stalingrad
in January 1943, the 79th Infantry Division was reformed two months later
at Stalino, Russia. Transferred to the Kuban bridgehead in June 1943 as
a component of the 17th Army, the division participated in the many bitter
defensive battles fought there in the summer of that year. Evacuated across
the Kerch Straits when the Germans abandoned the Kuban bridgehead in late
September-early October 1943, the 79th Infantry Division transferred to
control of the 6th Army in the Ukraine. On 25 October 1943, Generalleutnant
Friedrich-August Weinknecht assumed command of the division from Generalmajor
September 1943: Commander of the 79th Infantry Division
on the Eastern Front.
October 1943: Transferred to the Army High Command Leader Reserve – duties
determined by the Deputy Commanding General of the X Army Corps and the
Commander of Wehrkreis X, Hamburg.
March 1944-26 April 1944: Commander of the 22nd Infantry Division on Crete.[In January 1944, the Cairo East
section of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) conceived a daring
plan to kidnap Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, the commander of
the 22nd Infantry Division based on Crete.
After parachuting into Crete in early February, Major Patrick Leigh-Fermor,
the operation leader, was joined four weeks later by his second-in-command,
Captain W. Stanley Moss, and two Greek SOE agents all of whom arrived by
sea. Although Generalmajor Kreipe succeeded Generalleutnant Müller effective
1 March 1944, the SOE elected to continue with the kidnap mission. Joining
with Cretan partisans, the SOE agents studied Generalmajor Kreipe’s daily
work habits and the travel route from his quarters at Knossos to the divisional
headquarters at Ano Arkhanais. On the evening of 26 April 1944, Major Leigh-Fermor
and Captain Moss, dressed as German military policemen, stopped Generalmajor
Kreipe’s staff car on a hairpin turn under the guise of a routine traffic
control point. After pulling the general out of the car and throwing him
into the back seat, the agents drove him to an isolated spot where he was
taken on a grueling cross-country trek over the mountains to the southern
shore of the island. On 14 May 1944, the SOE agents and their captive German
general were finally picked up by a British motor-launch on a desolate beach
near Rodakino and transported to Mersa Matruh, Egypt. Major Leigh-Fermorand
Captain Moss both received the Distinguished Service Order for the operation.]
Generalmajor Heinrich Kreipe, Commander Of Troops,
Crete. Captured wearing this tropical uniform during a Commando raid
intended to kidnap him. Note this field marchal's collar insignia
26 April 1944-1947: Prisoner of war
in British captivity. [Following his interrogation in London, Generalmajor
Kreipe was transferred to a prisoner of war camp near Calgary in Canada.
Later returning to the United Kingdom, Kreipe was ultimately imprisoned
at Island Farm Special Camp 11 after being treated at Hospital Camp
99 at Shugborough Park for diabetes.]
Extract from the book Thresholds
Four Hundred Thousand German Prisoners and the People of Britain, 1944-1948 by Matthew Barry Sullivan (Hamish Hamilton, London, United Kingdom, 1979):
The luckless Heinrich Kreipe, the
general abducted from Crete had come back from Canada rather earlier. He was
twice moved to hospital Camp 99 at Shugborough Park in Staffordshire to have
his diabetes treated before being moved to Special Camp 11. His hurt pride,
because of the indignity of those eighteen days in the Cretan mountains would
dog him for the rest of his life: he would one day take out an injunction against
both the book [Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss] and
the film about the kidnap appearing in Germany, on the grounds of defamation
of character: he had not, he claimed, given his word of honour not to try to
escape, as was maintained. He won his case.
Find out more about the German invasion of Crete and the kidnapping
of Generalmajor Heinrich Kreipe at: http://www.crete-1941.org.uk/
Decorations & Awards:
Knight’s Cross of the Iron
Cross: 13 October 1941, Oberstleutnant, Commander of Infantry Regiment
209. [In his book Ill Met by Moonlight, an account
of the kidnap mission, W. Stanley Moss recalled an anecdote that occurred
on the morning following Generalmajor Kreipe’s abduction: The General, tired after the night’s march,
took off his coat and lay down. It was then that he discovered the loss
of his Iron Cross [i.e., Knight’s Cross], and this upset him greatly…He told me that he won the award while
in command of the push on Leningrad on the Russian Front…The lesser
variety of the Iron Cross [i.e., 1st Class] which he wears was won, he told me, at Verdun during the last war;
so it certainly seems that he has done a lot of fighting in his time.]
Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914):
25 May 1918.
Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 27 June 1916.
1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross,
1st Class: 27 June 1940.
1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross,
2nd Class: 1 June 1940.
- Medal for the Winter Campaign
in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”): 29 July 1942.
Schwarzburg Honor Cross, 3rd Class
with Swords: 6 November 1916.
Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918:
1 March 1935.
Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
Wound Badge in
Black – World War I award: 4 February 1921.
(It is unknown if he actually received this battle shield, but
his service in the region fit the award criteria).
Generalmajor Kreipe’s World War I Combat Service Record
Western Front, 1914-1916
18 October 1914-30 November 1914:
Battle on the Yser.
1 December 1914-21 April 1915: Positional
combat on the Yser.
22 April 1915-25 May 1915: Combat
26 May 1915-10 August 1916: Positional
combat on the Yser.
31 August 1916-8 September 1916:
Battle between Zlota-Lipa and the Narajowka.
1-22 November 1916: Positional combat
1 December 1916-15 March 1917: Positional
combat on the Somme.
16 March 1917-28 May 1917: Combat
before the “Siegfried” Front and the 1917 Spring Battle of Arras.
28 May 1917-29 October 1917: Positional
combat at Chemin des Dames.
3-23 November 1917: Positional combat
north of the Ailette.
24 November 1917-26 December 1917:
Combat in the “Siegfried” Position.
27 December 1917-20 March 1918: Positional
combat at St. Quentin and on the Oise.
21 March 1918-6 April 1918: Great
Battle in France (“Ludendorff Offensive”).
27 May 1918-10 June 1918: Battle
at Soissons and Reims.
14 June 1918-14 July 1918: Positional
combat between the Oise, Aisne and the Marne.
15-17 July 1918: Attack battle on
18-25 July 1918: Defensive battle
between Soissons and Reims.
26 July 1918-3 August 1918: Mobile
defensive battle between the Marne and the Vesle.
17 August 1918-4 September 1918:
Defensive battle between the Oise and the Aisne.
26 September 1918-2 October 1918:
Defensive battle in Champagne and on the Maas.
21-22 October 1918: Battle of Vouziers.
24-31 October 1918: Combat on the
Aisne and the Aire.
1-4 November 1918: Combat between
the Aisne and the Maas.
5-11 November 1918: Retreat from
the Antwerp-Maas Position.
 On 4 September 1941, Generalmajor Dr. phil. Friedrich Altrichter succeeded Generalleutnant
Iwan Heunert as commander of the 58th Infantry Division. During Oberst
Kreipe’s tenure as a regimental commander, the division was commanded
thereafter by Oberst (later Generalleutnant) Karl von Graffen from 27
 The commander of the 22nd Infantry Division
was subordinated to Luftwaffe Generalleutnant (later General der Fallschirmtruppe)
Bruno Bräuer, the Fortress Commandant of Crete. Bräuer served in this
post from 6 September 1942-31 May 1944. On 20 May 1947, he was hanged
in Athens for war crimes. On 1 July 1944, newly promoted General der Infanterie
Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, the original objective of the kidnap mission,
returned to the island as the Fortress Commandant of Crete. He was hanged
along with Bräuer on 20 May 1947 for war crimes.
 Following the kidnap of Generalmajor Kreipe,
command of the 22nd Infantry Division passed to Generalleutnant Helmut
Friebe effective 1 May 1944. This officer was the older brother of Generalmajor
Werner Friebe, an inmate of Island Farm Special Camp 11. Two months
after the kidnapping of Generalmajor Kreipe, Captain W. Stanley Moss
attempted to repeat the operation with Generalleutnant Friebe as the
objective. However, increased German security measures prevented him
from carrying out the plan.
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