NAME: Generalmajor Werner Friebe

PW NO:           560339

RANK:            Generalmajor

CAPTURED:   Horst, Germany

DATE:             2nd May 45


DATE OF BIRTH:     12 July 1897

PLACE OF BIRTH:   Droschkau/Kreis Namslau/Schlesien

DATE OF DEATH:    8 March 1962

PLACE OF DEATH:  Stuttgart (Korntal-Leonberg)

NATIONALITY:        German

RELIGION:                Evangelical

OCCUPATION:        Regular Soldier

HEIGHT:                    5'8"

WEIGHT:                   172lbs

HAIR COLOUR:        Dark Brown

EYE COLOUR:          Blue

NEXT OF KIN:          Regina Friebe, Reichersbeuern bei Bad Toeltz Pfarrhaus (American Zone)



  • War Volunteer: 21 September 1914
  • Gefreiter: 27 January 1915
  • Unteroffizier: 7 September 1915
  • Fähnrich: 14 December 1915
  • Leutnant: 23 March 1916 (without Patent)
  • Leutnant: 23 December 1918 (RDA 23 June 1916, later changed to 1 February 1919)
  • Oberleutnant: 1 December 1925
  • Hauptmann: 1 September 1933
  • Major: 1 March 1937 (RDA later changed to 1 August 1936)
  • Oberstleutnant: 1 April 1939 (RDA 1 October 1938)
  • Oberst: 1 October 1941
  • Generalmajor: 1 June 1944

Commands & Assignments:

  • 21 September 1914: Entered the Army as a War Volunteer in the Replacement Battalion of Füsilier-Regiment Feldmarschall Graf Moltke (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 38.
  • 3 June 1915: In the field with Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • 12 February 1915-28 April 1915: In the Lötzen Fortress Hospital.
  • April 1915: Fahnenjunker in Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • January 1916-March 1916: Detached for War School Courses at the War School of the VI Army Corps.
  • 2 November 1916-10 November 1916: Detached to the Platoon Leader Course in Neuflize.
  • 28 November 1916-5 December 1916: Detached for training in the Telephone Double Platoon of the 11th Infantry Division.
  • 23 March 1917: Leader of the Signals Detachment of Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • 15 February 1918-26 February 1918: Detached to the Namur Signals School.
  • 10 May 1918: Regimental Signals Officer on the staff of Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • 10 December 1918: Adjutant of the III. Battalion of Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • 1 June 1919: Leader of the Signals Company of the I. Battalion of Fusilier Regiment 38.
  • 1 October 1919: Transferred to Reichswehr Infantry Regiment 11.
  • 30 September 1920: Separated from the Army.
  • 1 May 1924: Reactivated in the Army and appointed a Company Officer in the 7th Company of the 7th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment.
  • 13 October 1924-31 October 1924: Detached to the Machinegun Course in Döberitz.
  • 27 July 1925-15 August 1928: Detached to the 3rd (Prussian) Pioneer Battalion.
  • 21 September 1925-13 November 1925: Detached to the 3rd (Prussian) Pioneer Battalion.
  • 1 July 1926-30 September 1926: Detached to the 5th Artillery Regiment.
  • 1 October 1926-20 February 1927: Detached to the Weapons School Course in Dresden.
  • 1 October 1928-30 September 1930: Detached to the 3rd (Prussian) Motorized Battalion.
  • 1 January 1930: Transferred to the 1st (Prussian) Medical Battalion.
  • 1 October 1931: Transferred for Leader Assistant training with the staff of the 5th Division.
  • 1 October 1933: While retaining his previous position, placed at the disposal of the Chief of the Army Command – clandestine General Staff training.
  • 1 May 1934: Transferred to the Army Department (T 1) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry, renamed the Reich War Ministry on 21 May 1935. [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.]
  • 1 July 1935: Detached to the 5th Department of the Army General Staff.
  • 1 May 1936: Transferred to the 5th Department of the Army General Staff.
  • 12 October 1937: Chief of the 1st Company of Motorcycle Rifle Battalion 3.
  • 3 May 1938-12 May 1938: Detached to the Course for Battalion Commanders at the Döberitz Infantry School.
  • 1 June 1938: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General Staff of the 20th Division, from 28 August 1938-November 1940, designated the 20th Infantry Division (Motorized). [Commanded by Generalleutnant Mauritz Wiktorin, the 20th Infantry Division (Motorized) took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Returning to Germany later that year, the division took part in the invasion of Belgium and France in May-June 1940.]
  • 6 January 1941: Chief of the General Staff of the XXXXVIII Army Corps (Motorized). [Commanded by General der Panzertruppe Werner Kempf, the corps took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union from 22 June 1941 and fought at Ostrov, Lutsk, Dubno, Kirovgrad, Kremenchug, Lubny, Romny, Lovov and Kursk. On 22 June 1942, the corps was redesignated a Panzer Corps.]
  • 22 June 1942-25 November 1942: Chief of the General Staff of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps on the Eastern Front. [Commanded by General der Panzertruppe Werner Kempf until 19 February 1942 and then by General der Panzertruppe Rudolf Veiel, the corps was heavily engaged in defensive operations around Kursk and later fought south of Stalingrad.]
  • 1 January 1943: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
  • 5 January 1943-6 February 1943: At the same time, detached as First General Staff Officer to the Division Leader Course in Berlin.
  • 15 March 1944: Detached to Army Group South on the Eastern Front.
  • 1 April 1944: Delegated with the leadership of the 8th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front. [Formed in March 1944 from the regimental staff of Panzer Grenadier Regiment 74 and its I. Battalion (from the 8th Panzer Division), Oberst Werner Friebe commanded Panzerkampfgruppe (Armored Combat Group) “Friebe” as a quick reaction force on the Eastern Front. Other combat, support and service units from the 8th Panzer Division (including 57 Panther tanks), a battalion from the 9th Panzer Division and 34 Tiger tanks from the independent 507th Heavy Panzer Battalion rounded out Oberst Friebe’s powerful and flexible combat group. Committed to battle on 20 March 1944 at Brody and then later at Tarnopol, Oberst Friebe’s battle group conducted delaying actions and counterattacks against advancing Soviet mechanized spearheads. Between 15 and 17 April 1944, the group destroyed 74 tanks, 108 guns and 12 mortars of the Red Army – an action that contributed to the award of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross to Oberst Friebe. The battle group was disbanded in May 1944 with the individual components returning to their parent organizations and other depleted formations.]
  • 1 June 1944: Commander of the 8th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front.
  • 20 July 1944: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
  • 1 September 1944-8 May 1945: Chief of the General Staff of the Deputy Commanding General of the III Army Corps and Commander of Wehrkreis III, Berlin.[1]
  • 8 May 1945-May 1948: Prisoner of war in British captivity.
    • 9th January 1946 transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp 1
    • 12th May 1948 transferred to Camp 186 for repatriation.

Decorations & Awards:

  • Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross: 21 April 1944, Oberst, Leader of a Gepanzertes Verbandes [Armored Formation] of the 8th Panzer Division.
  • German Cross in Gold: 30 May 1942, Oberst, Chief of the General Staff of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”) 
  • Saxe-Meiningen Cross for Merit in War
  • Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
  • Wound Badge in Black – World War I award
Generalmajor Werner Friebe as a POW at Island Farm in 1946

Generalmajor Henning Schönfeld (Right)
Generalmajor Werner Friebe (Left)

Generalmajor Gottfried Fröhlich

NOTE: Generalleutnant Helmut Friebe (born 4 November 1894 in Droschkau/Kreis Namslau/Schlesien; died 14 January 1970 in Friedrichshafen), also a  recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, was the older brother of Generalmajor Werner Friebe. Both officers began their military careers in the same regiment: Füsilier-Regiment Feldmarschall Graf Moltke (1. Schlesisches) Nr. 38.

Oberst Helmut Friebe
(Photo Courtesy of Mr. Ian Sayer)

[1] Generalmajor Friebe served under three commanding generals during his final wartime assignment: General der Infanterie Joachim von Kortzfleisch, March 1943-January 1945; Generalleutnant Bruno Ritter von Hauenschild, January 1945-March 1945; and General der Pionere Walter Kuntze, March 1945-May 1945.