Richard Heidrich


Richard Heidrich

Infobox Military Person
name=Richard Heidrich
born=birth date|1896|7|27|df=y
died=death date and age|1947|12|22|1896|7|27|df=y
placeofbirth=Lawalde, Saxony
placeofdeath=Hamburg-Bergedorf


caption=Richard Heidrich
nickname=
allegiance=flagicon|German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
flagicon|Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
branch=Luftwaffe
serviceyears=
rank=General der Fallschirmtruppe
commands=
unit=
battles=World War I
World War II
* Battle of France
* Eastern Front
* Battle of Crete
* Battle of Monte Cassino
awards=Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
laterwork=

Richard Heidrich (27 July 1896 – 22 December 1947), was a highly decorated German Fallschirmjäger and general during World War II.

Military career

Richard Heidrich volunteered for military service in World War I. He became an officer and won the Iron Cross 1st Class. After the war he was accepted by the Reichswehr, where he served in a number of posts in the infantry.

In 1938 Heidrich commanded the parachute battalion which he had formed as a Major in the infantry. Heidrich and his unit were transferred into the Luftwaffe on 1 January 1939. The Fallschirmjäger, while still in an early stage of formation, were thus augmented by a 2nd Battalion for the 1st Parachute Regiment. Heidrich was transferred to the staff of the 7th Air Division, but then left the Luftwaffe to lead the 514th Infantry Regiment in the Battle of France.

In June 1940 General Kurt Student was able to persuade Heidrich to transfer back to the Luftwaffe. He then formed the 3rd Parachute Regiment which he led with great success in the Battle of Crete.

In November 1942 Heidrich commanded the 1st Parachute Division, which was deployed on the Eastern Front.

The 1st Parachute Divisions toughest fighting came after the Allied landings on the Italian mainland, particularly in the three battles of Monte Cassino. Elements of the division under Heidrich's command also participated in the fighting at Anzio-Nettuno. As commanding general of the I Parachute Corps, Heidrich oversaw the corps’ withdrawal up the entire length of Italy.

Richard Heidrich was captured by the Americans on 2 May 1945 and was later handed over to the British. He died in a hospital in Hamburg-Bergedorf on 23 December 1947.

Awards

* (1914) Wound Badge in Black
* (1914) Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class
* (1939) Clasp to the Iron Cross
** 2nd Class (25 May 1941)
** 1nd Class (25 May 1941)
* German Cross in Gold (13 April 1942)
* Iron Cross 2. and 1. class
* Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
** Knight's Cross (14 June 1941)
** 382. Oak Leaves (5 February 1944)
** 55. Swords (25 March 1944)
* Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht (9 June 1941, 24 December 1943, 25 March 1944, 29 June 1944)

References


* Berger, Florian, "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Selbstverlag Florian Berger, 2006. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
* Kurowski, Franz. "Knights of the Wehrmacht Knight's Cross Holders of the Fallschirmjäger". Schiffer Military. ISBN 0-88740-749-8.

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