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Adelbert Schulz
Adelbert Schulz
Born (1903-12-20)20 December 1903
Died 28 January 1944(1944-01-28) (aged 40)
Place of birth Berlin
Place of death Shepetivka
Buried at German War Cemetery at Starokostiantyniv
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Heer
Years of service 1935 – 1944
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held 1./Panzer-Regiment 25
I./Panzer-Regiment 25
Panzer-Regiment 25
7th Panzer Division

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds

Adelbert Schulz (20 December 1903 – 28 January 1944) was a Generalmajor (Major General) and division commander in the German Wehrmacht during World War II. He was one of 27 people to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten) and one of the youngest German generals. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. At the time of its presentation to Schulz it was Germany's highest military decoration.[Note 1]

Early life

Adelbert Schulz was born on 20 December 1903 in Berlin, the son of a civil servant (Beamter). He graduated from a Berliner Realgymnasium (secondary school) with his Abitur and took on an apprenticeship at a bank. To fulfill his ambition in becoming a bank director he attended a merchant college (Handelshochschule) from 1923 to 1924. In December 1925 he changed his mind and joined the Prussian police force at the Police school (Polizeischule) in Brandenburg. After completing his training in 1927 he was promoted to Polizeiwachtmeister and after eight years on 20 April 1934 of service was promoted to Polizeileutnant (second lieutenant) in Berlin. On 1 October 1935 Schulz transferred from the Police (preußischen kasernierten Landespolizei) to the Wehrmacht (German Army) as an Oberleutnant (first lieutenant).[1]

World War II

He took part in the occupations of Austria and the Sudetenland. During the western campaign and in 1940 was promoted to captain. He participated in the invasion of Belgium, attacks on French and British positions and assisted in the breakthrough to Cherbourg, serving under General Erwin Rommel. On the 29 September 1940 he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

As part of Army Group Centre, in Klin, Schulz attacked a Soviet force eight times larger than his own. Despite being outnumbered he covered the retreat of German troops and the evacuation of a field hospital with more than 4,000 wounded. For these actions he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross on 31 December 1941. On 6 August 1943 he received the Swords to his Knight's Cross and was promoted to colonel.

The 7th Panzer-Division subordinated to the 4th Panzer Army under the command of Hermann Hoth started its counteroffensive against the recently evacuated city of Kharkov (Kharkiv) on 11 March 1943. Adelbert Schulz, who had just recently before been put in command of the Panzer-Regiment 25, led his Kampfgruppe in one of the most successful engagements of the "Gespensterdivision" (Ghost Division) — His soldiers destroyed more than 100 enemy tanks and many artillery positions during the annihilation of the Red Army's 3rd Tank Army.

Adelbert Schulz just prior to the battle of Kursk on 21 June 1943

On 14 December, Schulz received a radio message that he would receive the Diamonds to the Ritterkreuz, and was told to report to the Führer's headquarters. Schulz refused to go on the grounds that he was too busy fighting on the eastern front and had no time to receive it. The honor was eventually awarded to him on 9 January 1944, and he was promoted to major general and made division commander in charge of Rommel's former division.

Generalmajor Adelbert Schulz led the tanks of the 7th Panzer-Division in an attack against the enemy positions at Shepetivka on 28 January 1944. Standing in the opened hatch of his tank, Schulz was hit by artillery shrapnel in the head. Schulz succumbed to his injuries the same day even though he had immediately been evacuated to a field hospital. His death was announced on 30 January 1944 in the Wehrmachtbericht.


A German Army barracks in Munster (Örtze) is named after Schulz.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
30 January 1944 ... In diesen Kämpfen fand an der Spitze seiner Division der vor wenigen Tagen vom Führer mit der höchsten Tapferkeitsauszeichnung beliehene Kommandeur einer Panzerdivision Generalmajor Schulz den Heldentod. Mit ihm verliert das Heer einen seiner besten Offiziere, die Panzerwaffe einen vorbildlichen Kommandeur[4] ... The commander of an armoured division major general Schulz, who received the highest award for bravery from the Führer a few days ago, found at the head of his division a heroic death in this combat. With him the army loses one of his best officers, the armoured force an exemplary commander.


  1. In 1943, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds as the highest military order was surpassed on 29 December 1944 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten).


  1. Kurowski 2008, p. 22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kurowski 2008, p. 156.
  3. Berger 1999, p. 327.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 3, p. 21.
  • Alman, Karl (2008). Panzer vor - Die dramtische Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe und ihre tapferen Soldaten (in German). Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig Verlag. ISBN 978-3-88189-638-2.
  • Berger, Florian (1999) (in German). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War]. Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 978-0-88740-580-8. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (2008). Generalmajor Adelbert Schulz Mit der 7. Panzerdivision in West und Ost (in German). Flechsig Verlag. ISBN 978-3-88189-767-9.
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2005) (in German). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe III Radusch – Zwernemann [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color III Radusch – Zwernemann]. Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-22-5. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-644-7. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel
Commander of 7th Panzer Division
January 1944 – 28 January 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Wolfgang Gläsemer

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