Military Wiki
Eduard Dietl
Born (1890-07-21)21 July 1890
Died 23 June 1944(1944-06-23) (aged 53)
Place of birth Bad Aibling, Bavaria
Place of death near Rettenegg, Styria
Buried at Munich Northern Cemetery
Plot 114—Row 1—Grave 34
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
Years of service 1910–1944
Rank Generaloberst
Commands held

German 3rd Mountain Division

German 20th Mountain Army

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Eduard Dietl (21 July 1890 – 23 June 1944) was a German general of World War II. He was born in Bad Aibling, Bavaria. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Military career

Eduard Dietl was the son of a Bavarian finance official.[1] In 1909, at his second attempt to join the 5. Bavarian Infanterie Regiment, he entered as an officer cadet. After studying at the Kriegschule in Munich, he was commissioned Leutnant in October 1911. In October 1915 he was promoted to Oberleutnant and served as a company commander with his regiment. In March 1918, he was promoted to Hauptmann. He was wounded four times during his actions in the First World War. He joined the DAP (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) and Freikorps of Franz Ritter von Epp in 1919. Dietl was prepared with his company on 9 November 1923 to support Adolf Hitler and the rebels in the Beer Hall Putsch. However it did not come to an intervention.

Dietl continued to serve in the German Army and, as a Generalmajor, he helped organise the 1936 Winter Olympics held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.[2]

Dietl commanded the German 3rd Mountain Division that participated in the German invasion of Norway on 9 and 10 April 1940. Most of this division was landed at Narvik by a German naval force of ten destroyers, commanded by Commodore Friedrich Bonte, on 9 April 1940. British naval forces led by the battleship HMS Warspite destroyed all ten destroyers that had ferried Dietl's troops to Narvik and managed to recapture the town. Dietl's mountaineers withdrew into the hills and later retook the town when Britain abandoned her efforts to evict the Germans from Norway due to German success on the Western Front (the Franco-German border, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands).

A convinced Nazi and one of Hitler's favourite generals, he was the first German soldier to receive, on 19 June 1940, the oak leaves cluster to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Dietl was also popular among his men, and his Finnish allies.[3]

Dietl subsequently commanded German forces in Norway and northern Finland and in Eastern Europe and rose to the rank of Generaloberst (equivalent to a US four-star general), commanding the 20th Mountain Army on the northern Eastern Front, where the results of the German Arctic campaign were disappointing. Dietl initially turned down his promotion, but was convinced to accept the appointment by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl.[3] On 23 June 1944, a Ju 52 aircraft carrying Dietl, General der Infanterie Thomas-Emil von Wickede, General der Gebirgstruppe Karl Eglseer, Generalleutnant Franz Rossi and three other passengers crashed in the vicinity of the small village of Rettenegg, Styria; there were no survivors.

Summary of military career

Dates of rank

Eduard Dietl as General der Gebirgstruppe in the Russian tundra (1941)


Foreign awards

Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 10 June 1940 Der heldenhafte Widerstand den die Kampfgruppe des Generalleutnants Dietl seit vielen Wochen, vereinsamt unter den schwersten Bedingungen, in Narvik gegen eine überwältigende feindliche Übermacht geleistet hat, erhielt heute seine Krönung durch den völligen Sieg.[5] The heroic resistance of Lieutenant General Dietl's battle group in Narvik, isolated under the most difficult conditions for many weeks, and against overwhelming enemy superiority, was today crowned by total victory.


  1. Dietl is shown wearing this neck decoration in pre-war photos and on his war time ribbon bar.


  1. Williamson and McGregor 2005.
  2. "article, June 10, 1940". Time Magazine.,9171,763999,00.html#ixzz1a0GxNvZ2. .
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lunde 2011, p. 145.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 272.
  5. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 195.
  • 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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003) (in German). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz]. Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. 
  • Lunde, Henrik O. (2011). Finland's War of Choice. Casemate Publishers, ISBN 978-1-935149-48-4.
  • 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. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Williamson, Gordon; McGregor, Malcolm (2005). German commanders of World War II. 1, Army. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-596-9. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Arrival at Hitler-Mannerheim meeting (see 53 seconds into clip).

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 3. Gebirgs-Division
May 01, 1938 - June 14, 1940
Succeeded by
General der Gebirgstruppen Julius Ringel
Preceded by
Commander of Gebirgs-Armeekorps Norwegen
June 14, 1940 - January 15, 1942
Succeeded by
Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner
Preceded by
Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst
Commander of Lappland Armee
January 15, 1942 - June 20, 1942
Succeeded by
redesignated as 20. Gebirgs-Armee
Preceded by
Commander of 20. Gebirgs-Armee
June 20, 1942 - June 23, 1944
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).