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Friedrich August Schack
Friedrich August Schack
Born (1892-03-27)27 March 1892
Died 24 July 1968(1968-07-24) (aged 76)
Place of birth Schmiedeberg (now Kowary)
Place of death Goslar
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer (Army)
Rank General der Infanterie
Commands held 216. Infanterie-Division
272. Infanterie-Division
LXXXI. Armeekorps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Friedrich August Schack (born 27 March 1892, Schmiedeberg im Riesengebirge/Silesia (now Kowary), died 24 July 1968, Goslar) was a General of Infantry best known for his pyrrhic defense of Caen after the allied invasion, September 1944, and for his brief leadership of the LXXXI Army Corps defending Aachen and the Siegfried Line.

World War I

Schack enlisted in the army, 6 August 1914, as a volunteer in Hussar regiment No. 1. In September 1915 he joined infantry regiment No. 195 as second lieutenant. His rank became official 23 March 1914. Schack fought throughout World War I as a platoon leader, battalion and regimental adjutant. On 3 April 1918 Schack transferred to the 1st West Prussian infantry regiment "Count Kleist von Nollendorf" No. 6. During the war he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and other medals. After the war he was transferred to the Reichsheer.


In the so-called transition army, spring 1920, Schack served in Reichsheer infantry regiment 9. While helping to train 100,000 men he moved to the 8th Prussian Infantry Regiment, where in autumn 1921 he served as battalion adjutant. On 1 April 1923 Schack was promoted to first lieutenant. In spring 1924 and 1925 he belonged to the 12the MG (Maschinengewehr / machine gun) company of the 8th Prussian Infantry Regiment in Görlitz. In spring 1926 and 1927 he moved to the 8th MG company of the 8the Prussian Infantry Regiment in Glogau. In the autumn Schack was appointed commander of 14th Company of the 8th Prussian Infantry Regiment in Lübben. As such, he was promoted to captain, 1 April 1928. In 1928/29 Schack was appointed, for the next 5 years, commander of the 8th MG company of the 8th Prussian Infantry Regiment in Glogau. Finally Schack was shifted (1934) as a major and tactics teacher to the war college in Dresden. There he became, 1 October 1937, lieutenant colonel.

World War II

On 1 October 1938 Schack was appointed commander of MG battalion 15, and fought in the Polish campaign at the outbreak of the Second World War, September 1939. On 18 January 1940 Schack was named commander of infantry regiment 392, which he led during the western campaign in spring 1940. On 1 October he was promoted to colonel. In June 1941 Schack fought in Russia. For the capture of Salla, 24 July 1941, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. On 1 October 1942 he became commander of the war College in Potsdam. On 7 May 1943 he became leader of the 216th Infantry-Division. On 1 July 1943 Schack was promoted to major general and commander of the 216th Infantry division. Schack led his division in bloody combat in Orel, July 1943, during the Battle of Kursk, and suffered heavy losses. Some of the surviving soldiers were sent to Belgium, where they became the 272nd Infantry-Division. On 15 December 1943 Schack was appointed commander of the division. As such he was promoted, 1 January 1944, to lieutenant general. For leading his division during the defense of Caen after D Day, Schack was awarded, 21 September 1944, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. However, Schack had sustained heavy losses during the battle and was suffering severe combat fatigue. On 4 September 1944 Schack became leader of the LXXXI Army corps, five badly mauled divisions, charged with defending Aachen and the Siegfried Line. Schack’s superiors became dissatisfied with his performance and replaced him with General Friedrich Köchling. Beginning 15 November 1944 Schack led the LXXXV army corps in southern France and the Ardennes for one month. On 26 March 1945 Schack was assigned to lead the XXXII Army corps, on the Oder near Stettin. On 20 April 1945 Schack was promoted to General of Infantry and commanding general of the XXXII Army corps. At war’s end the Allies imprisoned him. They released him 24 March 1948.

Awards and decorations


Military offices
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Werner Freiherr von und zu Gilsa
Commander of 216. Infanterie-Division
7 May 1943 – 3 October 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Egon von Neindorff

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