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Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben
Generalleutnant Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben and Konteradmiral Walter Hennecke at the surrender of Cherbourg
Born (1884-10-30)30 October 1884
Died 18 June 1964(1964-06-18) (aged 79)
Place of birth Eisenach
Place of death Gießen
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1914–1945
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 208. Infanterie-Division
18. Panzer-Division
709. Infanterie-Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben (30 October 1894 – 18 June 1964) was a German officer in World War I and World War II.

World War I career

Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben joined the Prussian Army in August 1914 as a Fahnenjunker (a soldier accepted for officer training). He was assigned to the training and replacement Battalion of the 3rd Foot Guards. In September 1914, after completing his basic military training, he joined the 3rd Foot Guards in the field, being wounded just 13 days later. In spring 1916, he took command of an infantry company in the regiment and later that same year was appointed as the regimental adjutant and ordnance officer. Wounded in November 1916, he later returned to his regimental post in January 1917.

World War II career

He served as a Regimental Commander with the 1st Panzer Division during the French Campaign of 1940 and in August 1940, following the French capitulation, he transferred to 14th Panzer Division as the 108th Infantry Regiment commander based in France. He then served as a Brigade Commander with the 4th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front, from June 1942. However, this Division was completely destroyed by February 1943 during the Battle of Stalingrad. Von Schlieben then was delegated as the Commander of the 208th Infantry Division remaining on the Eastern Front

British propaganda showing the general captured in 1944.

In April 1943, he took command of the 18th Panzer Division which was deployed on the Eastern Front until the Division was disbanded following very heavy losses at the Battle of Kursk. In October 1943, von Schlieben was placed on the Führer Reserve until December 1943, when he was assigned the command of the 709th Static Infantry Division based in Normandy, France.

At Trent Park

The 709th was a Static Infantry Division used for occupation duties in France and as a guard against allied raids and invasion. The Division was on the Normandy coast when the invasion took place, and thus fought in the early days of the Battle of Normandy, quickly becoming trapped in the Cotentin. As U.S. forces sealed off the Peninsula, the remnants of the Division fell back on Cherbourg.

On 23 June 1944, Generalleutnant von Schlieben was appointed Commandant of Cherbourg, which the German high Command had designated as a ‘fortress’. However, just 3 days later von Schlieben and over 800 other troops surrendered to Major General Manton S. Eddy the Commander of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division. After his capture, he was held at Trent Park before he was transferred to Island Farm on 9 August 1945. He was released from captivity on 7 October 1947. Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben died on 18 June 1964 in Gießen.

Personal life

He was married to Elenor von Schlieben. They had six children.

Career promotions

  • Fahnenjunker: 1914
  • Fähnrich: 1915
  • Leutnant: 1915
  • Oberleutnant: 1925
  • Rittmeister: 1929
  • Major: 1935
  • Oberstleutnant: 1938
  • Oberst: 1941
  • Generalmajor: 1943
  • Generalleutnant: 1944

Notable decorations


  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross: 17 March 1943 - Oberst (Colonel) Commander of the 208th Infantry Division, Eastern Front The Iron Cross is exclusively awarded for bravery before the enemy and for excellent merits in commanding troops
  • German Cross in Gold: 2 July 1942, Oberst (Colonel) Commander of 108th Regiment of the 14th Panzer Division, Eastern Front. A high award for bravery
  • Iron Cross of 1939, 1st and 2nd Class: an award for bravery
  • War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Sword given to soldiers for exceptional service in battle above and beyond the call of duty
  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia, 1941/42 (The “East Medal”) awarded to honour those who participated in the first winter of the Barbarossa operation


  • Iron Cross of 1914, 1st and 2nd Class: a Prussian award for bravery
  • Brunswick War Merit Cross
    • 1st Class to earn it, a holder of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class must have had two years of virtually uninterrupted service at the front
    • 2nd Class awarded 1914-18 to soldiers who were Brunswick citizens or served in a Brunswick unit and must have had a record of irreproachable service
  • Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918 for Combatants 1914-1918 for soldiers who fought on the front
  • Wound Badge in Black – one or two wounds



  • Gordon A.Harrison, Cross Channel Attack
  • Jorge Rosado & Chris Bishop, German Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions
  • John Keegan, Six Armies in Normandy
  • De Wervelwind 3(22) June–July 1944 - Dutch war time propaganda newspaper

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Karl Freiherr von Thüngen
Commander of 18. Panzer-Division
1 April 1943 – 1 December 1943
Succeeded by
renamed 18. Artillerie-Division

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