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Karl Mauss
Dr. Karl Mauss
Born (1898-05-17)17 May 1898
Died 9 February 1959(1959-02-09) (aged 60)
Place of birth Ploen in Schleswig-Holstein
Place of death Hamburg
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1922)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Years of service 1914 – 1922, 1934 – 1945
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Unit 10th Panzer Division
7th Panzer Division
Commands held Panzergrenadier-Regiment 33
7th Panzer Division

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Other work Dentist

Karl Mauss (May 17, 1898 – February 9, 1959) was one of the most distinguished tank commanders of the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was a lieutenant general and commander of the 7th Panzer Division, and one of only 27 ever to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten). 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.

Early career

Karl Mauss was born in the town of Ploen in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In 1914, at only sixteen years of age he volunteered to serve during World War I.[1] Thanks to his obstinacy and the support of his father, he was accepted and joined Jägerregiment 162, serving during the war at Arras, La Bassee, Flanders, Somme and Isonzo. In 1915, barely seventeen as the youngest man in the division, he was awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd class for distinguishing himself as the best scout in the region during the Battle of the Somme.[2] The year after, he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant (becoming one of the youngest commissioned officers of the entire army) and, a short time later after the transfer of his division to the East into the Carpathians, received the Iron Cross, 1st class.

Mauss stayed in the military until 1922 when he moved to Hamburg to study dentistry, and attained his doctorate[Notes 1] in 1929. Apparently, civilian life did not suit him, so he re-enlisted as a captain in 1934, serving with Infanterieregiments 69 in Hamburg. He was promoted to Major on April 1, 1938.

World War II & Post-war career

At the start of the war, Mauss served with the 20th motorized infantry division, with which he participated in the 1939 Invasion of Poland. In May 1940 his 10th Panzer Division travelled west to take part in the Battle of France together with Heinz Guderian's XIX Army Corps.

Already in these first engagements Mauss successfully utilized his war experiences from 1914/18, his energy and enthusiasm transferring to his men. In the second phase of the French campaign, Mauss participated in the battles against the French 7th Army.

Mauss, now lieutenant colonel (promoted on April 1, 1941), also fought in the Soviet campaign, Operation Barbarossa, from its outset. In November 1941, when his battalion successfully defended their positions on the bridgehead by Ugra despite heavy Soviet attacks and calamitous weather conditions, Mauss was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

In the year 1942 Mauss was promoted to Colonel, and after leading his troops with small losses from the Battle of Kursk, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross in November, 1943. In January 1944 he took command of the famous 7th Panzer Division. In April the same year, he was promoted to Major General. Furthermore, on October 23, 1944 he received the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords before he was seriously injured by artillery shell fragments in February, 1945 in Gotenhafen and had a leg amputated. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in April, and received as the last commander of the 7th Panzer division the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds on April 15, 1945.

Following the surrender to British troops, Mauss learned that his wife Minna (maiden name Lohoff), the mother of three of their children, had died. A request to go to Lübeck for the funeral was denied. In 1949 he remarried and a year later his son Dietrich was born.[3]

After the war Mauss worked as a dentist in his own practice. His request for re-enlistment was rejected by the Bundeswehr for health reasons. Karl Mauss died of a heart attack following a lengthy illness on 9 February 1959 in Hamburg, at the age of 60.


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
13 March 1944 In den schweren Abwehrkämpfen der letzten Tage haben sich im Raum östlich von Tarnopol die 1. SS-Panzerdivision "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" unter der stellvertretenden Führung des Obersturmbannführers Lehmann und die thüringische 7. Panzerdivision unter Oberst Dr. Mauß hervorragend bewährt.[7] During the heavy defensive battles of the past few days in the area east of Tarnopol, the first SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" under the deputy leadership of Obersturmbannführer Lehmann and the Thuringian 7. Panzerdivision under Colonel Dr. Mauss have proved themselves to be excellent.


  1. In German a Doctor of Medical Dentistry is abbreviated as Dr. med. dent. (Doctor medicinae dentariae).


  1. Fraschka 1994, p. 325.
  2. Fraschka 1994, p. 326.
  3. Fraschka 1994, p. 337.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Thomas 1998, p. 64.
  5. Patzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 299.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Scherzer 2007, p. 531.
  7. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 56.
  • 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. 
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knight's of the Reich, Atgen, PA: Schiffer Military. ISBN 0-88740-580-0.
  • Huß, Jürgen & Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939-1945 (in German). VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 3-925480-79-X.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • 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 (1998) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
  • 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. 

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