Military Wiki
Kurt von Briesen
Kurt von Briesen, Paris, June 1940
Born (1886-05-03)3 May 1886
Died 20 November 1941(1941-11-20) (aged 55)
Place of birth Anklam, Germany
Place of death Kharkov, Ukraine
Buried at German War Cemetery Kharkiv
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer (Army)
Years of service 1904 - 1941
Rank General der Infanterie
Commands held 30th Infantry Division
LII Army Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Kurt von Briesen (born 3 May 1886, Anklam † 20. November 1941, Isjum on the Donetz (Ukraine)) was a General of Infantry awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross by Hitler for gallantry in the Polish campaign.

Early Years and World War I

Kurt von Briesen enlisted 16 September 1904 as a cadet in Kaiser Franz Guard Infantry Regiment no. 2. On 27 January 1906 he was promoted to second lieutenant. On 1 October 1910 he became adjutant in the Fusilier Battalion of the Kaiser Franz Guard infantry Regiment no. 2. On 19 July 1913 he was promoted to first lieutenant. On 1 October 1913 he was delegated to the war academy. On the 1st August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, he became regimental adjutant of reserve infantry regiment 15. On 23 August 1914 he was wounded and sent to a military hospital. On 28 October 1914 he became adjutant of the 26th Reserve infantry brigade. In 1916 he was appointed to the general staff of IVth Army corps. In September 1916 he was shifted to the general staff of the army. In 1918 he became 1st General staff officer of the 239th Infantry division.

Inter War Years

In January 1919 the now Captain von Briesen became commander of volunteer battalion 52. Three months later he became an officer of the general staff, IInd Army corps. In October 1919 he became an officer on the staff of the IInd military district command. On 9 March 1920 he was, effective 31 March 1920, discharged from the army. Von Briesen found employment, 1 May 1922, with the Land-Service (Land-Dienst) of Military District II. There he was entrusted with the organization of border control in Pomerania. On 1 April 1934 von Briesen was transferred to the army as commander of New Stettin. On 1 May 1934 he was promoted to major. On 15 October 1935 he became the commander of Infantry Regiment 69. On 1 August 1937 he was promoted to major general. On 4 February 1938 he became, during the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair, commander of the 30th Infantry Division.

World War II

File:Briesen hitler.jpg

Adolf Hitler visits Kurt von Briesen on the Polish front, September 1939. Some sources say von Briesen's left forearm was wounded, not his right, but are contradicted by this image. Moreover, the image is not reversed, since Hitler and von Briesen both wear their Iron Crosses on their left breast pockets, where they were customarily worn.

On 27 August 1939 von Briesen was promoted to major general (generalleutnant) and led the 30th Infantry Division in the invasion of Poland. During the Battle of the Bzura von Briesen's right forearm was wounded in combat, but he insisted on returning to lead his division as soon as his wound was cared for. Von Briesen's division held the flanks of the main column of Colonel General Johannes Blaskowitz's 8th Army against a mass break out attempt by Polish forces, and in the process von Briesen personally led the last reserve battalion into combat. Adolf Hitler, touring the front lines with Wilhelm Keitel shortly after von Briesen’s injury, was deeply impressed. Believing von Briesen had saved Blaskowitz's army by his gallantry and drive, Hitler directed that von Briesen be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On 27 October 1939 von Briesen received the award. In 1940 von Briesen commanded the 30th Infantry division in France during the German invasion. When Paris fell, the 30th Infantry Division marched in a victory parade along the avenue Foch, von Briesen on horseback saluting his men as they passed by. On 1 Aug 1940, von Briesen was promoted to the rank of general (equivalent of US lieutenant general). On 25 November 1940 he was appointed commanding general of the LII Army Corps.

Von Briesen was killed by Soviet aircraft near Isjum on the Donetz, southeast of Kharkov, on 20 November 1941 at 12:30 PM.

Awards and decorations

Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Saturday, 22 November 1941 Am 20. November fiel in den Kämpfen an der Ostfront der kommandierende General eines Armeekorps, General der Infanterie von Briesen. [2] On 20 November fell in the fighting on the Eastern Front, the commanding general of an army corps, General von Briesen.


  1. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 123.
  2. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 730.

External links

  • Lexikon der Wehrmacht. Personenregister. Briesen, Kurt von. [1] This non-political website is maintained by Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V., a non-governmental charity that cares for German World War II military graves and the remains of Hitler's soldiers, both in Germany and in other parts of the world. See Hitler Sites: A City-by-city Guidebook (Austria, Germany, France, United States) for further detail.
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
Commander of 30. Infanterie-Division
4 February 1938 – 1 July 1939
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Franz Böhme
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Franz Böhme
Commander of 30. Infanterie-Division
19 July 1939 – 25 November 1940
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Walter Buechs
Preceded by
Commander of LII. Armeekorps
25 November 1940 – 20 November 1941
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Albert Zehler

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