Military Wiki
Martin Unrein
Born (1901-01-01)1 January 1901
Died 22 January 1972(1972-01-22) (aged 71)
Place of birth Weimar
Place of death Munich
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1918-1945
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 14th Panzer Division
III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps
Clausewitz Panzer Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Generalleutnant Martin Unrein (1 January 1901 – 22 January 1972) was a general officer of the German Army during the Second World War.

Early career

He joined the German Army in the final stages of the First World War, and was posted to the 71st Infantry Regiment. He was wounded and taken prisoner in September 1918, and released in 1920.

He joined the re-established Reichswehr in the 21st Infantry Regiment, then transferred to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, reaching Lieutenant in July 1922. In 1928 he became the adjutant of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, and held various regimental posts through the 1930s.

Second World War

He was promoted to Major in 1938, and served on the staff of the XI Corps, with which he served during the invasion of Poland in 1939. In January 1940, he was appointed to the 268. Divisions-Aufklärungs-Abteilung, the reconnaissance unit of the 268th Infantry Division, which he commanded during the Battle of France. In September 1940, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and assigned to OKW.

On 15 September 1941, he was appointed to command Kradschützen-Abteilung 6 (6th Motorcycle Battalion) in the 6th Panzer Division. The battalion was almost destroyed fighting outside Moscow, and Unrein was court-martialled, but was completely rehabilitated and absolved of all blame. On 28 February, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold, and on 1 April assigned the command of Schützen-Regiment 4 (later Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4) in the 6th Panzer Division, being promoted to Colonel shortly thereafter. In July 1943, during the Battle of Kursk, he commanded the entire division for two days, the divisional commander having died.

Senior command

On 10 September 1943, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions in the Fourth Battle of Kharkov. On 29 October of that year, he was appointed to command the 14th Panzer Division, which was shortly to be sent to the Eastern Front, and promoted to Major-General on 1 January 1944. On 26 June 1944, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, and on 1 July promoted to Lieutenant-General.

He was relieved of command of 14th Panzer Division on 5 September 1944 due to severe illness, but resumed command on 1 December, remaining with the division until 10 February 1945. On 11 February, he was promoted to command the III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps—a very unusual position for a Heer officer, rather than a member of the Waffen SS, to hold—and remained with the Corps until 5 March.

On 4 April he was appointed to command the newly formed Clausewitz Panzer Division, leading them until he was captured on 24 April by an American patrol.

After the war Martin Unrein served in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as Commander of the 3836th Labor Service Center of the US Army in Becelaere Kaserne in Esslingen am Neckar during the 1950 years.

Awards and decorations


  • Unrein, Martin, Lexicon der Wehrmacht (German)
  • 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. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Friedrich Sieberg
Commander of 14. Panzer-Division
29 October 1943 – 5 September 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Oskar Munzel
Preceded by
Generalmajor Oskar Munzel
Commander of 14. Panzer-Division
1 December 1944 – 10 February 1945
Succeeded by
Oberst Friedrich-Wilhelm Jürgen
Preceded by
SS-Obergruppenführer Matthias Kleinheisterkamp
Commander of III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps
11 February 1945 – 5 March 1945
Succeeded by
SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner
Preceded by
Commander of Panzer Division Clausewitz
4 April 1945 – 8 May 1945
Succeeded by

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