Military Wiki
Rudolf August Demme
Born (1894-06-03)3 June 1894
Died 5 January 1975(1975-01-05) (aged 80)
Place of birth Mühlhausen, Thuringia
Place of death Meckenheim-Merl
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1914 – 1945
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held 17. Panzer Division
Battles/wars World War I
Spanish Civil War
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Rudolf August Demme (June 3, 1894 – January 5, 1975) was a German General during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Demme was born in Mühlhausen in Thuringia. He entered Army Service (Reserves) on September 15, 1914 as a volunteer in the 1st Recruitment-Depot of the 11th Pioneer Replacement Battalion. During the first years of World War I he served in different units mostly as a pioneer. On August 9, 1917, still as a NCO he became a platoon leader in the 3rd Field Company of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. From July 15, 1918 to the end of the war Demme served as a platoon leader in 402nd Pioneer Company as Leutnant. When the war was over he retired from the active service on December 21, 1918.

Some 18 years later, on January 5, 1937, Demme reactivated in Reserve Service of the reincarnated German Army but he became an active officer on November 1, 1941 in the rank of the Oberstleutnant. From January 27, 1937 to January 1, 1939, after the infantry training course with the Instruction Infantry regiment Döberitz, he was a Head Trainer for the Condor Legion in Spain. At the same time, as an experienced pioneer officer, he was detached to Selection course with the 43rd Pioneer Battalion. From January 1 to June 8, 1939 he served as an Officer with Special Duties of OKW – Service with the Chief of OKW, Special-Staff W.

In the dawn of World War II Demme was transferred to the Staff of Training Leader Aachen 1 (June 8 – August 26, 1939) and then to the Staff of the Commander of Fortifications at the Lower Rhine until April 10, 1940. In following years Rudolf Demme was a commanding officer in 208th Pioneer Replacement Battalion (April 10, 1940 – July 8, 1941), 92nd Panzer Pioneer Battalion (July 8 – December 15, 1941) and 58th Panzer Pioneer Battalion (December 15, 1941 – October 15, 1942), then he was transferred to Revitalization Staff Centre.

On January 10, 1943 Demme became a Commander the 59th Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment of the 20th Panzer Division and led his unit through the bloody battles on the Eastern front until July 25, 1944 (Orel, Brjansk, Mogilew, Witebsk, Newel, Bobruisk, Cholm). He was promoted to Oberst on July 1, 1944. From July 25 to September 20, 1944 he was in Führer’s Reserve and, at the same time, he was detached to the 14th Division Leaders Course, after which he was delegated with the Leadership of the 17th Panzer Division.

In Führer’s Reserve OKH from December 2, 1944 and just few days later he was delegated with the Leadership of the 132nd Infantry Division (December 10, 1944 - March 1, 1945). Demme became a Generalmajor and the Commander of the 132nd Infantry Division on the same day, March 1, 1945, and led his division through the Courland Pocket until the end of the war.

Demme was captured by the Soviets on May 8 and he spent next the 10 years in Soviet captivity from which he was released on October 6, 1955. He died in Meckenheim-Merl.


Decorations & Awards


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Thomas and Wegmann 1998, p. 201.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997) (in German). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1998) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 4: C–Dow [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part III: Infantry Volume 4: C–Dow]. Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2534-8. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Karl-Friedrich von der Meden
Commander of 17th Panzer Division
September 20, 1944 – December 2, 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Albert Brux

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