The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Gerhard Kegler, the general, who dared to disobey Himmler – Part IV


The Woldenberg Division and Himmler’s Order to Defend Landsberg

Excerpt Taken from the book ‘The Siege of Küstrin: Gateway to Berlin 1945’ by Tony Le Tissier, Publishers: Pen and Sword Books

If you missed reading the related posts, go back to May 13 May 22, and June 5.
Eastern Front 1945: Worn-out and Ill-equipped German Soldiers - Photo Credit::

Eastern Front 1945: Worn-out and Ill-equipped German Soldiers – Photo Credit:

Lieutenant Rudolf Schröter continues his report:

I had to overcome the resistance of the staff officers to get through to the general. Major-General Kegler was astounded but open to my arguments:

  1. Once an order had been given it must be adhered to in order to keep up the morale of the troops.
  2. The Army Headquarters’ radio message ‘Report situation and intentions’ unusually left open the decision. If this was not so, the message would have read: ‘Report situation. Hold Vietz.’ While it was expected that the Army would correctly use tactical language and especially stressed ‘Report situation’, it meant that it was holding open the opportunity for us to decide for ourselves in this special situation, and our decision was ‘Withdraw’.
  3. There had also been instances in this war in which troops had withdrawn against orders in recognition of their hopeless situation, had upheld the morale of their troops and the officers had received high decorations.
  1. The decisive argument, General, is in accordance with one’s own conscience. The responsible officer must, if common sense is to prevail, understand that slavish obedience in a hopeless situation only condemns him to a senseless bloodbath, which he should spare his men.

These arguments, especially the last, visibly moved Major-General Kegler. He then went briefly into an adjoining room. When he returned, he was white in the face. He asked me where I had lost my right arm, praised the discipline and commitment of my youngsters and also my objections at the conference a few hours ago. Finally the following dialogue ensued:

‘Do you think that you can withdraw the division in good order in this situation?’

‘Yes, if I have your support in doing so.’

‘Then I hereby beg you to undertake it on my staff.’

I immediately sent all the staff officers to the units, where they with the sector commanders were to stop the units and individ­uals retreating and incorporate them into the local defense.

Then I prepared to retake Vietz station with a platoon of my infantry and a Königstiger and while doing so a runner brought me a letter from the general. It read: ‘I have given up command of the division. Kegler, Major-General.’

I then asked a colonel to take over command of the division as a matter of seniority, which he accepted under the condition that I assumed tactical control.

The withdrawal of the division was made ready and all sector commanders summoned to an order group in Vietz at 1500 hours.

After stabilizing the situation in the town I made a recon­naissance in the amphibious jeep with the SS-sergeant-major and one of my recruits, using Major-General Kegler’s map. I discovered that:

  1. The road to Küstrin was not blocked by the Russians.
  2. There were no Russians in Gross Cammin, the nearest enemy movement being in the northerly neighbouring village of Batzlow.

I stuck to the original plan. A radio message was sent to Küstrin fortress about the division’s withdrawal. The order to withdraw was given at 1500 hours and went without problems. When I later went into Vietz with the amphibious jeep to check the enemy situation, the first enemy scouts were already feeling their way forward.

At dawn on February 4, the remains of the ‘Woldenberg’ Division began crossing the anti-tank ditch that blocked the Landsberger Chaussee at the eastern end of Küstrin. They had already come to within 10 kilometres of the town the previous day but had waited for darkness to get through the area occupied by Soviet forces.

General Busse had sent a young liaison officer to meet them, but without any instructions for Major-General Kegler. When the latter arrived in Küstrin he was promptly given orders to report to the standing court-martial in Torgau, thus becoming one of the last to leave Küstrin by the normal road. As the witnesses to the events leading up to Kegler’s court martial were now trapped in Küstrin, evidence had to be obtained from them by telephone.

Soviet Advance across Poland - Photo Credit:

Soviet Advance across Poland – Photo Credit:

To be continued with a translation of the court-martial report and verdict on my next post.

One thought on “Gerhard Kegler, the general, who dared to disobey Himmler – Part IV

  1. Pingback: Gerhard Kegler, the general, who dared to disobey Himmler – Part VI | The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

tanja britton

Lives and writes at the foot of Pikes Peak

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Poetry and Prose

From soul to soul

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes


"Pay attention to the world" -- Susan Sontag


My Mind Space

Susan Rushton

Celebrating gardens, nature, photography and a creative life

Backyard Photographer

Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time


Independent blog about literature, philosophy and society in words and images

The Hejhej blog

Another blog that you dont need

The Flowers of Art

In the kingdom of life, with the strokes of the brush, the bow and the pen, artists have sowed their hearts to contrive, fields rivalling in beauty the Garden of Eden.

The Timeless Treasure

A Sneak Peek of My Life !!!

Theresa J. Barker

science fiction writer

Jupp Kappius

Zur Erinnerung an Josef "Jupp" Kappius


Exploring the world of ideas through books

Sophie und ihre Welt

Bücher - Zitate - Musik - Literatur - Philosophie - Worte - Ohrensessel-Gedanken - Momentaufnahmen - Bilder - Fotos - Werken

A Walk to Stressfree Life

be thankful for this blessed life!!!

Karolina Górska & Piotr Jurkiewicz

fotografia z naszej perspektywy

Melissa Blue Fine Art

Celebrating the Healing Beauty of Nature

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

The Back Road Chronicles

Curious soul...and it makes me wanna take the back roads!


Go Explore

Inspire me

Love, Relationship, Lifestyle, Purpose, Marriage & Family

Travelling around the world

Traveller, photography

Intrepid Venture

Exploring the realms of the arts, sciences and politics


A peek into Megha's mind

Candid Chicana

Chicano Culture, Self-Development & More

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Plants and Beyond

Green Plants Based Living and Gardening


age is just a (biggish) number

Think Ahead

Des' Online Journal


Relationships reveal our hearts.

Wondering and Wandering

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow..." --Henry David Thoreau, August 19, 1851

Frau Stich-Schlinge

handGemachtes & allerlei Tüddellütt

Stella, oh, Stella

Garten - Reisen - Lesen - Musik - Handarbeiten - Motorbike no more! - Wandern ...

My Fragmented Narrative

rants and ramblings freshly served


comfort and joy from my home to yours

mommermom moms journey

Find Your Middle Ground

"Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground" Val Boyko

This Much I Know

exploring life now that our small people have all grown up

%d bloggers like this: