SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
SPECIAL CAMP 11


This profile is based on a copy of Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim’s microfilmed service record housed at the United States National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. A nephew of the late general graciously provided the family photographs and supplementary biographical and family information.

NAME: General der Artillerie Anton Reichard Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim

PW NO:           560392

RANK:            General der Artillerie

CAPTURED:   Norway

DATE:             9 May 1945

PERSONAL
DATE OF BIRTH:     9 July 1896

PLACE OF BIRTH:   Würzburg/Bayern

DATE OF DEATH:    9 February 1961

PLACE OF DEATH: Würzburg/Bayern

NATIONALITY:       German

RELIGION:                Roman Catholic

OCCUPATION:        Regular Soldier

HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

NEXT OF KIN:

Parents: Franz Freiherr and Sophie Freiin von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim.

Wife: Married Marie-Gabriele Freiin von Ritter zu Groenesteyn (born 17 October 1900) on 21 May 1919 in München – one daughter. Divorced on 15 April 1924 in Würzburg. Remarried on 9 August 1930 in Solitude near Stuttgart to Erika Maria Notthaft Freiin von Weißenstein (born 13 May 1904) – three sons and one daughter.

Brother: Kapitän zur See Theodor Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim (26 August 1902-20 April 1973) – see biographical details below.

Note: Despite sharing the same name, Generalmajor Gustav Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim (born 16 June 1889 in München) and Anton were not brothers. The family split into two branches during the 16th Century and each general hailed from opposite family branches. During World War II, Gustav commanded Infantry Regiment 404 and the 707th Infantry Division before serving as the Inspector of the Heidelberg Regional Recruiting Inspectorate for the remainder of the war.

Promotions:

  • Fahnenjunker: 7 August 1914
  • Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter: 1 October 1914
  • Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier: 25 November 1914
  • Fähnrich: 17 December 1915
  • Leutnant: 27 March 1916 (without Patent)
  • Leutnant: 1 October 1917 (Patent 23 June 1914; later changed to 1 April 1914)
  • Oberleutnant: 22 February 1924 (RDA 1 November 1923)
  • Hauptmann: 1 October 1928
  • Major: 1 November 1934
  • Oberstleutnant: 1 August 1937 (RDA later changed to 1 March 1937)
  • Oberst: 1 February 1940
  • Generalmajor: 1 June 1942
  • Generalleutnant: 1 June 1943
  • General der Artillerie: 1 March 1945

Commands & Assignments:

  • 7 August 1914: Entered the Royal Bavarian Army as a Fahnenjunker in the Bavarian 1. Feldartillerie-Regiment Prinz-Regent Luitpold.
  • 5 September 1915: In the field with the Bavarian 1st Field Artillery Regiment.
  • 29 December 1916: Battalion Adjutant in the Bavarian 1st Field Artillery Regiment.
  • 12 April 1918: Lightly wounded.
  • 28 April 1919: Transferred to the 1st Bavarian Schützen [Rifle]-Regiment.
  • 16 May 1919: Transferred to the 3rd Bavarian Light Artillery Regiment 23, Würzburg.
  • 10 June 1919: Adjutant of the March Group Würzburg of Freikorps “Epp” (Oberst Franz Ritter von Epp).
  • 1 October 1920: Ordnance Officer on the Staff of Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 23 of Reichswehr-Brigade 23, Würzburg.
  • 1 January 1921: Transferred to the I. Battalion of the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment at Würzburg upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional Army.
  • 1 November 1921: Battery Officer in the 1st Battery of the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment, Würzburg.
  • 6 January 1922-29 March 1922: Detached to a training course at the Artillery School in Jüterbog.
  • 5 January 1923-30 June 1923: Granted leave to regain his health following a cure at Bad Reichenhall.
  • 1 May 1924-16 August 1924: Detached to a Weapons School Course at the Ohrdruf Troop Training Area.
  • 1 October 1926: Transferred to the staff of the 7th Division for Leader Assistant training.
  • 1 October 1928: Transferred to the 6th (Prussian) Artillery Regiment and detached to the Reich Defense Ministry with duties determined by the Army Department (T 1) of the Troop Office. [This department was responsible for Army operational planning. As such, it handled all matters relating to the internal and external military situation, border defense, land fortifications, troop employment and organization, military transportation and military measurement, mapping and charting.]
  • 20-30 September 1929: Detached to the Statistics Department (T 3) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry. [This department was responsible for the collection and analysis of documentation on foreign armies.]
  • 1 October 1929: Transferred to the Statistics Department (T 3) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry and carried the Uniform of a Leadership Staff Officer.
  • 1 June 1930-31 July 1930: Detached for two months to the British Army.
  • August 1931-August 1932: Detached for one year to the United States Army.
  • 1 October 1931: Transferred to the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment.
  • 1 October 1932: Transferred to the Statistics Department (T 3) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry.
  • 1 April 1934: Chief of the 5th Battery of the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment, München.
  • 1 October 1934: Transferred to the I. Battalion of Artillery Regiment “München.”
  • 15 April 1935: Transferred to the Army Department (T 1) of the Troop Office/Reich Defense Ministry, on 21 May 1935 renamed the Reich War Ministry, and carried the Uniform of the General Staff.
  • 1 July 1935: Transferred to the I. Department (Operations) of the Army General Staff.
  • 12 October 1937: Military Attaché at the German Embassy in London, Great Britain.
  • 7 August 1939: While retaining his previous duty position, moved to the German Embassy in Dublin, Ireland.
  • 1 September 1939: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
  • 3 October 1939: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General Staff of the 10th Army. [Commanded by Generaloberst Walter von Reichenau, the 10th Army was redesignated the 6th Army on 10 October 1939.]
  • 10 October 1939: Operations Officer (Ia) in the General Staff of the 6th Army. [Commanded by Generaloberst (later Generalfeldmarschall) Walter von Reichenau, the 6th Army took part in the invasion of the Low Countries and France in May-June 1940. During the first phase of the campaign, the 6th Army advanced against elements of the Dutch, Belgian and French armies and, after heavy fighting, captured Brussels on 17 May 1940. After tearing a fatal hole between the Belgians and the British Expeditionary Force, Generaloberst von Reichenau accepted the surrender of King Leopold III of Belgium and his army on 28 May 1940. During the second phase of the campaign, the 6th Army wheeled south and, after crossing the Marne and the Cher rivers, captured Orleans. Following the Western Campaign, the 6th Army concentrated on the Cherbourg peninsula in preparation for Operation “Seelöwe” (Sea Lion)—the planned invasion of Great Britain. While the main landings were tasked to the 16th Army (Generaloberst Ernst Busch) and the 9th Army (Generaloberst Adolf Strauß) respectively, the 6th Army remained on alert and, if feasible, would land in Lyme Bay between Weymouth and Lyme Regis. After the cancellation of Operation “Seelöwe,” the 6th Army remained in France for the next several months performing coastal defense and routine occupation and training duties.]
  • 15 February 1941: Chief of the General Staff of the XXIII Army Corps. [Initially held in Army Group North reserve, the XXIII Army Corps, commanded by General der Infanterie Albrecht Schubert, took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union from 22 June 1941. Transferring to control of Army Group Center, the corps saw heavy combat at Polozk, Velikiye Luki and Toropez.]
  • 1 October 1941: Chief of the General Staff of the XXIX Army Corps on the Eastern Front. [Commanded by General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder, the XXIX Army Corps saw action in southern Russia at Sumy, Belgorod and Kharkov. Oberst (later General der Infanterie) Eberhard Kinzel assumed the post of corps chief of staff upon the transfer of Oberst Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim to France.]
  • 28 May 1942: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
  • 16 June 1942: Chief of the General Staff of the 1st Army in France. [Headquartered at Bordeaux, the 1st Army commanded by Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz occupied the French Atlantic coast from south of the Loire River to the Spanish border. On 11 November 1942, in response to Operation Torch, the Allied amphibious landings in Morocco and Algeria, Adolf Hitler directed the implementation of Operation “Anton,” the occupation of Vichy France and the disbandment of its army to prevent that government from possibly casting its lot with the Allies. Armored and infantry elements of the 1st Army and General der Infanterie Hans-Gustav Felber’s Army Group “Felber” advanced into southern France while the Italian 4th Army commanded by General Mario Vercellino occupied the French Riviera and the island of Corsica. On 27 November 1942, the Germans further consolidated their hold on Vichy France with Operation “Lila,” the occupation of Toulon and the attempted seizure of the French fleet lying in the port. SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser’s SS-Panzer General Command moved on the city with elements of the 7th and 10th Panzer Divisions and the SS-Motorcycle Battalion “Langemarck” (from the SS-Panzer Grenadier Division “Das Reich”) in an early morning bid to grab the fleet. However, Admiral Jean de Laborde ordered his entire fleet scuttled before the Germans could arrive at the harbor in time to capture the ships. Among the losses were the battleship Provence, the battlecruisers Strasbourg and Dunkerque, the heavy cruisers Colbert, Foch, Dupleix and Algérie, the light cruisers La Galissonnière, Jean de Vienne and Marseillaise, the seaplane carrier Commandant Teste and numerous destroyers, submarines and smaller vessels.]
  • 1 August 1943: Army High Command Leader Reserve – duties determined by the Chief of the Army Personnel Office (P 3).
  • 5 November 1943: Commander of the 257th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front. [After taking part in the defensive battle of Krivoi Rog, the 257th Infantry Division fought at Nikopol and then retreated through the Ukraine crossing the Bug River at Voznesensk. Continuing its fighting retreat, the division withdrew into the Romanian region of Bassarabia where it fought to contain the Russian bridgehead on the Dniester River at Tiraspol, Tighina and Chisinău.]
  • 2 July 1944: Delegated with the deputy leadership of the XXIX Army Corps on the Eastern Front for the duration of the absence of the commanding general (General der Panzertruppe Erich Brandenberger). [Assigned to the Romanian 3rd Army commanded by General de armatâ Petre Dumitrescu, the XXIX Army Corps opposed the Russian bridgehead on the Dniester River south of Tiraspol in Bassarabia. Composed of three divisions—the German 9th Infantry Division (Generalmajor Werner Gebb), the Romanian 21st Infantry Division (General de divizie Atanasie Trincu) and the Romanian 4th Mountain Division (General de brigadă Alexandru Nasta)—the XXIX Army Corps faced a major Russian offensive across the Dniester River on 20 August 1944. While the brunt of the right wing of the Russian attack struck the neighboring German 6th Army commanded by General der Artillerie Maximilian Fretter-Pico, strong secondary attacks against the XXIX Army Corps resulted in the collapse of its two Romanian divisions. Faced with imminent encirclement, General Dumitrescu’s army, along with the XXIX Army Corps, began withdrawing on 22 August 1944 to the Foşcani-Namaloasa-Braile Fortified Line south of the Siret River. Although the bulk of the corps staff ultimately escaped from Romania, its three divisions were effectively destroyed while Generalmajor Gebb was captured on 29 August 1944.]
  • 12 October 1944: Army High Command Leader Reserve – duties determined by the Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] XIII, Nürnberg.
  • 15 December 1944: Delegated with the leadership of the LXXI Army Corps in Norway.
  • 1 March 1945-9 May 1945: Commanding General of the LXXI Army Corps in Norway. [Headquartered at Setermoen, north of Narvik, the LXXI Army Corps served as a component of General der Gebirgstruppe Ferdinand Jodl’s Army Detachment “Narvik.” At the time of the German surrender, the LXXI Army Corps controlled the following formations: the 9th Mountain Division (North) * (Generalmajor Mathias Kräutler), the 210th Infantry Division (Oberst Rademacher), the 230th Infantry Division (Oberst von Wagner), Grenadier Brigade 503 and Panzer Battalion 211 (equipped with French Hotchkiss H39 and Somua S35 “booty” tanks).]
  • 9 May 1945-October 1945: Upon the German surrender, Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim was detached to serve as the liaison officer between the German Armed Forces Commander of Norway (General der Gebirgstruppe Franz Böhme) and the Allies for the turnover of Norway.
  • October 1945-October 1947: Prisoner of war in Great Britain until the summer of 1947 when transferred to Dachau, Germany for the remaining months of his captivity. [During his captivity at Special Camp 11 at Bridgend, Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim served as the head teacher of English language lessons and other educational classes offered to the prisoners. A period British report assessed his qualifications for this role: “Head teacher and is in charge of education. His English is fluent and correct and his words are well chosen in conversation. He has spent some time in USA.”]

* The 9th Mountain Division (North) was undergoing formation in Norway as the war ended. The unit is listed in most period German records as Division Group “Kräutler” or Division for Special Employment (z.b.V.) 140, the previous designations of Generalmajor Kräutler’s command. Upon Germany’s surrender, Kräutler’s command was in the process of amalgamating with Gebirgsjäger-Brigade “General Dietl” 139 and other elements to form the 9th Mountain Division (North).

Decorations & Awards:

  • German Cross in Gold: 25 April 1942, Oberst, Chief of the General Staff of the XXIX Army Corps.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 4 June 1917.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 18 February 1916.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 28 May 1940.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 18 May 1940.
  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”): 8 August 1942.
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, 4th Class with Swords: 20 September 1916.
  • Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918: 26 January 1935.
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
  • Wound Badge in Black – World War I award: 29 May 1918.
  • Romanian Commemorative Medal for the Crusade against Communism
General der Artillerie Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim’s World War I Combat Service Record:
  •  5 September 1915-20 October 1915: Positional combat on the Somme.
  • 21 October 1915-8 May 1916: Positional combat in Artois.
  • 23 January 1916-10 February 1916: Engagement at Neuville.
  • 1 June 1916: Capture of Fort Douaumont.
  • 22 May 1916-13 June 1916: Combat in the Thiaumont Forest.
  • 23 June 1916-15 July 1916: Combat at “Kalte Erde” [“Cold Earth”] and at Fleury. (Zwischenwerke or Intermediary Works “Kalte Erde” was the German name for the French Ouvrage de Froideterre, a fortified infantry strongpoint on the Côte de Froideterre about 2 kilometers to the west of Fleury.)
  • 19 July 1916-23 October 1916: Positional combat on the Maas Heights.
  • 5 November 1916-5 May 1917: Positional combat in the Aprem Forest and at Ailly.
  • 14-27 May 1917: Double Battle on the Aisne.
  • 28 May 1917-1 July 1917: Positional combat at Chemin des Dammes.
  • 27 July 1917-28 December 1917: Positional combat in Champagne.
  • 25 January 1918-24 February 1918: Positional combat in the Argonne.
  • 2-20 March 1918: Rest period of the 18th Army.
  • 21 March 1918-6 April 1918: Great Battle in France (“Ludendorff Offensive”).
  • 21-22 March 1918: Breakthrough Battle at St. Quentin.
  • 23-24 March 1918: Combat crossing of the Somme.
  • 25-31 March 1918: Combat pursuit to Montdidier.
  • 7 April 1918: Combat on the Avre and at Noyon.
  • 31 May 1918-14 July 1918: Positional combat in Champagne.
  • 15-17 July 1918: Attack Battle on the Marne.
  • 18-21 July 1918: Positional combat in Champagne.
  • 22-25 July 1918: Defensive combat between Soissons and Reims.
  • 26 July 1918-3 August 1918: Defensive combat between the Marne and Vesle.
  • 4-6 August 1918: Positional combat between the Oise and the Aisne.
  • 17 August 1918-4 September 1918: Defensive combat on the Oise.
  • 5-22 September 1918: Rest period of the 7th Army.
  • 26 September 1918-9 October 1918: Defensive combat in Champagne.
  • 10-12 October 1918: Combat on the “Hunding” Front.
  • 13-18 October 1918: Combat on the Aisne and the Aire.
  • 18-25 October 1918: Battle of Vouzieres.
  • 24-31 October 1918: Combat on the Aisne and the Aire.
  • 1-4 November 1918: Combat on the Aisne and the Maas.
  • 5-11 November 1918: Retreat from the Maas Position.
  • 12 November 1918: Withdrawal from the occupied territories and the return home.
Kapitän zur See Theodor Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim

Born on 26 August 1902 at Schloß Mainsondheim/Kreis Kitzingen, Kapitän zur See Theodor Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim, the younger brother of Anton, was a member of the German Naval Class of 1923. After commanding the destroyer Karl Galster (Z 20) from 21 March 1939-3 August 1942, he served as the First Admiral Staff Officer of the Leader of Destroyers (Konteradmiral Erich Bey; Kapitän zur See Max-Eckart Wolff from December 1943; and Vizeadmiral Leo Kreisch from 26 January 1944-29 May 1945) and then temporary Chief of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla. From 25 April-22 June 1944, he was Chief of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla “Narvik” based on the French Atlantic coast.  

On the night of 8-9 June 1944, he led his 8th Destroyer Flotilla “Narvik” (destroyers Z 32, ZH 1, Z 24 and torpedo boat T 24) on a sortie from Brest to Cherbourg in an attempt to interdict Allied shipping supporting the Normandy invasion. At 0123 hours, however, the Germans encountered the four British, two Canadian and two Polish destroyers of Commander Basil Jones’s 10th Destroyer Flotilla off the Brittany coast.* In a night action lasting several hours, the ZH 1 was scuttled after being fatally damaged while the destroyer leader Z 32 was run aground in flames off the Île de Batz and abandoned by her crew. The Z 24 and the T 24, both damaged, returned to Brest. After abandoning the Z 32, Kapitän zur See Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim was rescued from the English Channel a few hours later by German light coastal forces.

From late June 1944 until the end of the war, he served as the Naval Liaison Officer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine to the Reich Central Security Main Office (RSHA). From May 1945-November 1946, Kapitän zur See Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim was held as a prisoner of war by the British at Rendsburg, Germany. Highly decorated (see below), he died on 20 April 1973 in Stuttgart.

Decorations & Awards:

For further reading on Kapitän zur See Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim and the destroyer action off Ile de Batz, please refer to the excellent article “Masters of the Channel Night: The 10th Destroyer Flotilla’s Victory off Ile de Batz, 9 June 1944” by Michael Whitby (Click here).

* Composition of the British 10th Destroyer Flotilla during the night action on 9 June 1944: HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo, HMS Javelin, HMS Tartar (Commander Jones), HMCS Haida, HMCS Huron, Polish Blyskawica and Polish Piorun.

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