SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
der Artillerie Eduard Crasemann
PW NO: 333422
RANK: General der Artillerie
CAPTURED: Ruhr, Germany
DATE: 16 April 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 5
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hamburg
DATE OF DEATH: 28 April 1950
PLACE OF DEATH: Werl (while held
as a prisoner in British captivity)
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
NEXT OF KIN:
11 February 1910
18 October 1910
18 August 1911 – Patent 20 August 1909
18 August 1915
18 August 1918
1 November 1936 – RDA 1 December 1933
1 June 1938 – RDA later changed to 1 March 1937
1 August 1940
1 February 1942
1 October 1944
27 February 1945 – RDA 1 December 1944
der Artillerie: 20 April 1945
Commands & Assignments:
February 1910: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the Niedersächsisches
August 1914: Battery Leader in Field Artillery Regiment 46.
November 1914: Adjutant of the II. Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment
February 195: Regimental Adjutant of Field Artillery Regiment 46.
June 1917: Deputy Battery Leader in Field Artillery Regiment 46.
July 1917: Regimental Adjutant of Field Artillery Regiment 46.
September 1917: Company Leader in the 2. Hannoversches Infanterie-Regiment
November 1917: Regimental Adjutant of Field Artillery Regiment 46.
November 1917: Officer of the Army and transferred to the General Command
of the Flanders Naval Corps for employment as a General Staff Officer.
May 1918: Second General Staff Officer of the 35th Infantry Division.
November 1918: Returned to Field Artillery Regiment 46.
December 1918: Battery Leader in Field Artillery Regiment 46.
December 1918: Leader of the I. Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment
April 1919: Separated from the Army.
August 1936: Supplemental Officer Candidate in the 1st Department of
the Army General Staff.
October 1936: Called up as a Hauptmann of the Landwehr for provisional
service in the 1st Department of the Army General Staff.
February 1937: Named a Supplemental Officer in the 1st Department of
the Army General Staff with effect from 1 November 1936.
October 1937: Transferred to the 10th Department of the Army General
November 1938: Detached to the II. Battalion of Artillery Regiment 20
of the 20th Infantry Division.
April 1939: Battery Chief in Artillery Regiment 73 of the 1st Panzer
Division. [Commanded by Generalleutnant Rudolf Schmidt, the 1st Panzer
Division took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939.]
February 1940: Commander of the II. Battalion of Artillery Regiment
78 of the 7th Panzer Division.
[Known as the “Ghost Division,” the famous 7th Panzer Division was commanded
by Generalmajor Erwin Rommel from February 1940-February 1941. The division
played a key role in the invasion of France in May-June 1940.]
May 1941: Commander of Artillery Regiment (Motorized) 33 of the 15th
Panzer Division in North Africa.
May 1942-25 August 1942: At the same time, delegated with the leadership
of the 15th Panzer Division in North Africa. [After Generalmajor Gustav
von Vaerst was wounded during the Battle of Gazala in Libya, temporary
leadership of the 15th Panzer Division passed to Oberst Crasemann. Following
his recovery, von Vaerst resumed divisional command.]
January 1943: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
April 1943: Commander of Panzer Artillery Regiment 116 of the 5th Panzer
Division on the Eastern Front. [Commanded by Generalmajor Ernst Faeckenstedt,
the 5th Panzer Division served in the area of Orel under Army Group
Center. On 12 July 1943, the Soviet Western and Bryansk Fronts opened
a counteroffensive against the Orel salient held by Army Group Center’s
9th Army and 2nd Panzer Army. Reacting to the offensive and Soviet buildups
elsewhere along the front, Hitler cancelled Operation “Zitadelle” (Citadel)
the following day.
In the meantime, the 9th Army and 2nd Panzer Army, both now under command
of Generaloberst Walter Model, began a grudging withdrawal to the west.
By 18 August 1943, Model’s forces, including the 5th Panzer Division,
had pulled back to the recently fortified Hagen
Position along the base of the Orel salient.]
September 1943: Artillery Commander (Arko) 143.
April 1944: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
May 1944-5 June 1944: At the same time, detached to the 11th Division
Leader Course at Hirschberg/Silesia.
July 1944: At the same time, detached to the Army High Command.
July 1944: Delegated with the leadership of the 26th Panzer Division
in Italy. [Succeeding Generalleutnant Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz, Crasemann
briefly led the 26th Panzer Division before handing over command to
Generalmajor Dr. rer. pol., Dr. jur. Hans Boelsen.]
August 1944: Commander of the 26th Panzer Division in Italy. [Succeeding
Generalmajor Boelsen, Crasemann led the division, a component of the
LXXVI Panzer Corps of the 10th Army, in fierce defensive combat against
the British Eighth Army in the Adriatic sector.
Pulled from reserve in late August 1944, the 26th Panzer Division fought
at the Coriano Ridge, west of Rimini, where it helped stem the initial
British offensive against the Gothic
Line. Resuming the attack on 12 September 1944, Lieutenant-General Sir
Oliver Leese’s British Eighth Army stormed the ridge and captured Rimini
from the withdrawing Germans. After heavy defensive fighting against
British forces advancing on Cesena, the LXXVI Panzer Corps abandoned
the town and withdrew behind the Savio River. The corps continued to
fight a delaying action across the Romagna Plain until establishing
itself in the German winter positions southeast of Bologna. By late
December 1944, the 26th Panzer Division had been pulled from the line
and placed in 10th Army reserve for a much needed rest. Tapped to lead
a corps on the Western Front, Crasemann relinquished command of the
26th Panzer Division to Oberst Alfred Kuhnert and departed Italy for
his final assignment of the war.]
January 1945: Delegated with the leadership of the XII SS-Army Corps
on the Western Front. [Upon assuming leadership of the corps from General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt, Crasemann found his new
command holding along the Roer River as the northern wing of General
der Infanterie Gustav-Adolf von Zangen’s 15th Army.
On 23 February 1945, Lieutenant General William H. Simpson’s U.S. Ninth
Army launched Operation Grenade
to clear the northern Rhineland and linkup on the Rhine with
Operation Veritable being executed by the Canadian
First Army. Forced back across the Rhine in early March 1945 by the
stunning American advance, Crasemann’s battered corps transferred to
control of Generaloberst Josef Harpe’s 5th Panzer Army later in the
month. The American seizure of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine
at Remagen on 7 March 1945, combined with the launch of Operation Plunder, the British assault crossing of the Rhine on March
24th, sealed the fate of the German armies in the west. Fanning out
from their bridgeheads, the U.S. Ninth and First Armies completed the
encirclement of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model’s Army Group B in
the Ruhr industrial region by 1 April 1945.
The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket effectively ended on 17 April 1945 when
Model disbanded the remnants of his army group.]
April 1945-28 April 1950: Prisoner of war; tried and imprisoned for
war crimes. [In the spring of 1947, Crasemann was tried by a British
War Crimes Tribunal in Padua for his complicity in the mass execution
of 175 Italian civilians in the Fucecchio Marshes (Padule
di Fucecchio) near Florence on 23 August 1944. Elements of
Crasemann’s 26th Panzer Division had been involved in an anti-partisan
sweep of the marshes at the time. He
was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and died in Werl Prison. Rittmeister Josef Strauch, commander of the division’s 26th Panzer
Reconnaissance Battalion, was later tried and also sentenced to a prison
term for his involvement in the massacre.]
- 17th October 1946 transferred from Island Farm Special Camp 11
to LDC (London District Cage)
Decorations & Awards:
Cross of the Iron Cross: 26 December 1941, Oberstleutnant, Commander
of Artillery Regiment (Motorized) 33.
(No. 683): 18 December 1944, Generalmajor, Commander of the 26th Panzer
Cross in Gold: 1 November 1943, Oberst, Commander of Panzer Artillery
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 15 October 1915.
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (19141): 13 September 1914.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 1 June 1940.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 30 September 1939.
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
Forces Long Service Awards
in the Wehrmachtbericht [Armed Forces Communiqué]: 24 November 1944.
Roger James & Odegard, Warren W. Uniforms, Organization and History
of the Panzertruppe. R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose, California,
1980 (1st Edition).
Dermot; Hildebrand, Karl-Friedrich; Rövekamp, Markus. Die Generale
des Heeres, 1921-1945, Band 2 (v. Blanckensee-v. Czettritz und Neuhauß).
Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1993.
Ernest F. Jr. Cassino to the Alps – The United States
Army in World War II: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Washington
D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1989.
Ken. Osprey Campaign 74: The Rhineland 1945 – The Last Killing Ground
in the West. Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford, United Kingdom, 2000.
Earl F. Stalingrad to Berlin: The German Defeat
in the East. Army Historical Series. Washington D.C.: Office of
the Chief of Military History, United States Army, 1968.
Army Kriegsgliederung (Order of Battle), 1 September 1939-30 April 1945.
 Oberst Gottfried Frölich commanded Artillery Regiment 78 from 1939-1943.
Attaining the rank of Generalmajor, he was captured by the British at
the end of the war while serving as Higher Artillery Commander (Harko)
313 of the 3rd Panzer Army. Frölich was later held as a prisoner of war
at Island Farm Special Camp 11.
 Achieving the rank of General der Panzertruppe,
Gustav von Vaerst was captured on 9 May 1943 while commanding the 5th
Panzer Army in Tunisia. He was later held as a prisoner of war at Island
Farm Special Camp 11.
 Launched on 5 July 1943, Operation “Zitadelle” sought to eliminate
the Soviet Central and Voronezh Fronts defending the Kursk salient in
a two pronged offensive. The German 9th Army (Generaloberst Walter Model)
attacked the northern base of the salient while the 4th Panzer Army (Generaloberst
Hermann Hoth) and Army Detachment “Kempf” (General der Panzertruppe Werner
Kempf) advanced in the south. The Battle of Kursk is generally described
as the largest tank battle in history.
 In mid-September 1944, Jäger Regiments 39
(L) and 40 (L) of the 20th Luftwaffe Assault Division were attached to
the 26th Panzer Division and soldiered alongside it for the remainder
of the year. The commander of the 20th Luftwaffe Assault Division, Generalmajor
Wilhelm Crisolli, was killed by Italian partisans in an ambush near Modena
on 12 September 1944. His replacement, Generalmajor Erich Fronhöfer, was
later held as a prisoner of war at Island Farm Special Camp 11.
 General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt was later held as a prisoner
of war at Island Farm Special Camp 11.
 As of 12 April 1945, the order of battle
of Army Group B trapped in the Ruhr Pocket consisted of Army Detachment
“von Lüttwitz” (formed from the staff of XXXXVII Panzer Corps) (General
der Panzertruppe Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz) with the LIII Army Corps
(Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein) and LXIII Army Corps (General der Infanterie
Erich Abraham); the 5th Panzer Army (Harpe) with the XII SS-Army Corps
(Crasemann) and LVIII Panzer Corps (Generalleutnant Walter Botsch); and
the 15th Army (von Zangen) with the LXXIV Army Corps (General der Infanterie
Carl Püchler) and LXXXI Army Corps (General der Infanterie Friedrich Köchling).
Note: The XXXXVII Panzer Corps and LXIII Army Corps were originally
components of the 1st Parachute Army of Army Group H; both were trapped
inside the Ruhr Pocket and reassigned as indicated under Army Group B.
 On 21 April 1945, Generalfeldmarschall Model
committed suicide near Duisburg, Germany.