SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
Generalleutnant Heinrich Kirchheim
PW NO: B33401
DATE: 12 April 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 6
PLACE OF BIRTH: Groß Salze-Bad
DATE OF DEATH: 14 December
PLACE OF DEATH: Lüdenscheid
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
COLOUR: Light Brown
NEXT OF KIN: British
1 May 1899
27 January 1900
18 October 1900
10 February 1910
15 September 1914
1 April 1923 (2)
1 November 1928 (12)
11 April 1931
als Generalmajor: 27 August 1939
1 July 1940
1 July 1942 (5)
May 1899: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the Infanterie-Regiment
Prinz Friedrich der Niederlande (2. Westfälisches) Nr.15.
October 1904: Transferred to the Protection Troops in German Southwest
Africa. [In January 1904, the native Herero tribe of Southwest Africa
rebelled against German colonial rule over the expropriation of their
land and cattle. Later in the year, the Nama/Hottentot tribe also took up arms
against their colonial rulers. Generalleutnant Lothar von Trotha,
the Military Commander of German Southwest Africa, suppressed the rebellion
with extreme brutality. Relying on a policy of ethnic cleansing backed
by forced labor, deportations, wholesale execution of prisoners and the
use of concentration camps, the Germans crushed the rebellion by early
1907. In 1915, South Africa took over the German colony as a League of
Nations’ mandate called South West Africa. Renamed Namibia in 1968, the
country only achieved its independence from South Africa in 1990.]
March 1914: Transferred to the Magdeburgisches Jäger-Bataillon Nr.4.
August 1914: Company Leader in Jäger Battalion 4.
August 1914: Wounded/hospitalized.
August 1916: Commander of the Hannoversches Jäger-Bataillon Nr.10.
January 1919: Commander of the Volunteer Hannoverian Jäger Battalion “Kirchheim.”
August 1919: Detached to the Prussian War Ministry and then to the Reich
January 1921: Company Chief in the 17th Infantry Regiment upon the formation
of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional Army.
May 1923: On the staff of the 1st Cavalry Division, Frankfurt/Oder.
May 1926: Commander of the I. Battalion of an infantry regiment – possibly the 7th (Prussian) Infantry
February 1930: Commandant of Glatz.
March 1932: Retired from the Army.
October 1934: Reactivated in the Army and appointed Commander of the Training
Battalion of Infantry Regiment “Arnsberg.”
November 1934: Delegated with the post of head of the Köln Military Area
March 1936: Commander of the Köln Military Area Command.
June 1938: Commander of the Wien I Military Area Command.
October 1939: Commander of Infantry Regiment 276 of the 94th Infantry
December 1939-31 January 1941: Commander of the 169th Infantry Division.
[Initially held in reserve, Kirchheim’s division took part in the second
phase of the invasion of France in June 1940 under General der Infanterie
Ernst Busch’s 16th Army. Following the Franco-German armistice, the 169th
Infantry Division remained in Lorraine under the 1st Army on occupation
duties for the remainder of the year.]
March 1941: Leader of Special Staff Libya and delegated with the leadership
of elements of the Italian 27th Brescia Infantry Division. [Arriving in
Libya on 24 February 1941, Kirchheim’s special staff—consisting of officers
with military experience in Africa prior to and during World War I (including
himself)—was charged with studying the varied conditions in North Africa.
However, Generalleutnant Erwin Rommel, the recently arrived commanding
general of the new German Afrika Korps, chose to use Kirchheim’s men as
individual reinforcements for his under strength field formations. During
Rommel’s first offensive in Cyrenaica (31 March 1941-12 April 1941), Generalmajor
Kirchheim led the northern group that pushed up the Via
Balbia coast road from Agedabia. Upon reaching Benghazi
on 4 April 1941, Kirchheim’s force split into two columns. The northernmost
column, a reinforced regimental sized detachment of one infantry and one artillery battalion of the Italian 27th Brescia
Infantry Division and one infantry battalion of the Italian 25th Bologna
Infantry Division, commanded by Kirchheim, continued advancing
up the Via Balbia to clear Australian
rearguards. The German Reconnaissance Battalion
3, commanded by Oberstleutnant Irnfried
Freiherr von Wechmar, hooked east and crossed the desert south of the
Jebel el Akdar hills to Mechili. Securing northern Cyrenaica, Kirchheim’s
Brescia column linked up with the German Machinegun Battalion 8,
commanded by Oberstleutnant Gustav Ponath, at
Derna on 8 April 1941. Following his advance up the
Via Balbia, Generalmajor Kirchheim
next saw action during Rommel’s ill-fated attempt to seize the isolated
coastal fortress of Tobruk. On 30 April 1941, Rommel placed
Kirchheim in command of a battle group formed from the bulk of Generalmajor Johannes Streich’s 5th Light Division
for an assault against the Ras el Madauer high ground on the Tobruk defensive
Despite seizing the high ground, Rommel’s attempt to capture Tobruk failed
at a cost of almost 1,400 German and Italian dead, wounded and missing.]
June 1941: Leader of Special Staff Tropics in the Army High Command.
March 1943: Leader of Special Staff C under the Chief of Army Armaments
and Commander of the Replacement Army/Army High Command.
August 1944: At the same time, appointed a member of the Army Court of
Honor. [Established by Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel under Hitler’s
orders, the court investigated all army officers suspected of involvement
in the conspiracy that culminated with the 20 July 1944 assassination
attempt on Hitler. The court members consisted of Generalfeldmarschall
Gerd von Rundstedt, Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, General der Infanterie
Walter Schroth and Generalleutnant Karl-Wilhelm Specht. Additionally,
General der Infanterie Karl Kriebel and Generalleutnant Kirchheim were
designated standing representatives for members who could not attend a
Generalmajor Ernst Maisel, Chief of the Office Group for Officers’ Education
and Welfare (P 2) of the Army Personnel Office, served as the court protocol
officer. Based on evidence provided by the Gestapo (suspects did not appear
in person to defend themselves), the court decided whether a suspect was
“expelled” or “discharged” from the Army. The former verdict would result
in a suspect’s release from military jurisdiction to face trial before
the infamous People’s Court and subsequent execution. In a special meeting
on 4 October 1944, the court heard the evidence implicating Generalleutnant
Dr. phil. Hans Speidel in the conspiracy.
The court refused to expel Speidel from the Army opting instead for his
discharge. Although he spent the rest of the war in prison, the verdict
insured Speidel did not appear before the People’s Court.]
October 1944-31 March 1945: Berlin Military Recruitment Inspector.
April 1945: Army High Command Leader Reserve.
April 1945-6 October 1947: Prisoner of war.
- 4 May 1945 transferred to Trent Park Camp 11 sorting camp.
- 24 January 1946
to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp 1
- 11 January
1947 transferred to Camp 99 from Island Farm Special Camp 11
- 21 March 1947
to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp 99
- 1 April 1947
transferred to LDC (London District Cage) from Island Farm Special
- 30 September
1947 transferred to US custody for discharge
Cross of the Iron Cross: 14 May 1941, Generalmajor, Leader of Special
Staff Libya and Leader of elements of the Italian 27th Brescia Infantry
Pour le Mérite Order: 13 October 1918, Hauptmann, Commander of the Hannoversches
Jäger-Bataillon Nr.10. [Awarded for outstanding leadership and distinguished
military planning and successful operations on the Western Front. The
award also recognized his distinction in action during the defensive battles
and engagements against massed enemy attacks between the Somme and Oise
Rivers on 8-9 August 1918. The award also recognized his distinction in
action during the battle at the North Canal by Nesle and Noyon.]
Crown Order, 4th Class with Swords (Awarded for bravery in action during
the Herero and Nama/Hottentot campaign in German
Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight’s Cross with Swords
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
Military Merit Order, 4th Class with Swords
Military Merit Cross, 2nd Class
Cross for Merit in War
Africa Memorial Medal in Bronze
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
Officers’ Long Service Cross (Not authorized for wear after the establishment
of the Third Reich-era Armed Forces Long Service Awards on 16 March 1936.)
Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
Order of the Iron Crown, 3rd Class with War Decoration
Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration
Badge in Black – World War I award
Army Silver Bravery Medal (Medaglia
d’Argento al Valore Militare)
Roger James & Law, Richard D. Uniforms, Organization and History
of the Afrika Korps. R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose, California,
1973 (1st Edition).
Dermot. Die Generale des Heeres, 1921-1945, Band 6 (Hochbaum-Klutmann).
Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 2002.
Dermot & Schulze-Kossens, Richard (editors). Tätigkeitsbericht
des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt,
1.10.1942-29.10.1944. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1984.
Jack & Massignani, Alessandro. Rommel’s
North Africa Campaign: September 1940-November 1942. Da Capo Press,
Inc., U.S.A., 1994 (1999 edition).
William E. The History of the Prussian Pour le Mérite Order, Volume
III: 1888-1918. Matthäus Publishers, Dallas, Texas, 1986.
David. The Trail of the Fox. Avon Books,
New York, New York, 1978 printing of 1977 edition.
Samuel W. Jr. Triumphant Fox: Erwin Rommel and the Rise
of the Afrika Korps. Stein and Day Publishers, New York, New York,
 Battle Group “Kirchheim” consisted of Panzer Regiment 5 (Oberst
Dr. Ing. Herbert Olbrich), Machinegun Battalions 2 and 8, two pioneer companies
and anti-tank, artillery and anti-aircraft elements.
 General der Infanterie Walter Schroth died
in an automobile accident on 6 October 1944.
 Generalleutnant Dr. phil. Speidel served
as Chief of the General Staff of Army Group B commanded by Generalfeldmarschall
Erwin Rommel. Severely wounded on 17 July 1944 by an air attack on his staff
car in France, Rommel was convalescing at home in Heerlingen when Speidel’s
case was heard by the Army Court of Honor. Convinced of the Field Marshal’s
complicity in the assassination plot, Hitler instructed Generalleutnant
Wilhelm Burgdorf, Chief of the Army Personnel Office, to meet Rommel in
Heerlingen and offer him a choice: suicide and a hero’s state funeral or
trial before the People’s Court. On 14 October 1944, Rommel opted for the
former fate and took the cyanide provided by Burgdorf.