This profile is based on a copy of Generalmajor Kräutler’s microfilmed
service record housed at the United States National Archives and Records
Administration in Washington, D.C. Supplementary sources are listed below.
NAME: Generalmajor Mathias Ferdinand Kräutler
PW NO: A451685
DATE: 23 August 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 2
PLACE OF BIRTH: Wien, Austria
DATE OF DEATH: 8 September
PLACE OF DEATH: Salzburg, Austria
RELIGION: Roman Catholic
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
HEIGHT: 6’ 0”
WEIGHT: 189 Pounds
HAIR COLOUR: Grey
EYE COLUR: Blue
NEXT OF KIN:
US Zone of Austria
I. Klasse Mathias and Anna (née Schlenkrich) Kräutler. Following the death of her husband
in 1898, Anna Kräutler married Rudolf Weber, an artillery official at the
Artillery Depot in Mostar. Weber died in 1915.
Wife: Married Gertrud
Engl (born 20 June 1905) on 2 June 1927 in Salzburg – one son and one daughter.
- Leutnant: 15 March 1915
- Oberleutnant: 1 November 1916
- Hauptmann: 8 July 1921
- Major: 31 August 1931
- Major in the German Army: 14 March 1938 – RDA 1 March 1936 (109)
- Oberstleutnant: 1 June 1939 (40)
- Oberst: 1 February 1942 (227)
- Generalmajor: 1 October 1944 (25)
Commands & Assignments:
- 1901-1906: Attended Volksschule (Elementary
School) in Wien.
- 1906-1910: Attended Staatsrealschule
(State High School) in Wien.
- 1910-1913: Attended the Cadet School
- 1913-1915: Attended the Theresian
Military Academy at Wiener Neustadt.
- 15 March 1915: Entered the Austro-Hungarian
Army as a Leutnant in the Imperial and Royal Infanterieregiment Erzherzog
- June 1918: Head injury from falling
- 24 November 1919: Provisionally accepted
into the Austrian Federal Army.
- 23 July 1920: Assigned to the Selbständiges
Alpenjägerbataillon Salzburg Nr.3.
- 1 May 1921: Permanently accepted
into the Austrian Federal Army.
- 19 October 1922: Graduated from the
- 1 May 1924: Delegated with the duty
position of Officer for Military Special Employment.
- 18 June 1924: Awarded the duty position
of Officer for Military Special Employment.
- 1 January 1925: Appointed Battalion
Adjutant of Independent Alpine Jäger Battalion 3.
- 1 February 1932: Chief of the 1st
Company of Independent Alpine Jäger Battalion 3.
- 1 May 1935: Transferred to the Salzburger
Infanterieregiment Nr.12 and appointed the 1st Regimental Adjutant.
- 1 July 1936: Appointed a Staff Officer
for Special Employment.
- 2 March 1937: Commander of the I.
Battalion of Infantry Regiment 12.
- 14 March 1938: Accepted into the
- 26 April 1938: Operations Officer
(Ia) of Infantry Commander 2.
- 20 May 1938: Detached to Saalfelden
as Commander of the III. Battalion of Infantry Regiment 12. [The former
Austrian Federal Army’s Infantry Regiment 12, Kärntner Alpenjägerbataillon
Nr.1 and Osttiroler Alpenjägerbataillon Andreas Hofer Nr.3 were used to
form Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 137 which activated on 1 August 1938.]
- 1 August 1938: Renamed Commander
of the III. Battalion of Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 137 of the 2nd Mountain
Division. [In September 1939, the 2nd Mountain Division, commanded by
Generalleutnant Valentin Feurstein, took part in the invasion of Poland
during which it helped capture Lemberg. In April 1940, elements of the
division were engaged in the invasion of Norway seeing action between
Trondheim and Narvik. However, the bulk of Kräutler’s battalion did not
arrive in Norway until after the cessation of hostilities. Following occupation
duties in northern Norway, the division moved into the Lapland region
of northern Finland. On 29 June 1941, the 2nd Mountain Division—now commanded
by Generalmajor Ernst Schlemmer—took part in the invasion of the Soviet
Union as a component of General der Gebirgstruppe Eduard Dietl’s Mountain
Corps “Norway” during Operation “Platinfuchs” (Platinum Fox), the ultimately
unsuccessful bid to capture Murmansk. The division continued to serve
in Lapland until October 1944.]
- 5-17 December 1938: Detached to the
Staff Officer Course with the General Command of the XVIII Army Corps,
- 27 January 1942: Delegated with the
leadership of Reinforced Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 139.
[Originally a component of the 3rd Mountain Division, the regiment, together with
other divisional elements, stayed in Finland while
the rest of the division departed for Germany in January 1942. With attached
artillery, antitank and pioneer elements, it was known as Reinforced Gebirgsjäger-Regiment
139. The regiment continued to serve in Finland as an independent unit
attached variously to the Lapland Army/20th Mountain Army, the XVIII,
XIX and XXXVI Mountain Army Corps and the Finnish III Corps.]
- 7 March 1942-1 March 1944: Commander
of Reinforced Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 139.
- 1 March 1944: Army High Command Leader
Reserve – duties determined by the Commander-in-Chief of the 20th Mountain
Army. [An evaluation dated 1 March 1944 prepared by General der Gebirgstruppe
Georg Ritter von Hengl, the Commanding General of the XIX Mountain Army
Corps, and endorsed by Generaloberst Eduard Dietl, the Commander-in-Chief
of the 20th Mountain Army, assessed Oberst Kräutler’s personal and professional
qualities: Steady, characterized as a very valuable personality. Particularly
esteemed and respected within the Officer Corps. Very proven in action.
Personally courageous. Physically and mentally fully efficient and ready
for action. Deputized as leader of the 2nd and 6th Mountain Divisions
for several months in action with the best success. Strong Points: Very
thorough knowledge in training questions, good educator of the Officer
Corps. Weak Points: After several promptings, he acquired the necessary
hardness. Ritter von Hengl unreservedly recommended Kräutler for employment
as a division commander.]
- 24 April 1944: Army High Command
Leader Reserve – duties determined by the Deputy Commanding General of
the XVIII Army Corps and Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] XVIII,
Salzburg without changing his command status with the 20th Mountain Army.
- 14 July 1944-16 August 1944: At the
same time, detached to the 12th Division Leader Course at Hirschberg/Silesia.
- 18-23 August 1944: At the same time,
participated in the Short Course for Panzer Troop Officers.
- 10 August 1944: Delegated with the
leadership of Division Group “Kräutler.”
[Organized from Reinforced Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 139 and other elements, Kräutler’s division
group began forming as early as March 1944 for service with the 20th Mountain
Army’s XVIII Mountain Army Corps in the Uhtua/Kestenga area of
Finland. The unit was also referred to as Division Group “K” in period
German organizational charts.]
September 1944: Delegated with the leadership of Division for Special
Employment 140 (the redesignated Division Group
October 1944-9 May 1945: Commander of Division for Special Employment
140; redesignated the 9th Mountain Division (North) on or about 5 May 1945. [Headquartered
at Gratangen in Norway, the 9th Mountain Division (North) was undergoing
formation as the war ended. Upon
Germany’s surrender, Kräutler’s divisional staff was in the process
of amalgamating Gebirgsjäger-Brigade
139 “Generaloberst Dietl,” the newly formed Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 856
(the former independent Jäger Battalions 3 and 6), Artillery Regimental Staff for Special Employment 931, Mountain Pioneer
Battalion 140, Mountain Signals Battalion 140 and support elements numbered
140 to form the 9th Mountain Division (North). For the last few months of the war, the
division served as a component of the LXXI Army Corps commanded by General der Artillerie Anton-Reichard
Freiherr von Mauchenheim genannt Bechtolsheim.]
August 1945-15 January 1947: Prisoner of war in British captivity
- 9th January
1946 transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp 1
- 9th January
In collaboration with Karl Springenschmied, Generalmajor a.D. Kräutler
published Es war ein Edelweiss:
Schicksal und Weg der Zweiten Gebirgsdivision (It
was an Edelweiss: Fate and Path
of the 2nd Mountain Division), a detailed history of his former unit.
Decorations & Awards:
- German Cross in Gold: 20 January
1945, Generalmajor, Commander of Division for Special Employment 140.
- Iron Cross, 1st Class (1939): 14
- Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1939): 1 October
- Medal for the Winter Campaign in
Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”): 15 August 1942.
- Golden Decoration of Merit of the
Austrian Republic (Goldenes Verdienstzeichen
der Republik Österreich) – The decorations of the First Austrian Republic
(1918-1938) were not permitted to be worn after the Anschluss
(Union) with Germany in March 1938.
Military Merit Cross, 3rd Class with War Decoration and Swords (two awards):
- Austrian Silver Military Merit Medal
(“Signum Laudis”) on the Ribbon of the Military Merit Cross with Swords:
- Austrian Bronze Military Merit Medal
(“Signum Laudis”) on the Ribbon of the Military Merit Cross with Swords:
- Austrian Karl Troop Cross
- Austrian Wound Medal
- Austrian War Commemorative Medal
- Hungarian War Commemorative Medal
- Infantry Assault Badge in Silver:
30 August 1941.
- Sword of Honor for good shooting
with the pistol: 1930.
- Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty,
2nd Class with Swords: 30 June 1943.
World War I Combat Service Record:
Southwest Theater of War, 1915-1918:
- 1915-March 1916: Combat on the Carnic
Crest and the Sexten Dolomites.
- Summer 1915: Breakthrough battle
- Autumn 1916-1917: Positional combat
on the Monte Civaron (Val Sugana).
- Winter 1917: Offensive in the Sieben-Gemeinden
[Seven Communities]. The Plateau of the Seven Communities, or Altopiano
dei Sette Comuni in Italian,
is southeast of Trento and was formerly divided
by the old Austro-Italian border. The town of Asiago is the largest
of the seven communities, the others being Lusiana, Enego, Foza, Gallio,
Rotzo and Roana.
- Summer 1918: June offensive in the
- June 1918: Combat on the Piave and
the Cordevoletal heights.
- Kaltenegger, Roland. Kreig am Eismeer: Gebirgsjäger im Kampf
um Narvik, Murmansk und die Murmanbahn. Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz,
Mathias & Springenschmied, Karl.
Es war ein Edelweiss: Schicksal und Weg der Zweiten Gebirgsdivision.
Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz, Austria, 1962.
Kurt. Die deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945:
Führung und Truppe. Militair-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt,
- Tessin, Georg. Deutsche Verbände und Truppen, 1918-1939.
Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1974.
- Ziemke, Earl F. The German Theater of Northern Operations,
1940-1945. Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-271, Washington,
- A special thanks to the many knowledgeable
persons at the “Norway During World War II” website forum (http://www.nuav.net/ndWW2.html)
for providing details on the structure of the 9th Mountain Division (North).
 Kräutler succeeded Oberst Alois Windisch,
a fellow Austrian, as regimental commander. A holder of the coveted Knight’s
Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order, Windisch received the Knight’s
Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership of Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 139
during the Battle of Narvik in 1940.
 On 5 June 1944, Reinforced Gebirgsjäger-Regiment
139 was redesignated Gebirgsjäger-Brigade 139. On 24 July 1944, Adolf Hitler granted the brigade the honor name
“Generaloberst Dietl” and authorized its members to wear a cuff-title
bearing the name. The following officers are known to have commanded the
brigade: Oberstleutnant Albert Beierlein, June 1944; Oberst Hans von Schlebrüge,
22 July 1944-22 February 1945; Unknown, 22 February 1945-9 May 1945.
 Although the entry dated 10 August 1944 is
the first time the division group is mentioned in Kräutler’s Dienstlaufbahn or service record, several sources indicate he
assumed leadership of the unit concurrent with entering reserve status
with the 20th Mountain Army on 1 March 1944. Of note, this entry is also
supported by a telex message dated 11 August 1944 from the Army Personnel
Office delegating Oberst Kräutler with the leadership of the division
group effective the previous day.