27 July 1896|
Lawalde, Kingdom of Saxony, German Empire
22 December 1947
German Empire (to 1918)
Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1914–45|
|Rank||General der Fallschirmtruppe|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Richard Heidrich (27 July 1896 – 22 December 1947) -not to be confused with the SS General and war criminal, Reinhard Heydrich-, was a highly decorated German Fallschirmjäger and general during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
- Military career 1
- Wehrmachtbericht references 2.1
- Citations 3.1
- Bibliography 3.2
- External links 4
Richard Heidrich volunteered for military service in World War I. He became an officer and won the Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse). After the war he was accepted by the Reichswehr, where he served in a number of posts in the infantry.
In 1938 Heidrich commanded the parachute battalion which he had formed as a Major in the infantry. Heidrich and his unit were transferred into the Luftwaffe on 1 January 1939. The Fallschirmjäger, while still in an early stage of formation, were thus augmented by a 2nd Battalion for the 1st Parachute Regiment. Heidrich was transferred to the staff of the 7th Air Division, but then left the Luftwaffe to lead the 514th Infantry Regiment in the Battle of France.
In November 1942 Heidrich commanded the 1st Parachute Division, which was deployed on the Eastern Front. Starting 12 July 1943, the 1st Parachute Division was deployed to Sicily to counter the Allied invasion of the island. The division was directly involved in fighting around the Primosole Bridge.
The 1st Parachute Divisions toughest fighting came after the Allied landings on the Italian mainland, particularly in the three battles of Monte Cassino. Elements of the division under Heidrich's command also participated in the fighting at Anzio-Nettuno. As commanding general of the I Parachute Corps, Heidrich oversaw the corps’ withdrawal up the entire length of Italy.
Richard Heidrich was captured by the Americans on 2 May 1945 and was later handed over to the British. He died in a hospital in Hamburg-Bergedorf on 22 December 1947.
- Wound Badge (1914) in Black
- Iron Cross (1914), 2nd and 1st class
- Knight 2nd class of the Civil Order of Saxony, with Swords
- Knight's Cross Second Class of the Albert Order with Swords
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
- Sudetenland Medal with Prague Castle Bar
Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (25 May 1941)
- 1st Class (25 May 1941)
- German Cross in Gold on 31 March 1942 as Oberst in Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 3
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 14 June 1941 as Oberst and commander of the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 3
- 382nd Oak Leaves on 5 February 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 1. Fallschirmjäger-Division
- 55th Swords on 25 March 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 1. Fallschirmjäger-Division
- Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht (9 June 1941, 24 December 1943, 25 March 1944, 29 June 1944)
- Ärmelband Crete
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Monday, 9 June 1941||Die unter Führung von Generalmajor Meindl, Oberst Heidrich, Oberst Bräuer, Oberst Ramke und Oberst Sturm stehenden Fallschirmverbände schufen in harten Kämpfen die entscheidenden Voraussetzungen für die Eroberung von Kreta.||The parachute units under the leadership of Major General Meindl, Colonel Heidrich, Colonel Bräuer, Colonel Ramke and Colonel Sturm, created in hard fighting, the crucial conditions for the conquest of Crete.|
|24 December 1943||In diesen Kämpfen zeichnete sich die 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision unter Führung von Generalleutnant Heidrich durch beispielhafte Standhaftigkeit besonders aus.||In these battles especially distinguished itself the 1st Parachute Division under the command of Lieutenant General Heidrich through exemplary steadfastness.|
|25 March 1944||Die mit starken Kräften während des ganzen Tages gegen den Ost- und Nordteil geführten Angriffe brachen am zähen Widerstand der dort unter Führung des Generalleutnants Heidrich eingesetzten 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision zusammen.||The attacks of strong forces throughout the day, targeted against the eastern and northern part, collapsed by the stubborn resistance of the here deployed 1st Parachute Division under the leadership of Lieutenant General Heidrich.|
|29 June 1944||Bei den schweren Abwehrkämpfen in diesem Abschnitt haben sich die 1. Fallschirmjägerdivision unter Generalleutnant Heidrich und die 334. Infanteriedivision unter Generalmajor Böhlke durch besondere Tapferkeit und Standhaftigkeit ausgezeichnet.||In the heavy defensive battles in this sector have the 1st Parachute Division under Lieutenant-General Heidrich and the 334th Infantry Division under Major General Böhlke distinguished themselves by showing bravery and steadfastness.|
- Thomas 1997, p. 259.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 172.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 374.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 218.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 77.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 42.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 555.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, pp. 632–633.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 65.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 142.
Generalleutnant Erich Petersen
Commander of 7. Flieger-Division
1 August 1942 – 1 May 1943
Commander of 1st Fallschirmjäger-Division
1 May 1943 – 18 November 1944
Generalmajor Karl-Lothar Schulz