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Phleps, Artur Gustav Martin

Date of birth:
November 29th, 1881 (Birthälm/transsylvania, Rumania)
Date of death:
September 21st, 1944 (Siebenbürgen/Transsylvania, Rumania)
Nationality:
German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

Biography

Arthur Phleps served in the Austrian-Hungarian, Romanian and German Army. Prior to the First World War he entered service in the Austrian-Hungarian Army and was specialized in mountain warfare. Towards the end of the war he had reached the rank of Oberstleutnant. During the Interbellum he entered service in the Romanian Army, where he reached the rank of General-locotenent (Major General) and became advisor to King Carl. He however was fired after having spoken negative about the Romanian Government. In 1941 he transferred to the German Waffen-SS with the rank of SS-Standartenführer (Colonel). Within the Waffen-SS he eventually reached the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer / General der Waffen-SS.

Promotions:
November 1st, 1901: Leutnant (Österreich-Hungarn);
?: Oberleutnant;
1911: Hauptmann;
August 1st, 1916: Major;
?: Oberstleutnant;
1919: Oberst (Rumänisches Armee);
?: General-locotenent
1941: SS-Standartenführer;
?: SS-Oberführer;
?: SS-Brigadeführer / Generalmajor der Waffen-SS;
April 20th, 1942: SS-Gruppenführer / Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS;
June 21st, 1943: SS-Obergruppenführer / General der Waffen-SS.

Career:
1900: Infanteriekadettenschule Pressburg (Österreich-Hungarn);
1901: k.u.k. 3. Tiroler Jäger-Regiment „Kaiserjäger";
1903: k.u.k. Feldjäger-Bataillon Nr. 11;
1905: Theresianische Militärakademie, Wiener Neustadt;
?: k.u.k Generalstab;
?: k.u.k. Infanterieregiment „Jung-Starhemberg" Nr. 13;
?: k.u.k. 6. Infanterietruppendivision, Graz;
1911: k.u.k. XV.Korps, Sarajevo;
?: Stab, k.u.k. 32. Infanterietruppendivision, Budapest;
?: Stab, k.u.k. 2. Armee;
1915: Armeegruppe Rohr;
?: 2. Quartiermeister, k.u.k. 10. Armee;
August 27th, 1916: Stabchef, 72. Honved-Division
?: Quartiermeister, 9. Armee (Deuschee Kaiserreich);
1918: Armeegruppe Tirol;
1918: Quartiermeister Alpenfront;
1919: Kommandant, Sächsische Nationale Garde, Rumänisches Armee;
?: Generalstab Rumänisches Armee;
?: Universitatea Nationala de Aparare "Carol I" (Romanian War Academy);
?: Kommandante, 1. Brigada, Vanatori de Munte (1st Brigade, Mountain Troops);
July 21st, 1941 - February 1942: Kommandeur, SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Westland";
March 1942: Kommandeur, SS-Freiwilligen-Division "Prinz Eugen" / SS-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen";
June 15th, 1943: Kommandierender General, V. SS-Gebirgskorps.

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Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
October 13th, 1914
Militär-Verdienstmedaille in Bronze
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 3rd, 1915
Militärverdienstkreuz III. Klasse
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
March 15th, 1916
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
January 27th, 1917
Eisernes Kreuz 2.Klasse (1914)
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
April 24th, 1917
Kaiserlicher Orden der Eisernen Krone
Awarded on:
January 1st, 1927
Ordinul Corona Romaneii Commander
Awarded on:
April 26th, 1934
Order of Military Merit 2nd Class
Awarded on:
May 10th, 1939
Ordinul Corona Romaneii Grand Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 10th, 1941
Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 27th January 1917.
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
July 26th, 1941
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Gruppenführer / Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS (Major-general)
Unit:
Kommandeur, SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen", Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1943
Phleps’ Knight’s Cross recommendation reads as follows…

“SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Artur Phleps carried out Operations ‘Weiß’ I. and II. during the time period 20.01.-09.03.1943 as commander of the SS-Freiwilligen-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’.

In this time he especially distinguished himself through his far-sighted, energetic and flexible leadership. During the decisive attack from the Bos.-Petrovac area in the general direction of Bos.-Grahovo (23.02.-28.02.1943) it was to Phleps’ credit alone that the Petrovac-Drvar road could be reached. This was in spite of his Division having to march across snow over a metre deep while crossing a mountain as well as encountering numerous tree and road blocks.

Via a broad deployment of all available forces the enemy (in strength of 4 brigades) was surprised and their resistance definitely broken, meaning that for the remainder of the operation they were incapable of offering serious resistance.

Thanks to the personal actions of SS-Obergruppenführer Phleps alone his Division succeeded in reaching Livno and later the Bauxit mines west of Mostar.

Enemy losses amounted to 1930 counted dead, 1673 estimated dead, 2378 wounded as well as countless materiel (heavy and light MGs, horses and vehicles) captured. In the course of further clean-up operations in this area the SS-Freiwilligen-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’ thrusted from the Mostar/Capljina area further to the southeast on the 15.05.1943. In doing so it succeeded in rendering an orderly withdrawal of Chetnik forces from this area impossible.

Within a very short time the Division was able to advance further to the southeast over arid and very mountainous terrain into the Niksic and Gornje-Polje areas. Through his initiative the divisional commander enabled his unit to overcome this water-deprived terrain. By this movement the Division secured a favourable jump-off point for surrounding the enemy forces pulling back from the Turmitor massif.

The thrust against Saving against a fiercely defending foe was achieved over the course of three days, and the Division succeeded in taking control of the three river crossings near Savnik in a 400 metre deep ravine in a coup-de-main. By this the path for a further advance towards Zabljak was opened. In cooperation with the 1. Gebirgs-Division (operating to the east) the enemy was blocked from retreating in a southeasterly direction. During this time the bandits north of the left wing of the Division assembled strong forces in a bow-shaped area passing through Piva, Drina and Sutjeska. They wished to force a breakthrough in both a southern and northern direction.

On the night of the 30.-31.05.1943 the Division received the order to release all available elements from the Savnik area and swiftly transfer them to the left wing in order to prevent an enemy breakthrough from the Mratinje area towards the south. Here it was solely thanks to the personal energy of SS-Obergruppenführer Phleps that, within two days and two nights, 3 battalions, 2 heavy motorized artillery batteries, two Flak platoons and two Panzer-Kompanien could be dispatched to the area around Avtovac (180 km away) with makeshift motorized assistance.

Through the ruthless thrust over the 2000 metre high Maglic massif and through extensively occupying the area north of the Cemerno col, the Division succeeded in closing the pocket to the north in cooperation with the right wing of the 118. Infanterie-Division.

The physical and combat achievements of the SS-Freiwilligen-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’ in this wild, rough and remote mountainous area, in the middle of snowstorms, rain and fog, are truly remarkable. They are the pinnacle of all other successes of this kind carried out by the SS-Gebirgs-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’, all the more so when one considers it was formed from men from lowlands.

The swift conduct of operations from the Narenta to the Piva rivers, then the tactically difficult repositioning of the Division’s main effort from the right to the left wing, and finally the encirclement operation in the Maglic massif gave the hounded enemy no rest and smashed the hostile resistance in such a way that it collapsed.

SS-Obergruppenführer Phleps, by his personal bravery and superior leadership, did an outstanding job during these operations. The successes of his Division are above all attributable to the tactics that Phleps developed and well as his training of the Division under very trying circumstances.

Given these outstanding achievements, I ask that the commander of the SS-Freiwilligen-Division ‘Prinz Eugen’, SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Artur Phleps, be awarded the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross.”
1857th Award.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
November 7th, 1943
Bronze version
Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obergruppenführer / General der Waffen-SS (Lieutenant-General)
Unit:
Kommandierender General, V. SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Korps, Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
June 20th, 1944
Award 587/2.
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Obergruppenführer / General der Waffen-SS (Lieutenant-General)
Unit:
Kommandierender General, V. SS-Freiwilligen-Gebirgs-Korps, Waffen-SS
Awarded on:
November 24th, 1944
Awarded for his achievements as commander of the 7. SS-Gebirgs-Division during Operation Schwarz (15.05.-17.06.1943) and later for his command of the V. SS-Gebirgs-Korps starting on the 21.06.1943. He led the Korps through the following operations…

Operation Herbstgewitter (23.10.-11.11.1943) - Peljesac peninsula
Operation Kugelblitz (02.-19.12.1943) - East Bosnia
Operation Schneesturm (18.-31.12.1943) - East Bosnia
Operation Waldrausch (04.-18.01.1944) - west of Travnik, Banja Luka, Glamoc, Livno
Operation Maibaum (26.04.-05.05., 14.-18.05.1944) - Vlasenica area
Operation Freie Jagd (18.-23.06., 26.06.-09.07.1944) - Bosnia
Operation Rübezahl (05.-22.08.1944) - against Partisans in Montenegro
670th Award.
Awarded posthumously.
Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
SS-Gruppenführer (General-Major)
Unit:
7.SS-Freiwilligen- Gebirgsdivision "Prinz Eugen"
Red Zeljeni Trolist First Class Cross
Order of the Crown 2nd Class

Sources

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