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Ciliax, Otto

    Date of birth:
    October 30th, 1891 (Neudietendorf/Thuringia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    December 12th, 1964 (Lübeck/Westernphalia, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    Otto Ciliax was born on 30th October 1891.
    Once commanding officer of the Scharnhorst, he commanded Operation Cerebus in February 1942 where Scharnhorst and Gneisenau with Prinz Eugen dashed through the English Channel from Brest to their homebases in Germany.

    Promotions:
    15th April 1911: Fähnrich zur See;
    27th September 1913: Leutnant zur See;
    22nd March 1916: Oberleutnant zur See;
    29th June 1920: Kapitänleutnant;
    1st October 1928: Korvettenkapitän;
    1st October 1933: Fregattenkapitän;
    1st July 1935: Kapitän zur See;
    1st November 1939: Konteradmiral;
    1st June 1941: Vizeadmiral;
    1st February 1943: Admiral.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht 4.Klasse, 4 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  3.Klasse, 12 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  2. Klasse, 18 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  1.Klasse, 25 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    March 5th, 1938
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    August 20th, 1938
    Magyar Érdemrend Középkeresztje
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    1939
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    1939
    Medalla de la Campaña de España 1936-1939
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    June 6th, 1939
    Spanienkreuz, Gold mit Schwertern
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    August 21st, 1939
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Kapitän zur See
    Awarded on:
    August 21st, 1939
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Konteradmiral
    Awarded on:
    1940
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Konteradmiral
    Awarded on:
    1940
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    March 11th, 1941
    Ordine della Corona d'Italia - Commendatore
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Vizeadmiral
    Unit:
    Befehlshaber der Schlachtschiffe
    Awarded on:
    November 20th, 1941
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    1941
    Flotten-Kriegsabzeichen
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Vizeadmiral
    Awarded on:
    February 13th, 1942
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Vizeadmiral (Rear-admiral)
    Unit:
    Befehlshaber der Schlachtschiffe
    Awarded on:
    March 21st, 1942
    Awarded for having an outstanding share in the capture of Norway, the sinking of the British aircraft carrier “HMS Glorious” and in the Channel Dash. The latter action in particular was the primary reason why he would receive the Knight’s Cross.

    The following press excerpt from the 25.03.1942 provides a contemporary report as to why he was awarded the Knight’s Cross…

    “In June 1941 Vizeadmiral Ciliax, Commander of the Battleships, took over the leadership of the German battlegroup located in Brest. This consisted of the battleships ‘Scharnhorst’ and ‘Gneisenau’ as well as the heavy cruiser ‘Prinz Eugen’. He received the task of leading this naval formation through the English Channel. Vizeadmiral Ciliax prepared for this operation (one of the most daring in naval history) with prudence and energy, and thereafter carried it out with great courage. He himself demonstrated the highest level of readiness and bravery as the operation was being conducted.”
    105th Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

    Sources

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