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Fries, Walter

    Date of birth:
    April 22nd, 1894 (Güsternhain/Hesse-Nassau, Germeny)
    Date of death:
    August 6th, 1982 (Weilburg an der Lahn/Hesse, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    Promotions:
    February 27th, 1914: Vizefeldwebel der Reserve;
    January 19th, 1915: Leutnant der Reserve;
    September 20th, 1919: Leutnant (Schutzpolizei);
    January 19th, 1920: Oberleutnant (Schutzpolizei);
    April 9th, 1925: Hauptmann (Schutzpolizei);
    April 20th, 1934: Major (Schutzpolizei);
    March 16th, 1936: Major (Heer);
    March 1st, 1938: Oberstleutnant;
    March 1st, 1942: Oberst;
    June 1st, 1943: Generalmajor;
    January 1st, 1944: Generalleutnant;
    December 1st, 1944: General der Panzertruppe.

    Career:
    October 1st, 1912 - September 30th, 1913: Einjährig-Freiwilliger, Füsilier-Regiment „von Gersdorff" (Kurhessisches) Nr. 80;
    August 3rd, 1914: 2. Nassauischen Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 88;
    1915: Kompanieführer, 2. Nassauischen Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 88;
    ?: Kompanieführer, Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 253;
    ? - December 3rd, 1918: Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 83;
    1918: Polizei;
    January 9th, 1919: Polizeikommissaranwärter, Kassel;
    September 1919: Schutzpolizei;
    May - August 1922: Lehrgang Polizeioffiziere;
    March 6th, 1926: Schutzpolizei Köln;
    August 1st, 1933: Adjutant, Landespolizeiabteilung, Frankfurt am Main;
    January - March 1934: Polizeimajor-Anwärter-Lehrgang;
    April 1934 - March 15th, 1936: Polizei-Inspektion Südwest;
    March 26th, 1936: Stab, 34. Infanterie-Division;
    April 1st, 1936: Generalstab, 34. Infanterie-Division;
    October 6th, 1936: Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment 15;
    November 15th, 1940: Kommandeur, Infanterie-Regiment (motorisiert) 87;
    October 15th, 1942: Führerreserve OKH;
    January - February 1943: Kommandeur, Lehrstab III, Infanterieschule Döberitz;
    March 1st, 1943: m.d.F.b. 29. Infanterie-Division;
    June 1st, 1943: Kommandeur, 29. Infanterie-Division;
    June 23rd, 1943: Kommandeur, 29. Panzergrenadier-Division;
    March 5th, 1944: Führerreserve OKH;
    September 21st, 1944: m.d.F.b., XXXVI. Panzerkorps;
    December 1st, 1944: Kommandierender General, XXXVI. Panzerkorps;
    January 19th, 1945: Führerreserve OKH;
    May 8th, 1945 - June 30th, 1947: POW.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment (motorisiert) 15, 29. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert), Heer
    Awarded on:
    September 24th, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, II. Bataillon, Infanterie-Regiment (motorisiert) 15, 29. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert), Heer
    Awarded on:
    October 9th, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Infanterie-Regiment 87 (motorisiert), 36. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert), Heer
    Awarded on:
    October 9th, 1942

    Award 202/3.
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, Infanterie-Regiment 87 (motorisiert), 36. Infanterie-Division (motorisiert), Heer
    Awarded on:
    December 14th, 1941
    Awarded for:
    Operation Barbarossa
    His Knight’s Cross actions are outlined in the following wartime excerpt…
    “Oberst Fries is a model regimental commander, one whose presence has repeatedly inspired his Regiment and whose initiative has brought about crucial successes for the combat of the Korps. In particular, through his unit’s storming of the Dudershof heights, he decisively partook in the breakthrough of the inner and outer defensive rings around Leningrad. This in turn laid the foundation for the attack of our armoured troops up to the gates of Leningrad itself. Furthermore, due to his breakthrough of the Nemoschtschenaja position, he decisively opened the way for the Division and the Korps to swiftly advance towards Kalinin.”
    His role in the swift capture of Pskov also contributed to his receiving the Knight’s Cross.

    721st Heer Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, 29. Panzergrenadier-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    January 29th, 1944
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    The following press article, dated 05.02.1944, describes how Fries would receive the Oakleaves to his Knight’s Cross…
    “Since the enemy landing at Sicily Generalleutnant Fries and his 29. Panzergrenadier-Division have been involved in near ceaseless combat, and been twice mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht (18.08. & 18.12.1943). The Division has fulfilled its missions even under the most difficult of circumstances in an exemplary manner during the heavy combat at Sicily, the battle of Salerno and the defense of the southern Italian front. The divisional commander (who mostly stayed with his foremost troops in heavy fighting) repeatedly inspired his Grenadiers to higher achievements by his own example. Under his leadership the Division has achieved great successes even against far numerically superior enemy forces.”
    His Division’s accomplishments in December 1943 during the fighting around Cassino also contributed to his receiving the Oakleaves. According to field marshal Kesselring, “What the 29. Panzergrenadier-Division achieved in the rugged mountains in the middle of the Reinhard Line was truly unparalleled.”

    378th Award.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, 29. Panzergrenadier-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    June 28th, 1944
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, 29. Panzergrenadier-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    July 29th, 1944
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur, 29. Panzergrenadier-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    August 11th, 1944
    The following press article, dated 15.08.1944, describes why Fries would receive the Swords to his Knight’s Cross…

    “During the heavy fighting west of Lake Trasimene, and in the last weeks south of Florence, the 29. Panzergrenadier-Division fended off numerous allied attacks (supported by strong tank/artillery units) with heavy losses for the foe. Furthermore it also successfully conducted numerous bold, successful counterattacks of its own during this time. Alongside the bravery and will to fight of all members of the Division, these successes are above all the achievement of its commander. Through his skillful and flexible leadership he repeatedly forced his will upon the enemy. In all difficult situations at the hotspots of the fighting he endowed every one of his soldiers with his fanatical will to win, and through his example of highest bravery he inspired them to superhuman achievements.”

    87th Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern

    Sources

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