The website has become even bigger and better! WW2Awards.com has been fully merged with TracesOfWar.com. From now on, the sections Persons and Awards are available. Much more information in a larger jacket

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, German Reich)

    Biography

    Walter Fries served in the German Army during World War I, being
    commissioned in 1915, and saw post-war service in the Police. In October
    1936, Fries rejoined the army and was given command of
    II./Infanterie-Regiment 15, with the rank of Major. In 1938, he was promoted
    to Oberstleutnant. After service in the Polish and French Campaigns, summer
    1940 found Fries as the commander of Infanterie-Regiment 87 (Motorized). It
    was in this capacity that, on 14 December 1941, he was decorated with the
    Knight’s Cross for his part in the success of the regiment whilst part of
    Heeresgruppe Nord during the opening phases of Operation Barbarossa. Fries
    then served for a short period as the Head of Instruction at Dresden
    Infantry School before being appointed, in March 1943, to command the
    recently formed 29. Panzergrenadier-Division. The unit fought in Sicily and
    during the Italian Campaign at Salerno and Anzio. In January 1944, Fries was
    decorated with the Oakleaves for his successful command of the division
    during the Italian Campaign. The Swords followed in August of the same year.
    In December 1944, Fries was promoted to the rank of General der Panzertruppe
    and ended the war as Commanding General of XXXVI. Panzer-Korps. Fries, an
    able and respected commander, survived the war and died in Weilburg in
    August 1982 at the age of 88.

    Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur II. / Infanterie-Regiment 15 (mot.)
    Awarded on:
    September 24th, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur II. / Infanterie-Regiment 15 (mot.)
    Awarded on:
    October 9th, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberst (Colonel)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur Infanterie-Regiment 87 (motorisiert) / 36.Infanterie-Division
    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 / XXXXI.Armee-Korps / 9.Armee / Heeresgruppe Mitte
    Awarded on:
    December 14th, 1941
    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 Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur 29.Panzergrenadier-Division / XIV.Armee-Korps / 10.Armee / Heeresgruppe C
    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)
    Awarded on:
    June 28th, 1944
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    July 29th, 1944
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandeur 29.Panzergrenadier-Division
    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

    • Photo 1: Willi Schumacher Collection
    • Photo: Willi Schumacher Collection
    • - WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 2010.
      - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
      - Kwasny A., Kwasny G., Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945 (CD), Deutsches Wehrkundearchiv, Lage-Waddenhausen, 2001
      - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
      - Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X
      - Kursietis, Andris J., The Wehrmacht at War 1939-1945, Aspekt, The Netherlands, 1999
      - Götte, F. & Peiler, H., Die 29.Falke-Division – 1936-1945 29.I.D.-29.I.D. (mot)-29.Pz.Gren.Div., Nebel Verlag GmbH, Eggolsheim, Deutschland, 2003
      - Berger, F., Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern – Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges, Selbstverlag Florian Berger, Wien, Österreich, 2002/03
      - Axis Biographical Research

    Photo