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Falkenhorst, von, Nikolaus

    Date of birth:
    January 17th, 1885 (Breslau/Silesia, germany)
    Date of death:
    June 18th, 1968 (Holzminden/Lower Saxony, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    Nikolaus von Falkenhorst was born January 17th, 1885 in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He grew up in a family of Prussian military tradition. He took a military education and joined the army in 1903 as a cadet. He joined the General Staff as early as 1904. During WW 1 he served on the staff of various units. After WW 1 he left for Finnland to fight against Bolsjewism. 1920 he returned to Germany and was automatically taken up in the post-war Reichswehr. October 1st, 1932, he was promoted to Brigadeer and served as a military attaché in Prague, Belgrade and Bukarest between 1933 and 1935. After numerous promotions, he attained the rank of Lieuteant-general in 1937. At the start of WW 2, during the Polish campaign he commanded XXI Armee Korps (AK, Army Corps). Following the German invasion of Norway, July 19th, 1940, he was promoted to Generaloberst. From July 25th, 1940 onwards, he was formally named commander of OKH Norwegen (Supreme Army Command Norway). During operation Barbarossa, Von Falkenhorst and his Lapp Army were assigned a special task: they were to capture the city of Murmansk but in this, they did not succeed. After this failure, Von Falkenhorst returned to his post of commander of German forces in Norway. He held this post until he was fired for having openly criticised Reichskommissar Terboven. Von Falkenhorst was known as a ruthless commander. He peremptorily ordered British commandos who had been captured be turned over to the Gestapo for execution.
    As he had always followed orders unquestioningly, he was sentenced to death by a military court in 1946. This sentence was later revised to 20 years imprisonment. He was released July 23rd, 1953, on grounds of ill health.
    Nikolaus von Falkenhorst died in Holzminden, Germany, June 18th, 1968 at the age of 83.

    Promotions:
    August 1st, 1935: Generalmajor;
    August 1st, 1937: Generalleutnant;
    October 1st, 1939: General der Infanterie;
    July 19th, 1940: Generaloberst.

    Career:
    1903: kaiserliche Armee;
    April 1st, 1933 - April 1st, 1935: Militärattachée Prag;
    October 6th, 1936 - August 25th, 1939: Kommandeur 32. Infanterie-Division;
    August 26th, 1939 - December 18th, 1940: XXI. Armeekorps;
    December 19th, 1940 - January 7th, 1945: Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber Norwegen;
    January1945 - May 1945: Führerreserve;
    May 8th, 1945 - August 2nd, 1946: POW;
    August 2nd, 1946: Sentenced to death by British Military Court;
    December 2nd, 1946: Sentence changed to 20 years imprisonment;
    July 13th, 1953: Early release.

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    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    September 16th, 1914
    Eisernes Kreuz 2.Klasse (1914)
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    June 27th, 1915
    Eisernes Kreuz 1.Klasse (1914)
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    October 25th, 1918
    Vapaudenristin 2.luokka (VR 2)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    December 18th, 1934
    Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
    Awarded on:
    May 3rd, 1935
    Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun 1. lk:n komentajamerkki (SVR K1)
    Awarded on:
    June 20th, 1935
    Ordinul Steaua Romaniei Commander
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht 4.Klasse, 4 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  3.Klasse, 12 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  2. Klasse, 18 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  1.Klasse, 25 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Infanterie (Lieutenant-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierender General XXI.Armeekorps (Commanding General XXI.Army-Corps)
    Awarded on:
    September 19th, 1939

    Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on September 16th 1914.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Infanterie (Lieutenant-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierender General des XXI.Armeekorps (Commanding General XXI.Army-Corps)
    Awarded on:
    September 19th, 1939

    Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on June 27th 1915.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    April 10th, 1940
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Infanterie (Lieutenant-General of Infantry)
    Unit:
    Kommandierender General XXI.Armee-Korps
    Awarded on:
    April 30th, 1940
    The following order of the day to the German soldiers in the Norwegian theatre, dated 30.04.1940, describes why Falkenhorst would receive the Knight’s Cross. It was penned by Adolf Hitler himself…

    “…With unstoppable forward drive, German troops have established a land connection between Oslo and Trondheim. Thus the Allied aim to bring us to our knees through an occupation of Norway has now definitively failed. Units of the Heer, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe have brought us this victory through exemplary cooperation, a victory which is a testament to the audacity of our young German Wehrmacht… Through me the nation speaks its’ thanks. As a sign of this appreciation I am awarding the Knight’s Cross to the Supreme Commander in Norway, General von Falkenhorst.”

    15th Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Awarded on:
    1941
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Norwegen
    Awarded on:
    January 20th, 1945
    Deutsches Kreuz in Silber

    Sources

    • Photo 1: Wilco Vermeer
    • - THOMAS, FRANZ & WEGMANN, GÜNTER, Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939-1945, Biblio Verlag, Bissendorf, 2003.
      - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
      - Ritterkreuz Archiv II/2010, Veit Scherzer, Ranis, Juni 2010, ISSN 1866-4709
      - Kursietis A.J., The wehrmacht at war 1939-1945 the units and commanders
      - Mitcham S.W., Hitler's Commanders, Lanham, MD, Scarborough, 1992
      - 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
      - Case No. 61, Trial of Generaloberst Nickolaus von Falkenhorst, Volume XI, Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, United Nations War Crimes Commision, London, 1949
      - Axis Biographical Research

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