Kurt Student, born 12-05-1890 in Birkholz, Brandenburg, joined the German Army cadet school in 1901. Student entered the Imperial German Army as an officer candidate in 1910 and was commissioned a lieutenant in March 1911. After serving initially with a light infantry (Jäger) battalion, he underwent pilot training in 1913. He received his commission in 1913, and was transferred into what was to become Goering's (see Hermann Goering) (did you know) Luftwaffe, but was then called the German Army Air Service. During the first war, he served as a reconnaissance pilot and he flew bombers. He became the commander of Fighter Group 9, nicknamed "Jasta" on 01-09-1916, with the new Fokker D (see Fokker), two wings airplanes.
Kurt Student was wounded in an air battle with the French Captain Flyer Pinsarde, sustained a shot in the left shoulder, a vein was teared, but he still could bring his plane to the ground. In 1934 and with Hitler now Germany's leader, Student joined the Luftwaffe. Within Germany, Hitler (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know) had made it clear that he wanted to expand this part of Germany's military. Student played a key role in the development of the Luftwaffe. In keeping with the whole of Guderian's (see Guderian) Blitzkrieg philosophy, Student was ordered to form Germany's first ever parachute battalion in 1938. His assistant was the young then Oberleutnant Hans Jeschonnek (see Jeschonnek). Such a military unit was almost unheard of, though Soviet Russia had been training parachutists in the Red Army, but it was to play a major part in the whole concept of 'lightening war'. A parachute training school was raised in Stendal 150 km from Berlin, all futher paras were volonteers. Student's new fighting force was not used in the attack on Poland. In one sense, the overwhelming power of the German military meant that it really was not needed against the Poles. However, the main reason, was Hitler's desire to keep such a new unit secret until Blitzkrieg was unleashed against Western Europe. German paratroopers were used with success in the campaign in Norway, Belgium and Holland. Student's para's under Oberleutnant Walter Koch (see Koch), captured the famous fortress of Eben Email, landing with six gliders on the unprotected top of the fortress, the Begian forces rapidly surrendered. In Rotterdam, Holland, Student, sticken his head out of a window, was mistakenly shot in the head by a German para sniper of the SS Leibstandarte, but survived. He was taken to the already by bombs damaged hospital in Rotterdam and he had his skull pressed in and the brain lobe was leaking, but he still was conscious and partly paralysed. After several operations by the Dutch brain specialist, doctor Cornelis van Staveren, who had hestitated only one second when he saw that a "German" General was the wounded, and in Berlin by the famous professor Wilhelm Tönnis. Tönnis died old age 80 on 12-09-1978, in Dortmund and Van Staveren died in his hometown Rotterdam at the very old age of 93 on 15-03-1997, and a greatful Student said to him: "Sie haben mir das Leben gerettet" you saved my life. Student did not return to duty until January 1941, morethen 8 months. In particular, the parachutist attack on Rotterdam all but took the heart out of the Dutch defense, (see Ackermans) such was its speed and ferocity The input of Student's parachutists in the various attacks on Western Europe had done a lot to convince Hitler that they were an important aspect of his military. In May 1941, they were used in the attack on Crete, Operation Merkur (see Blücher). Here, Student's as Kommandeur der 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 8000 parachutists, in 500 Junkers (see Junkers), suffered heavy losses despite their ultimate victory on the Mediterranean island. Other Crete commanders were , Eugen Meindl ( see Meindl) and Walter Koch (see Koch). Despite their actual success in Crete against the British, New Zealand and Australians forces under General Bernard Freyberg (see Freyberg), Hitler was shocked by the number of men of Student´s and General Major Eugen Meindl´s (see Meindl) men killed in actionand he ordered a halt to their use in future large-scale in any military operations.military operation. military operation. operationsmilitary operation.
In Operation Merkur 6000 Germans were killed and 151 Junkers were destroyed. As a result of this order, Student's men were denied the opportunity for any more large scale raid by parachute. After D-Day, the 1st
Parachute Regiment was used in an attempt to halt Montgomery's (see Montgomery
) advance to the Rhine, but it was action on the ground.
Such was the Allies command of the air, that any chance of a large scale attack by German parachutists was effectively gone, though it was still forbidden by Hitler. General Kurt Student had a distinguished military career. Kurt Student was involved in the attack on Western Europe in 1940, the planning for Operation Sealion and in the largest German airborne attack in the war, the attack on Crete with Bruno Brauer (see Bräuer
). He was also present in the Operation "Wacht am Rhein", later changed in Operation "Herbstnebel", the Ardenne Offensive but as these failt Jodl said that one of the Generals wo didn´t had done his duty was Student, but Hitler let down this allegation. Later when Student joked with the failing German artillery, the men in Hitler´s headquarters, who disliked him, laughable talked about Student´s slow way of talking, which he did after the wounds in Rotterdam and he was repalced by Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz (see Blaskowitz
). When General Heinrici (see Heinrici
) couldn´t resque Berlin in April 1945 he was released and Student inmiddiately had to fly to Mecklenburg to stabilize the defence. This was not so easy as it was almost impossible for German planes to airborne at that time. Arriving at the airport they were shot from all sides and they just had enough fuel to reach Lübeck in the north. There Student, age 55, was soon captured by the quick advancing British forces. Karl Student was put on trial in May 1946 for war crimes committed in Greece and Crete and remained in prison for three years.
Student's son lieutenant Hans Dietrich, an air fighter, age 20, died in a crash over Holland, near Arnhem "Bridge too far", on 28-09-1944 during Operation Market Garden, (see About
) (see Model
) (see Bittrich
) (see Knaust
Kurt Student died old age 88, on 01-07-1978 in Bad Salsuflen and is buried with his son and wife Gertrud, born Beer, who died old age 86, on 21-05-1978, on the Stadtfriedhof of Bad Salzuflen.