Below, Gerd-Paul Valerian Georg Heinrich von, born 30-11-1892 in Strassburg, joined the Army service as a Fahnenjunker on 24-10-1911, age 18, with the 2nd Pommerschen Ulanen-Regiment Nr. 9 . During the first war he was platoon and squadron leader. He became a Leutnant on 23-03-1914 and ended the war as an Oberleutnant on 18-08-1918 and was as well on the Eastern as the Western front in battle. He retired from the Army but reactivated again a Hauptmann on 23-09-1935 with the 4th Infantry Regiment. With the mobilisation on 26-08-1939 he became the commander of the III Battalion of the 374th Infantry Regiment and involved in the Poland invasion. He now a Major with his Regiment was in Holland in Mai 1940 and in June 1941 in Russia for Operation Barbarossa. The 91.000 German POWs taken at Stalingrad, 27.000 died within weeks and only 5-6,000 returned to Germany by 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity. On 02-02-1943, the organized resistance of Axis troops in Stalingrad ceased. Out of the 91.000 prisoners taken by the Soviets, 3.000 were Romanian. These were the survivors of the 20th Infantry Division , under Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Hans Zorn, 1st Cavalry Division and “Colonel Voicu” Detachment. On 09-12-1942, Colonel Voicu Detachment was in the pocket of Stalingrad, with the effectives redistributed to the German units of General Hans Hube
Group and LI Corps. LI Corps was an infantry corps that participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia. According to archival figures, the Red Army suffered a total of 1.129.619 total casualties; 478.741 men killed or missing and 650.878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Don region; in the city itself 750.000 were killed, captured, or wounded. Anywhere from 25.000 to 40.000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by Luftflotte 4 as the German 4th Panzer under Generalleutnant Erich Schneider, Schneider was captured by Allied troops in 1945 and was held until 1947 and died age 85, on 03-08-1980 in Wiesbaden and 6th Armies approached the city; the total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown. In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7-2 million Axis and Soviet casualties. Von Below followed a course for Regiment Commanders from 06-01-1941 until 01-02-1941. Assigned from 05-01-1942 as commander of the 374th Infantry Regiment with the rank of Oberstleutnant from 01-05-1942. After heavy battles of his regiment in the north front he had to retreat from south of the Ladogasees, Possjolok 5 to “Balzerweg”. On 19-01-01-1943 the rest of his regiment 3 Officers, 108 non commissioned Officers and soldiers with 3 light MG’s and one gun, added with the 227th Pioneer Platoon started an assault in the region of the hights of Ssinjawino. Now Oberst von Below, with his grenadiers succeeded to break through the Russian surrounding and took Possjolok and hold this position until they were relieved next day. The hight of Ssinjawino was secured, but von Below was wounded and stayed in hospital until Mai 1943 and was rewarded there with the Knight Cross of the Iron Cross on 28-02-1943. He landed in the Führer Reserve, at the same time Commander of the Division’s Leaders Course. He was appointed as the commander of the 615th Division Staff from 30-09-1944. Promoted to Generalmajor of the Reserve on 15-04-1945 with the command of the Division Staff.
Death and burial ground of Below, Gerd-Paul Valerian Georg Heinrich von.
He lands in Russian captivity on 08-05-1945 and with a lot of General imprisoned in the Camp Woikowo, where he at the age of 61 died on 08-12-1953, eight years after the end of the war. Von Below was buried on the special General gravesite of Cherntsy, where he rest in grave 18, in row 3, with around one officer and 28 other Generals, among them four Japanese Generals. A few of his neighbours are Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Kommandeur of Warschau, Rainer Stahel, General der Infanterie, Kommandeur 145th Infanterie Regiment, Karl Specht, Generalmajor der Wehrmacht, Grenadier Regiment 70, Louis Tronnier, General der Artillerie, Kommandeur IV Heeresgruppe, Max Pfeffer, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der XVIII Gebirgstruppe , Friedrich Hochbaum, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Commander of the 44th Infanterie Division , Heinrich Deboi and Generalmajor der Wehrmacht, Commander of Lida, Wilhelm Runge.