Breith, Friedrich Ernst

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Breith, Friedrich Ernst, born on 25-05-1892 in Kirchheimbolanden, Pfalz, entered the Army Service on 21-09-1911 as a Fahnenjunker in the 18th Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Regiment “Prinz Ludwig Ferdinand”  to 07-07-1913. Detached to the Bavarian War School in Munich and from 21-08-1913 transferred to the 5th Bavarian Filed Artillery Regiment. When World War I started, he came to the front as a Leutnant with the 2nd Battery of the 5th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment and was taken ill in hospital in December 1914. Recovered he was back with the 5th and from 10-03-1915 detached as Instructor to the Training Course for Officers Aspirants of the 3rd Bavarian Infantry Division  to April 1915. He was seriously wounded  in the spring of 1918 near Metz, France, due to a aircraft bomb, in hospital  to July 1918. He was awarded with the Iron Cross and Wounded Orden on granted leave to regain his health and taken over in the new Reichswehr. Promoted to Hauptmann on 01-01-1923, Major on 01-04-1933, Oberstleutnant on 01-12-1935 and Oberst on 01-04-1938. As an Oberst and commander of the 35th Artillery Regiment, he was involved on the Western front. In April 1940 he was assigned to commander of the 127th Artillery Command and on the Eastern front.  At the end of December 1941 he was released of his post and landed in the Führer Reserve. In January 1942 he came to the Artillery School I and in April 1942 as commander of the Artillery School II and promoted to Generalmajor. Becoming Generalleutnant, he now was Commander of the Artillery School I and from Mai 1944 again in the Führer Reserve (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know). At last, on 01-07-1944 after D-Day, he became a battlefield commander again, of the 4th Mountain Division File:4th Mountain Division logo 1.svg, he succeeded Oberst Karl Jank  who died age 78, on 24-08-1975, in Munich and Breith received the Ritterkreuz with Silber.  It took part in the 1941 Balkans Campaign and then joined Army Group South in Operation Barbarossa  after it was already underway. In this campaign Army Group South was led by Generalfeldmarschall der Panzertruppe, Gerd von Rundstedt  and his Chief of Staff Erich von Manstein . 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 , 1st Cavalry Division and “Colonel Voicu” Detachment. 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 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. In 1942 it participated in the failed attempt to seize the Caucasus under  Army Group A under General Field Marshal der Infanterie, Wilhelm Sigismund List.
As German fortunes in the east waned the division was pushed back into the Kuban bridgehead, the Crimea, the western Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia, finally surrendering to the Soviets near Czech Olomouc when the war ended in May 1945.

Death and burial ground of Breith, Friedrich Ernst.

      At the end of the war he came in Soviet captivity and first, after ten years imprison, released on 06-10-1955 by the strains of the Chancellor Konrad Adenauer   Friedrich Breith lived in Zweibrücken where he at the very old age of 90 died, on 09-07-1982. He is buried with his wife Sophie, born Zeppla, who died age 79 in 1945, on the cemetery of Zweibrücken.

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