Falley, Wilhelm, born 25-09-1897 in Metz,
Elsass, joined the German Army straight from school. Enlisted in the 93rd
Infantry Regiment, he fought during the First World War as a junior officer. After the war, he continued his career in the army, gradually climbing the ranks. Falley was allowed in the new Reichswehr of 8 Infanterie and 2 Cavalry divisions, and with the outbreak of World War II he was commander of the III Battalion of the 238th
Infantry Regiment. He became, as an Oberstleutnant, commander of the 4th
Infantry Regiment on 21-04-1941. As an Oberstleutnant, he was awarded for bravery the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross,
on 26-11-1941 by Adolf Hitler
(did you know
). As an Oberst in February 1942, he became commander of an Officers’ School, until June 1943. Promoted to Generalmajor in December 1943, and Generalleutnant in May 1944, he held various commands before being appointed Commander of the 91st
in April 1944. The youngest Generalleutnant in WWII with 36, was Theodor Tolsdorff
Infantry Division was created in January 1944 and reorganized as the 91st
Air Landing Division in the spring to take part in Operation Tanne Ost, Operation Tanne Ost (“Fir East”) was a German operation to capture the island Suursaari in the Gulf of Finland before it could fall into Soviet hands. It was stationed in the Cotintin Peninsula when the Allies invaded in June, and was lost in the fall of Cherbourg (see Karl von Schlieben
It was partially reconstituted in November, and then used to reconstitute the 344th
under command of Generalleutnant Hellmuth Böhlke
. Böhlke survived the war and died 08-04-1956, aged 63. Its order of battle for 6 June 1944 included 6th
attached, with von der Heydte commanding. General der Fallschirmtruppe, Friedrich von der Heydte
who’s forces Kampfgruppe von der Heydte would defend my hometown Eindhoven
in Operation Market Garden (see About
), died age 87, on 07-07-1994, in Landshut. Particularly when they were on the defensive, the Germans had an extraordinary ability to form ad hoc “Kampfgruppen” or, “battle groups” of almost any size, led by the most senior officer, or even NCO, non commissioned officer, available. Each Kampfgruppe could be created out of a larger formation or from a variety of smaller units or parts of units and it could take any shape and absorb soldiers from all arms. A larger number of these were formed during the course of Market Garden and proved to be highly effective. Generalleutnant Wilhelm Falley was the first German General to fall in action during the Normandy landings.
Death and burial ground of Falley, Wilhelm.
Falley here with General of the Artillerie, Erich Marcks who would be killed in action a few days later. The American General McNair died of friendly fire (see Leslie McNair) on D-Day, and 101 Airborne General, Don Pratt died in his crashing glider on D-Day, General Wilhelm Falley was returning from Rennes, where a war game had been organized by the High Command, to his Division headquarters, a mansion, in Picauville, near Saint Mere Eglise. The 82nd warriors, like Jack W Schelge now 91 years old, who was the last man to jump from his stick over Normandy on the night of 5/6 June 1944, ambushed his car , riddled with bullets, crashed against a wall. Wilhelm Falley, at the age of 46, and his adjutant Major Bartuzat were shot by a Lieutenant of the 82nd Airborne, Malcolm Dodge Brannen on 06-06-1944 in the morning. Malcolm Brannen died at the age of 88, in New York, on 10-03-1999. The casualities of the 82nd in WWII are 1.619 killed in action, 6.560 wounded in action, 332 died of wounds.
Malcolm D Brannen.
Falley was succeeded by Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur 180th Infanterie Division
, Bernard Klosterkemper
Falley and his adjutant Oberstleutnant, Joachim Bartuzat,
age 20, were buried in a field grave near the castle of Bernaville, but after the war reburied on the German military cemetery at Orglandes.