Frisius, Friedrich, born 17-01-1895 in Bad Salzuflen, but little is known about his childhood and youth. Yet we know that from the very beginning of his adult life, he was formed by his career with the Kriegsmarine
, which he entered as a Kadett in 1913. Shortly before the outbreak of the first World War he underwent a training on the protected cruiser Victoria Louise
to 31-03-1914 and attended Naval School in Mürwik to 01-08-1914. During the four wartime years, during which he served on torpedo boats, as the II Torpedo Division, as well as cruisers, as the 18th
Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla, he became a Lieutenant of the Navy, on 18-09-1915. His career went steadily upward, though. Between 1919 and 1923 he was assigned to the Baltic coastal defences, as an Oberleutnant zur See, where he, aside from other activities, took part in suppressing the Communist uprisings and in maintaining law and order in the heavily shaken post-war Germany. From September 1929, now a Kapitänleutnant, he went through a series of commanding and training posts in various assignments and he commanded another torpedo boat. From 1929 to 1931 he joined the Foreign Department of the Military Intelligence (the Abwehr)
at the Reich Defence Ministry. Later, two further commanding assignments followed on ships and the Naval School at Mürwick, but in 1935, a Korvettenkapitän at that time, rejoined the Abwehr. From a Consultant he shortly became a Group Leader in the Foreign Department and he was to see the outbreak of the World War II as a staff officer of the Hamburg Kriegsmarine Service Centre, which was, like the other Kriegsmarinedienststellen, responsible for providing merchant ships for the war effort and for the overseeing the supply chain and the preparation and movement of troops. From here he moved to the Boulogne Service Centre and, on 26-01-1941, already in the rank of a Navy Captain, he became the commander of the local coastal defences. During the three following wartime years, from 16-12-1941 to 28-10-1944, he was assigned to Pas de Calais as the commander of its fortifications. Here his headquarter bunker after the war
His position was of major importance and of great impact on the German military strategy. Indeed, it was here that the main Allied blow was expected to strike hardest when the invasion to Europe was to come. On 15-09-1944, when the coastal defences of Pas de Calais, which he still commanding, are non-existent for some months, he is assigned to command the Fortress of Dunkirk.
Only a few days before his new assignment, he and his strong garrison were completely enclosed by the Allies. Yet the port was to be held at all costs to tie down Allied units and to prevent them from using it. On 30-09-1944, Frisius was promoted to the rank of Vize Admiral.He was in command of German forces there throughout its long siege in 1944-45, he became a Vice Admiral on 30-09-1944. By Operation Bluecher, the last desperate break-out attempt against the enemy lines on 05-05-1945, Frisius testified for the last time to his fanatic loyalty to Hitler
and Nazi Germany. It had become evident that the German Kommandant, Vize (Rear) Admiral Friedrich Frisius, although agreeing to observe a cease-fire as from midnight, was not yet willing to lay down his arms and surrender. He claimed to be uncertain whether the surrender terms which the German High Command had accepted at Rheims included his Fortress Dunkirk and insisted on seeking further clarification from his new ‘Führer’, Großadmiral Karl Dönitz
. Although the attack was indeed very surprising to the British command, the bridges near the town were even blown up and the German units were not to be dislodged from their newly gained positions until the end of hostilities, four days later, on 09-05-1945, Vize Admiral Frisius handed the Fortress to the hands of General Alois Liska at the Brigade Group’s Headquarters at Wormhoudt. Brigade General Alois Liska, here with General Bernhard “Monty” Montgomery
, was the commander of the 1st
Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade
The opening of the Second Front in Europe on 6 June 1944 gave the exiled Czech troops who had been training in the UK the chance to take the fight to the Germans and, they hoped, the chance to take part in the liberation of their homeland. Alois Liska died age 81, on 07-02-1977 in London. The brigade landed in Normandy in August 1944 and was given the mission of containing the German held port of Dunkirk for the rest of the war in Europe. In May 1945, the brigade moved to Czechoslovak Army and was absorbed into this Army. During the siege of Dunkirk, the Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade suffered 668 casualties; 167 dead, 461 wounded, and 40 missing. Frisius was taken prisoner immediately after he signed the unconditional surrender, spending a couple of post-war years at Island Farm, the Special Camp 11 at Bridgend,
from where he was released on 06-10-1947.