Lüttwitz, Heinrich Diepold Georg Freiherr von, born 06-12-1896 in Krumpach, Silesia was a Prussian Junker, Olympic equestrian, and German officer who served in both World Wars, retiring as a General der Panzertruppe. Lüttwitz’s team competed at the 1936 Summer games in Berlin but they came away without a medal. This failure was viewed as a disgrace by the Nazi regime and, as a consequence, he was left in professional obscurity for the next few years. He eventually went on to command two Panzer Divisions and the XLVII. Panzerkorps (47th Panzer Corps), where he earned infamy for his demand of the surrender of the American 101st Airborne Division, under command of Major General Maxwell Davenport.Taylor.
Lüttwitz excelled in school and, like many Prussian aristocrats, took up riding at an early age, becoming an accomplished equestrian. He was pursuing professional equestrianism when the First World War broke out. Despite the family tracing their military ancestry back to the 14th century and his father being a former Army officer, Lüttwitz was unable to get his father’s permission to seek a military commission. In defiance, he enlisted as a Private in the Army in August 1914, at the age of seventeen. His mother, from the prominent von Uruh(de) Junker military family, used her influence to have him brevetted to Leutnant in December.
After graduating from officer training, he was posted to the 48th (5th Brandenburg) Infantry Regiment, of the 5th Division under command of Field Marshall Wilhelm Leopold Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz . Thereafter began a tug of war between himself and his father, an influential veteran of the Franco-Prussian War. The elder Lüttwitz likely used his influence to have his son posted to the rear area of the unit, away from the front lines. The younger Lüttwitz then began a letter-writing campaign to his superiors, appealing for a transfer to the front. This was granted in 1917 when he was given command of an infantry platoon. He won the Iron Cross Second and First Class before being wounded and sent back to Germany to convalesce. After recovering in May 1918, his family again used their connections and influence, this time to have him posted to the 1st Ulan Schützen Regiment, a crack unit of dismounted cavalry, trained in exploiting breakthroughs in enemy lines created by Sturmtruppen. This tactic, successful early in 1918, was no longer viable by the time Lüttwitz arrived at the unit and so he spent most of the remainder of the war on maneuvers. After the Armistice, he returned with his regiment to Silesia. Unlike most units in the rapidly disbanding Army, his regiment was retained in the new Reichswehr as the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 2nd Cavalry Division, enabling Lüttwitz to remain in active military service..
At the beginning of World War II he was assigned as commander of the Aufklärungs-Abteilung 1 (motorized) and seriously wounded on 02-09-1939. On 02-07-1941 after he was recovered he became commander of the 59th Schützen-Regiment. He was promoted to Oberst on 01-10-1941 and received the Ritterkreuz on 27-05-1942 for bravery leading of the 59th Schützen-Regiment. He got the command of the 20th Schützen Brigade on 01-06-1942, and on 31-08-1942 he is awarded with the wounded Medal in Gold. On 01-10-1942 Lüttwitz took the command of the 20th Panzer-Division , he succeeded Generalmajor der Artillerie, Walter Düvert
and himself was followed by Generalleutnant der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur der 20th Panzer Division, Mortimer von Kessel on 12-05-1943. 27 soldiers of the 20th Panzer Division were awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Famous members of the division were Mortimer von Kessel and Generalmajor der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur 20th Panzer Division. Golden Medal winner Olympic 1936,Hermann von Oppeln-Broikowski who won the gold medal
at the games of the XI Olympiad in the dressage.
Lüttwitz himself was promoted to Generalleutnant on 01-06-1943. From 01-06-1943 until 01-02-1944 he was in the special staff of the General Staff. He then was assigned as commander of the 2nd Panzer Division succeeding Generalleutnant Vollrath Lübbe and received the Oak leaves on 03-09-1944. Vollrath Lübbe was captured by Soviet troops at the end of the war and remained a prisoner of war until October 1955. He died age 75 on 04-04-1969 in Hanover. His last command was of the XXXXVII Panzerkorps, he succeeded General der Panzertruppe, Hans Freiherr von Funck on 01-11-1944. Heinrich was at last promoted to General of the Panzertruppen like his cousin also a General der Panzertruppe, Kommandierend des XLVI. Panzerkorps, Smilo von Lüttwitz . In 1944, in the Battle of the Bulge, Lüttwitz’s troops had surrounded the US forces in Bastogne, commanded by US 101 Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” The 101 Airborne Division also liberated my hometown Eindhoven in Operation “Market Garden”. General, Anthony MacAuliffe. Lüttwitz’s demand for the US troops to surrender was the following: “Nuts”, to the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.
The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands. There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note. If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term. All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity. The German Commander Anthony McAuliffe’s reply advised by 101 Airborne colonel, Harry Kinnard, “Nuts ” was explained to the German negotiators as the equivalent of “go to hell!”
Stunned, once the Germans understand the message, shelling resumes, with no progress however. The next day, the weather clears up, allowing General George Smith Patton, headquartered in the city of Luxembourg, to coordinate the parachuting of food, medicine and weapons. On December 26, his 3rd Army break the deadlock and rescue the surrounded men . For their efforts during World War II, the 101st Airborne Division was awarded four campaign streamers and two Presidential Unit Citations. The division suffered 2,043 killed in action; 7,976 wounded in action; and 1,193 were missing in action during World War II.
Death and burial ground of Lüttwitz, Heinrich Diepold Georg Freiherr von.
After the war Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz went to Neuburg an der Donau and died at the age of 72, on 09-10-1969, Heinrich is buried on the cemetery Franziskanerstrasse in Neuburg.