Runge, Siegfried.

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Runge,Siegfried, born 08-06-1884 in Breslau; the son of Senior Pastor and Consistorial Councilor, Oskar Runge ,( he died 17-04-1926) and his wife Magdalene, born Koch (she died 11-12-1916), joined the infantry regiment “Duke Ferdinand von Braunschweig” (8th Westphalian) No. 57, Wesel on 25-03-1903. He was transferred to the II. Seebataillon on 01-01-1909, Wilhelmshaven and from 01-04-1910 service on the SMS “König Wilhelm” and from 01-04-1912 service on the SMS “Vineta”. On 03-09-1914 the commander of the 5th company / IV. Seebataillon / Marine-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 2 / Marine-Infanterie-Brigade / Marine-Division and in October 1914 he was wounded in the right thigh. He was wounded for the third time in February 1916;  and after his recovery he fought in various sections on the Yser until mid-September. Mid-November 1917 he was commander of the 1st Sea Battalion of Marine Infantry Regiment No.2. From 02-27-1918 assigned to the battalion commander course. Act of bravery as battalion leader in the Second Battle of Bapaume (August 21 to September 3, 1918)  From 12-11-1918 Adjutant of the North Sea Naval Station; and responsebly for the overthrow of the Spartakists in Wilhelmshaven. After the first war he, on 01-02-1919 joined the “Hülsen”

  volunteer corps/Freekorps  On 25-02-1919 appointed as leader of the assault detachment or detachment “Graf Stillfried”  On 01-05-1919 the takeover of the detachment by the Reichswehr Grenadier Regiment No. 9. From June 1919 Commander of the headquarters of Reichswehr Brigade 3 in Döberitz From 05-05-1920 promoted to Sports officer of the Döberitz teaching brigade and he retired on 31-12-1920 from the Provisional Reichswehr.

From 1920 to 1934 he worked in industry and was a member of the Stahlhelm-Bund, in whose local group Berlin-Zehlendorf he served until the takeover of Standard 1 of SA Reserve I (Berlin-Mitte).From 01-11-1934 he joined the Reichswehr as an L officer.

Promoted to Oberst on 15-08-1940 and Commander of the Infantry Replacement Regiment 254, Lingen an der Ems.From 10-11-11-1940 Commander of the Infantry Regiment 466 and landed from 02-06-1941 in the Führerreserve OKH (VI). He was Commander of Infantry Regiment 279/95. Infantry Division (during Operation “Barbarossa”) and from February 1942 ill, in a military hospital. He again landed in the Führerreserve OKH (VI), from 01-06-1942.  Appointed from 20-09-1942 as commander of the infantry replacement Regiments 26, Valkenburg / Netherlands and from 01-10-1942. Commander of the Reserve Infantry Regiment 26 (by renaming).16-04-1944 (Combat) Commander of Mainz and Wiesbaden.Runge and his divisional staff were in command of the Rhine, Central area (“Runge” group). Task: Securing the area between St. Goar and Gernsheim, for example. Last in mid-March 1945 he was subordinate to three combat group staffs A, B and C with about 7,000 men, mainly training and replacement units. He was promoted to Generalmajor on 01-10-1944.

On 27-02-1945 432 bombers flew, and 16 de Havilland “Mosquito” as fighter protection (rightly, German resistance was hardly to be expected, according to the RAF Bomber Command only one Halifax and one “Mosquito” were lost), the Royal Air Force an attack on Mainz, where Generalmajor Runge had his headquarters. here with Oberst and Fliegerass Herman Graf   in the middle and Wilhelm-August “Erich” Vielwerth, a higly decorated Oberleutnant. Between 4:29 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., the terrorist pilots dropped 1,500 tons of bombs, which hit large parts of the Neustadt. St. Joseph and St. Boniface were destroyed. A strong firestorm spread over a large area. Weisenau, Gustavsburg and Bischofsheim were also badly hit. The recently renovated Alice Hospital was completely destroyed. According to eyewitness reports, burned items flew as far as Gonsenheim.

The terror bombing, which transformed downtown Mainz into an inferno of flames and smoke, lasted less than 20 minutes. When it was over, the old Mainz no longer existed: 80 percent of the city center had been destroyed. Depending on the source, the attack cost between 1,209 and 2,500 German lives, including only 21 soldiers, but 647 women, many children and 12 foreigners. The Mainz bridgehead was lost, Commander Generalmajor Runge and his combat group moved south-east to continue the final battle for Germany. Trenches were dug and anti-tank barriers built in Wallerstädten.

The district town of Groß-Gerau, which had already been bombed on 16-08-1944, has now become the bastion of the German Reich defense. The main line of action ran along the B 26 from the Fasanerie to the Niederwald. Runge was in command of the “Groß-Gerau Fortress” and was subordinate to a ragged heap of Volkssturm, Hitler Youth, labor service and a combat group of Flemish Waffen-SS. The command post of the “Runge” division headquarters with around 7,000 men, subordinate to the 7th Army, was in the former secondary school on Goethestrasse.

Death and burial ground van Runge, Siegfried.

 On the night of 23-03-1945, the 5th US Infantry Division under command of Major General Charles Hartwell “Tick” Bonesteel, crossed the Rhine near Oppenheim and quickly formed a bridgehead. The first counterattack, in which the 159th Infantry Division was also involved, failed. The command post of the division was at the time in the main post office in Darmstadt, which Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring visited on the late afternoon of March 23 and promised support. Fortress commander  Generalmajor Siegfried Runge was designated as leader for the counterattack.

On the morning of March 24th, intense aviation activity by the enemy signaled the beginning of the “Battle of Gross-Gerau”, as it is also called by US military scientists, with heavy casualties on both sides. On March 23 and 24, 1945, the Americans used both heavy weapons and air mines. The roar of the US tanks approaching Dornheim could be heard as far as Berkach. According to tradition, invasion General George S. Patton had his command tank stop in front of the historic town hall while driving through Groß-Gerau in order to take a closer look at the centuries-old half-timbered building.

Generalmajor Siegfried Runge was fatally hit by a shrapnel on the morning of 24-03-1945, age 60, at around 5:30 a.m. at the Waldcafé on the road north of Groß-Gerau, the so-called Nauheimer Eck. He did not take cover during the enemy artillery raid because he had to be a role model for his troops, especially for the very young and very old soldiers.

The counterattack failed because it took place without preparation and support and was waged against a superior enemy with inadequate means, especially a lack of ammunition, but also because Runge was no longer there to lead the men. Oberst Müller took over the division staff, and from 25-03-1945 at noon the group came under the command of the LXXXV. Army Corps under General of the Infantry Baptist Kniess  The remaining strength of the combat group at this time was around 3,500 men. General Kniess survived the war and died age 71 on 10-11-1956 in München.

Then Hauptmann Runge married his fiancée Luise von Boehn in December 1920 (born 13-12-1884). On 12-11-1921 in Berlin-Dahlem, a son emerged from the marriage. Leutnant Helmuth Johann Runge died on 18-10-1943 on the Eastern Front near Ottseki. His name is honored on his parents’ grave cross. Widow Luise, who had lost her husband and son in the war, died on 11-09-1966 and rests in a shared grave with Siegfried at the Messel cemetery (Darmstadt-Dieburg).

Whether Generalmajor Wilhelm Richard Runge    a look a like, was his younger brother could not be determined with any certainty. Wilhelm Richard Runge survived the war, but died on 27-08-1954 while a Soviet-Bolshevik prisoner of war in the Woikowo camp.

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