Speck Hermann Ritter von, born 08-08-1888, in München , the son of the Bavarian Generalmajor Maximilian Ritter von Speck and his wife Josefine, born Pfülf, occurred after attending a Humanistic High School , the Royal Bavarian Army on 18-07-1907, age 18. He came to the 3rd Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment “Prince Leopold”. On 11-02-1908 he was promoted to Fahnrich. After attending the war school, he was promoted to Leutnant on 07-03-1910. As such, he was then employed as a battery officer in the 3rd Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment “Prince Leopold”. After a command at the Munich Artillery and Engineering School, Leutnant von Speck became an adjutant to the 2nd Division, under command of Otto Ernst Vinzent Leo von Below of his regiment on 01-05-1913. When war broke out on the Western Front, his personal involvement in an attack near Nancy brought about a decisive turn in the attack, which earned him the Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order on 07-09-1914. He was thus raised to personal nobility and was now allowed to call himself Knight of Bacon. From 19-05-1915, he was promoted to first Leutnant. As such, on 04-06-1916, he here with General Heye was appointed regimental adjutant to the 3rd Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment “Prince Leopold”. On 26-12-1917 he took over the command of a battery of the Landwehr Field Artillery Regiment 1. Promoted to Hauptmann on 22-03-1918, he was employed as a deputy adjutant by the 6th Field Artillery Brigade after the war. Speck married Melitta, born born Rogetzki, in 1919. A daughter emerged from the marriage. On 01-02-1919, he took over the management of the 1st battery. On 04-03-1919, the Speck security battery was installed, with which he acted on April 12, 1919 against insurgent communists in Bavaria. The security battery was then renamed the 1st battery of the Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 24. He himself was taken over as a captain in the army. He married Melitta, born Rogetzki, in 1919. The marriage resulted in a daughter. In the spring of 1920, he was also deployed to the 200,000-man transitional army as chief of battery for the Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 24. He then came to the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment in the formation of the 100,000 man army of the Reichswehr. Von Speck then completed his driving assistant training (General Staff training) in the early 1920s. He spent the years 1923/24 with the General Staff of Group Command 2 in Kassel. In 1925 he was transferred to the Reichswehr Ministry in Berlin. First, he was used in the Army Department (T 1) by the Troop Office (TA). In 1926 he came to the Wehrmacht department. Promoted to major on November 1, 1927, he later became adjutant to the chief of the Army Command. In 1929 he, was transferred to the staff of the 3rd Division of the Reichswehr in Berlin, two years later he was appointed Oberstleutnant to the 1st General Staff Officer (Ia) at the staff of the 7th Division of the Reichswehr in Munich. In 1932 he was appointed commander of the 1st division of the 7th (Bavarian) Artillery Regiment in Würzburg. On 01-04-1934, he gave up his command when he was promoted to Oberst. For this he was now assigned to the command office in Regensburg. During the expansion of the Reichswehr to the Wehrmacht, he was appointed commander of the Amberg Artillery Regiment on 01-10-1934. When the associations were exposed, he was appointed commander of Artillery Regiment 10 in Amberg on 15-10-1935. He kept this command for the next few years. On August 1, 1937, he was promoted to major general. In the spring of 1938, he took over the 33rd Infantry Division as the successor to General of the Infantry Eugen Ritter von Schobert. Schobert, with his pilot, during a reconnaissance flight landed in a minefleld and died..
On 01-06-1939, von Speck was promoted to Generalleutnant. He gave up command of the 33rd Infantry Division at the end of April 1940. For this purpose, von Speck with the leadership of Generalkommando XXXXIII. Army Corps instructed. With this he then took part in the western campaign in the spring of 1940. During the French campaign at the end of May 1940, he gave his leadership over the corps to Generalleutnant Franz Böhme.
Böhme committed suicide on 29-05-1947, aged 62, by jumping from the 4th story of the prison in which he was being held. His body was interred at St. Leonhard-Friedhof in Graz, Austria. Ritter von Speck has now been transferred to the
Death and burial ground of Speck, Hermann Ritter von.
On 05-06-1940, he received command of the General Command XVIII. Mountain Corps. On 15-06-1940, age 51, Ritter von Speck fell while exploring a Pont-sur-Yonne bridge, by French machine gun fire. He was the first German General to fall in World War II. He subsequently received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 7-10-1940 and was appointed General of Artillery with effect from 01-06-1940. Hermann Ritter von Speck was buried in a field grave in Pont-sur-Yonne.
In 2010, Jay Nordlinger spoke with von Speck’s daughter, who claimed that the General deliberately sought death in battle: “According to his daughter, he wanted to die, and arranged to die. He felt he could not break his oath to the army — he could not desert. And his Catholic faith prevented him from committing suicide — suicide straight out, you might say. So, he put himself in the line of fire. In his dying words, he did not say, ‘Give my love to my family’, or anything like that. He said, ‘It had to be this way’.”