Thoma, Heinrich “Heinz”, born 26-04-1891 in Nuremburg was a highly decorated Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Heinrich Thoma joined in 1910 as a Fahnenjunker the Royal Bavarian Army. The son of a professor came to the 16th Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiment “Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany”. On 28-10-1912 he was promoted to Leutnant. His patent was dated on the same day. As such, he came then in the summer of 1916 in English captivity. In this he remained until an exchange in 1918. Then he was interned until 1919 in Holland. In World War I, other awards were given to him alongside both Iron Crosses. He was then transferred to the Reichsheer as a first leutnant. He then came to the Reichswehr Rifle Regiment 42. Also in the 200,000 man transition army in the spring of 1920, he belonged to the Reichswehr Rifle Regiment 42nd In the formation of the 100,000 -the Army of the Reichswehr, he then came to the 19th (Bavarian) Infantry regiment. At this he was then initially used by a battalion staff, probably as an adjutant. In 1921/22 he was promoted to Hauptmann. His seniority was set to 18-10-1918. As such, he was then appointed head of the 14th Company of the 19th (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment in Landshut. He then held this position for many years. On 31-05-1927, he married Hildegard Hofmann. In 1927/28 he was appointed Chief of the 1st Company of the 19th (Bavarian) Infantry Regiment in Munich. He also practiced this position for several years. As such, he was promoted to Major on 01-04-1932. During the expansion of the Reichswehr to the Wehrmacht he was appointed on 01-10-1934 Infantry Regiment Munich battalion commander. As such, he was promoted to Oberstleutnant from 01-01-1935 and he was then transferred to the regimental headquarters of the Infantry Regiment 19 also in Munich. In this he was promoted to Oberst on 01-08-1937. On 24-11-1938, he was then appointed commander of the new Infantry Regiment 85 in Passau. At the beginning of World War II in the summer of 1939, he led his regiment in the Association of the 10th Infantry Division under command of Generalleutnant Konrad von Cochenhausen in the Polish campaign. He then gave his command of the 85th Infantry Regiment at the end of October 1939. He was now transferred to the Führerreserve. In December 1939 he was appointed commander of the 585th Infantry Regiment. On 01-04-1940, he was then appointed commander of the new 519 Infantry Regiment. In June 1940 he was then used in the Association of the 296th Infantry Division, under command of General of the Artillery Wilhelm Stemmermann , in Belgium. Stemmermann was killed 18-02-1944, age 5, while attempting to break out of the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket; The division was destroyed at Babruysk during Operation Bagration. The division was formally dissolved on 03-08-1944.
The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre under command of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model and completely shattered the German front line. It was the fifth deadliest campaign on the European war scene, killing around 450,000 soldiers
In the summer of 1940, he moved with his regiment as an occupation force to Poland. At the beginning of summer 1941, he led his regiment in the Eastern campaign during the attack on southern Russia. He was promoted to Generalmajor on 01-09-1941 and to Generalleutnant on 01-08-1942. He received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 27-10-1941 as Generalmajor and commander of Infanterie-Regiment 519. The 519 Infantry Regiment was transferred into the Grenadier Regiment 519 on 15-10-1942. Heinrich Thoma was the commander of the 431st Landesschutzen Division in Russia, where he landed in captivity and spent his last years in the Woikowo prison.
Death and burial ground of Thoma, Heinrich “Heinz”.
Heinrich Thoma died age 57 on 30-10-1948 in the hospital Nr 3840 of Schuja near Iwanwo and is buried on the German war cemetery of Chertntsy in Row 5-Grave 2, with 23 other German Officers and Generals as Generalleutnant derlInfanterie, Kommandeur of Warschau, Rainer Stahel , General der Infanterie, Kommandeur 145th Infanterie Regiment, Karl Specht, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Commander of a Field Training Division, Friedrich Bayer, General der Infanterie, Commander 32nd Infantry Division and L Army Corps, Hans Boeckh-Behrens, Generalmajor der Wehrmacht, Grenadier Regiment 70, Louis Tronnier, Generalmajor and commander of the 570th Infantry Regiment. Erwin Hans Barends, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der XVIII Gebirgstruppe, Friedrich Hochbaum, General der Artillerie,Kommandeur IV Heeresgruppe, Max Pfeffer, Generalmajor Walter von Boltenstern Generalmajor, Commander 290th Infantery Division , Hans Joachim Baurmeister and Generalmajor der Wehrmacht, Pioneer Commander, Wilhelm Runge.