Unrein, Martin Friedrich Karl, born 01-01-1901 in Weimar, joined the German Army in the final stages of the First World War, and was posted to the 71st Infantry Regiment in the final stages of the First World War. He was wounded and taken prisoner in September 1918, and released in 1920. He joined the re-established Reichswehr in the 21st Infantry Regiment, then transferred to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, reaching Leutnant in July 1922. In 1928 he became the adjutant of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, and held various regimental posts through the 1930s. He was promoted to Major in 1938 and served on the staff of the XI Corps under command of Artillery General, General der Artillerie, Emil Leeb , with which he served during the invasion of Poland in 1939. Leeb’s older brother, Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, had the chivalrous rank of “Ritter” and the noble particle of “von”, not by birth, but thanks to the granting of the Bavarian Military Order by Max Joseph and a patent of nobility. Hence, the older brother had “von” between his names, but the younger brother did not. Leeb survived the war and died 08-09-1969, aged 88, in Munich.
In January 1940, Unrein was appointed to the 268th Divisions-Aufklärungs-Abteilung, the reconnaissance unit of the 268th Infantry Division under comand of Lieutenant General Erich Straube , which he commanded during the Battle of France. Straube also survived the war and died 31-03-1971, aged 83, in Osterode am Harz. In September 1940, Unrein was promoted to Oberstleutnant and assigned to OKW . On 15-12-1941, he was appointed to command Kradschützen-Abteilung 6 (6th Motorcycle Battalion) in the 6th Panzer Division , under Generalleutnant Franz Landgraf . Landgraf died in battle, 19-04-1944, age 55. The soldiers of the 6 Panzer Division executed an unknown number of black prisoners of war from the 12th Senegalese Tirailleurs regiment in mid-June 1940. It is estimated that, of the 40,000 black soldiers from the French colonies engaged in combat with German forces during the battle of France 1,500 to 3,000 were executed either during or after combat. The battalion was almost destroyed fighting outside Moscow, and Unrein was court-martial led, but was completely rehabilitated and absolved of all blame. On 28 February, he was awarded the German Cross in Gold , and on 1 April assigned the command of Schützen-Regiment 4, later Panzergrenadier-Regiment 4, in the 6th Panzer Division being promoted to Oberst shortly thereafter. In July 1943, during the Battle of Kursk, he commanded the entire division for two days, the divisional commander having died. On 10-09-1943, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions in the Fourth Battle of Kharkov. On 29 October of that year, he was appointed to command the 14th Panzer Division , succeeding General Friedrich Siebert who died, age 61 on 13- 05-1950 in Würzburg, which was shortly to be sent to the Eastern Front, and promoted to Generalmajor on 01-01-1944. On 26-06-1944, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross and on 1 July promoted to Generalleutnant. He was relieved of command of 14th Panzer Division by General Oskar Munzel Munzel survived the war and died old age 92 on 01-01-1992,
On 05-09-1944 due to severe illness, but resumed command on 1 December, remaining with the division until 10-02-1945. On 11 February, he was promoted to command the III SS Panzer Corps , succeeding SS-Obergruppenführer Matthias Kleinheisterkamp , a very unusual position for a Heer officer, rather than a member of the Waffen SS, to hold, and remained with the Corps until 05-03-1945. On 4 April he was succeeded by SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner,
and was appointed to command the newly formed Clausewitz Panzer Division , leading them until he was captured on 24 April by an American patrol. Kleinheisterkamp committed suicide in captivity, age 51 on 29-04-1945 in Halbe.
Death and burial ground of Unrein, Martin Friedrich Karl.
After the war Unrein lived in Kulsheim where he at the age of 71 died, on 22-01-1972 and is buried in Kulsheim, Strassenkapelle im Truppenübungsgelande der Prinz Eugen Kaserne.