NAME: General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl (Luftwaffe)

PW NO:           A451668

RANK:            General der Fallschirmtruppe


DATE:             25 May 1945


DATE OF BIRTH:     16 July 1892

PLACE OF BIRTH:   Donaueschingen

DATE OF DEATH:    24 January 1951


NATIONALITY:       German


OCCUPATION:        Regular Air Force Officer






Commands & Assignments:

Generalmajor Eugen Meindl (right), the Commander of Division “Meindl,” in conversation with Generaloberst Ernst Busch, the Commander-in-Chief of the 16th Army, in northern Russia, 1942. Note the Narvik Shield on Meindl’s left arm.

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, the commander-in-chief of Army Group B, visiting the headquarters of the II. Fallschirm-Korps in France, 1944.

Left to right:

  • General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl
    (Note his “KRETA” Campaign Cuff-Title and Luftwaffe Parachutist Badge);
  • Rommel;
  • Oberst Ernst Blauensteiner
    (Note his Luftwaffe Parachutist Badge), Meindl’s chief of staff.

Decorations & Awards:

General der Fallschirmtruppe Meindl in Normandy

On the evening of 6 August 1944, Oberstleutnant von Kluge, the son of Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge, the Commander-in-Chief of Army Group B and Commander-in-Chief West, visited General Meindl’s command post. Oberstleutnant von Kluge passed on his father’s order for the II. Fallschirm-Korps to “hold its positions” so that a major German panzer force could counterattack the rapidly advancing U.S. Army the next morning. In his book Invasion—They’re Coming!, German author Paul Carrel recounted Meindl’s reply to Oberstleutnant von Kluge:

Meindl’s prediction proved accurate. The already depleted panzer divisions launched their daylight counterattack (Operation “Lüttich”) against stubborn U.S. resistance at Mortain and under the full weight of the overwhelming Allied tactical air forces. After penetrating about five miles, the mauled panzer divisions ran out of fuel. Rather than retreat, Adolf Hitler once again ordered the Army to hold its dangerously exposed positions—an order that led to the encirclement and virtual destruction of two German armies in the Falaise Pocket.

With the German 5th Panzer Army and 7th Army almost completely encircled between the advancing American and Anglo-Canadian-Polish forces, the remnants of Meindl’s corps desperately held open a narrow corridor that allowed thousands of German troops to escape. On the night of 19-20 August 1944, Meindl and his chief of staff, Oberst Ernst Blauensteiner, each led an assault group formed from the remnants of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division, the 7th Army staff and a few Waffen-SS tanks in a last chance bid to escape from the Falaise Pocket.[7] After a desperate march through enemy-controlled territory, Meindl’s depleted battle group finally broke free of the encirclement.

The first photo depicts three senior German commanders during the Normandy Campaign in the summer of 1944.

From left to right:

  • General der Fallschirmtruppe Eugen Meindl, Commanding General of II. Fallschirm-Korps.
  • The one-eyed SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser, Commander-in-Chief of 7th Army
  • Generalleutnant Dipl. Ing. Richard Schimpf, commander of 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division


[1] On 10 April 1940, five British destroyers of the 2d Destroyer Flotilla (Captain Bernard A.W. Warburton-Lee) entered Narvik harbor and, in the ensuing battle sank two of the German destroyers and damaged three others. Kommodore Bonte was killed in action when his destroyer, the Wilhelm Heidkamp (Z 21), was sunk during the action. The British lost two destroyers in the battle including the HMS Hardy aboard which Captain Warburton-Lee lost his life (posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross). On 13 April 1940, the remaining German destroyers were sunk at Narvik by the British battleship HMS Warspite (Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth) supported by nine destroyers and aircraft. Fregattenkapitän Erich Bey, who took command of the destroyers at Narvik from the fallen Bonte, fought a defensive action during which the Germans severely damaged two of the British destroyers and caused one to go aground. After expending their remaining ammunition, Bey ordered his surviving destroyers to beach themselves in the Rombaksfjord.

[2] In December 1942, Division “Meindl” was reorganized and redesignated the 21st Luftwaffe Field Division.

[3] To make good manpower losses incurred on the Eastern Front, 22 field divisions were formed from surplus Luftwaffe personnel beginning in September 1942. Initially remaining under Luftwaffe administrative control, the field divisions generally suffered from poor training and morale as well as shortages of equipment, artillery and vehicles. Although originally intended for service in quiet sectors of the front and occupation duties, the troops of the Luftwaffe field divisions often found themselves in the thick of combat. Ill-suited for frontline service against veteran Russian troops, the Luftwaffe divisions more often than not collapsed when on the receiving end of an attack. Effective 1 November 1943, the surviving Luftwaffe field divisions were transferred to Army control.

[4] Numerous divisions and elements thereof would ultimately pass in and out of II. Fallschirm-Korps control during the Normandy campaign. The 5th Fallschirmjäger-Division was initially held in 7th Army reserve before being committed to battle under the LXXXIV Army Corps on the left flank of the II. Fallschirm-Korps.

[5] On 12 June 1944, Meindl briefly assumed leadership of the LXXXIV Army Corps following the death of General der Artillerie Erich Marcks in an air attack near Carentan. Arriving the next day, General der Artillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher took command of the corps.

[6] On 4 November 1944, General der Fallschirmtruppe Alfred Schlemm replaced Generaloberst Student as commander-in-chief of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee. Both Student and Schlemm were later held as prisoners of war at Island Farm Special Camp 11.

[7] On 20 August 1944, Generalleutnant Dipl. Ing. Richard Schimpf, the commander of the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division, was severely wounded in the leg during the breakout from the Falaise Pocket. He remained hospitalized and in convalescence until 6 January 1945 when he resumed command of the division.