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NAME: General der Infanterie Hellmuth Thumm

PW NO:           B33404
RANK:            General der Infanterie
CAPTURED:   Welzheim
DATE:             19 April 1945


DATE OF BIRTH:       25 August 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH:     Ravensburg
DATE OF DEATH:     13 July 1977
NATIONALITY:         German
RELIGION:                 Regular Soldier

Promotions (included):

  • War Volunteer: 8 August 1914
  • Leutnant: 2 August 1915 (Patent 26 December 1914)
  • Hauptmann: 1 March 1930
  • Oberstleutnant: 1 October 1938
  • Oberst: 1 October 1941 (RDA 1 October 1940)
  • Generalmajor: 1 March 1943
  • Generalleutnant: 1 September 1943
  • General der Infanterie: 1 January 1945

Commands & Assignments (included):

  • 8 August 1914: Entered the Army as a War Volunteer.
  • 2 August 1915: Commissioned a Leutnant in Infanterie-Regiment Kaiser Friedrich, König von Preußen (7. Württembergisches) Nr.125.
  • 1 October 1938: Commander of the I. Battalion of Infantry Regiment 75 of the 5th Infantry Division. [While the cream of the Germany military invaded Poland in September 1939, the 5th Infantry Division, commanded by Generalleutnant Wilhelm Fahrmbacher, remained on the Upper Rhine as a component of the 7th Army facing the French Maginot Line in Alsace. Following the redeployment of German forces to the Western Front, the division transferred to control of the 12th Army and took part in the invasion of France in May-June 1940. The 5th Infantry Division remained in France as part of the German occupation force until transferring to East Prussia in April 1941 preparatory to Operation “Barbarossa,” the invasion of the Soviet Union.]
  • 13 June 1940: Commander of Infantry (later Jäger) Regiment 56 of the 5th Infantry Division; redesignated 5th Light Infantry Division in October 1941 and then 5th Jäger Division in July 1942. [Commanded by Generalleutnant Karl Allmendinger since the previous October, the division took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 under Army Group Center. After refitting in France from December 1941, the division returned to the Eastern Front in February 1942 where it served under the 16th Army of Army Group North for the next 23 months.]
  • 5 January 1943-15 August 1944: Commander of the 5th Jäger Division on the Eastern Front. [Assuming command from Generalleutnant Allmendinger, then Oberst Thumm continued to lead the division in northern Russia until it was transferred to Army Group Center in January 1944. After seeing action at Vitebsk, Kovel and Narew, Thumm handed command of the division over to Generalleutnant Friedrich Sixt.]
  • 1 November 1944-15 January 1945: Commanding General of the LXIV Army Corps on the Western Front. [After succeeding Generalleutnant Otto Lasch, Thumm’s new command, a component of the 19th Army, had been pushed into the so-called Colmar Pocket in Alsace by the end of December 1944. On 31 December 1944, the German 1st Army launched Operation “Nordwind” (North Wind), an offensive aimed at destroying the Allied forces in Alsace. On 5 January 1945, after the main effort of “Nordwind” had failed, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler’s Army Group Oberrhein (Upper Rhine) began a two-pronged attack on Strasbourg.[1] Himmler’s XIV SS-Army Corps launched a cross-Rhine attack north of Strasbourg seizing a 10-mile bridgehead at Gambsheim while two days later, south of the city, the 19th Army in the Colmar Pocket launched Operation “Sonnenwende” (“Winter Solstice”). With the 198th Infantry Division, the 106th Panzer Brigade “Feldherrnhalle,” and company of heavy Jagdpanther tank destroyers at his disposal, General der Infanterie Thumm’s LXIV Army Corps attacked north from the Colmar Pocket along the western bank of the Rhône-Rhine Canal to linkup with the Gambsheim bridgehead and encircle Strasbourg. Although Thumm’s corps quickly captured Erstein and cleared the west bank of the Rhine up to that location, Operation “Sonnenwende” ground to a halt by January 13th with the transfer of the reserve unit, the 269th Infantry Division, to the Eastern Front. After passing leadership of the corps to Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Hauck, available documentation suggests Thumm was not employed for the remainder of the war.]  
  • 19 April 1945-Circa 1947: Prisoner of war.
    • 10 May 1945 transferred to Trent Park Camp 11 sorting camp.
    • 9 January 1946 transferred from Camp 1 to Island Farm Special Camp 11
    • 4 December 1946 transferred from Island Farm Special Camp 11 to Allendorf (on Loan)
    • 30 September 1947 transferred to US Custody for discharge
  • 1976: Published the divisional history Der Weg der 5. Infanterie- und Jäger-Division 1921-1945 (The Journey of the 5th Infantry- and Jäger Division, 1921-1945).

Decorations & Awards:

  • Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross: 30 June 1941, Oberst, Commander of Infantry Regiment 56.
  • Oakleaves (No. 166): 23 December 1942, Oberst, Commander of Jäger Regiment 56.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 3 July 1918.
  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 26 August 1915.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 13 June 1940.
  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 3 June 1940.
  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”)
  • Württemberg Gold Military Merit Medal
  • Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
  • Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938
  • Wound Badge in Black – World War I award
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht [Armed Forces Communiqué]: 5 July 1941.

[1] At the start of Operation “Nordwind,” Himmler’s Army Group Oberrhein controlled four corps headquarters: the LXIV Army Corps and LXIII Army Corps under General der Infanterie Siegfried Rasp’s 19th Army in the Colmar Pocket and the XIV SS-Army Corps and XVIII SS-Army Corps on the east bank of the Rhine. On 24 January 1945, Himmler’s army group staff transferred to the Eastern Front where it was redesignated Army Group Weichsel [Vistula].