SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
der Kavallerie Edwin Graf von Rothkirch und Trach
RANK: General der Kavallerie
CAPTURED: Bitburg, Germany
DATE: 7 March 1945
OF BIRTH: 1 November 1888
PLACE OF BIRTH: Militsch near Oels
DATE OF DEATH: Unknown
PLACE OF DEATH: Unknown
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
HAIR COLOUR: Grey
EYE COLOUR: Brown
NEXT OF KIN: Leopold Rothkirsch, Oberurf. Post Borken near
Kassel (US Zone)
Commands & Assignments:
March 1908: Entered Army service as a Leutnant in 1. Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches
Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 17 after passing out from the Prussian Cadet Corps.
in Army service in the post-World War I German Reichswehr.
of) 1 May 1930: On the staff of Cavalry Regiment 14, Ludwigslust.
October 1934: Commander of Cavalry Regiment 15, Paderborn.
March 1938: Commander of the 2nd Rifle Brigade.
November 1938: Commandant of the Fortifications of Breslau.
September 1939: Chief of the General Staff of the XXXIV Corps Command.
April 1940: Commander of the 442nd Landesschützen (“Territorial”) Division.
October 1940: Higher Field Commandant 365.
January 1942: Commander of the 330th Infantry Division on the Eastern
1943: Commander of Army Area Center on the Eastern Front.
January 1944: Leader of versch. Corps i.V.
- 3 November 1944-6 March 1945: Commanding General of the LIII Army
Corps. [At the start of the German Ardennes
Offensive in December 1944, Graf von Rothkirch und Trach’s corps was held
in 7th Army (General der Panzertruppe Erich Brandenberger) reserve at
Trier without any major tactical components assigned. On 22 December 1944,
the LIII Army Corps headquarters moved up to Wiltz where it took control
of several divisions released from reserve or transferred from other corps
in order to shorten the over-extended front of General der Infanterie
Baptist Kneiß’s LXXXV Army Corps. Positioned north of the river Sûre,
Graf von Rothkirch und Trach’s corps secured the northern flank of the
7th Army with the following units: the 5. Fallschirmjäger-Division (Generalmajor
Ludwig Heilmann – also held as a prisoner of war at Special Camp 11, Bridgend),
the Führer Grenadier Brigade, the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division, and
the 9th, 79th and 276th Volkgrenadier Divisions. Also on 22 December 1944,
Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr.’s U.S. 3rd Army began its drive
against the German southern shoulder to relieve the U.S. 101st Airborne
Division surrounded at Bastogne. During heavy combat over the next several
days, Heilmann’s paratroopers delayed the U.S. 4th Armored Division, however,
that division’s 37th Tank Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Creighton
W. Abrams eventually broke through to Bastogne on 26 December 1944.]
March 1945-Circa 1947: Prisoner of war in British and then U.S. captivity.
[Graf von Rothkirch und Trach was captured at Bitburg by his old nemesis
from the Ardennes Offensive: Lieutenant Colonel Abrams’ 37th Tank Battalion.
The remnants of Graf von Rothkirch und Trach’s LIII Army Corps fell back
across the Rhine River but was destroyed a month later in the Ruhr pocket.]
- 9 March 1945 transferred to Trent Park Camp 11 sorting camp.
- 9 January 1946 transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from Camp
- 9 October 1947 transferred to US Custody via LDC (London District
Thunderbolt, From the Battle of the Bulge to
Vietnam and Beyond: General Creighton Abrams and the Army of His Times,
biographer Lewis Sorley quoted Life
magazine reporter Will Lang’s description of Lieutenant Colonel Creighton
Abrams’ 37th Tank Battalion headlong 58-hour-long drive to the Rhine River
in March 1945:
and his outfit [37th Tank Battalion] destroyed more than 300 German
motor vehicles, 75 artillery pieces, 75 antitank guns, 15 Tiger and
Panther tanks, 20 ‘screaming meemies’ and overran a rear-area German
hospital with 80 patients, three enemy ammunition dumps, one ordnance
depot, one fuel dump and a German army corps headquarters where an
annoyed German lieutenant general and most of his staff were captured
while still at their desks.
captured German corps commander was none other than General der Kavallerie
Edwin Graf von Rothkirch und Trach. Lewis Sorley wryly noted: “By this time
he was probably getting more than a little tired of the 37th Tank Battalion.”
Decorations & Awards:
Cross in Gold: 5 November 1942, Generalleutnant, Commander of the 330th
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914) with 1939 Bar
Military Merit Cross, 1st Class
Military Merit Cross, 2nd Class
Honor Cross, 3rd Class
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
- Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal