SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
NAME: Generalleutnant Harry Hoppe
PW NO: 340730
CAPTURED: Belluno, Italy
DATE: 2 May 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 11 February 1894 (Born as Arthur Hoppe, he formally
name to “Harry” on 18 February 1943.)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Braunschweig
DATE OF DEATH: 23 August 1969
PLACE OF DEATH: Wetzlar
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
HEIGHT: 5’ 8”
WEIGHT: 132 lbs.
HAIR COLOUR: Fair
EYE COLOUR: Blue
NEXT OF KIN: Christine
Hoppe (U.S. Zone)
Volunteer: 8 August 1914
24 March 1915
31 March 1915
9 April 1915
der Reserve: 24 April 1916
18 March 1918 – Active Officer without Patent; RDA later established at 13
July 1915 and then changed to 1 September 1915 (22)
1 April 1925 (2)
1 October 1929 (14)
1 October 1935 (7)
1 June 1938 (32)
1 July 1941 (6) – RDA later changed to 1 August 1940 (3a)
- Generalmajor: 1 December 1942 (15)
1 June 1943 (10)
Commands & Assignments:
August 1914: Entered the Army as a War Volunteer in the Braunschweigisches
September 1914: In the field with Reserve Infantry Regiment 208.
October 1914: Wounded/in hospital.
December 1914: Allocated to the Replacement Battalion of Reserve Infantry
February 1915-14 April 1915: Detached to the Fahnenjunker Course in
April 1915: Named a Reserve Officer Aspirant.
April 1915: In the field with the Garde-Füsilier-Regiment.
June 1915: Sick/in hospital.
August 1915: Allocated to the II. Replacement Battalion of the Guard
August 1915: Transferred to the Replacement Depot of the XXXX Reserve
November 1915: In the field with Reserve Infantry Regiment 261.
October 1916: Leader of the 2nd Company of Reserve Infantry Regiment
April 1917: Wounded/in hospital.
August 1917: Again, Leader of the 2nd Company of Reserve Infantry Regiment
March 1918: While retaining his position in Reserve Infantry Regiment
261, named an Active Officer in the 5. Hannoversches
December 1918: Assigned to Detachment “von Grothe” of Freikorps “von
Hülsen.” [Formed near Berlin in December 1918, this volunteer unit was
commanded by Generalleutnant Walter von Hülsen. After taking part in
putting down the Spartacus uprising in Berlin in January 1919 and quelling
further disturbances there in March, von Hülsen’s unit was later incorporated
into the Reichswehr as Reichswehr Brigade 3.]
April 1919: Transferred to Infantry Regiment 165.
August 1919: Transferred to Reichswehr Infantry Regiment 6 of Reichswehr-Brigade
October 1919: Transferred to Reichswehr Infantry Regiment 103 of Reichswehr-Brigade
May 1920: Transferred to Reichswehr Infantry Regiment 12 of Reichswehr-Brigade
May 1920: Leader of the 7th Company of Reichswehr-Jäger-Regiment 31
of Reichswehr-Brigade 16.
November 1920: Transferred to Reichswehr Infantry Regiment 13 of Reichswehr-Brigade
January 1921: Transferred to the 18th Infantry Regiment
upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or Transitional
March 1925-8 April 1925: Detached to the Course for Light Machineguns
June 1925-19 November 1925: Detached for the training of Physical Education
Instructors in Wünsdorf.
September 1927: Transferred to the 13th Company (Mortar) of the 18th
April 1927-28 August 1927: Detached to the Officers’ Weapons Course
June 1928-20 September 1928: Detached to the 3rd (Prussian) Artillery
October 1928: Detached for Leader Assistant training with the staff
of the 2nd Division.
June 1929-25 September 1929: Detached to the 4th (Saxon) Signals Battalion.
October 1930: Transferred to the 2nd (Prussian) Infantry Regiment and
detached to the 9th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment and to the Reich Archive,
October 1931: Transferred to the 15th Infantry Regiment.
December 1931: Chief of the 12th Company of the 15th Infantry Regiment.
October 1933-28 October 1933: Detached to the Transport and Equipment
Course at the Hannover Transport Training Command.
October 1934: Company Chief in Infantry Regiment “Kassel.”
October 1935: Commander of Machinegun Battalion 2.
December 1939: Operations Officer (Ia) and Infantry Advisor on the Reconnaissance
Staff of the Commander-in-Chief East.
October 1940: Commander of Infantry Regiment 424 of the 126th Infantry
Division. [Commanded by Generalleutnant Paul Laux, the 126th Infantry
Division took part in Operation “Barbarossa,” the invasion of the Soviet
Union, in June 1941 as a component of Generaloberst Ernst Busch’s 16th
Army under Army Group North. After advancing through the Baltic States,
Hoppe’s regiment was attached to the 21st Infantry Division for the
push on Lake Ilmen and Novgorod. Under heavy air support, the infantrymen
of Hoppe’s regiment captured Novgorod by storm on 16 August 1941. Two
days later, Hoppe’s regiment helped expand and hold the German bridgehead
on the Volkhov River. Attached to the 20th Infantry Division (Motorized)
for the assault on Leningrad in September 1941, Battle Group “Hoppe”
– his own regiment plus a battalion each from Infantry Regiment 76 and
Panzer Regiment 29 – attacked along Lake Lagoda. After clearing Soviet
bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Neva, Hoppe’s group captured
the key city of Schlüsselburg (today Petrokrepos) on
8 September 1941. Although Leningrad never fell, the capture of Schlüsselburg
sealed-off the city from the east and garnered Oberst Hoppe the Knight’s
Cross of the Iron Cross.]
October 1942: Delegated with the leadership of the 126th Infantry Division
on the Eastern Front.
December 1942: Commander of the 126th Infantry Division on the Eastern
April 1943-14 July 1943: Delegated with the leadership of the 126th
Infantry Division on the Eastern Front.
December 1943: Commander of the 278th Infantry Division in Italy. [Formed
in upper Italy, the division served on coastal defense duties and took
part in anti-partisan operations in Istria while continuing its training.
In mid-May 1944, Hoppe’s division received orders to move to the battle
area on the Adriatic for operational assignment to the 10th Army. Facing
Lieutenant General Wladyslaw Anders’ Polish II Corps, Hoppe’s division
fought a ferocious defensive battle for the port city of Ancona from
mid-June until early July 1944. After halting the Polish attack early
in July (Hoppe was cited in the Wehrmachtbericht for this feat – see
below), the 278th Infantry Division faced a renewed attack by General Anders’
corps on July 17th. Pushing the Germans beyond the Esino River, Ancona
fell to the Poles on the 18th.]
April 1945: Commander of the 278th Volksgrenadier Division in Italy.
May 1945-17 May 1948: Prisoner of war in British captivity.
October 1946: Transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from LDC
(London District Cage).
May 1948: Transferred to Camp 186 for repatriation.
Published the divisional history Die 278. Infanterie-Division
in Italien, 1944-1945.
In collaboration with Generalfeldmarschall a.D. Erich von Lewenski genannt von Manstein and Knight’s Cross holder Werner Buxa, published Die Deutsche Infanterie, 1939-1945,
a photographic history of the German infantry at war.
Harry Hoppe was nicknamed “Stan Laurel” by his comrades because
of his facial resemblance to the English-born actor/comedian. He was the
commander of 278th Infantry Division in Italy; integrated into this unit
was one of the few fascist Italian battalions of the RSI (Italian Social
Republic, Mussolini's last “puppet government”) used by the German Wehrmacht
in the front line. It was named “battaglione d'assalto Forlì” (assault
battalion Forlì). It was composed by 500 fascists from Forlì, Mussolini's
hometown, who defended the city.
Awards & Decorations:
Cross of the Iron Cross: 12 September 1941, Oberst, Commander of Infantry
(No. 682): 18 December 1944, Generalleutnant, Commander of the 278th
Cross in Gold: 16 May 1942, Oberst, Commander of Infantry Regiment 424.
Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight’s Cross with Swords: 17 April
Iron Cross 1st Class (1914): 15 March 1917.
Iron Cross 2nd Class (1914): 20 March 1916.
Clasp to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 12 July 1941.
Clasp to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 26 September 1939.
for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”)
War Merit Cross, 1st Class
War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with “Bewährung”
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918
War Commemorative Medal with Swords
Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
Defense Wall Honor Award
War Commemorative Medal with Swords
Assault Badge in Silver
Badge in Silver – World War I award
in the Wehrmachtbericht [Armed Forces Communiqué]: 6 July 1944: In continuous and heavy defensive fighting, the 278th Infantry Division,
commanded by Generalleutnant Hoppe, fought especially bravely against
an overwhelming enemy and inflicted heavy casualties on him. All enemy
breakthrough attempts [to capture Ancona] failed in the face of the division’s obstinacy.
Dermot. Die Generale des Heeres, 1921-1945, Band 6 (Hochbaum-Klutmann).
Biblio Verlag, Bissendorf, Germany, 2002.
Paul. Hitler Moves East 1941-1943. Ewald Osers, translator. Bantam
Books, New York, New York, 1967 printing.
Werner. Army Group North: The Wehrmacht in Russia
1941-1945. Joseph G. Welsh, translator. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.,
Atglen, Pennsylvania, 1997.
Franz. Battleground Italy, 1943-1945: The German
Armed Forces in the Battle for the “Boot”. Ian McMullen, translator.
J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Winnipeg, Canada, 2003.
photos provided courtesy of the private collection of
to see a photo of Generalleutnant Harry Hoppe in the company of fellow prisoners
of war at Island Farm.
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