SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
Kruse as a POW at Island Farm Special Camp 11, circa April 1948 (photograph
courtesy of Mrs. Anne Hewinson and Mrs. Stella Pigott)
This profile is based on a copy
of Generalleutnant Kruse’s microfilmed service record housed at the United
States National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
Kurt Otto Heinrich Walter Kruse
PW NO: A938953
DATE: 5 May 1945
DATE OF BIRTH: 12
PLACE OF BIRTH: Neustrelitz/Grand
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
PLACE OF DEATH: Bielefeld/Nordrhein-Westfalen
DATE OF DEATH: 30 May 1983
OCCUPATION: Regular Soldier
HAIR COLOUR: Blonde
EYE COLOUR: Grey
NEXT OF KIN: Christel
Kruse, Bielefeldt (British Zone)
Parents: Otto and Adele (née Hecht) Kruse. A Kommerzienrat or Councilor of Commerce
(a title conferred on distinguished businessmen usually by the chamber of
in Neustrelitz, Otto Kruse died on 20 February 1920.
Wife: Married Christel-Barbara Habicht (born 25 December 1898) on 5 February
1923 in Stettin, the daughter of Generalleutnant a.D. Habicht.
18 March 1914
18 July 1914
26 September 1914
24 November 1914 (Patent 19 February 1913)
20 June 1918 (E7e) (RDA later
established at 20 June 1918 (131a))
1 January 1928 (2)
1 November 1934 (12)
1 August 1937 (24)
1 July 1940 (3)
1 November 1943 (2)
1 May 1944 (4b)
Attended the Carolinum Gymnasium (High School) in Neustrelitz
and Humanistic Gymnasium in Wiesbaden; attained his certificate of graduation
from the latter institution.
March 1914: Entered the Army as a Fahnenjunker in the 1. Posensches Feld-Artillerie-Regiment
January 1916: Detached to the Gas Defense Course.
March 1916: Wounded by mortar fragments/treated at the front and remained
with the troops.
June 1916: Adjutant of the II. Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment 20.
July 1918-22 March 1919: Leader of the 6th Battery of Field Artillery Regiment
March 1919-11 April 1919: Leader of the Volunteer Battery of Field Artillery
April 1919: Joined the infantry escort battery of
Self-Defense Battalion “von der Decken” (IV./Infantry Regiment 50) as the Battery Leader.
July 1919: Placed in Field Artillery Regiment 20 while retaining his previous
post as Battery Leader (later Battery “Kruse”).
February 1920: Due to the dissolution of Field Artillery Regiment 20, Battery
“Kruse” was transferred to Light Reichswehr Artillery Regiment 5 of Reichswehr-Brigade
September 1920-21 December 1920: Detached to the Artillery Measuring School
October 1920: Transferred to the 2nd (Prussian) Artillery Regiment upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer or
February 1923-29 March 1923: Detached to the Sound Measuring Course at the
Inspectorate of Weapons and Equipment.
January 1927-1 April 1927: Detached to the 2nd (Prussian) Motorized Battalion
for driving training receiving three driver’s licenses: Class I (motorcycle),
Class II (truck) and Class IIIb (passenger car).
October 1927: Transferred to the 1st Company of the 2nd (Prussian) Transport
Battalion until 31 October 1927.
November 1927: Transferred to the 2nd (Prussian) Artillery Regiment.
October 1928: Detached to the Measurement Section of the Army Department (T 1)/Troop Office/Reich Defense
Ministry. [The T
1 department was responsible for Army operational planning. As such, it handled
all matters relating to the internal and external military situation, border
defense, land fortifications, troop employment and organization, military
transportation and military measurement, mapping and charting.]
September 1930-5 November 1930: Detached to the Firing Course for Artillery
Officers at Jüterbog.
October 1930: Chief of the 7th Battery of the III. Battalion of the 3rd (Prussian)
Artillery Regiment, Jüterbog.
July 1931-15 August 1931: Detached to artillery troop units in Russia.
October 1934: Commander of the I. Battalion of Artillery Regiment “Jüterbog,”
redesignated the Artillery Demonstration Regiment on 1 May 1935.
June 1936: Commander of the II. Battalion of Artillery Regiment 42.
August 1939-19 October 1941: Commander of Artillery Regiment 186 of the 86th
Infantry Division. [While the cream of the German
military invaded Poland in September 1939, the 86th Infantry Division, commanded by Generalmajor Joachim Witthöft, served on border defense
duty along the western frontier of Germany as a component of General der Infanterie
Curt Liebmann’s 5th Army. After taking part in the invasion of France under
Generaloberst Wilhelm List’s 12th Army in 1940, the division remained there
on occupation duty until transferring to the Eastern Front in July 1941. Initially
held in reserve, the 86th Infantry Division was committed to battle that summer
as a component of the 9th Army (Generaloberst Adolf Strauß and then General
der Panzertruppe/Generaloberst Walter Model from 15 January 1942) of Army
Group Center and saw action at Smolensk, Vyasma and Rzhev.]
October 1941-17 January 1942: Staff Officer for Artillery in the General Staff
of the 9th Army on the Eastern Front.
January 1942-19 February 1942: Delegated with the deputy leadership of the
110th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front.
February 1942-20 April 1942: Higher Artillery Commander (Harko) 307 of the
9th Army on the Eastern Front.
April 1942-30 July 1943: Course Leader at Artillery School I in Berlin.
August 1943: Transferred to the Army High Command Leader Reserve.
August 1943: At the same time, detached to Army Group South for employment
as a deputy division commander.
August 1943-16 September 1943: Delegated with the deputy leadership of the
294th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front.
September 1943-11 November 1943: Delegated with the deputy leadership of the
17th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front. [An evaluation dated 27 December
1943 prepared by General der Infanterie Friedrich
Mieth, the Commanding General of the IV Army Corps,
assessed Generalmajor Kruse’s personal and professional qualities: Open, direct character; fresh, zestful, energetic
personality. Brave and ready for action. Mentally very well disposed and flexible.
During his short assignment under the IV Army Corps, he has led his division
prudently and made well thought out preparations for large-scale combat. Strong
Points: Freshness, drive and energy, good tactics—particularly artillery tactics,
ability and knowledge. Generaloberst Karl Hollidt, the Commander-in-Chief
of the 6th Army, added his own comments to the evaluation: In the autumn of 1942, Generalmajor Kruse led
the 294th and 17th Infantry Divisions in heavy defensive combat confidently
and energetically and also rose to the occasion in difficult situations. Excellent
division commander who stands far above average.]
November 1943-15 March 1944: Commander of the 389th Infantry Division on the
Eastern Front. [After rebuilding, the division transferred
to Russia in October 1943 where it was assigned to General der Infanterie
Otto Wöhler’s 8th Army under Army Group South. On 24 January 1944, the Russian
2nd Ukrainian Front, commanded by General (later Marshal of the Soviet Union)
Ivan S. Konev, launched powerful probing attacks followed by a large-scale
offensive the next day against the 8th Army’s positions between Cherkassy
and Kirovograd. Bearing the brunt of the attack, the 389th Infantry Division
took a severe beating and quickly fell back in scattered battle groups. In
March 1944, the battered division transferred to western Hungary for a much
needed rest and refitting.]
March 1944-5 November 1944: Higher Artillery Commander (Harko) 317 of the
14th Army in Italy.
November 1944-14 December 1944: Higher Artillery Commander of the 6th SS-Panzer
Army on the Western Front.
December 1944-14 January 1945: Higher Artillery Commander (Harko) 506 of Army
Group B on the Western Front.
January 1945: Transferred to the Army High Command Leader Reserve – duties
determined by the Deputy Commanding General of the
VI Army Corps and the Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] VI, Münster.
January 1945: Delegated with the position of Artillery General for Special
May 1945-17 May 1948: Prisoner of war in British captivity.
Cross in Gold: 23 February 1944, Generalmajor, Commander of the 389th Infantry
Royal Hohenzollern House Order, Knight’s Cross with Swords: 2 October 1918.
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 16 February 1917.
Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 22 October 1914.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 19 June 1940.
Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 26 May 1940.
Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords: 1 September 1943.
for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (“East Medal”): 12 August 1942.
Merit Cross for Distinction in War, 1st Class: 2 August 1917.
Merit Cross for Distinction in War, 2nd Class: 30 June 1915.
of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918: 21 December 1934.
Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross): 18 March 1939.
Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
Badge in Black – World War I award: 15 October 1918.
Generalleutnant Kruse’s World
War I Combat Service Record
Western Front, 1914-1918
August 1914: Battle of Longwy—Longuyon and
the Othain Sector.
August 1914-1 September 1914: Battle of the Maas Crossings [Battle on the
August 1914-5 September 1914: Pursuit from the Maas to the Marne.
September 1914-20 February 1916: Combat between the Maas and the Mosel.
February 1916-4 July 1916: Battle of Verdun.
- 7 July
1916-1 October 1916: Battle on the Somme.
October 1916-23 December 1916: Positional combat before Verdun.
April 1917: Positional combat in Upper Alsace.
April 1917-10 May 1917: Combat on the “Siegfried” Front.
May 1917: Spring Battle at Arras 1917.
May 1917-13 June 1917: Positional combat in Flanders and Artois.
- 9 July
1917-20 November 1917: Battle in Flanders.
November 1917: Tank battle at Cambrai.
November 1917-7 December 1917: Attack battle at Cambrai.
December 1917: Combat in the “Siegfried” Position.
March 1918: Preparation time for the Great Battle in France and combat in
the “Siegfried” Position.
March 1918-6 April 1918: Great Battle in France (“Ludendorff Offensive”).
March 1918: The breakthrough between Gouzeaucourt and Vermand.
March 1918: Pursuit action in the Somme area.
- 7 April
1918-5 May 1918: Combat on the Ancre, Somme and Avre.
April 1918: Battle at Villers-Bretonneux, on the Luce and Avre.
May 1918: Positional combat north of the Ailette.
May 1918: Battle of Soissons and Reims.
June 1918: Combat on the Avre and at Montdidier and Noyon.
June 1918: Battle of Noyon.
July 1918: Positional combat at Reims.
July 1918: Attack battle on the Marne and in Champagne.
July 1918-3 August 1918: Mobile defensive battle between the Marne and the
August 1918: Positional combat between the Oise and the Aisne.
August 1918-4 September 1918: Defensive battle between the Oise and the Aisne.
September 1918: Combat before the “Siegfried” Front 1918.
September 1918: Combat in the “Siegfried” Position with the 9th Army.
- NOTE: The final few entries in Kruse’s
World War I battles/engagements list are missing from his Dienstlaufbahn or
February 1919: Combat against Poland (mobile unit of the 10th Infantry Division).