Born: 10 September 1910 in Bonn, Germany.
Died: 23 October 1943. In Berlin, Germany.
Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 12 May 1940
1st Class 12 May 1940
German Cross in Gold 31 March 1942
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 10 May 1940
Walter Koch was born on 10 September 1910 in Bonn, Germany and became a highly decorated commander of the Fallschirmjäger during the Second World War who died in mysterious circumstances after openly criticising Adolf Hitler. Walter Koch, who was the recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his actions during the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael in May 1940 had publicly denounced the Adolf Hitler's notorious Commando Order, which ordered that all captured enemy commandos were to be put to death. Shortly afterwards the Oberstleutnant and commandant of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 5 died in the German capital Berlin from injuries allegedly resulting from a automotive vehicle collision.
Walter Koch joined the Landespolizei as an officer in 3 April 1929. As a Lt he had served in the state police and a police battalion for special purposes (Polizeiabteilung z.b.V. Wecke). In 1935 the new commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring, transferred this police unit into the reformed Luftwaffe and renamed it the Regiment General Göring.
Walter Koch was promoted to Hauptmann on 20 April 1938. Walter Koch was then given the job of training a special commando unit nicknamed Koch Parachute Assault Battalion (Fallschirmjäger-Sturm-Abteilung Koch) for operations in the west.
Once Fall Gelb started in May 1940, Walter Koch troops saw military action during the opening stage of the Battle of France during assaults on the Belgian fortress Eben-Emael, the Maas river and Albert Canal bridges. Walter Koch's commandos successfully seized Fort Eben-Emael and the bridges in Veldwezelt and Vroenhoeven. Only the bridge at Kanne, which was blown up by the Belgian defenders, was not taken by the German paratroopers. For these victorious operations, Walter Koch along with ten other Wehrmacht officers received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross)
In May 1941, Walter Koch was promoted to Major and given the command of the re-designated I Battalion, 1st Parachute Assault Regiment (I./Fallschirmjäger-Sturm-Regiment 1) The battalion was part of the first attacking airborne waves during the Battle of Crete. Koch led the attack using 53 DFS 230 troop carrying gliders. Their target area was the village of Maleme on the western coast of Crete because its small coastal airfield and Hill 107 commanded the approaches to the island's capital. The German troops faced the New Zealanders of 5 Brigade's 22nd Battalion, with other battalions close behind, under the command of Brigadier Edward Puttick. Though Walter Koch was injured in the head in the battle for Hill 107 on the first day, Walter Koch airborne troops promptly accomplished their objectives.
Walter Koch was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 20 April 1942. Walter Koch and the 5th Parachute Regiment (Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 5) were transferred to Tunisia in middle off November 1942.
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