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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Kurt Student

Kurt Student

Career:

Branch: Kaiserliche Heer  / Luftwaffe
Born: 12 May 1890 in Birkholz, Brandenburg, Germany.
Died: 1 July 1978 in Lemgo, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Ranks:
Generaloberst 13 July 1944
General der Flieger 29 May 1940
Generalleutnant 1 January 1940
Generalmajor 1 April 1938
Oberst 1 October 1935
Oberstleutnant 1 January 1934
Major 1 January 1930
Hauptmann 20 June 1918
Oberleutnant 18 June 1915
Leutnant 20 March 1911
Fähnrich 3 March 1910

Decorations:
Iron Cross 1914
2nd Class 26 September 1914
1st Class 29 August 1915
Wound Badge 1914 in Black
House Order of Hohenzollern 5 June 1917
Cross of Honor 30 January 1935
Wehrmacht Long Service Award 2 October 1936
Sudetenland Medal with Prague Castle Bar 5 June 1939
Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 20 September 1939
1st Class 20 September 1939
Wound Badge 1939 in Silver
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Knight's Cross 12 May 1940
Oak Leaves
Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds 2 September 1941
Ärmelband Kreta

Commands:
3. Flieger-Division
Takes command on 1 April 1938
Ends command on 3 July 1938

Fallschirm und Luftlandetruppe
Takes command on 4 July 1938
Ends command on 31 August 1938

7. Flieger-Division
Takes command on 1 September 1938
Ends command on 30 September 1940

Inspekteur der Fallschirm und Luftlandetruppe
Takes command on 1 February 1939
Ends command on 31 May 1941

XI. Fliegerkorps
Takes command on 1 January 1941
Ends command on 31 May 19418

1. Fallschirmarmee
Takes command on 1 March 1944
Ends command on 4 November 1944

Armeegruppe Student
Takes command on 27 October 1944
Ends command on 4 November 1944

Heeresgruppe H
Takes command on 7 November 1944
Ends command on 25 January 1945

Armeegruppe Student
Takes command on 31 March 1945
Ends command on 10 April 1945

1. Fallschirmarmee
Takes command on 10 April 1945
Ends command on 28 April 1945

Heeresgruppe Weichsel
Takes command on 29 April 1945
Ends command on 8 May 1945

Personal Information:

Kurt Student was born on 12 May 1890 in Birkholz, Brandenburg, Germany was a German Luftwaffe Generaloberst who fought as a fighter pilot during the Great War and as the commandant of German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) during World War II.

Kurt Student joined the Kaiserliches Heer as an officer cadet in 1910 and was commissioned a Leutnant in March 1911. After serving at first with a light infantry (Jäger) battalion, Kurt Student went through aircraft training in 1913. Kurt Student served from the beginning of the First World War until February 1916 with Feldflieger-Abteilung 17 on the Galician front, gaining command of the unit on 1 June 1916. On 5 July, Kurt Student became a charter member of the Fokker Scourge when he scored his first corroborated aerial victory, forcing Nieuport 11 no. 1324 to land behind German lines. Kurt Student re-equipped the French plane with a Spandau machine gun, and seems to have flown it in combat.

Kurt Student then switched over to the Western Front in aerial units of the 3. Armee (3rd Army), including Jagdstaffel 9 (Jasta 9), which Kurt Student took commanded off from October 1916 to May 1917. Kurt Student scored six aerial combat victories over French aircraft between 1916 to 1917 before being injured.

After the Treaty of Versailles Kurt Student attempted to keep German military aviation from becoming technologically out of date, because under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was disallowed to sustain an air force. During the immediate post-war years, Kurt Student was appointed to military research and development. Kurt Student became involved in military sailplanes, since sailplaning was not disallowed by the Treaty of Versailles. Kurt Student also accompanied the Red Army Air Forces manoeuvres, where Kurt Student first got the idea of airborne operations.

Once Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists came to power in Germany, the Luftwaffe was clandestinely reestablished Kurt Student transferred from the Army to the Luftwaffe and was appointed by Hermann Göring to be the head of its training schools, a placement which became official when the Treaty of Versailles was repudiated in 1935. In July 1938, Kurt Student was named commandant of Fallschirm und Luftlandetruppe (Parachute and Airborne Troops), and in September commandant of the 7. Flieger-Division (7th Air Division), Germany's first Fallschirmjäger-Division (Paratrooper division).

Whilst the 7. Flieger-Division (7th Air Division) played no part in the invasion of Poland. 7. Flieger-Division (7th Air Division) was first used for Battle for The Hague on 10 May 1940, taking and losing three airfields on the first day of the battle an operation in which the German Luftwaffe also obtained tremendous losses. Kurt Student was just about taken prisoner there, and was wounded by a sniper in Rotterdam following the Battle of Rotterdam. Kurt Student capture was stopped only when Rotterdam was bombed on the 14 May. Nevertheless, in another operation during the Blitzkrieg, capture of the Belgian fortress of Eben-Emael, Kurt Student's troops demonstrated their value by overcoming the 1200 defenders with less than 100 men. Kurt Student was awarded the the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. All the same it took the Fallschirmjäger a year to recuperate from these operations, as a consequence they were unavailable for the invasion of England.

During January 1941, Kurt Student was made Commandant of the XI. Fliegerkorps (11th Air Corps), the newly formed command with the intention of expanding Luftlandetruppen (Airborne Forces) during this time, Kurt Student organised Operation Mercury (Unternehmen Merkur), the airborne invasion of the island of Crete in May 1941. In January 1941, Kurt Student is known to have suggested a similar operation in Northern Ireland along the same lines of Plan Kathleen, at the time Hermann Göring told him that his focus should be on the airborne conquest of Gibraltar via Operation Felix. Crete was taken, but the high casualties induced Adolf Hitler to disallow future airborne operations. Kurt Student acting as the temporary commandant of the island, directly after the capitulation of Crete on 31 May 1941, on Hermann Göring order Kurt Student released an order for a setting in motion of a wave of savage reprisals against the localised population with the mass murder of Kondomari and destruction of Kandanos.

During 1942, Kurt Student was identified as the commandant of Operation Hercules (Unternehmen Herkules) the planned invasion of Malta. However, this plan was never carried out.

During 1943, Kurt Student ordered Major Harald Mors to plan Operation Oak (Unternehmen Eiche), the successful raid conducted by a special Fallschirmjäger unit to free Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. They landed with gliders on a hilltop. The Waffen SS commando Otto Skorzeny participated in this operation. Kurt Student was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his exceptional role in the operation.

Kurt Student was reassigned to Italy and later to France, where Kurt Student participated in the defence of Normandy in 1944. Kurt Student was made commandant of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee (1st Paratroop Army) and participated in forestalling the Allied Operation Market Garden, near Arnhem. After a brief time at the Eastern Front in Mecklenburg in 1945, Kurt Student was captured by British forces in Schleswig-Holstein in April of that same year, before Kurt Student could take command of Heeresgruppe Weichsel (Army Group Vistula).

During May 1947, Kurt Student was tried before a military tribunal to answer charges of murder of POWs by his military forces in Crete. Greece's demand to have Kurt Student deported was rejected. Kurt Student was found guilty of three out of eight charges and sentenced to five years in prison. Nevertheless, Kurt Student was given a medical discharge due to deteriorating in health and was released in 1948. Kurt Student was never tried for crimes against civilians.

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