Briefly student

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Briefly Arthur Benno student (* 12. May 1890 in Birkholz; † 1. July 1978 in Lemgo, lip) was colonel general in the Air Force. It is considered as a father of the paratroopers.

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at the age of eleven years occurred student a military school. With 20 years, in the rank of a second lieutenant, he learned flies and in the 1. World war was he with six counted firings a successful hunt pilot and flier ASS.

After the First World War student was included into planning with the structure of a new air armed force.

the Second World War

it is considered as a creator of the German paratroop force. In its commander uses in the Second World War it was considerably responsible for the structure of the recent branch of service. First as a commander of the 7. Air division and finally last as commanders in chief of the 1. Parachute army. In the campaign against the “fortress Holland “it was wounded. He was also a commander of the German troops in the air landing battle around Crete.

the air landing operation on Crete

student was from the 1. January 1941 to 30. April 1944 Kommandierender general of the XI. Flier corps. Operational planning for the attack on Crete („operation Merkur “) to 20. May 1941 was with student. 10000 men with parachutes should jump off, land 750 men with transport gliders and follow after income of the most important airfields of far 5000 men with Ju 52, among them mountain hunters under general Julius Ringel. A light ship relay should land then supply and further 7000 men. But the British knew from this plan by Ultra and were prepared. The plan of attack was retarded by strong dust turbulences with the start of the aerodynamic forces on the Greek airfields and the light ship relay with translating by the British navy heavily damages you had to turn off, only few ships came through. Crete was for the British an important air basis, in order to attack the oil fields in Romania, after they had withdrawn themselves from the Greek mainland to the island. 42,640 men allied troops, under it for 11,000 Greek soldiers on the island berei, stood who were supported by partisans. With attacks by partisans on the landed paratroopers it came to contrary to international law spread. In addition a message of the OKW (supreme command of the armed forces) to 30. May 1941:

„With the fights on Crete German soldiers were mutilated after their Verwundung in so animal way, as it runs in this war so far only in the campaign against Poland occurred. The German armed forces will take care with all means for the fact that the decentness and knightly of the fight remain protected. With the hardest criminal court it will meet therefore for these barbarian mutilating the responsible person troop or the guilty inhabitants. “

To 31. May 1941 issued general student an instruction over retaliatory measures:

„It depends now to accomplish all measures with largest acceleration under Beiseitelassung of all Formalien and under conscious elimination of special courts. With the whole state of affairs this thing of the troop is and not from tidy courts. They are not applicable for Bestien and murderers. “

In it it demanded further punitive measures against the kretische population. General student arranged furthermore, the retaliation is by that unit to be made as in each case as possible, which had suffered before from the behavior of the population. The possibilities of the retaliatory measures extended from Kontributionszahlungen over shooting up to the Niederbrennen of localities. Frequently hostages from the respective village, from which partisans originated, were taken and with their shooting threatened, if these should not place themselves. These actions are today according to international law disputed, at the time at that time them however by that Hague land martial law order were secured. There are today most different opinions over it whether such measures were justified or not. From the German view partisans no Kombattanten was in the sense of the martial law and was allowed not in the fighting to participate, besides Greece already to 21. April had capitulated. It is however understandable that the Greek population did not want to watch doless, how its island was occupied by the Germans.

An example is a case in the village condom air on Crete to 2. June 1941: After a partisan notice in direct proximity of the village paratroopers drove the inhabitants of the nearest village together. The men were exhausted, brought and shot into a Olivenhain. For such encroachments against the population of Crete general was condemned briefly student, later from the allied ones to 5 years detention, since he carried the troop-official responsibility for the soldiers of the paratroop division on Crete.

Despite the substantial superiority of the allied forces on Crete and to sea it succeeded to the Germans to conquer the island only over the airway. The plan Students succeeded, what entered history. Which was regarded of allies side as a masterpiece, a disaster was for the highest guidance of the armed forces. The leader (Adolf Hitler) forbade each further larger use of air landing troops.

the “enterprise oak”

one day after the fall and the arrest Mussolinis to 25. July 1943 received student from Hitler instructions for the “enterprise oak “. It a command action with the help of German paratroopers planned those the Duce to release should, whereby operational planning lay for release Mussolinis with general student. To 12. September 1943 glückte the release of the Duce. With the second part „enterprise oak “went it in the reason around the German coup d'etat into Italy. In the context of his execution special units of the paratroopers of the general student should arrest those „of the betrayal “at Germany suspicious persons in Rome. Student had pulled at the end of of July/at the beginning of together of 1943 with Rome of approximately 20,000 paratroopers, in order to implement this. Briefly student intended to kidnap the Italian king family as well as at least two children the same in the nocturnal hand caper. This did not come however any longer to execution.

By November 1944 until January 1945 student was commander in chief (WHETHER) of the army group H in the west. Starting from January 1945 was it WHETHER the paratroopses of the Air Force. One week before end of war was transferred student the supreme command over the army group Weichsel.

after the war

student was placed in May 1946 before a British military court. In first instance he was condemned during this process because of war crimes on Crete to five years prison. After its appointment it was acquitted on the grace way.

In the tradition federations of the armed forces student ranked to the prominent heads with the structure paratroopers of the tradition federation with their assistance connections and friendships among former war opponents to be attached could. Student belonged to the honour guests, if old comrades of the armed forces and soldiers of the new German Federal Armed Forces annually to 20. May the Crete day committed.



  • Kurowski, German Fallschrimjäger 1939-1945, Menden/Vienna 1990/96


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