Friday, May 7, 2010

Enemy Elite Friday: Eugen Meindl (Germany)

"Awarded for his leadership of the Sturm-Regiment Meindl during the battle of Crete.  His Regiment captured the airfield at Maleme and thereby ensured the eventual German victory on the island.  Meindl, who was wounded by an enemy MG, continued to direct his soldiers from a stretcher and thus proved to be an example of determined leadership for all of his soldiers in this battle."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross citation, awarded on June 14, 1941.
"Awarded for his leadership of the II. Fallschirm-Korps during the battle of Normandy as well as the breakout he conducted from the Falaise pocket with the 3. Fallschirmjäger-Division."  from his Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves citation, awarded on August 31, 1944.
"On the 10.02.1945 the Canadians and British achieved a breakthrough west of Cleve and in the Reichswald with the support of hitherto unseen quantities of artillery, tank and air support.  In response General Meindl, commanding general of the II. Fallschirm-Korps, received the mission to construct a new defensive live on both sides of Goch and prevent a further advance of the enemy.  Thanks to the flexible leadership and personality of General Meindl it was possible for the hard pressed Heer and Fallschirmjäger units to recreate a continuous front and offer the toughest possible resistance in the face of the enemy.  By his personal presence at the frontline in the thick of heavy enemy artillery and bomber strikes, General Meindl was able to inspire his soldiers to great combat achievements through his own example.  During their attacks against the front of the II. Fallschirm-Korps the enemy suffered heavy losses in men and materiel and were unable to secure a decisive breakthrough.  General Meindl especially distinguished himself through personal bravery on the 06.03.1945.  On that day the enemy threatened to split the Wesel bridgehead into two parts by an armoured thrust along the Issum-Alpen road.  Immediately recognizing the great danger this posed, General Meindl personally assembled a Kompanie (consisting of 60 men) near Grünthal.  He then personally led these men against the enemy and was able to throw them back despite heavy tank fire.  This bold counterattack ensured that the cohesion of the bridgehead could be maintained.  On the 07.03.1945 the leadership of the II. Fallschirm-Korps was transferred to the Wesel bridgehead.  Once again the personal example of General Meindl ensured that the Fallschirmjäger deployed here could offer their toughest resistance possible.  As a result all the German troops in the bridgehead were pulled back to the eastern bank of the Rhine with their light and heavy weapons.  On the 10.03.1945 the railway bridge leading from Wesel was incompletely demolished due to a technical failure.  General Meindl thus set up an anti-tank blocking position and enabled the remainder of the bridge to be destroyed.  He was thereafter the last to leave the now completely unusable bridge.  During all the heavy fighting of the II. Fallschirm-Korps General Meindl, who was always present where the danger was greatest, led his formations with both flexibility and firmness despite the unyielding pressure the battles presented. In the process he also showed great personal bravery himself."  from his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords citation, awarded on May 8, 1945.

A capable enemy elite, 

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