Alexander Uhlig

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Alexander Uhlig
Born (1919-02-09)9 February 1919
Rittergut Meusdorf near Leipzig
Died 1 November 2008(2008-11-01) (aged 89)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Balkenkreuz.svg Luftwaffe
Years of service 1937–45
Rank Oberfeldwebel
Unit Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Uhlig[Notes 1] was a highly decorated Fallschirmjäger during World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross which was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Alexander Uhlig was born near Leipzig on the 9 February 1919. He completed his schooling by gaining his Leaving Certificate (Abitur) in early 1937. After a period of service with the Reichsarbeitdienst, the obligatory two-year period of Military service prevented any continuance of his studies. In Autumn 1937, Uhlig joined the First Fallschirmjäger Unit. This was to be the forerunner of the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 1, which was formed in 1938. With this unit, Uhlig was to see action during the Sudetenland combat and the Occupation of Czechoslovakia.

Uhlig remained with the Fallschirmjäger Regiment 1 during the Polish Campaign followed by action in Norway. Following the Airborne action on the 14 April 1940 at Dombas in Central Norway, he found himself in Norwegian captivity for around three weeks with all other survivors of action. On the 14 May 1940, Uhlig and his Platoon jumped during the First Battle of Narvik and thereafter he was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class and the Narvik Shield.

After the successful conclusion of the Norwegian Campaign, Uhlig transferred to Flying Duties as a navigator and between 1941 and 1943 took part in over 170 operations, including the landings at Crete, for which he was awarded the "Kreta" Cuffband. During this period Uhlig also qualified for the Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe in Gold and the Iron Cross First Class.

In June 1944, as the invasion of Normandy progressed, Alexander Uhlig was once again in action with a parachute unit. With the rank of Oberfeldwebel, he commanded the 16./Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6. In Uhlig's sector of the front, Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 was opposed by the US 90th Infantry Division. Heavy attacks on the Regimental flanks saw Uhlig ordered to lead a small combat group of 30 of the Fallschirmjäger on a mission to attempt to stabilize the Regiment's position. Uhlig's group took on and defeated an entire US Battalion, taking over 230 prisoners, including the Battalion commander and eleven other officers, this was to be one of the notable successes for the Germans in that sector of the front. In recognition of his tremendous achievement Alexander Uhlig was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on the 29 October 1944.

Uhlig was captured shortly afterwards and spent some time in French and US prisoner of war camps. He eventually was moved to Camp 23 in Sudbury, Burton-on-Trent, England. He was considered by the authorities to be a potential escapee and was closely watched. On the 22 April 1947 Uhlig did escape and made his way to Hull where he was able to stow away on a ship bound for Cuxhaven. His escape was initially concealed by the ruse of having a dummy take his place during Roll Call. By the time his escape was discovered 3 days later Uhlig had already reached Germany. He then made his way through the less-strictly controlled US Zone and managed to cross the Russian Lines undetected. By the 28 April, he was home in Leipzig.

Upon his return, Uhlig took up his studies again, ten years late, at the Darmstadt University of Technology. Despite unfavourable economic conditions, Uhlig completed his studies and gained his Engineering Degree. He worked for a number of well-known German companies until his retirement just before his 65th birthday. He lived in Essen and was an honorary member of the New Zealand Crete Veterans Association. Alexander Uhlig died on the 1 November 2008.



  1. In German an engineer's degree is called Diplom-Ingenieur (abbreviated Dipl.-Ing.)



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Thomas & Wegmann 1986, p. 333.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • González, Óscar with prologue by Alexander Uhlig (2009). German Paratroops in Scandinavia. Schiffer Military. ISBN 978-0-7643-3241-8.
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knights of the Wehrmacht Knight's Cross Holders of the Fallschirmjäger. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military. ISBN 978-0-88740-749-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1461-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links