Eduard Dietl

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Eduard Dietl
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-019-20, Eduard Dietl.jpg
Born (1890-07-21)21 July 1890
Bad Aibling, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died 23 June 1944(1944-06-23) (aged 53)
near Rettenegg, Reichsgau Steiermark, Nazi Germany now Rettenegg, Styria, Austria
Buried at Munich Northern Cemetery
Plot 114—Row 1—Grave 34
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
Years of service 1910–44
Rank Generaloberst
Commands held German 3rd Mountain Division German 20th Mountain Army
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Eduard Wolrath Christian Dietl (21 July 1890 – 23 June 1944) was a German general of World War II. He was born in Bad Aibling, Bavaria. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Military career

Eduard Dietl was the son of a Bavarian finance official.[1] In 1909, at his second attempt to join the 5. Bavarian Infanterie Regiment, he entered as an officer cadet. After studying at the Kriegschule in Munich, he was commissioned Leutnant in October 1911. In October 1915 he was promoted to Oberleutnant and served as a company commander with his regiment. In March 1918, he was promoted to Hauptmann. He was wounded four times during his actions in the First World War. He joined the DAP (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) and Freikorps of Franz Ritter von Epp in 1919. Dietl was prepared with his company on 9 November 1923 to support Adolf Hitler and the rebels in the Beer Hall Putsch. However it did not come to an intervention.

Dietl continued to serve in the German Army and, as a Generalmajor, he helped organise the 1936 Winter Olympics held at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.[2]

Dietl commanded the German 3rd Mountain Division that participated in the German invasion of Norway on 9 and 10 April 1940. Most of this division was landed at Narvik by a German naval force of ten destroyers, commanded by Commodore Friedrich Bonte, on 9 April 1940. British naval forces led by the battleship HMS Warspite destroyed all ten destroyers that had ferried Dietl's troops to Narvik and managed to recapture the town. Dietl's mountaineers withdrew into the hills and later retook the town when Britain abandoned her efforts to evict the Germans from Norway due to German success on the Western Front (the Franco-German border, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands).

A convinced Nazi and one of Hitler's favourite generals, he was the first German soldier to receive, on 19 June 1940, the oak leaves cluster to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Dietl was also popular among his men and his Finnish allies.[3]

Dietl subsequently commanded German forces in Norway and northern Finland and in Eastern Europe and rose to the rank of Generaloberst (equivalent to a Commonwealth General or a US four-star General), commanding the 20th Mountain Army on the northern Eastern Front, where the results of the German Arctic campaign were disappointing. Dietl initially turned down his promotion, but was convinced to accept the appointment by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl.[3] On 23 June 1944, a Junkers Ju 52 aircraft carrying Dietl, General der Infanterie Thomas-Emil von Wickede, General der Gebirgstruppe Karl Eglseer, Generalleutnant Franz Rossi and three other passengers crashed in the vicinity of the small village of Rettenegg, Styria; there were no survivors.

Until 1997, Ringelai in the Bavarian Forest honored Dietl with a memorial plaque. Until 1977, this site had honored Albert Leo Schlageter instead.[4] Freyung honored Dietl with a General-Dietl-Straße.[5]

Summary of military career

Eduard Dietl as General der Gebirgstruppe in the Russian tundra (1941)
Dietl memorial at crash site


Foreign awards

Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 10 June 1940 Der heldenhafte Widerstand den die Kampfgruppe des Generalleutnants Dietl seit vielen Wochen, vereinsamt unter den schwersten Bedingungen, in Narvik gegen eine überwältigende feindliche Übermacht geleistet hat, erhielt heute seine Krönung durch den völligen Sieg.[12] The heroic resistance of Lieutenant General Dietl's battle group in Narvik, isolated under the most difficult conditions for many weeks, and against overwhelming enemy superiority, was today crowned by total victory.


29 January 1910: Gefreiter[13]
11 March 1910: Unteroffizier[13]
4 May 1910: Fähnrich[13]
26 October 1911: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant)[13]
9 July 1915: Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)[13]
19 August 1919: Hauptmann (Captain) effective as of 18 October 1918[13]
1 February 1930: Major (Major)[13]
1 February 1933: Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)[13]
1 January 1935: Oberst (Colonel)[13]
31 March 1938: Generalmajor (Brigadier General) effective as of 1 April 1938[13]
20 April 1940: Generalleutnant (Major General) effective as of 1 April 1940[13]
19 July 1940: General der Infanterie (General of the Infantry) effective as of 1 July 1940, later renamed to General der Gebirgstruppe (General of the Mountain Troops)[13]
1 June 1942: Generaloberst (Colonel General)[13]


  1. Dietl is shown wearing this neck decoration in pre-war photos and on his war time ribbon bar.



  1. Williamson and McGregor 2005.
  2. "article, June 10, 1940". Time Magazine. 10 June 1940.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lunde 2011, p. 145.
  4. Anna Rosmus Hitlers Nibelungen, Samples Grafenau 2015, pp. 228f
  5. Anna Rosmus Hitlers Nibelungen, Samples Grafenau 2015, pp. 229
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 Thomas & Wegmann 1993, p. 85.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Thomas 1997, p. 119.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 272.
  9. Von Seemen 1976, p. 109.
  10. Von Seemen 1976, p. 25.
  11. Von Seemen 1976, p. 17.
  12. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 195.
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 Thomas & Wegmann 1993, p. 86.


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  • 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>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lunde, Henrik O. (2011). Finland's War of Choice. Casemate Publishers, ISBN 978-1-935149-48-4.
  • 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 (1993). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil VI: Die Gebirgstruppe Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2430-3. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Von Seemen, Gerhard (1976). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 : die Ritterkreuzträger sämtlicher Wehrmachtteile, Brillanten-, Schwerter- und Eichenlaubträger in der Reihenfolge der Verleihung : Anhang mit Verleihungsbestimmungen und weiteren Angaben (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7909-0051-4. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williamson, Gordon; McGregor, Malcolm (2005). German commanders of World War II. 1, Army. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-596-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 3. Gebirgs-Division
1 May 1938 – 14 June 1940
Succeeded by
General der Gebirgstruppen Julius Ringel
Preceded by
Commander of Gebirgs-Armeekorps Norwegen
14 June 1940 – 15 January 1942
Succeeded by
Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner
Preceded by
Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst
Commander of Lappland Armee
15 January 1942 – 20 June 1942
Succeeded by
redesignated as 20. Gebirgs-Armee
Preceded by
Commander of 20. Gebirgs-Armee
20 June 1942 – 23 June 1944
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic