Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz

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Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-019-03, Smilo von Lüttwitz.jpg
Born (1895-12-23)23 December 1895
Straßburg, Alsace-Lorraine, German Empire now Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Died 19 May 1975(1975-05-19) (aged 79)
Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, West Germany
Buried at Cemetery Rüngsdorf. Section 3
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch Heer (Wehrmacht)
Years of service 1914–45
Rank General der Panzertruppe (Wehrmacht)
Generalleutnant (Bundeswehr)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Great Cross of Merit with star of the Federal Republic of Germany
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Relations Walther von Lüttwitz (father)

Smilo Walther Hinko Oskar Constantin Wilhelm Freiherr von Lüttwitz[a] (23 December 1895 – 19 May 1975) was a German general of the Panzer troops, serving during World War II and son of Walther von Lüttwitz. His cousins Heinrich von Lüttwitz and Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz were also decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, the latter also received the decoration "with Diamonds".[1] After World War II he joined the Bundeswehr on 1 June 1957 and retired on 31 December 1960.


Smilo Freiherr von Lütwitz was born on 23 December 1895 in Strasbourg into a family with a long history of military service. He joined the military service during the mobilisation on 3 August 1914 as an officer cadet in the Leib-Dragonerregiment (2. Großherzoglich Hessisches) Nr. 24 of the 25th Division in Darmstadt. Fähnrich von Lüttwitz was posted to the Eastern Front and saw combat at Tannenberg, Courland and Düna. He was severely wounded twice in 1915 and received the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) 1st class. He was commissioned as a Leutnant on 16 June 1915, effective as of 10 August 1914.[1][2]

In 1916, after his brother was killed in action as commander of a Jägerkompanie, von Lüttwitz was transferred to a staff position with the X. Armeekorps in the Heeresgruppe Kronprintz for two years. The corps was under the command of his father Generalleutnant Walther von Lüttwitz. His father, a recipient of the Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves, was one of the most highly decorated generals of the German Empire. He returned to front line duty in 1918 as an adjutant with the Darmstädter Dragoner in the temporary occupation of the Ukraine and southern Russia. By the end of World War I he had received both classes of the Iron Cross and the Wound Badge in Silver.[1][2]

He remained in the Weimar Republic's Army, serving in various cavalry units in Breslau and Pasewalk. After the beginning of the Nazi leadership he joined the Panzer (armor) branch.

In 1939 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and served as adjutant in the XV Army Corps. He was later commander of the 12th Rifle Regiment and the 4th Rifle Brigade. He served on the Eastern Front. Later, he was made commander of the 26th Panzer Division in Italy. In 1944, he was promoted to Lieutenant General (General der Panzertruppe), following his assumption of command of the LXXXV Army Corps. Later in the same year, he took command of 9th Army. During this time, he learned of the government issued orders for summary justice. He opposed it and faced a trial but was allowed to retain command of the his unit. During the Second World War he was wounded five times.

He was released from internment in 1947. He then went to the Evangelical Academy in Friedewald. During the period from 1954-1957 he was the head business manager for the relief organization Order of St. John in Rolandseck. Later he returned to the Evangelical Academy as Head of Administration.

He was recalled to the German Army as a Lieutenant General on 1 June 1957. He was appointed commanding general of the III Corps in Koblenz. He retired in 1960. In 1963, he became chairman of the board for a defense industry.

In 1955, von Lüttwitz was made a knight in the Order of St. John. In 1963, he took over as president of that organization. It was during this time that the Order of St. John founded their emergency watch.

At the end of his military service, von Lüttwitz received the American Legion of Merit in recognition of his service.


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
9 December 1943 In den schweren Kämpfen der vergangenen Nacht hat die 26. Panzerdivision unter Generalleutnant Frhr. Von Lüttwitz durch ihre beispielhafte Haltung und Standfestigkeit alle Durchbruchsversuche der Briten im Ostabschnitt der süditalienischen Front vereitelt.[12] The exemplary conduct and solidity of the 26th Panzer Division under the command of Lt General Freiherr von Lüttwitz thwarted all attempts by the British forces to break out in the eastern sector of the south Italian front in last night's heavy fighting.

Dates of rank

4 August 1914: Fahnenjunker
16 June 1915: Leutnant (Second Lieutenant), effective as of 10 August 1914
Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant)
1 May 1930: Rittmeister (Captain)
Major (Major)
1 January 1939: Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)
1 November 1941: Oberst (Colonel)
1 September 1942: Generalmajor (Major General)
1 October 1943: Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General)
1 September 1944: General der Infantrie (General of the Infantry), effective as of 1 April 1944
1958: Generalleutnant of the Bundeswehr


  • a Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baron. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a legal class, titles preceded the full name when given (Graf Helmuth James von Moltke). Since 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), can be used, but are regarded as a dependent part of the surname, and thus come after any given names (Helmuth James Graf von Moltke). Titles and all dependent parts of surnames are ignored in alphabetical sorting. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Berger 1999, p. 196.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Williamson 2005, p 31.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thomas 1998, p. 45.
  4. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 289.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 519.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 298.
  7. Von Seemen 1976, p. 230.
  8. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 80.
  9. Von Seemen 1976, p. 42.
  10. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 44.
  11. Von Seemen 1976, p. 17.
  12. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 624.


  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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>
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2004). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld - Primozic (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-21-8. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <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 (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 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 (2006). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-643-0.<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 26. Panzer-Division (Wehrmacht)
14 September 1942 – 22 January 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Hans Hecker
Preceded by
Generalmajor Hans Hecker
Commander of 26. Panzer-Division (Wehrmacht)
20 February 1944 – 11 April 1944
Succeeded by
Oberst Dr. rer. pol. Dr. jur. Hans Boelsen
Preceded by
General Nikolaus von Vormann
Commander of 9. Armee (Wehrmacht)
1 September 1944 – 19 January 1945
Succeeded by
General Theodor Busse
Preceded by
Commander of III. Corps (Bundeswehr)
1 June 1957 – 31 December 1960
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Heinrich Gaedcke