Rudolf Holste

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Rudolf Holste
Born 9 April 1897
Hessisch Oldendorf
Died 4 December 1970 (1970-12-05) (aged 73)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1914–45
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held ArtRgt 73
14. Infanterie-Division
4. Kavallerie-Division
XLI Panzer Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Rudolf Holste (9 April 1897 – 4 December 1970) was a German officer during World War I and World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life

Holste was born in Hessisch Oldendorf, Hesse-Nassau and joined the German Army on 15 August 1914. He became a Lieutenant (Leutnant) in August 1915.

World War II

From 1 January to 15 May 1943, Holste commanded the 14th Panzergrenadier Division in the central sector on the Eastern Front. From 28 February to 29 March 1945, Holste commanded the 4th Cavalry Division. The division fought in Hungary from February to March. When the division was forced back into Austria, Holste changed commands. From 19 April to 8 May 1945, Holste commanded the XLI Panzer Corps in the area north of Berlin. On 20 April 1945 he was promoted to Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant).

Battle of Berlin

On 22 April 1945, Holste became part of a poorly conceived and incredibly desperate plan that Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl proposed to German dictator Adolf Hitler. The plan envisaged for the few remaining German forces in central Germany to attack the Soviet forces encircling Berlin. The plan called for General Walther Wenck's Twelfth Army on the Elbe and Mulde fronts to be turned around and to attack towards the east, then linking up just south of Berlin with General Theodor Busse’s Ninth Army. Then both armies would strike in a northeastern direction towards Potsdam and Berlin. Wenck’s objective would be the autobahn at Ferch, near Potsdam.

Holste directive was to attack from the area northwest of Berlin with his XLI Panzer Corps across the Elbe between Spandau and Oranienburg. To give Holste as much punch as possible, Steiner was to turn over to Holste his mechanized divisions (the 25th Panzer-Grenadiers and the 7th Panzer). Wenck's army did make a turn around and attacked towards Berlin, but was soon halted outside of Potsdam by strong Soviet resistance. Neither Busse nor Holste made much progress towards Berlin. By the end of the day on 27 April, the Soviet forces encircling Berlin linked up and the forces inside Berlin were cut off.

Late in the evening of 29 April, Hans Krebs contacted Jodl by radio from Berlin and requested an immediate report on the whereabouts of Holste's spearhead".[1] On 30 April, Jodl replied that Holste's Corps was on the defensive".[citation needed] Two days later, on 2 May, the Battle for Berlin came to an end when Helmuth Weidling unconditionally surrendered the city to the Soviets. Holste surrendered 8 May 1945. In 1947, he was released.




  1. Zetner, Kurt (1963). Illustrierte Geschichte Des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Munich: Sudwest Verlag. p. 566.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Thomas 1997, p. 300.
  3. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 195.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 234.
  5. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 87.


  • 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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Walther Krause
Commander of 14. Infanterie-Division
1 January 1943 – 15 May 1943
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Hermann Flörke
Preceded by
Formed from 4. Kavallerie-Brigade
Commander of 4. Kavallerie-Division
28 February 1945– 29 March 1945
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Helmuth von Grolman
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Wend von Wietersheim
Commander of XLI Panzer Corps
19 April 1945– 8 May 1945
Succeeded by