SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
shows Ramcke proudly displaying his Prussian Golden Military Merit Cross
looped thorough his buttonhole. This was the highest decoration for
valor a Prussian non-commissioned officer could be awarded. Ramcke received
this decoration on 24 April 1918 as an Offizierstellvertreter (deputy
officer) while assigned to the Assault Battalion of the Marinekorps
NAME: General der Fallschirmtruppe Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke
PW NO: 18878
RANK: General der Fallschirmtruppe
CAPTURED: Pointe des Capuçins on the Crozon Peninsula, France (west
DATE: 20 September 1944
DATE OF BIRTH: 24 January 1889
OF BIRTH: Schleswig-Friedrichsberg/Schleswig-Holstein
DATE OF DEATH: 5 July 1968
PLACE OF DEATH: Kappeln/Schlei/Schleswig-Holstein
OCCUPATION: Regular Air Force Officer
NEXT OF KIN:
Family: Married with seven children.
Ramcke’s wife was the daughter of Generalleutnant a.D. Paul Göldner (3 September
1875-13 December 1945).
4 April 1905
26 September 1907
1 July 1909
1 April 1912
19 July 1915
11 September 1915
5 December 1916
der Marine-Infanterie: 18 July 1918 – Patent 1 February 1913
15 January 1921 – RDA 21 June 1918; later changed to 20 June 1918 (22)
1 February 1927 (10)
1 September 1934
16 March 1937 – RDA 1 March 1937
29 February 1940 – RDA 1 March 1940
in Luftwaffe: 1 August 1940 – RDA 1 October 1938
22 July 1941 – RDA 1 August 1941
21 December 1942
der Fallschirmtruppe: 14 September 1944 – RDA 1 September 1944 (6)
April 1905: Entered the Imperial German Navy as 16-year-old Schiffsjunge
April 1905-25 April 1907: Schiffsjunge aboard the school ships Stosch
April 1907-29 September 1907: Schiffsjungen-Division.
September 1907-8 December 1907: Matrose in the I. Matrosen [Seaman]-Division.
December 1907-27 March 1908: Matrose aboard the light cruiser Medusa.
March 1908-10 May 1908: Matrose in the I. Matrosen-Division.
May 1908-30 September 1908: Matrose aboard the armored cruiser Prinz
October 1908-24 November 1908: Detached to the Ship Artillery School,
November 1908-26 January 1909: Matrose aboard the light cruiser Undine.
January 1909-29 September 1911: Matrose/Obermatrose aboard the armored
cruiser Prinz Adalbert.
seen here in 1909 when he served aboard the armored cruiser Prinz
Adalbert as a gunner on one of the 5.9-inch casemate-mounted cannons
(note the ship’s name on his hat tally).
September 1911-2 January 1912: Obermatrose aboard the armored cruiser
January 1912-4 April 1912: Obermatrose aboard the pre-dreadnought battleship
April 1912-27 September 1913: Bootsmannsmaat aboard the armored cruiser
September 1913-3 June 1914: Bootsmannsmaat in the I. Matrosen-Division.
June 1914-31 July 1914: Detached to the Engineer and Deck Officer School.
August 1914-10 April 1915: Bootsmannsmaat aboard the armored cruiser Prinz
Commissioned in 1904, the German armored cruiser Prinz Adalbert
displaced over 9,800 tons and was armed with four 8.2-inch guns
in twin turrets, fore and aft, and ten 5.9-inch guns mounted singly
in casemates and turrets amidships. On 23 October 1915, the British
submarine E.8 torpedoed and sank the Prinz Adalbert in the Baltic
Sea off Libau with the loss of virtually her entire crew.
April 1915-10 September 1915: Oberbootsmannsmaat in the I. Matrosen-Division.
September 1915-16 September 1915: Feldwebel in the II. Seewehr-Abteilung.
September 1915-22 November 1915: Feldwebel in the Garrison and Replacement
Battalion Bruges, Belgium.
November 1915-26 January 1916: Platoon Leader in the 12th Company of the
2nd Matrosen-Regiment in Flanders. [Formed in November 1914 from the Marine-Division
Flandern, the Marine-Korps Flandern or Flanders Naval Corps, commanded
by Admiral Ludwig von Schröder (the “Lion of Flanders”), occupied the
fortified Belgian coast and angled inland along the Yser River to anchor
the extreme right flank of the German Army on the Western Front.
Composed of the 1st and 2nd Marine-Divisions manned by naval infantrymen
and artillerymen and supported by naval land-based fighter and seaplane
squadrons, the corps also controlled the U-boat, destroyer and torpedo
boat flotillas based at Bruges, Ostende and Zeebrugge.]
January 1916-12 July 1917: Wounded/in hospital. [NOTE:
These dates are given by Karl-Friedrich Hildebrand in Die Generale
der Deutschen Luftwaffe, 1935-1945, Band 3 (Odebrecht-Zoch). In the
first installment of his memoirs, Ramcke notes being wounded in the right
thigh by a hand grenade fragment while rolling up an enemy security outpost
between the Rodeport and Nieuwland Polder Farms in April 1916 (for which
he received the Iron Cross 2nd Class). However, he was treated at the
front and remained with his troops. Other than a two-week home leave in
the latter half of May 1916, Ramcke describes himself serving in Flanders
with the 2nd Matrosen-Regiment throughout the period cited above.]
[Deputy Officer] Ramcke, naval infantryman in the Assault Troop of
the 12th Company of the 2nd Matrosen-Regiment, proudly displaying
the Iron Cross 1st Class he received for action in Flanders. Mentioned
in a divisional order of the day for leading two reconnaissance patrols
lasting over 36 hours in duration into the enemy rear area beyond
the Nieuwland Polder Farm, Ramcke later wrote in his memoirs:
Our all admired regimental commander [Oberst z.D. von Reck] did not leave it at that, he personally pinned the Iron Cross 1st Class
to my breast. At the same time, I was appointed an Offiziers-Stellvertreter.
With special joy I received and wore the Iron Cross 1st Class; only
a few had so far been awarded in the regiment.
July 1917-16 July 1917: Detached to the 2nd Matrosen-Regiment in Flanders.
July 1917-26 October 1918: Platoon Leader in the Assault Battalion of
the Flanders Naval Corps. [Composed of young, fit and highly motivated
“stormtroopers,” the assault battalions generally operated in squad-sized
numbers on hit and run raids and attacks against enemy trenches to create
breaches for follow-up exploitation. Bypassing enemy strong points, the
“stormtroops” would attack lightly held points while advancing as quickly
as possible into the enemy rear. In addition to fulfilling its prime function,
the Assault Battalion of the Flanders Naval Corps served as the close
combat instruction and training cadre for officers and men from regiments
throughout the naval corps. Upon the dissolution of Admiral von Schröder’s
naval corps in October 1918, Ramcke was detached to Infantry Regiment
425 to serve as a platoon leader during the German withdrawal from Flanders.
For his role in the earlier combat at Dixmude, subsequent rearguard actions
at St. Joris and along the Gent—Bruges Canal and during house-to-house
fighting at Leischoot, Ramcke was recommended for the coveted Knight’s
Cross with Swords of the Prussian Royal Hohenzollern House Order. However,
the signing of the Armistice and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II prevented
the award from ever being approved.]
October 1918-31 December 1918: Wounded/in hospital.
January 1919-3 April 1919: Transferred to the 1st Replacement Sea Battalion,
January 1919-3 April 1919: Company Leader in Freikorps “von Brandis.”
[Commanded by Hauptmann Cordt von Brandis, a recipient of the Prussian
Pour le Mérite Order, Freikorps “von Brandis” took part in the Baltic
fighting of 1919.
Following the end of World War I, numerous Freikorps units formed the
German VI Reserve Corps under command of Generalmajor Rüdiger Graf von
der Goltz to fight against Bolshevik domination of the newly independent
Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Ostensibly fought to prevent
the Russian Red Army from seizing the Baltic States and threatening the
German eastern frontier, many Germans, including Graf von der Goltz, viewed
the campaign as a chance to pursue German expansion in the east. When
the Allies demanded that Germany withdraw from the region by August 1919,
many German Freikorps units, including Freikorps “von Brandis,” volunteered
for service with the White Russian Army. Formed in September 1919, the
independent “Russian Army of the West” (composed mainly of Germans) commanded
by the inept Colonel Prince Pavel Mikhailovitch Avalov-Bermondt continued
to fight in the Baltic region. On 8 October 1919, the Russian Army of
the West attacked Riga but was repulsed by the Latvian nationalists backed
by gunfire support from a mixed British and French naval squadron. After
a long and grueling retreat through the Baltic States (Colonel Avalov-Bermondt
had previously resigned from command), the last of the Freikorps troops
had returned to German soil by mid-December 1919.]
March 1919: Transferred from the Navy to the Army.
April 1919-14 July 1919: Wounded (shot in the right shoulder) in Latvia/evacuated
to Schleswig, Germany for hospitalization. [After returning to duty with
his company in the Baltic, Ramcke recalled that he trained himself to
shoot and throw hand grenades left handed while simultaneously exercising
his right arm until the shoulder wound fully healed.]
July 1919-10 November 1919: Company Leader in Freikorps “von Brandis.”
November 1919-30 September 1920: Platoon Leader in Reichswehr-Schützen-Regiment
1 of Reichswehr-Brigade 1.
October 1920-28 February 1921: Company Officer in the 1st (Prussian) Infantry
Regiment upon the formation of the new Reichsheer from the Übergangsheer
or Transitional Army.
March 1921-31 January 1923: Technical Leader of the Signals Service of
the 1st (Prussian) Infantry Regiment.
April 1921-30 June 1921: At the same time, detached to signals courses
February 1923-30 April 1925: Adjutant of the Commandant of the Arys Troop
May 1925-31 January 1927: Hauptmann on the Staff of the III. Battalion
of the 2nd (Prussian) Infantry Regiment.
February 1927-30 September 1934: Chief of the 11th Company of the 2nd
(Prussian) Infantry Regiment.
October 1934-14 October 1935: Commander of the III. Battalion of Infantry
October 1935-31 October 1935: Commander of the II. Battalion of Infantry
Regiment 3 of the 21st Infantry Division.
November 1935-30 June 1936: Instruction Staff Officer with the Heeresdienststelle
[Army Command Center] Breslau – training the Silesian Border Defense Units.
July 1936-17 July 1936: On the staff of Infantry Regiment 49 of the 28th
July 1936-9 November 1938: On the staff of the Commandant of the Großborn
Troop Training Area.
November 1938-9 September 1939: Commandant of the Zeithain bei Riesa Troop
September 1939-2 October 1939: Detached as an observer to the 14th Army
and General der Kavallerie Ewald von Kleist’s XXII Army Corps (Motorized)
– planning and construction of the Milowitz Troop Training Area.
[While traveling between forward elements of the XXII Army Corps (Motorized)
during the latter stages of the Polish campaign, Oberstleutnant Ramcke
encountered an enemy column near Magierow. Coaxing the Poles into surrendering,
Ramcke directed the captured troops—nine officers, 16 noncommissioned
officers and 84 soldiers—to drive their 18 vehicles loaded with pioneer
equipment, weapons and explosives to the German lines. The next day, while
acting as a representative of Oberst Kurt Zeitzler, the corps chief of
staff, Ramcke assisted Oberst Wilhelm von Apell, the commander of Kavallerie-Schützen-Regiment
11 of the 4th Light Division, by taking charge of elements of his regiment
during the engagement at Tomaszów. A grateful von Kleist
later awarded Ramcke the 1939 Bar to his First World War Iron Cross 2nd
Class for capturing the enemy column and his actions at Tomaszów. Following
23 days of combat in Poland, Ramcke led a small scouting staff to the
Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia to examine the Milowitz Troop Training
Area and craft a plan for its future expansion and development.]
October 1939-10 January 1940: Commandant of the Zeithain bei Riesa Troop
January 1940-15 January 1940: Commander of Infantry Regiment 401 of the
170th Infantry Division.
January 1940-18 July 1940: Commander of Infantry Replacement Regiment
69 of Division Nr. 166. [Commanded by Charakter als Generalleutnant Walter
Behschnitt (Generalmajor Otto Schellert from 1 May 1940), this replacement
and training division, headquartered at Bromberg in Wehrkreis XX, provided
basic training for new recruits.]
July 1940-10 August 1940: Simultaneously detached to the staff of the
7th Flieger-Division and to Parachute School III, Braunschweig-Broitzem,
for the parachute qualification course [at age 51].
August 1940: Transferred from the Army to the Luftwaffe.
August 1940-22 August 1940: Transferred to Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 3
and detached to Parachute School III, Braunschweig-Broitzem.
August 1940-31 December 1940: Assigned to the staff of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment
1 and charged with the development of heavy weapons for German parachute
January 1941-12 February 1943: Commander of Operational Training Units
and Schools of the XI. Flieger-Korps [Air Corps]. [Commanded by General der Flieger Kurt Student, this corps
served as the controlling headquarters staff of Germany’s parachute and
air landing forces.]
May 1941-18 June 1941: At the same time, delegated with the leadership
of Fallschirmjäger-Sturm [Assault]-Regiment 1 and Leader of Battle Group
West during Operation “Merkur” (Mercury), the German airborne invasion
of Crete. [On 20 May 1941, the XI. Flieger-Korps opened the invasion of
Crete with the drop of two massive waves of paratroopers and glider-borne
troops onto the island. The next morning,
Oberst Ramcke and 550 German reinforcements dropped into Crete west of
the Tavronitis and east of the airfield at Maleme. Upon landing, Ramcke
took command of the Fallschirmjäger-Sturm-Regiment 1 as its commander, Generalmajor
Eugen Meindl, had been seriously wounded by machinegun fire the day before. Advancing
in conjunction with elements of Generalmajor Julius
Ringel’s 5th Mountain Division, Ramcke led his battle group in tough fighting
along the coast road that culminated in the capture of Canea on 27 May
1941. Five days later, the last British and Dominion
troops who had not been evacuated from Crete surrendered to the Germans
north of Sphakia. In addition to earning the 1939 Bar to his First World
War Iron Cross 1st Class, Ramcke later received Knight’s Cross of the
Iron Cross for his role in the conquest of Crete.]
March 1942-31 March 1942: At the same time, detached to the Headquarters
Staff of the Royal Italian Armed Forces to assist in training Generale di Divisione Enrico Frattini’s Folgore Parachute Division for Operation “Herkules” (Hercules), the proposed German-Italian
invasion of Malta.
April 1942-12 February 1943: At the same time, delegated with the leadership
of Fallschirmjäger-Brigade 1 (Ramcke). [Formed for Operation “Herkules,”
Ramcke’s brigade transferred from Greece to Libya to counter the British
buildup before El Alamein. Arriving by air between July-August 1942, the
brigade took up defensive positions on the El Alamein front. On 23 October
1942, the British Eighth Army began its offensive and the German-Italian
front soon cracked wide open. After conducting a spirited holding action
north of the Ruweisat Ridge, Ramcke’s brigade, without vehicles, began
a fighting retreat on foot to the west on 3 November 1942. On the night
of 6 November 1942, Ramcke’s men high jacked an entire British supply
column and made off with their vehicles. Traveling some 200 miles through
enemy-controlled territory, the 600 survivors of Ramcke’s brigade later
rejoined Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel’s panzer army. After passing
leadership of the brigade to Oberstleutnant Hans Kroh on 30 November 1942,
Ramcke returned to Germany to personally receive the Oakleaves to his
Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross from Adolf Hitler.]
 Commanded by Admiral Ludwig von Schröder
since 23 August 1914, the Marine-Division Flandern participated in the
siege and capture of Antwerp from 27 September 1914-10 October 1914 under
Army Group “Beseler” (General der Infanterie Hans von Beseler). Storming
Fort Waelhem, von Schröder’s naval division crossed the Nethe River at
Duffel, penetrated the city’s inner defense line and captured Forts Liezele
and Bornhem. After taking part in the Battle of the Yser—including the
capture of Lombartzyde, northwest of Nieuport—in October-November 1914,
the Marine-Division Flandern was expanded into corps strength for the
defense of the Belgian coastline and the development of the captured ports
to support the war at sea.
 The 1st Marine-Division occupied the Belgian coastline while the 2nd
Marine-Division held the land front along the Yser River; the naval infantry
regiments frequently alternated between the two divisions/sectors. By
July 1917, the 3rd Marine-Division had been created and assigned to the
land front. Several other prisoners held at Island Farm Special Camp 11
served in land, sea and air formations of the Flanders Naval Corps during
World War I: General der Artillerie Eduard Crasemann, Generalleutnant
Karl Köchy, Generalmajor Kurt Loebell, Generalleutnant Herbert Olbrich, Konteradmiral Richard Rothe-Roth, Generalingenieur Dipl.-Ing.
Rudolf Spies and Vizeadmiral Kurt Utke.
 On 14 March 1916, then Oberleutnant Cordt
von Brandis received the Prussian Pour le Mérite Order for his role in
the capture of Fort Douaumont on 25 February 1916 during the Battle of
Verdun. At the time, he was leader of the 8th Company of the Infanterie-Regiment
Großherzog Friedrich Franz II von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (4. Brandenburgisches)
 From 1 March 1933-10 September 1934, Oberstleutnant
Bodewin Keitel commanded the regiment’s III. Battalion to which Ramcke’s
company was assigned. The younger brother of Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm
Keitel who was hanged at Nürnberg for war crimes, Bodewin attained the
rank of General der Infanterie and served as Chief of the Army Personnel
Office from 1 March 1938-1 October 1942. Of note, future Generaloberst
Kurt Student soldiered alongside Ramcke in the 2nd (Prussian) Infantry
Regiment from 1 December 1928-31 January 1933. Student was held for a
time at Island Farm Special Camp 11 after the war.
 Achieving the rank of Generalfeldmarschall,
Ewald von Kleist was held as a prisoner of war at Island Farm Special
Camp 11 until August 1946 when he was extradited to Yugoslavia to stand
trial for war crimes. Extradited to the Soviet Union in 1948, von Kleist
died in the Vladimir POW Camp on 16 October 1948.
 Achieving the rank of General der Fallschirmtruppe,
Eugen Meindl was held for a time at Island Farm Special Camp 11 after
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