Oberst (Baron) Kurt-Jurgen von Lutzow
Born: 07/08/1892 Marienwerder/Westpreußen
12th Infantry Division
On the 20 January 1914, after Officer training in the Imperial Corps of Cadets, a young Kurt-Jürgen Freiherr von Lützow joined his first unit (1st Brandenburg Leib-Grenadier-Regiment "King Friedrich Wilhelm III" No. 8) as a second lieutenant.
After the outbreak of WW1 von Lützow took up the position of adjutant of the 1st Battalion, on the 3rd May 1915 put in command of the 6th Company and on the 25th August 1915 appointed regimental adjutant.
On the 18th May 1917, von Lützow transferred to the 10th Infantry Brigade as adjutant, was promoted to first lieutenant on the 18th August 1917, and on the 26th February 1918 was transferred the staff of the Chief of the General Staff of the Army where he remained until the war’s end.
At the end of WWI, the forces of the German Empire had mostly split up, the men making their way home individually or in small groups. Many of them joined the Freikorps ("Free Corps"), a collection of volunteer paramilitary units that were involved in revolution and border clashes between 1918 and 1923.
The newly formed Weimar Republic did need a military though, and on 6 March 1919 a decree established the Vorläufige Reichswehr ("Provisional National Defence"), consisting of a Vorläufige Reichsheer ("Provisional National Army") and a Vorläufige Reichsmarine ("Provisional National Navy"). On 30 September 1919, the army was reorganized as the Übergangsheer ("Transitional Army"). About 400,000 men served in the armed forces. This lasted until 1 January 1921, when the Reichswehr was officially established according to the limitations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles (Articles 159 to 213).
Von Lützow continued his army career in the Transitional Army as an auxiliary officer with Wehrkreiskommando III until the 1st October 1920 when he was transferred to the staff of the 3rd Division.
The official establishment of the ‘Reichswehr’ saw von Lützow’s experience being used in the reorganization of various units.
On the 1st November 1921 he transferred to the 14th Cavalry Regiment (14./Reiter-Regiment) and a year later to the 6th Infantry Regiment in Lübeck where he stayed until 30th September 1934.
During his deployment with the 6th Infantry Regiment, he received promotion to Captain (1 April 1925) and given command of the 15th Company in Lauenburg (1st June 1924), 10th Company in Flensburg (1st February 1929) and in April 1932 appointed to the Staff of the 2nd Battalion, Lübeck where he was promoted to Major on the 1st May 1934.
A year later von Lützow was transferred to the newly formed Infantry Regiment 67 and put in command of the 3rd Battilion.
On the 1st October 1936 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and on 1st April 1937 was transferred to the ’Generalkommando des II. Armeekorps’ as Adjutant to Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen.
During his time as Adjutant to von Mackensen, von Lützow received his promotion to Colonel (1st June 1939) and on the 26th August 1939 took over command of Infantry Regiment 89 (12. Infantry-Division - Schwerin) from Colonel Alexander von Zülow.
In September 1939, The 12th Division was mobilized and entered Poland as part of Armeekorps 'Wodrig' of Generalleutnant von Kuchler's 3rd Armee, Heeresgruppe Nord.
von Lützow’s Infantry Regiment served with distinction during the Polish Campaign in the North and the battles around Warsaw.
In the spring of 1940 the Division prepared for the Western Campaign. On the 10th May the Division moved into Belgium as part of 2nd Armeekorps of the 4th Armee where it was involved in the plan devised by Generalmajor von Manstein known as 'Sikelschnitt’ (Sickle Cut) which divided the French and British forces as they moved through Belgium forcing the British Expeditionary Force to the coast at Dunkirk.
von Lützow’s Regiment were operational in the arm that swept round the Allied force, and were instrumental in preventing a desperate attempt by the French to punch through and rescue their beleaguered allies. The Division marched on after Dunkirk and reached the coast of Biscay in the Vendee before France signed an armistice.
On the 15th August 1940, von Lützow was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) for his distinguished service in the Polish and Western Campaigns.
The 12th Infantry Division remained in the West as part of the occupying forces until the 25th May 1941 when it was moved to East Prussia.
On the 22nd June 1941 the Division, as part of Second Armeekorp of the sixteenth army, Heeresgruppe Nord marched into Lithuania, and so started the largest invasion in the history of warfare, “Operation Barbarossa”
Crossing the Niemen River the division captured Kaunas (Kovno) and reached the Dvina on 2nd July. In early August the division approached the area of Kholm and following a series of heavy engagements there and in the Valdia Hills it reached the source of the Volga River south of the Demyansk in mid-September.
On the 21st October 1941 von Lützow was awarded ‘Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub’ (The Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) which was not only a great honour for von Lützow, being the first army officer to receive the award, but for his regiment and division as well.
On the 17th December 1941, von Lützow was promoted to Major General and in January 1942 took over command of the 12th Infantry Division from Generalleutnant Walter von Seydlitz-Kurzbach.
On the 1st November 1943, he received a promotion to Lieutenant General, and on the 25th June 1944 was given command of the XXXV.Corps of the 9th Army during the time of the ‘Babruysk Offensive’
By June 27, Soviet forces were converging near Babruysk, trapping the five divisions of Ninth Army's northernmost corps, von Lützow's XXXV Corps, east of the Berezina. Elements of the central XXXXI Panzer Corps were also trapped, along with the 20th Panzer Division. The disorganised German divisions commenced a series of desperate attempts to escape the pocket, which stretched for several miles along the river's eastern bank: the Soviets reported large fires on 27 June as the Germans destroyed their heavy equipment and attempted to break out, but Soviet air attack and artillery inflicted appalling casualties on the encircled forces. In the meantime, Hitler had relieved General Hans Jordan of command due to his confusing instructions to 20th Panzer; Ninth Army was dealt another blow when its main communications headquarters was destroyed by bombing. On the following day, reinforcements arrived behind German lines in the form of 12th Panzer Division, whose commander was greeted by Ninth Army's chief of staff with the words "Good to see you — Ninth Army no longer exists!"
On the 5th July 1944, von Lützow, along with the remnants of his shattered XXXV Corps were finally taken prisoner by the Red Army on the east bank of the river Berezina.
Kurt-Jürgen Freiherr von Lützow was released by the Russians in January 1956.
Eisernen Kreuz (1914) II Klasse - 29 September 1914
Eisernen Kreuz (1914) I Klasse - 16 March 1916
Ritterkreuz des Königlichen Hausordens von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern
Ritterkreuz II. Klasse des Albrechts-Ordens mit Schwertern
Mecklenburgisches Militärverdienstkreuz I. Klasse
Österreichisches Militärverdienstkreuz III. Klasse mit der Kriegsdekoration
Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1014/1918
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz II Klasse - 14th September 1939
1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz I Klasse - 13th October 1939
Die Medaille Winterschlacht Im Osten 1941/42 (Ostmedaille)
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes - 15th August 1940
Oberst (Kommandeur InfRgt 89)
Eichenlaub - 21st October 1941
Oberst (Kommandeur InfRgt 89)