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Hans Cramer
Oberst Hans Cramer in 1941
Born (1896-07-13)13 July 1896
Died 28 October 1968(1968-10-28) (aged 72)
Place of birth Minden, North-Rhine Westphalia
Place of death Hausberge/Porta Westfalica
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

General Hans Cramer (13 July 1896 – 28 October 1968) was a Panzer General in the German army who was captured by the British during both world wars.

Career[edit | edit source]

Cramer joined Prussian cadet corps before World War I. During the war he became a leutnant and company commander and battalion adjutant in the 15th infantry regiment before his capture by the British in August 1918.

Released in the spring of 1919 he was retained in the Reichswehr. He initially served in the 18th Infantry Regiment and joined the 13th Cavalry Regiment on 1 January 1923. After service in various other units he was promoted to Hauptmann on 1 February 1931. On 1 January 1936, he was promoted to Major and on 1 February 1939 to oberstleutnant. After the mobilization he was on 26 August 1939 appointed Commander of the cavalry training department. He served in Poland and on 1 October 1941 was promoted to Oberst and was posted to the Panzer Regiment 10. On 25 March 1941 he was appointed commander of Panzer Regiment 8. In April 1941, his unit became part of the German Africa Korps. On 24 June 1941 he was severely wounded in the battle of Sollum, part of Operation Battleaxe, and three days later was awarded Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his role in the battle. On 1 April 1942 Cramer was appointed as Chief of Staff at OKH and on 1 November he was promoted to Generalmajor and 22 January 1943 he was again promoted to Generalleutnant On 10 February 1943 he was moved to the reserve.

Oberst Hans Cramer, commander Panzer Reg. 8 of the 15th Panzer Division, speaks with his officers, April 1941.

He returned to Africa and on 1 May 1943 was promoted to General der Panzertruppe. On 12 May 1943 with the capitulation of the German forces in North Africa he was taken into captivity by the British. From 16 May 1943 February 1944 he was held in the special prison for captured German generals and staff officers at Trent Park. He was released in May 1944 and returned to Germany, reportedly because of his problems with asthma.

During his repatriation journey, he was allowed to see Montgomery's 21st Army Group preparing for the invasion of Europe, but was told he was in Kent, where Patton's mythical 1st U.S. Army Group was preparing for its invasion. This was part of the broader Allied deception campaign, Operation Fortitude, prior to D-Day.

After repatriation Cramer was appointed to Panzer Group West in France, but as a former prisoner of war he fell under suspicion of complicity after the 20 July plot. He was placed under arrest on 26 July, and held in the Gestapo prison on the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin and then in a satellite of the Ravensbrück concentration camp until 5 August 1944. On 14 September 1944 he was dismissed from the Wehrmacht. From 24 December 1944 until the German surrender he was under house arrest. Following the war the British appointed Cramer as supreme commander of all the German troops captured in Holstein, and he held this position from May 1945 until 15 February 1946.

Awards[edit | edit source]

Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (left) and General der Panzertruppe Hans Cramer (centre) in captivity en route to Trent Park camp in 1943

References[edit | edit source]

  • Neitzel, Sönke (2007). Tapping Hitler's Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-1945. Frontline Books. ISBN 978-1-84415-705-1.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 


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