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Heribert von Larisch
Born (1894-07-18)18 July 1894
Died 16 May 1972(1972-05-16) (aged 77)
Place of birth Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Place of death Hamburg, Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch War Ensign of Germany (1903–1919).svg Reichsheer
Balkenkreuz.svg Wehrmacht
Years of service 1914-1920; 1933-1945
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 78. Sturm-Division, 129. Infanterie-Division
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Heribert von Larisch was a high-ranking officer of the German Wehrmacht during World War II. He was also a recipient of the renowned Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Military career[edit | edit source]

World War I and Interwar Period[edit | edit source]

Heribert von Larisch was born in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1894. Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, on 5 February 1914, he assigned as Cadet to the 18th Dragoon Regiment and was promoted to Leutnant on 16 September 1914.

After the capitulation of the German Empire in 1918, von Larisch was discharged from his military duties on 31 March 1920, as the Treaty of Versailles enforced to Germany ordered that the new German Army (Reichswehr) should be drastically downsized. In 1920 he began to study law at the university of Rostock.[1]

Nevertheless, under the leadership of the new Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler, Germany started a massive rearmament. With military conscription obligatory, aiming to expand the German Armed Forces (renamed to Wehrmacht), von Larisch was called back on 1 October 1933, now with the rank of Hauptmann. From 1 October 1937 onwards he served as an instructor in the War School Hannover (Kriegsschule Hannover).

World War II[edit | edit source]

When Germany invaded Poland, marking the official outbreak of World War II, von Larisch commanded the 1st Battalion of the 167th Infantry Regiment. Upon the successful outcome of the operation, von Larisch was named commander of the 3rd Regiment's Battalion on 10 January and was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1 February 1940. He participated with his battalion in the Invasion of France and in that of the Soviet Union.

On 30 June 1941, von Larisch went on to command the entire 440th Infantry Regiment and was promoted to Oberst on 1 October. A year later, he was named leader of the 1st Fortress Brigade (1. Festungsbrigade or Festungsbrigade Kreta), but on 15 November he was transferred to the German Railway Security Staff Croatia (Deutscher Eisenbahn-Sicherungs-Stab Kroatien). From July to August 1943, he took a course for division leaders, and upon its completion he was commissioned commander of the 78. Sturm-Division on 1 November. On 15 February 1944 he took command of the 129. Infanterie-Division, followed by his promotions to Generalmajor (1 April 1944) and Generalleutnant (October 1, 1944). While in command of the division, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, the second highest military decoration of Nazi Germany on 26 December 1944.

Late war[edit | edit source]

With the situation for Germany quickly deteriorating, von Larisch was relieved from his command on 11 February 1945. On 15 March he was the commander of the Infantry School Döberitz (which was moved to Grafenwöhr in early March) until 24 April.

The following day, he was officially put into the army reserve until 15 June. In Krün, he directed a seminar for regiment commanders. Upon hearing the news of Hitler's suicide, he assembled the participants in a school room and made a somehow prophetic announcement, before dissolving it:

What you've learned here the last weeks wasn't learned in vain – because there will be a new German Army in a few years![2]

Post-war[edit | edit source]

Heribert von Larisch was arrested by American troops on 15 June 1945. He was held in captivity for almost two years before his release on 1 July 1947. He died on 16 May 1972 in Hamburg. It must though be noted that 20 March 1952, though rather implaysible, can be often seen as his date of death.

Awards[edit | edit source]

Reference in the Wehrmachtbericht[edit | edit source]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
12 September 1944 In der Schlacht am unteren Narew zeichnete sich die hessisch-thüringische 129. Infanteriedivision unter Führung von Generalmajor von Larisch und die württembergische 5. Jägerdivision unter Führung von Generalleutnant Sixt durch Standfestigkeit und Angriffsschwung besonders aus.[3] The Hessian-Thuringian 129th infantry division under the leadership of Generalmajor von Larisch and the Württembergian 5th Jägerdivsion under the command of Generalleutnant Sixt distinguished themselves in the battle at the lower Narew with firmness and offensive drive.

Books by Heribert von Larisch[edit | edit source]

  • Larisch, Heribert von:Das 2. Grossherzogl. Mecklenburg. Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 18 im Weltkriege 1914-1918 (102nd volume of Erinnerungsblätter Deutscher Regimenter). G. Stalling, 1924. 256 pages[4]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Oberstleutnant Werner Dürkin
Taktiklehrer in the Kriegsschule Hannover
1 October 1937 — 1 September 1939
Succeeded by
Oberstleutnant Josef Brüning
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Hans Traut
Commander of 78. Sturm-Division
1 November 1943 — 15 February 1944
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Siegfried Rasp
Preceded by
Generalmajor Karl Fabiunke
Commander of 129. Infanterie-Division
31 January 1944 — 11 February 1945
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Bernhard Ueberschär
Preceded by
Generalmajor Heinrich Wittkopf
Commander of Infanterie-Schule Döberitz
15 March 1945 — 24 April 1945
Succeeded by
none
dissolved


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