Military Wiki
Joachim Lemelsen
Joachim Lemelsen
Born (1888-09-28)28 September 1888
Died 30 March 1954(1954-03-30) (aged 65)
Place of birth Berlin
Place of death Göttingen
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Years of service 1907–1945
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Commands held XLVII Motorized Corps
1. Armee
14. Armee

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Joachim Hermann August Lemelsen (28 September 1888 – 30 March 1954) was a German general during the Second World War. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German language: 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 years[]

Born in Berlin as the son of a German career military officer, Lemelsen entered the German army in 1907. During the First World War Lemelsen served as an artillery officer until 1916, when he was transferred to the staff of the 52nd infantry division. In 1917 he was transferred to the staff of the commanding officer of the German sea coast, Josias von Heeringen, commanded a battalion and was sent to the staff of the VI Reserve Corps. Lemelsen ended the war as a captain with the Iron Cross First and Second class and the House Order of Hohenzollern.


After the Armistice, Lemelsen returned to the artillery. He served as commandant of the Artillery School in 1934 and as commandant of the Infantry School in 1935. In March 1938, Lemelsen was given command of the 29th Infantry Division (Germany), later motorized, with which he participated in the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Second World War[]

Lemelsen and the 29th served in the Polish campaign {the 29th was involved in the Massacre in Ciepielów of 8 September 1939} and the early stages of the Battle of France. On May 28, 1940 Lemelsen was given command of the 5th Panzer Division with which he participated in the Dunkirk campaign.

On November 25, 1940, Lemelsen was given command of the new XLVII Motorized Corps, which he led in the capture of Smolensk and the battles of Kiev and Bryansk. The Corps was designated a Panzer Corps in June 1942 and participated as such in anti-partisan operations and in the Battle of Kursk. Lemelsen made a strong but futile protest to the Wehrmacht High Command against the shooting of unarmed Russian prisoners during the early phases of Operation Barbarossa.

I am repeatedly finding out about the shooting of prisoners, defectors or deserters, carried out in an irresponsible, senseless and criminal manner. This is murder. Soon the Russians will get to hear about the countless corpses lying along the routes taken by our soldiers, without weapons and with hands raised, dispatched at close range by shots to the head. The result will be that the enemy will hide in the woods and fields and continue to fight--and we shall lose countless comrades.[1]

After having commanded the XLVII Panzer Corps in Russia, Lemelsen was placed in the Army Leadership Reserve and temporarily commanded the Tenth Army in Italy for two months until the end of December 1943. Lemelsen was given command of the First Army, stationed near the Atlantic coast in France in May 1944. Only one month later, upon the Allies' capture of Rome and landing in Normandy on the same day, Lemelsen was transferred to Italy to take over command of the Fourteenth Army to replace Eberhard von Mackensen who the theatre commander Albert Kesselring had dismissed. Lemelsen commanded the army in the Italian Campaign from June 1944 until mid October when he was given command of Germany's other major formation in Italy 10th Army. In February 1945 he returned to the leadership of 14th Army until the end of hostilities in Italy in early May.

Imprisoned by British forces after the war, Lemelsen in 1947 testified on behalf of his former commander,[2] Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring, during Kesselring’s war crimes trial before a British military court convened at Venice, Italy. Soon thereafter, Lemelsen was freed from captivity. Kesselring, however, received a death sentence, immediately commuted to life imprisonment. Lemelsen's former commander was nevertheless released from prison five years later on health grounds.

For his service, Lemelsen was awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves.

Released from captivity in 1947, General der Panzertruppen Joachim Lemelsen died in Göttingen in 1954.



  1. Hastings, Inferno, p. 146.
  2. Profile, Joachim Lemelsen

External links[]


  • Alman, Karl (2008). Panzer vor - Die dramtische Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe und ihre tapferen Soldaten. Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig Verlag. ISBN 978-3-88189-638-2.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Hastings, Max (2011). Inferno: the world at war, 1939-1945. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-27359-8.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2004) (in German). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld - Primozic [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color II Ihlefeld - Primozic]. Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-21-8. 
  • 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. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn
Commander of 5. Panzer-Division
May 29, 1940 - November 25, 1940
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Gustav Fehn
Preceded by
General Johannes Blaskowitz
Commander of 1. Armee
3 May 1944 - 3 June 1944
Succeeded by
General Kurt von der Chevallerie
Preceded by
Generaloberst Eberhard von Mackensen
Commander of 14. Armee
5 June 1944 - 15 October 1944
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch
Commander of 14. Armee
22 February 1945 - 2 May 1945
Succeeded by

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).