Felix Steiner

Felix Steiner

Felix Martin Julius Steiner (23 May 1896 – 12 May 1966) was a German Reichswehr and Waffen-SS officer who served in both World War I and World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords were awarded in recognition of extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Steiner ranks as one of the most innovative commanders of the Waffen-SS. He skillfully commanded the SS-Deutschland Regiment through the invasions of Poland, France and the Low Countries. He was then chosen by Himmler to oversee the creation of, and then command the volunteer SS Division, SS-Division Wiking. In 1943, he was promoted to the command of III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps.

On 28 January 1945, Steiner was placed in command of the 11th SS Panzer-Army. His army was part of Army Group Vistula.

On 21 April, during the Battle for Berlin, Steiner was placed in command of Army Detachment Steiner. On 22 April, the Russians outnumbered Steiner's worn out and exhausted unit by ten to one. Hitler gave orders for Steiner's forces to envelop the 1st Belorussian Front through a pincer attack, advancing from north of Berlin. Later in the day, Steiner made it plain that he did not have the divisions to do this. On 22 April, at his afternoon situation conference, Hitler fell into a tearful rage when he realised that his plans of the day before were not going to be realised.

Imprisoned until 1948, Steiner was cleared of all charges of War Crimes and after writing several books, died on 12 May 1966.

Read more about Felix Steiner:  Early Life and World War I, Career, Wiking Division, III SS Panzer Corps, Army Group Vistula, End of The War - Peacetime, Promotions, Commands

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