Ludwig Heilmann

Ludwig Heilmann
Born (1903-08-09)9 August 1903
Died 26 October 1959(1959-10-26) (aged 56)
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Years of service 1921–33, 1934–45
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held 5th Parachute Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Ludwig Heilmann (9 August 1903 – 26 October 1959), was a German paratroop general during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.

Early life and career

Heilmann entered the Reichswehr on 3 February 1921, serving with Infanterie-Regiment 21 (21st Infantry Regiment) of the 7. (Bayerische) Division. On 3 February 1933, having served for twelve years, he left the military service holding the rank of Feldwebel. After taking a number of courses he was reactivated on 1 July 1934 as an Oberleutnant and commander of the 5th Company, 20th Infantry Regiment.

World War II

During the Battle of France he won the Iron Cross first class with III Battalion of the Infanterie-Regiment 91 (91st Infantry Regiment) of the 27. Infanterie-Division. Heilmann joined the parachute troops on 18 June 1940. After various courses and postings Major Heilmann became commander of III Battalion, 1st Parachute Regiment. His battalion was dropped into Crete on 20 May 1941 as part of the first wave. Heilmann's battalion played a part in the German success on the island.

In late autumn 1941 Heilmann and his battalion were sent to Russia, where they fought as infantry. Among the unit's actions was the defense of the Vyborgskaya bridgehead. Heilmann was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 20 April 1942. On 20 August 1943 he became commander of IV Battalion, 3rd Parachute Regiment and on 15 November regimental commander.

After the Allied landing in Sicily Heilmann and his regiment parachuted into the Catania Plain to reinforce "Battle Group Schmalz" of the Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 "Hermann Göring". His battalion fought near Francoforte, tried to defend Centuripe near Regalbuto, Bronte and Maletto. On 1 December 1943 Heilmann was promoted to Oberst.

On the Italian mainland Heilmann's regiment fought near Ortona, where on 15 December it ran into an assembly of enemy forces. His I and II Battalions, led by Major Rudolf Böhmler and Hauptmann Gotthart Liebscher, and took Villa Grande. Ortona was held until 28 December.

Heilmann's regiment also took part in the defensive Battle of Monte Cassino. The third battle of Cassino saw it in the focal point of the battle for the monastery mountain.

On 23 September 1944 Ludwig Heilmann became the commanding officer of the 5. Fallschirmjäger-Division, which subsequently fought in the Ardennes. It was here in the south of battlezone where the 5th was ordered to defend the flank from attacks by the U.S. 3rd Army. Heilmann was captured by the Americans just prior to the end of the war and was released in 1947.




  1. 1 2 3 Thomas & Wegmann 1986, p. 105.
  2. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 172.
  3. 1 2 3 Scherzer 2007, p. 375.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 43.


  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). 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] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1986). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil II: Fallschirmjäger [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part II: Paratroopers] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1461-8. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Gustav Wilke
Commander of 5th Fallschirmjäger-Division
15 October 1944 – 21 March 1945
Succeeded by
Kurt Gröschke
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