eben emael

Rudolf Witzig (14 August 1916 – 3 October 2001) was a Green Devil (Fallshirmjäger) during the World War.

Witzig’s greatest military achievement was the capture of Fort Eben-Emael in the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael on 10 May 1940 and the same day he awarded the the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross May 1940 and the Oak leaves the 25 November 1944.

Rudolf Witzig re-joined the military service in the newly created Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic of Germany on 16 January 1956. He retired on 30 September 1974 holding the rank of Oberst.
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Rudolf Witzig (14 Août 1916 – 3 Octobre 2001) était un Diable Vert (Fallshirmjäger) durant la Deuxième guerre mondiale.

Le plus grand acte militaire de Witzig était la capture du Fort Eben-Emael le 10 mai 1940. Le même jour Witzig a reçu la croix de chevalier de la croix de fer et par la suite il recevra la feuille de chêne le 25 Novembre 1944.

Witzig a rejoint à nouveau les rangs de l'armée allemande en 1956 en tant qu'Oberst (colonel). Il a pris sa retraite en 1974.

Adolf Hitler together with paratroopers decorated with the knights cross after the successfull conquest of the belgian fort Eben Emael: second Lt. Meissner, Capt. Rudolf Witzig, Major Walter Koch - 14.05.1940

On the 10th May 1940, the Fallschirmjager, Group Granite, led by Oberleutnant Rudolf Witzig, were tasked with securing the supposedly impregnable fort of Eben Emael. Seventy eight German paratroopers, Fallschirmjager, landed on top of the fort in the early hours of the morning. They landed in gliders, the first time gliders were ever used in an armed assault.

Rudolf Witzig (14 August 1916 – 3 October 2001) was a German Fallschirmjäger during World War II and Oberst in the Bundeswehr. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. 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. Witzig is most well known for his action against the Belgian fortress Fort Eben-Emael.

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Belgium Falls to the Axis:  On this day in 1940, after 18 days of endless German bombardment, the King of Belgium was given only unconditional surrender as an opition when he asked for an armistice. The Belgium king takes it.

As part of Hitler’s original Western offensive, German forces had moved into the country on 10 May. Although originally neutral in the war, Belgium is given support by both the BEF (British Expeditionary Forces) and French. Despite support given by their Allies, the Belgians were outnumbered, and outgunned from the beginning. The first surrender of Belgium territory took place only one day after the invasion, when the Fort Eben-Emael surrendered to German Fallschirmjägers. 

By 27 May, King Leopold III realizing retreat was no longer a viable option, coupled with the desire to save his people, sent an emissary through German lines to request a cease-fire. His request was summarily rejected, with a demand of unconditional surrender. The remaining part of Belgium’s government, exiled in Paris, renounce the offer, but it didn’t matter–there was no army left to fight. In London, Prime Minister Winston Chuchill is left defending King Leopold’s actions to the House of Commons–despite the fact that it eventually results in leaving the remaining British troops in the most precarious position of the entire war, Dunkirk.

Refusing to flee the country, King Leopold was taken prisoner by the Germans during occupation, and confined to his palace. He would be held for the entirety of the war, both in his palace and in German territory. Like all places occupied during the Second World War, an underground army grew; its working included the protection of the port of Antwerp, the most important provisioning point for the Allies in the European theater, from being destroyed by the Germans.

Shortly after Belgium’s surrender, the Battle of France would end. By 1941, the majority of Western Europe would be under the Third Reich’s boot.