Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Oberstleutnant Georg Briel of the Afrikakorps

Oberstleutnant Georg Briel (21 August 1907 - 16 May 1980) was born in Ellers, in the Fulda District, and joined the police in 1927 as Polizei-Anwärter (Police Aspirant). He trained at the Polizeischule in Münden and transferred to the Schutzpolizei Kassel in 1929.  By 1934, he was a Polizei-Leutnant (Second Lieutenant of the Police).  He was inducted into the army as an Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) in 1935 and became adjutant of the Maschinengewehr-Bataillon 2 (motorisiert).  Subsequently he was a company commander in the Heeres-Flak-Bataillon 606.  Promoted to Hauptmann (Captain) in 1938, he assumed command of Battalion in 1941, and became a Major in 1942. In the North African theater, Heeres-Flak-Bataillon 606 became a part of 90.leichte-Afrika-Division, which Rommel liked to use as an antitank unit with the the forward troops. Briel was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) in 23 July 1942 for shooting up a French breakout attempt at Bir Hacheim. He later commanded the Panzergrenadier-Regiment 200 (formerly Schützen-Regiment 200) in Tunisia, but fell seriously ill and returned to Europe, a short time before the Axis surrendered in North Africa. As an Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) in 1945, he commanded Grenadier-Regiment 57 of 79. Volks-Grenadier-Division on the Western Front until he was wounded again in the last weeks of the war.  Briel was in a hospital in Erlangen when Germany surrendered. Apart from the Ritterkreuz, he received the following medals for his military service in World War II: Dienstauszeichnung IV. Klasse (2 October 1936); Eisernes Kreuz II.Klasse (22 September 1939) und I.Klasse (30 August 1940); Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen (20 March 1940); Allgemeines-Sturmabzeichen (15 January 1942); Italian Medaglia commemorativa della campagna italo-tedesca in Africa (19 January 1942); Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz (3 February 1942); Italian Medaglia d'Argento al Valore Militare (18 February 1942); Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (20 February 1942); Ärmelband "Afrika" (12 April 1943); and Heeres-Flak-Abzeichen (27 April 1943).

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