Freiherr Ernst August Maximilian Josef von Gise/en

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Freiherr Ernst August Maximilian Josef von Gise (born 17 July 1888 in Schweinfurt – died 8 May 1945 near Bernāti) was commander of (Divisions-) Gruppe Oberst von Gise (divisional group Colonel von Gise, for short: Group Gise) in Courland. In some instances (also in the diary and at German War Graves Commission) we find his name misspelled "Giese".

Family

Carreer

(according to AHF[3])

01.09.1935 Major (E = replenishment officer) (No. 13)
01.06.1940 Lieutnant Colonel (E) (No. 8)
15.05.1942 Colonel with seniority as of 01.04.1942 (No. 524)

01.11.1935 Cdr Replenishment MG Coy 63 (Garmisch-Partenkirchen) [acc.to seniority list DAL E]
12.10.1937 in staff of Psychological Assessment Station VI (Munich) [acc.to staffing]
10.11.1938 Cdr Replenishment Battailon, Mountain Rifle Regiment 98 (Memmingen)
26.08.1939 Cdr IIIrd / Infantry Regiment 488 [?] (fielded 26.8.39, renamed 15.10.42), 268. Infantry Division (fielded 26.8.39, disbanded 2.11.43 -> Div.Group 268)
03.08.1940 Cdr Infantry Replenishment Battailons 423 (fielded 26.8.39, from 1.4.40 with Div. 147, from 1.10.42 with Div. 407), Infantry Replenishment Regiment 212 (fielded 26.8.39, from 1.4.40 with Div.147, renamed 1.10.42), Division No. 147 (fielded 1.4.40, renamed 1.10.42)
17.06.1941 Cdr Infantry Replenishment Regiment 605 (fielded 24.6.41, renamed 7.11.42), Replenishment Brigade 204/Brigade 204 (fielded 15.6.41, 25.6.41 renamed Replenishment Brigade 204, renamed 27.4.42)
xx.xx.194x Feldkommandant 819
xx.xx.1945 Cdr Battle Group Gise

Commander of Divisional Group Colonel von Gise near Libau

Predecessors in the swamp position south of Libau

126th Infantry Division

126th Inf.Div. was thrown into this region south of Libau for the first time on 11 Oct 1944 after the breakthrough of the Soviets to the Baltic Sea and had built a stronghold along the line Jurmalciems–Ignatio. End of November they came to IInd Corps at Rudbārži, near the end of the Fourth Couland Battle into the region of Preekuln. They took the brunt of the Fifth Couland Battle and suffered warrying losses.[4]

???

End of Nov 44–23 Feb 45 division still TBD, perhaps by war diaries of Xth Corps (NARA?).

132nd Infantry Division

23 Febraury 1945: 132 = 132nd Inf.Div. (adapted clip from NARA "OKM Kurlandschlacht" Frame 6065259)

In position from 23 (according to accompanying sitution map) or 24 February 1945 (according to history of 126th Inf.Div.[4]).

Battle Group 126 (K.Gr. 126)

26 February 1945: unreadable, should be K.Gr. 126 (adapted clip from German Eastern Front Situation Maps)
01 March 1945: K.Gr. 126 (adapted clip from Lexikon der Wehrmacht)

The extensive losses of the 126th Infantry Division see it pulled from the line following the 5th Battle. April first week pulled from line, deployed southwest, strictly speaking south of Libau along the Barta River defensive zone. 126th’s remnants are transferred into the position occupied by Gruppe Giese south of Libau in a defensive linear position.[5][4]

21 March 1945: K.Gr. 126 (adapted clip from NARA "OKM Kurlandschlacht" Frame 6065262)

The author of the diary arrived at this position on 21st March 1945 when the sector of Corps MG Batallion 410 in which he was company commander still belonged to K.Gr. 126 which was transferred to the east on 29th, leaving behind the Fusilier Batallion 126 which we later find under Group Gise.

Gr. Oberst v. Gise

01 April 1945: Gr. Oberst v. Gise (adapted clip from Lexikon der Wehrmacht)
08 April 1945: Gr. Oberst v. Gise (adapted clip from German Eastern Front Situation Maps)

K.Gr. 126 was transferred eastward on 29th March 1945, von Gise took their place on Good Friday, 30th March 1945.[6] This did not affect the sector of Corps MG Batallion 410. Group Gise was composed of the following units:

Map of the aera of the swamp positions

Additionally (not found in other sources; the following facts from the diary):

  • Korps-MG-Bataillon 410
    Only a few days after 20.02.1945 (the beginning of the 5th Battle of Courland), obviously before end of February and thus long before 21st March 1945, when the author returned to the battalion convalescent, they moved to a position immediately east of Lituanian Police Battailon F/13 the positions of which in April and May 1945 stretched from around Peipas in the direction of the Baltic Sea.
    • The battalion commander Cpt. Dietsch is an always funny Saxon with cheeky mouth and many barely acceptable jokes.[9]
    • 1st company – Cdr Ob.Lt. Herbert Schrödter – in the western half with company HQ and machine gun stronghold on islands in the bog (now dried) north of the street
    • 2nd company – Cdr Lt. Voit – in the eastern half, already on dry land
    • (3rd company – Schrödter’s former – had already been destroyed in the 5th Battle of Courland)
    • mortar positions at the northbound street
  • unknown artillery unit having lost its guns (guess: A.R. 126 or parts of it??) already on dry land in thick wood or maybe adjacent/to the east of the bn’s (2nd coy’s) position and directly under Gise’s command, the diary is unclear in this point.

Lithuanian Police Battalion F/13

(according to AHF[10])

Feldpost number 12951

03 July 1941 created as TDA[11] Bn. 1
09 August 1941 reformed as Assistant Police (PPT[12]) Bn 1. Kaunas (from 3., 4. and 5. coys TDA Bn. 1)
20 December 1941 renamed Schuma Bn F/13 (Schutzmannschafts-Bataillon 13) (lithuanian) (Kauen)
July 1942 with Korück 584/16th Army
September 1942 strengthened by Lithuanian Schuma coys of Second Lieutnants Petras Mikelskas and Benediktas Garlauskas („renamed from the 1942 fielded lithuanian coys Mikelskas und Garlauskas“ acc.to Tessin/Kannapin p. 639)
12 September 1942–31 December 1942 with Korück 584/16th Army
01.01.–22.2.1943 with Korück 584/16th Army
September 1944 deleted in field post list
22 October 1944 with 12th Luftwaffe Field Div., XXXXIIIrd Corps, 16th Army
November 1944 in field post list again (Tessin/Kannapin p. 639)
06–24 November 1944 with 126th Inf.Div., Ist Corps, 18th Army
thus from 6 Nov 1944 until the capitulation positioned, as decribed in the Diary, from around Peipas along the street to the wood.
29 November–31 December 1944 with 32nd Inf.Div., 18th Army (14. - 23.12.1944 with „Group Lt.Gen. Thomaschki“)
January 1945 the just disarmed Schuma Bn 5 (lith.) is distributed to Schuma Bns 13 and 256 (Tessin/Kannapin p. 638)
January 1945 add of a new 4th coy from 3rd coy, Lithuanian Police Bn 5
08 January 1945 with Xth Corps, 18th Army (HQ Xth Corps was sent to Thomaschki's position)
13–28 January 1945 with 132nd Inf.Div., Xth Corps, 18th Army (132nd and 32nd Inf.Divs. swapped positions)
19–24 March 1945 Protection Area Pavilosta (Staff Colonel Köhl), 18th Army
28–30 [or: from 28 or 30 onwards?] March 1945 Group Gise, Xth Corps, 18th Army (Tessin/Kannapin p. 639)

Commanders:
3–24 July 1941 Colonel Andrius Butkknas
24 July 1941–? Major Kazys Šimkus
March–4 May 1942 Captain Norbertas Gasenas
DAO Police Captain Kurt Edelmann
4 May 1942–13 August 1943 (1942?) Captain Juozas Truškauskas
13 August (September?) 1942–Sept. 1943 Major Ernestas Bliudnikas
DAO Police Captain Temp
September 1943–8 May 1945 Captain, later Major Jonas Semaška (already mentioned June 1943)
maybe later Major Antanas Starkus-Monte

Circumstances of Gise's death

Gise has been pronounced dead by court (Amtsgericht Ingolstadt) with effect from 08.05.1945 in [or near] Libau, Courland, because the< lacked an official Wehrmacht paper as I belive.[13]

According to Ernst Merk who was chief of staff of AOK 18 Freiherr von Gise was KIA when Soviet forces attempted a last coup against Libau on May 8th, 1945.[14] Considering that there have not been any attacks (except for air raids against the port of Libau) even in the days before, one can assume that suicide[15] is another possibility.

Some genealogical websites say he went missing.[16] The diary, however, reports, most likely talking about Gise: "The graves of Giese and Werthen (Werschem?) in Bernati being cared of by Latvians."

Gise has not yet been reburied to a war cemetery of the German War Graves Commission. According to their information his grave is still located at Bernāti, Latvia[17]



  1. Axis History Forum, Thread "Oberst Ernst August Freiherr von Gise (1888-1945)", User "askropp" erraneously used "Freiin"
  2. The Peerage, content in Axis History Forum, Thread "Oberst Ernst August Freiherr von Gise (1888-1945)", User "askropp"
  3. Axis History Forum, Thread "Oberst Ernst August Freiherr von Gise (1888-1945)", Users "askropp" and "CNE503"
  4. 4,0 4,1 4,2 Grand Battles of the Kurland Pocket 1944-1945, by Richard P. Wade; more precise (see German text): Günter Braake: Die rheinisch-westfälische 126. Infanterie-Division 1940–1945. Dörfler Zeitgeschichte/Edition Dörfler im Nebel-Verlag, Eggolsheim (1985) S. 180 f.
  5. cf. Soviet map 1:100,000 O-34-127 ("Grid 127") or German map 1:300,000
  6. Bogg, Johann Leopold: Geraubt. Zehn Jahre und ein Monat. Verlag Lagerkreis Rewda, Wien 1994, p. 9
  7. Bogg p. 10, not quite correctly cited in Axis History Forum, Thread "Division (Gruppe) (Oberst von) Gise", User Torsten "Heimatschuss". – Bogg was aide de camps in the staff of Group 130 which obviously had developed from the regimental staff of Sicherungsregiment 130. The staff was operating in the area of 18th Armee and had various minor units subordinated depending on its current task.
  8. Misspelled name "Hutterich" corrected in Axis History Forum, Thread "Division (Gruppe) (Oberst von) Gise", User Torsten "rossano"
  9. Diary p. 265. In der Adressenliste: Dietsch, Günter, Greiz (Thüringen), Admiral-Scheer-Str. 30. He is obviously identical with Günther Dietsch. The street has indeed been renamed 1945/48.
  10. Forum der Wehrmacht, cited in Axis History Forum, Thread "Division (Gruppe) (Oberst von) Gise" von User Torsten "Heimatschuss"
  11. Tautinio darbo apsaugos, National Work Security, particularised in Wikipedia
  12. Pagalbinės policijos tarnyba, Police Assistant Service, particularised in Wikipedia
  13. geneall.net
  14. Merk, Ernst: Schwere Jahre auf der Höhe des Lebens. Books on Demand; Norderstedt; 2005, p. 11, cited in Axis History Forum, Thread "Division (Gruppe) (Oberst von) Gise" von User Torsten "Heimatschuss"
  15. Axis History Forum, Thread "Oberst Ernst August Freiherr von Gise (1888-1945)", User "askropp"
  16. Axis History Forum, Thread "Oberst Ernst August Freiherr von Gise (1888-1945)", User "askropp"
  17. Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, cited in Axis History Forum, Thread "Division (Gruppe) (Oberst von) Gise", User Torsten "Heimatschuss". German War Graves Commission erraneously has "Lieutnant Colonel" als his grade and "Giese" as name.