Adelbert Schulz, 20 December 1903 – 28 January 1944, was a Generalmajor and division commander in the German Wehrmacht during World War II. He was one of 27 people to be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten) and one of the youngest German generals. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade the Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds were awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. At the time of its presentation to Schulz, it was Germany’s highest military decoration.
He took part in the occupations of Austria and the Sudetenland. During the western campaign and in 1940 was promoted to captain. He participated in the Invasion of Belgium, attacks on French and British positions and assisted in the breakthrough to Cherbourg, serving under General Erwin Rommel. On 29 September 1940, he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. As part of Army Group Centre, in Klin, Schulz attacked a Soviet force eight times larger than his own. Despite being outnumbered, he covered the retreat of German troops and the evacuation of a field hospital with more than 4,000 wounded. For these actions, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross on 31 December 1941. On 6 August 1943, he received the Swords to his Knight’s Cross and was promoted to colonel. The 7th Panzer-Division subordinated to the 4th Panzer Army under the command of Hermann Hoth started its counteroffensive against the recently evacuated city of Kharkov (Kharkiv) on 11 March 1943. Adelbert Schulz, who had just recently before been put in command of the Panzer-Regiment 25, led his Kampfgruppe in one of the most successful engagements of the Gespensterdivision (Ghost Division). His soldiers destroyed more than 100 enemy tanks and many artillery positions during the annihilation of the Red Army’s 3rd Tank Army.
On 14 December, Schulz received a radio message that he would receive the Diamonds to the Ritterkreuz, and was told to report to the Führer’s headquarters. Schulz refused to go on the grounds that he was too busy fighting on the Eastern Front and had no time to receive it. The honor was eventually awarded to him on 9 January 1944, and he was promoted to major general and made division commander in charge of Rommel’s former division.
Generalmajor Adelbert Schulz led the tanks of the 7th Panzer-Division in an attack against the enemy positions at Shepetivka on 28 January 1944. Standing in the opened hatch of his tank, Schulz was hit by artillery shrapnel in the head. Schulz succumbed to his injuries the same day even though he had immediately been evacuated to a field hospital. His death was announced on 30 January 1944 in the Wehrmachtbericht.
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