Kurt Meyer, nicknamed "Panzermeyer", (23 December 1910 -- 23 December 1961) served as an officer in the Waffen-SS during the Second World War. He saw action in many major battles, including the Invasion of France, Operation Barbarossa, and the Battle of Normandy.
Meyer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Upon promotion on 16 June 1944 at the age of 33 years, 5 months and 25 days Meyer became one of the youngest divisional commanders in the German Army during the Second World War.
Campaigns in Poland, France and the Low Countries--
Though the command of a static anti-tank company did not suit Meyer at all, his performance attracted positive attention during Fall Weiß, the invasion of Poland. The LSSAH was attached to Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt's Heeresgruppe Süd during the campaign. He was shot through the shoulder on 7 September 1939. Despite this, Meyer continued to command the anti-tank company and received the Iron Cross, second class, on 25 September 1939.
After the campaign in Poland, Meyer requested a more mobile command. He received it in the form of the LSSAH's Motorcycle Reconnaissance company (15 Kradschützenkompanie). He led the LSSAH motorcyclists through the invasion of France and the Low Countries. Commanding the 1st and 2nd platoons were his future comrades Hugo Kraas and Max Wünsche. The LSSAH was attached to General von Wietersheim's XVI. Armeekorps. During this campaign, Meyer was awarded the Iron Cross, first class.
Following the Western Campaign, the 15 Kradschützenkompanie was reorganized into the LSSAH's Aufklärungsabteilung (Reconnaissance Battalion) and Meyer was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer (Major).
Meyer and his battalion participated in the June 1941 Operation Barbarossa as a part of Heeresgruppe Süd. His lightning quick actions during this campaign gained him the nickname "Der schnelle Meyer" (Speedy Meyer). Meyer ordered his men to literally "charge the guns", which resulted not only in the capture of Mariupol on the Black Sea, but also virtually a whole Soviet division. This was a typical example of Meyer's style of command: daring and brave (Meyer was always at the front of his assaults) though also perhaps reckless.
In the summer of 1943, Hitler declared the formation of a new SS division. The 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend was to be filled by members of the Hitler Youth organization born in 1926—all 17-year olds, brought up knowing only the Nazi system. The division's commanding officers were to come from the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. The division was to be commanded by Meyer's old comrade SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Witt, and he was to be joined by Max Wünsche. Despite his desire to lead the Hitlerjugend's Panzer-Regiment, Meyer was selected to command the young Grenadiers of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25.
*This could go on and on,as this man's career was rather amazing. However,it would take you too long to read through it.So,this is just the highlight up to a certain point.
Panzermeyer,as he was also called,was said to be one of the most decorated,bravest,and most successful soldiers of WWII.When he was captured,they tried him for two things that he had nothing to do with,having not been there when these events occurred. One was the murder of 16 Canadian POWs,and the other was the destruction of an entire village,murdering every inhabitant. He wasnt even in the area at the time.He was sentenced to death,but it was commuted due to lack of real evidence,..and yet,he was given a prison sentence,which he survived,even with very bad treatment and seriously wounded. He was transferred to a British military prison in Werl, West Germany in 1951. He was released from prison on 7 September 1954 after the German government received advice to reduce his sentence to fourteen years. He had now spent nearly ten years in prison and factoring in the conventional reduction of a third for good behaviour, he was eligible for release as having served his sentence.
He went on to write a book about his exploits,called "Grenadiers". He passed away at the young age of only 51.
15,000 people arrived for his funeral,in Hagen, Stadtfriedhof.
Should you wish to read the rest of his exploits and how he came to command the 12th SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend,here's the link::