Karl Decker

Karl Decker

Infobox Military Person
name=Karl Decker
born=birth date|1897|11|30|df=y
died=death date and age|1945|4|21|1897|11|30|df=y
placeofbirth=Borntin-Neustettin, Pomerania
placeofdeath=Großbrunsrode, Braunschweig

allegiance=flagicon|German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
flagicon|Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (to 1945)
rank=General der Panzertruppe
XXXIX. Panzer-Korps
battles=World War I
World War II
awards=Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (posthumous)

Karl Decker (30 November 1897 – 21 April 1945) was a German general in the infantry, serving during World War II. Trapped in the Ruhr Pocket, Decker committed suicide on 21 April 1945.

Military career

Karl Decker was born on 30 November 1897 as son to an officer in Borntin-Neustettin in Pomerania. In the beginning of World War I he initially served in the "Infanterieregiment 54" as an "Unteroffizier". He was promoted to an officer candidate for bravery before the enemy and also was awarded the Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class. Decker was again promoted in 1915 to Leutnant and shortly afterwards received the Iron Cross 1st Class. He then served as "Zugführer" of a machine gun unit after he was transferred to the "Feldkriegsschule" of the 8. Armee in 1916. He then held the position of an adjutant to a Battalion. During 1918 he was assigned to the "Infanterieschule" in Döberitz as a weapons instructor.Berger 1999, p. 52.]

After the capitulation of the German Empire Decker was accepted into the Reichswehr and served with the "Reserve-Jägerregiment 29", and the "Jägerregiment 5" and in the "Reiterregiment 6". He was promoted to "Oberleutnant" and "Hauptmann" during these assignments. As a major he was transferred to the "Stab" of the "Kavellerieregiment 15" together with Horst Niemack. Shortly afterwards he was reassigned again, this time to the "Panzerabwehrabteilung 38" in Mühlhausen. He later held the commanding offers position with this unit.

This unit was subordinated to the 2. Panzerdivision during the Invasion of Poland and fought under the command of Decker near Krakau and the Jablonka pass.

During the Battle of France, Decker commanded the I. Abteilung of the Panzerregiment 3 in the 2. Panzerdivision. This unit fought at the Maas, near Sedan, St. Quentin and Abbeville. Decker was awarded both clasps to the Iron Cross (1939) for his personal bravery and also promoted to "Oberstleutnant".

In Balkans Campaign his Regiment fought its way through Yugoslavia, northern Greece, occupied Athens and crossed the channel of Corinth. Karl Decker always always leading his unit from the front was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 June 1941 for his personal bravery and for the achieved success.

Karl Decker was put in command of Panzerregiment 3 before Operation Barbarossa began. His Regiment fought hard in the battles at Wjasma, Brjansk and near Moscow. Decker was promoted to "Oberst" on 1 February 1942. A few months later he was transferred to the "Stab" of the 9. Armee. In April 1943 he again was ordered to the front as commander of the 5. Panzerdivision. Decker distinguished themselves multiple times, for instance at Shisdra, in the relief of the cauldron of Kowel and at Operation Zitadelle and was promoted to "Generalmajor" on 1 December 1943. Decker also distinguished himselves many times during the retreat of "Heeresgruppe Mitte". He was awarded the 466th Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross on 4 May 1944 and promoted to "Generalleutnant".

For his leadership capabilities Decker was made commanding general of the XXXIX. Panzerkorps. Deckers Corp fought successfully under the command of the 3. Panzerarmee in multiple defensive and retreating battles. Decker was promoted to General der Panzertruppen on 1 January 1945.

After his unit was relocated to the Western front, his Corp fought the Americans at Uelzen and in the Elsaß. Here the 5. Panzerarmee was subordinated to "Heeresgruppe B". General der Panzertruppen Karl Decker committed suicide on 21 April 1945 after total defeat and the encirclement of the Heeresgruppe in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945. Decker was posthumously awarded the 149th Swords to the Knight's Cross on 26 April 1945.


* Wound Badge in Black
* Iron Cross (1914) 2nd and 1st Class
* Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
** 2nd Class (22 October 1939)
** 1st Class (16 September 1941)
* Panzer Badge in Silver
* German Cross in Gold (1 August 1942)
* Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
** Knight's Cross (13 June 1941)
** 466. Oak Leaves (4 May 1944)
** 149. Swords (26 April 1944) (posthumous) [The German National Archives hold no records for the presentation of the Swords. It is assumed that the presentation fell into the timeframe 20 April 1945 to 29 April 1945. It is assumed that the award was granted on 26 April 1945. Fellgiebell 2000]
* Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht


* Berger, Florian. "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Wien, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger, 2006. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5. de icon
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5. de icon
* Patzwall, Klaus D. and Scherzer, Veit: "Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II" (The German Cross 1930–1945: History and holders, vol. 2). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, 2001. ISBN 3-931533-45-X. de icon

External links

* [http://www.ritterkreuztraeger-1939-45.de/Infanterie/D/Decker-Karl.htm Karl Decker @ Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS 1939-1945]

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