Friedrich Kühn

Friedrich Kühn
Nickname(s) Fritz
Born (1889-08-07)7 August 1889
Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein
Died 15 February 1944(1944-02-15) (aged 54)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1909–28, 1930–44
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Commands held 33rd Infantry Division/15th Panzer Division
14th Panzer Division
Chief of Wehrmacht Motor Transport and Mechanization

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
German Cross in Gold

General Friedrich Kühn (7 August 1889 – 15 February 1944) was a General der Panzertruppe in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.

World War II

At the start of World War II, Kühn was in command of a tank training school near Berlin, where he had been since 10 November 1938. On 10 February 1940, he took command of the 3rd Panzer Brigade under 3rd Panzer Division, which he led into the Battle of France. On 1 July 1940, he was promoted to Generalmajor.[1] Kühn and his soldiers played a key part in the second stage of the battle, Fall Rot, when they were able to penetrate the French Weygand line on the first day of the offensive to a depth of 15 kilometers, destroyed fourteen artillery batteries and paved the way for the exploitation of the breakthrough. For his decisive leadership on that day Kühn would later be awarded the Knight’s Cross on 4 July 1940.[2] In September 1940 he briefly held command of the 3rd Panzer Division in place of its commander Horst Stumpff, who returned to take command on 4 October 1940, and Kühn was appointed commander of the 33rd Infantry Division on 5 October 1940. The 33rd Infantry Division became the 15th Panzer Division on 11 November 1940, with Kühn keeping this command. On 22 March 1941 he traded command of 15th Panzer Division with Generalleutnant Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron, and took command of 14th Panzer Division,[3] which he led into the Invasion of Yugoslavia.[4][5][1]

Kühn and the 14th Panzer Division participated in Operation Barbarossa as part of 1st Panzer Group under Army Group South, crossing into Russia near Ustyluh on 20 June 1941. The division captured Lutsk on 26 June 1941,[6] reached Rivne by 1 July, and Bila Tserkva by 23 July 1941. The division turned south and drove through Uman on to Kirovohrad, which fell on 5 August 1941. Kühn then led the division through Kryvyi Rih to participate in the fight for Dnipropetrovsk, which lasted until 10 September 1941. The division then turned south and participated in the Battle of Rostov (1941), before spending the winter in defensive positions around the Mius River.[1]

In 1942, Kühn and his division were ordered to assist in the counter-offensive against Russian forces in the Izyum area, which is where the unit was located until the middle of May 1942.[1] On 22 April 1942, Kühn was awarded the German Cross in Gold.[7] During the Second Battle of Kharkov, the division was ordered to relocate to Stalino, which is where it was located at the end of June 1942. On 30 June 1942, Kühn gave up the 14th Panzer Division, and on 1 July 1942, he was promoted to Generalleutnant. On 10 September 1942 he was appointed General of Army Mechanization at the OKH. On 23 February 1943, per orders directly from Adolf Hitler, he was put in charge of all motorization matters for all of the Wehrmacht. On 1 April 1943 he was promoted to General der Panzertruppe. On 15 February 1944, he was killed in an Berlin air raid at the Hotel Bristol.[1]




  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Glantz, David (2012). Operation Barbarossa: Hitler's invasion of Russia 1941. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-6070-3. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). Rommel's Desert Commanders: The Men who Served the Desert Fox, North Africa, 1941-1942. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-99436-5. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2006). The Panzer Legions: A Guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of World War II and Their Commanders. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3353-3. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Stockings, Craig; Hancock, Eleanor (2013). Swastika over the Acropolis: Re-interpreting the Nazi Invasion of Greece in World War II. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-25459-6. 
  • Armored Bears Volume One: The German 3rd Panzer Division in World War II, Volume 1. Stackpole Books. 2014. ISBN 978-0-8117-4847-6. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Rudolf Sintzenich
Commander of 33rd Infantry Division
5 October 1940 – 11 November 1940
Succeeded by
renamed to 15th Panzer Division
Preceded by
renamed from 33rd Infantry Division
Commander of 15th Panzer Division
11 November 1940 – 22 March 1941
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Heinrich von Prittwitz und Gaffron
Commander of 14th Panzer Division
22 March 1941 – 30 June 1942
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Ferdinand Heim
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