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Ludwig Crüwell

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From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia


Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class (20 September 1914) & 1st Class (17 September 1916)
Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class 2nd Class (22 May 1940) & 1st Class (6 June 1940)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Knight's Cross on 14 May 1941 as Generalmajor and commander of the 11. Panzer-Division
34th Oak Leaves on 1 September 1941 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 11. Panzer-Division


Crüwell became commander of the 11th Panzer Division in August 1940 and led it during the Invasion of Yugoslavia; he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross afterwards. Then the division took part in Operation Barbarossa; he was promoted to Generalleutnant and received the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross.

Crüwell became commander of the Afrika Korps on 31 July 1941 under General Erwin Rommel who on the same day took command of Panzer Army Africa consisting of one infantry and two panzer divisions. Due to health reasons he took actual command on 15 September and was promoted to General der Panzertruppe on 17 December 1941.[citation needed] On 29 May 1942 Crüwell was inspecting operations by air in Libya. His pilot mistook British troops for Italian soldiers and landed where Crüwell was taken prisoner.

Crüwell was interned at Trent Park where on March 22 1943 he was intentionally placed with another POW General Wilhelm von Thoma. During their conversation Thoma disclosed intelligence regarding the V-2 rocket i.e. surprise that London was not yet in ruins from German rockets being tested at Kummersdorf test grounds he had visited. This led to the British investigating Peenemünde and following confirmation carried out a bombing raid on the Peenemünde facilities which severely disrupted the program.

After the war Crüwell settled in Essen. He became Chairman of the Veterans Association of the Germany Africa Corps and died on 25 September 1958.

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Ludwig Crüwell

Born(1892-03-20)20 March 1892
Dortmund German Empire
Died25 September 1958(1958-09-25) (aged 66)
Essen West Germany
Allegiance German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branchArmy (Wehrmacht)
Years of service1911–45

General der Panzertruppe
Commands held11th Panzer Division
Afrika Korps
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

  • Invasion of Poland

  • Battle of France

  • Balkan Campaign
    • Invasion of Yugoslavia

  • Eastern Front
    • Operation Barbarossa

North African Campaign

  • Western Desert Campaign

  • Tunisia Campaign

AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Ludwig Crüwell (20 March 1892 – 25 September 1958) was a German army general who served in the Afrika Korps of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Crüwell surrendered to the British forces on 29 May 1942 and was interned at Trent Park the British camp for high-ranking POWs where his conversations were subject to covert surveillance.


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