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Max-Josef Pemsel (15 January 1897 – 30 June 1985) was a Generalleutnant in the German Army during Second World War. After the war he became one of the very few senior officers from the Nazi Germany-era armed forces to serve in the West German Army.

Max-Josef Johann Pemsel
Born(1897-01-15)15 January 1897
Regensburg, Bavaria
Died30 June 1985(1985-06-30) (aged 88)
Munich, Bavaria
Allegiance German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Years of service1916–45, 1956–61
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross etc.

Life and careerEdit

Born on 15 January 1897 in Regensburg, Bavaria, Pemsel entered the Bavarian Army during the First World War in April 1916 as a volunteer. He was assigned to the 11th Reserve Infantry Regiment, with which he saw action at the Western Front. On 30 April 1918 Pemsel was promoted to lieutenant. After the Armistice, Pemsel remained in the shrunken German Reichswehr. In 1935 Pemsel became a staff officer in the 1st Mountain Division.[2]

During the Second World War he fought in various theaters. In 1941 during the Invasion of Yugoslavia he was the chief of staff of the XVIII Gebirgskorps. By 1944 he had been promoted to lieutenant-general and made chief of staff of the 7th Army under Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann, during which coordinated the first German response to Operation Overlord. In August 1944 Pemsel was transferred to Finland and given command of the 6th Mountain Division, a command he held until 19 April 1945. On 9 December 1944 Pemsel was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In April 1945 Pemsel was transferred to Italy, where he became chief of staff of the Ligurien Armee. He surrendered on 26 April 1945 and remained a prisoner of war until April 1948.[2]

On 26 April 1956 Pemsel entered the Bundeswehr in the rank of a major-general and was given command of Wehrbereich VI ("6th Military District") based at Munich. On 1 April 1957 he was promoted to commanding general of the II Corps, stationed in Ulm. On 30 January 1958 he was promoted to lieutenant-general.[3] Pemsel retired on 30 September 1961 and died on 30 June 1985 in Munich.[2]

Pemsel was a military consultant to the makers of the 1962 film The Longest Day, in which he was portrayed by Wolfgang Preiss.[4]


  1. ^ Hopmans, Rob (2013). "Pemsel, Max Josef Johann". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Generalleutnant Max Pemsel". 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  3. ^ Lieutenant General in the Bundeswehr was the equivalent of a three-star general, whereas his previous Lieutenant General rank in the Wehrmacht was equivalent to a two-star general.
  4. ^ "The Longest Day (1962) - Full cast and crew". 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.