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Unit Name
Feldkommandantur 642
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Commander (s)
Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin
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Estimated Strength
Security Elements (Unknown Strength)
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Date committed to Battle
17th September 1944
Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin
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Due to the strategic importance of the city of Arnhem on the Rhine, the German High Command allocated to the city an administrative sub-area headquarters known as Feldkommandantur 642. This was commanded by Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin, a Pioneer Officer who had a history dating back to pre World War I. Kussin had assumed the position of commander Feldkommandantur 642 in September 1943 and was responsible for the security of the town. However it is assumed that he did not possess a large number of troops under command but rather a small security detachment that included Flak to guard vital assets such as any bridges that spanned the Rhine through Arnhem.

On the 17th September 1944, thousands of British Paratroopers descended west of Arnhem causing alarm for all german unit in the area. Knowing full well that General Kussin was responsible for the security of Arnhem itself, he needed to know exactly the strengths and dispositions of the allied troops that had recently landed. Unable to make contact with German units west of Arnhem he decided to personally advance to the front to get a better picture of what was occurring. He departed in his Citroën Staff Car along the Utrechtseweg with his driver Gefreiter Josef Willeke and his aide Unteroffizier Max Köster. They arrived at the headquarters of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Ausbildungs und Ersatz-Battalion 16 commanded by SS- Hauptsturmführer Josef ‘Sepp' Krafft at roughly 1715h.

The general was briefed on the situation with the latest information as one of Krafft's companies had just returned from an attack. General Kussin told Krafft to demonstrate his endurance for the up coming battle and that he would try and get reinforcements. Before getting back into his staff car, Krafft informed the general to return via a northern route as it was very likely that British paratroopers now occupied the southern route. Kussin, for whatever reason, ignored the SS- Hauptsturmführer's advice and departed the same way as he came.

A few minutes later as the German General and his staff returned to their headquarters, they ran into the lead elements of the 3rd Parachute Battalion led by Lt James Cleminson of B Coy. The british opened up with small arms fire stopping the vehicle in its tracks and killing all occupants. The man responsible for the defence of Arnhem was now dead at 1730h on the 17th September 1944.

 
General Kussin was pulled out of the car by passing paratroopers and photographed by the British Army Film and Photograph Unit
His driver tried to defend himself was a pre-war rifle but was cut down before being able to fire a shot.

This is the account of the officer in charge of the leading British platoon, Lieutenant James Arthur Stacey Cleminson of No.5 Platoon, "B" Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion:

"The platoon had been selected to lead the 3rd Battalion's march to Arnhem, and for the first two hours they made good progress, scouting ahead of the main force. As they approached Battalion Krafft's blocking line east of Wolfheze, a German Citroen staff car suddenly appeared at a junction in between the platoon's positions, prompting these units to open fire with rifles and sten guns, killing all inside. So enthusiastic had been the firing that both vehicle and passengers were riddled with bullets and it took Cleminson's intervention to get his men to cease fire. This prize put the platoon on a high. Cleminson did not discover until after the war that his men had killed General Friedrich Kussin, the German commander of the Arnhem area. He had been visiting Krafft when he unwisely decided to return to the town and his own headquarters."

Source: http://www.battledetective.com/Kussin_Junction.html

 

Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model on learning of the generals death spoke to Kussin's Chief of Staff Major Ernst Schliefenbaum and informed him 'You are now responsible that we hold Arnhem'. The Major wrote later after the war that he felt giddy at the though as he only had a handful of men to stop an entire British Airborne Division.

Generalmajor Friedrich Kussin is now buried in the Ysselstein Cemetery in BL-6-143.



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