Karl Eibl, 1891-1943

Karl Eibl (1891-1943) was an Austrian who rose to high rank in the German army before being assassinated by an Italian soldier in 1943. Eibl served in the Austrian army before the Anschluss of 1938, having entered the army in 1914 as a Leutnant in Landwehr Regiment 21. After the war he rose to command Infantry Regiment 6.

After the Anschluss he transferred to the German Wehrmacht. He was given command of the 3rd Battalion, 131st Infantry Regiment, 44th Division, rising to command the regiment before the invasion of Poland. He won the Iron Cross First and Second Class during the Polish campaign.

Eibl commanded the 132nd Infantry Regiment during the invasion of France in 1940, and on 15 August 1940 was awarded the Knight's Cross for his actions around Chuignolles, and the defeat of an enemy brigade. He was promoted to colonel, and commanded the same regiment during Operation Barbarossa, where he became the 50th recipient of the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross (31 December 1941) for actions around Zhitomir and close to the Uman peninsula. Eibl spent the rest of his career fighting on the Eastern Front. He was promoted to command the 358th Infantry Division, and on 19 December 1942 became the 21st recipient of the Swords to the Knight's Cross (and only the 2nd Army officer to receive that award, after Rommel) for his success in stopping part of the Soviet offensive around Stalingrad in the winter of 1942.

Eibl was promoted to Generalleutnant, and on 20 January 1943 became acting commander of the 24th Panzer Corps. His promotion was to be very short-lived, for on the following day an Italian solider serving on the Eastern Front threw a grenade into Eibl's car, mortally wounding him (this may have occurred during an accidental clash between German and Italian troops during a chaotic retreat, although some sources state that it was a deliberate attack). Eibl was posthumously promoted to General of Infantry.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 October 2011), Karl Eibl, 1891-1943 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_eibl_karl.html

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