Kurt Student (May 12, 1890 – July 1, 1978) was a German Luftwaffe general who fought as a fighter pilot during the First World War and as the commander of German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) during the Second World War. He was convicted of war crimes for his actions in Crete. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
- The Allied airborne operation in Sicily was decisive despite widely scattered drops which must be expected in a night landing. It is my opinion that if it had not been for the Allied airborne forces (82nd) blocking the Hermann Goering Armd. Div. from reaching the beachhead, that division would have driven the initial seaborne forces back into the sea. I attribute the entire success of the Allied Sicilian Operation to the delaying of German reserves (by the 82nd ABN Div.) until sufficient forces had been landed by sea to resist the counterattacks by our defending forces, the strength of which had been held in mobile reserve.
- Quoted in "Airlift Doctrine" - Page 88 - by Charles E. Miller - History - 1988.
- Hitler was very upset by the heavy losses suffered by the parachute units, and came to the conclusion that their surprise value had passed. After that he often said to me: "The day of parachute troops is over." He would not believe reports that the British and Americans were developing airborne forces. The fact that none were used in the St. Nazaire and Dieppe raids confirmed his opinion. He said to me: 'There, you see! They are not raising such forces. I was right.' He only changed his mind after the Allied conquest of Sicily in 1943. Impressed by the way the Allies had used them there, he ordered an expansion of our own airborne forces. But that change of mind came too late - because by then you had command of the air, and airborne troops could not be effectively used in face of a superior air force.
- Quoted in "The Other Side of the Hill" - Page 168 - by Basil Henry Liddell Hart - History - 1948.
- The limitations of our strength compelled us to concentrate on two objectives - the points which seemed the most essential to the success of the invasion. The main effort, under my own control, was directed against the bridges at Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Moerdijk by which the main route from the south was carried across the mouths of the Rhine. Our task was to capture the bridges before the Dutch could blow them up, and keep them open until the arrival of our mobile ground forces. My force comprised four parachute battalions and one air-transported regiment (of three battalions). We achieved complete success, at a cost of only 180 casualties. We dared not fail, for if we did the whole invasion would have failed. The secondary attack was made against The Hague. Its aim was to get a hold upon the Dutch capital, and in particular to capture the Government offices and the Service headquarters. The force employed here was commanded by General Graf Sponcck; it consisted of one parachute battalion and two air-transported regiments. This attack did not succeed. Several hundred men were killed and wounded, while as many were taken prisoner.
- Quoted in "The Other Side of the Hill" - Page 124 - by Basil Henry Liddell Hart - History - 1948.
- I have never seen such a defiance of death.
- Said of the Cretans, quoted in "United States of America Congressional Record", Vol. 151, Pt. 8, Page 10712, 2005.
- Kurt Student was a German professional soldier, typical of the best of his kind, totally devoted to his calling and to his country, though by no means in full sympathy with Nazi leadership.
- Correlli Barnett.
- General Kurt Student was a German of the almost obsessively meticulous order and was determined to ensure that every unit involved in the forthcoming operation was kept fully briefed.
- Ernle Dusgate Selby Bradford.