Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein (24 April 1870 – 16
October 1948) was a German general from Nuremberg. He was a member of
the group of German officers who assisted in the direction of the
Army during World War I. Kress von Kressenstein was part of
Otto Liman von Sanders
Otto Liman von Sanders military mission to Turkey, which arrived in
Turkey shortly before
World War I
World War I broke out.
Von Kressenstein came from a patrician family in Nuremberg. His father
Georg Kress von Kressenstein (1840–1911) was a high court judge. Von
Kressenstein joined the Bavarian army as an ensign in the artillery in
1 World War I
2 Later life
3 Decorations and awards
4 See also
8 External links
World War I
See also: Sinai and Palestine Campaign
He joined Djemal Pasha's army in Palestine as a military engineer and
later chief of staff. Djemal Pasha was given the job by the Turkish
Enver Pasha of capturing or disabling the Suez Canal. This
effort is called the
First Suez Offensive
First Suez Offensive and it occurred in January
1915. Kress von Kressenstein was responsible for creating special
boats for crossing the canal (pontoons) as well as organizing the
crossing of the Sinai desert. While the desert was crossed with little
loss of life, the British were aware of their approach and their
attack on the Suez came as no surprise to the defenders. The Turkish
forces were repulsed easily and after two days of fighting, they
retreated. Kress von Kressenstein's special pontoons were never used.
More than a year passed when the Turks tried a second attack on the
Suez. With Djemal Pasha directing affairs from his base in Damascus,
Kress von Kressenstein led a larger Ottoman army across the Sinai
desert, again. This attack ran into a strong British defensive
fortification at Romani, 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the canal.
The Ottoman army prepared a major set-piece assault on Romani,
scheduled for 3 August 1916 (see the
Battle of Romani
Battle of Romani for a detailed
description). The attack was beaten off and again the Turks retreated
back to their bases in Palestine.
The British responded with an attack of their own. They captured some
small Turkish forts in the Sinai, built a railroad and water pipe
across the desert and then launched an assault on the Ottoman fort at
Gaza. Kress von Kressenstein was in charge of the Ottoman defences
along with an Ottoman
General Tala Bey. In the First Battle of Gaza
(March 1917), the British were defeated, largely due to their own
errors. In the
Second Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Gaza in April 1917, the British were
defeated again, the credit for this victory largely going to Kress von
The British removed their unsuccessful generals and replaced them with
General Allenby. The Ottomans also replaced their top leadership,
bringing in the former Chief of the German
Falkenhayn. Kress von Kressenstein was kept on as commander of the
Army defending Gaza and he was also awarded Prussia's
highest order, the Pour le Mérite.
In November 1917, the British under
Allenby breached the
Ottoman defensive positions at the Battle of Beersheba and the Third
Battle of Gaza. Kreß von Kressenstein was able to withdraw his
defeated troops in fairly good order to new defensive positions in the
German Caucasus Expedition
German Caucasus Expedition and Caucasus Campaign
In the middle of 1918, with the Ottoman-German alliance breaking down,
Kress von Kressenstein was sent with a small German force to Georgia,
that was protected by Germany after its independence. He helped to
frustrate the Red Army's invasion of Georgian region Abkhazia.
Kress von Kressenstein retired from the German army in 1929 and died
Munich in 1948.
He wrote at least one paper 'The Campaign in Palestine from the
Enemy's Side' published in the Royal United Services Institute
Journal, and also memoirs My Mission in Caucasus which were published
in 2001 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Decorations and awards
Pour le Mérite
Pour le Mérite (Prussia)
Knight of the
Military Order of Max Joseph
Military Order of Max Joseph (Bavaria)
Officer of the Order of Military Merit (Bavaria)
Knight of the House Order of Hohenzollern
Iron Cross of 1914, 1st class (Prussia)
Order of the Medjidie, 4th class (Ottoman Empire)
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Witnesses and testimonies of the Armenian Genocide
Regarding personal names:
Freiherr is a former title (translated as
Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The
feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
"Kress" is part of the family name, not a given name; hence, "Kress
von Kressenstein" is the full family, or last, name.
Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace. Avon Books.
von Kressenstein, F.Kress (1921). "Zwicken Kaukasus und Sinai".
Jahrbuch des Bundes der Aisenkampfer (in German).
von Kressenstein, F.Kress (1938). Mit dem Turken zum Suezkanal (in
"Biography of Kreß von Kressenstein from First World War.com"
(downloaded January 9, 2006)
"The Great War and the only Triumphant Campaign of 1917" About
Allenby's Palestine campaign of 1917 (downloaded January 9, 2006; link
"Journal of the T. E. Lawrence Society – Autumn 1997" Lists Von
Kressenstein's monograph on the campaign.
Online version of My Mission in Caucasus
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