Gustave Mesny

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Gustave Marie Maurice Mesny
File:Gustave Marie Maurice Mesny.jpg
Born 28 March 1886
Le Puy-en-Velay, France
Died 19 January 1945(1945-01-19) (aged 58)
Near Nossen, Nazi Germany
Allegiance  France
Rank Divisional general (Major General)
Commands held 5th North African Infantry Division
Battles/wars Siege of Lille (1940)

Gustave Marie Maurice Mesny (28 March 1886 – 19 January 1945) was a French Army general in command of the 5th North African Infantry Division who was captured during the Second World War. Mesny was unlawfully executed in retribution for the death of German general Fritz von Brodowski.


Mesny was a member of the military command of the eleventh region until 1939, then in 1940 he commanded the 5th North African Infantry Division. His unit was surrounded in the Siege of Lille (1940) and he fought with the group of General Jean-Baptiste Molinié until 31 May 1940 at Haubourdin. Mesny was taken prisoner and interned in the Königstein Fortress. Mesny was involved in the escape of General Henri Giraud in 1942.

On 28 October 1944, the German general Fritz von Brodowski, after he was taken prisoner by the French, was shot and killed under suspicious circumstances. On 8 and 9 November, Swiss and British media announced that the Wehrmacht general who, according to the same journalists had participated in the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, was shot. The German High Command concluded, without due process, that the general died in revenge for Oradour. In return the command asked Adolf Hitler to avenge the death of Brodowski.

Hitler ordered Wilhelm Keitel to send a list of French generals imprisoned at Königstein. General De Boisse was then chosen by Hitler to be executed in retribution. The case then fell to three jurisdictions: the RSHA, the Foreign Office, and the chief of the Kriegsgefangenwesen (KGW, administration of prisoners of war). Details were planned by the chief of staff Gottlob Berger: Colonel Friedrich Meurer, inspector general assigned to prisoners of war. With the large number of authorities involved no longer ensuring the secrecy surrounding the execution of General De Boisse, Meurer arbitrarily chose Mesny.

The execution was carried out on 19 January 1945 by two members of the SS. For the occasion they wore Wehrmacht uniforms. Mesny and other generals were officially transferred to Oflag IV-C in Colditz Castle. During the transfer, a fictitious car crash separated Mesny from the rest of the group. Mesny was then shot with a bullet in the neck near Nossen.[1][2]


  • 1937-12-25 Colonel
  • 1940-06-01 Temporary Brigadier-General
  • 1940-09-01 Reverted to Colonel
  • 1941-05-20 Conditional Brigadier-General
  • 1944-08-10 Brigadier-General (Dated back to 20.05.1941)
  • 1944-08-10 Major-General (Dated back to 20.11.1942)


  1. Murder by Government, Robert M. W. Kempner
  2. This article incorporates information from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia