Friedrich Kirchner (26 March 1885 – 6 April 1960) was a German general during World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Friedrich Kirchner joined the imperial German army as a Fähnrich on 1 May 1899 and was assigned to the 8. Königlich Sächsisches Infanterie-Regiment "Prinz Johann Georg" Nr. 107. While assigned to this regiment he was promoted to Leutnant on 27 January 1907. The officers patent was back dated to 18 August 1905. Kirchner was transferred to the 1. Königlich Sächsisches Ulanen-Regiment "Kaiser Franz Josef von Österreich, König von Ungarn" Nr. 17, a regiment of the 23. Division (23rd Division) in 1911. He was still assigned to this regiment at the outbreak of World War I. He was promoted to Rittmeister on 24 July 1915.
After World War I he was accepted for service in the Reichswehr where he initially served with the 12. (Sächs.) Reiter-Regiment. He was made escadron chief, a position which he officially held of the 4th escadron of the 12. (Sächs.) Reiter-Regiment in Großenhain by the spring of 1924. He held this position for many years before he was transferred to the Regimentsstab of the 12. (Sächs.) Reiter-Regiment in Dresden in the spring of 1928. Kirchner was promoted to Major on 1 February 1928. From 1929 he served in the Stab of the 2. Kavallerie-Division in Breslau. Kirchner was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1 December 1932 and Oberst on 1 November 1934. He was made commanding officer of the 1. Schützen-Regiment (1st Rifle Regiment of the 1st Rifle Brigade of the 1st Panzer Division) on 15 October 1935 and commanding officer of the 1. Schützen-Brigade (1st Rifle Brigade) on 10 November 1938. He was promoted to Generalmajor on 1 March 1938.
He participated in the invasion of Poland with the 1. Schützen-Brigade until he was given command of the 1. Panzer-Division on 3 November 1939. On 1 April 1940 he was promoted to Generalleutnant. Kirchner led the 1. Panzer-Division in the Battle of France. Kirchner was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 20 May 1940 for the successful leadership of the 1. Panzer-Division. He was wounded during the invasion of France when one of his legs was run over by a German vehicle. He then took command of the LVII. Armeekorps on 15 November 1941. He was promoted to General der Panzertruppe on 1 February 1942. Even after the re-designation of the LVII. Armeekorps to LVII. Panzerkorps he remained in command of the LVII. Panzerkorps until the end of World War II.
- Iron Cross (1914)
- 2nd Class (1 October 1914)
- 1st Class (26 September 1917)
- Infantry Assault Badge
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
- Eastern Front Medal
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 1st Class, 25 Years
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 2nd Class, 18 Years
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 3rd Class, 12 Years
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class, 4 Years
- Tank Combat Badge in Silver
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (22 September 1939)
- 1st Class (4 October 1939)
- German Cross in Gold on 22 April 1942 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 1. Panzer-Division
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 20 May 1940 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 1. Panzer-Division
- 391st Oak Leaves on 12 February 1944 as General der Panzertruppe and commanding general of the LVII. Panzer-Korps
- 127th Swords on 26 January 1945 as General der Panzertruppe and commanding general of the LVII. Panzer-Korps
- Mentioned twice in the Wehrmachtsbericht (4 February 1943 and 27 November 1944)