Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben joined the Prussian Army in August 1914 as a Fahnenjunker (a soldier accepted for officer training). He was assigned to the training and replacement Battalion of the 3.Garde Regiment zu Fus. (3rd Guard Infantry Division (Germany)). In September 1914 after completing his Basic Military training he joined the 3.Garde in the field, being wounded just 13 days later. In the spring of 1916 he took command of an infantry Company in the Regiment and later that same year was appointed as the Regimental Adjutant and Ordnance officer,wounded in November 1916, he later returned to his Regimental post in January 1917.
He served as a Regimental Commander with the 1st Panzer Division (Germany) during the French Campaign of 1940 and then following the French capitulation he transferred to 14th Panzer Division (Germany) as the 108th Infantry Regiment commander based in France, Aug 1940. He then served as a Brigade Commander with the 4th Panzer Division (Germany) on the Eastern Front, from June 1942, however this Division was completely destroyed by February 1943 during the Battle of Stalingrad . Von Schlieben then was delegated as the Commander of the 208th Infantry Division (Germany) remaining On the Eastern Front
In April 1943 he took command of the 18th Panzer Division (Germany),Deployed On the Eastern Front until the Division was disbanded following very heavy heavy losses at the Battle of Kursk. In October 1943 Von Schlieben was placed on the Fuhrer Reserve until in December 1943 he was assigned the command of 709th Static Infantry Division (Germany) based in Normandy, France.
The 709th was a Static Infantry Division used for occupation duties in France and as a guard against allied raids and invasion. The Division was on the Normandy coast when the invasion took place, and thus fought in the early days of the Battle of Normandy, Quickly becoming trapped in the Cotentin as U.S. forces sealed off the Peninsula the remnants of the Division fell back on Cherbourg.
On the 23rd June 1944 Generalleutnant Karl Wilhelm Von Schlieben was made the Commandant for the Battle of Cherbourg, a coastal port the German high Command had designated as a ‘fortress’, however just 3 days later von Schlieben and over 800 other troops surrendered to Major General Manton S. Eddy the Commander of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division. After his capture, he was held at Island Farm.
Married to Elenor von Schlieben They had six children all of whom are dead, the last dying in 1993.