German Corps Commanders in WW II.

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German Corps Commanders in WW II.

Post by tigre » Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:49 am

Hello folks, greetings from Argentina. Here goes a briefing of the Maj USA French Maclelan's thesis on that topic.

Commander's Background

Career (Served in WWI and remained in Reichswehr) 268 (80.7 %)

Recalled from Retirement (In Reichswehr, retired) 22 (6.6 %)

Transferred from Police (Served in WWI, left Army, returned with Police rank) 27 (8.1 %)

Joined during 1930s Expansion 4 (1.2 %)

Incorporated from Austrian Army 11 (3.3 %)

Corps Comnanders Coming out of Retirement
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GdK Ewald von Kleist commanded the XXII Corps from 1939-1940. He continued his rise with the commands of Panzer Group Kleist, 1st Panzer Army, Army Group A, and Army Group South Ukraine. He was dismissed from the service March 30, 1944 and died in 1954 in a Soviet Prisoner of War Camp.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclelan - Maj USA - 1974.

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Post by Jerry » Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:22 pm

Hello Tigre,

I have tried to get this document through the local library ILL and they could not locate an available copy. I look forward to seeing more from it. Thank you in advance.

Jerry
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German Corps Commanders in WW II.

Post by tigre » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:42 pm

Hello to all; more about those unknown Generals.......

The following corps commanders transferred from the Police to the Army:

Corps Commanders from the Police.

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GdI Friedrich Wilhelm Mueller made the most rapid rise of the "Police" Commanders. Laterally transferring from the Hamburg Police in March 1936, he was a battalion commander from 1938-1940, a regimental commander 1940-1942, and a division commander from 1942-1944. In 1944 he served as both temporary and permanent Corps Commander before assuming command of the 4th Army January 29, 1945. After the war he was condemned for war crimes and hanged in Athens, May 1947.

Panzer Corps Commanders with Police Backgrounds

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Seven former police officers commanded panzer corps, positions would seem to require the greatest understanding of modern mobile warfare. This would seem to undermine che "anti-police" school of thought until we look at duration of command . The table shows that only two (29%) commanded longer than one month. Although Kaellner and Schuenemnn were killed in action it appears as though "police" commanders were thought of more as temporary panzer corps commanders than permanent.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.

Its follows. Regards. Tigre.
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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German Corps Commanders in WW II.

Post by tigre » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:14 am

Hello folks, a bit more.......

Twenty-seven generals who returned to the Army in the mid 1930s from the police achieved corps command. Most were absorbed into the infantry. Five later commanded at the army or army group level, representing 19% of all corps commanders with police backgrounds, and are shown below:

Corps Commanders with Police Backgrounds.

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Austrian officers compared favorably to their German counterparts in competency and leadership. The following ten Austrian officers achieved corps command and were promoted to higher command positions as shown:

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21-GL Eibl became the only corps commander to be killed by his own troops when he was seriously wounded by a handgenade thrown by a soldier in a passing Italian truck column as he was sitting on the fender of his staff car. He underwent emergency surgery, without anesthesia, which resulted in the amputation of a leg, but died.

Influence of the Nazi Party.

With very few exceptions the Nazi party exercised no influence on Army appointments. Army officer promotions and assignments were based on performance and qualifications, not political considerations.

One facet of party affiliation was the Nazi Party's highest decoration for service, "The Decoration of 9 November 1923" also known as "The Blood Order". Hitler created this decoration in March 1934 to commemorate the failed Putsch (attempted overthrow of Bavarian government) of November 9, 1923 in Munich. Eligibility was initially limited to persons who had participated in the events of November 9th and who were Party members by January 1, 1932. These individuals were affectionally known as "Old Comrades " . In 1938, eligibility was expanded to persons who had rendered outstanding services to the Party in the 1920s and had received a Weimar court death sentence and served at least one year in jail for political crimes, or been severely wounded or killed in Party service.

Awards for this first criterion of eligibility totaled 1500. Of these 810 went to Party members, 500 to Freikorps troopers, and 140 to Reichswehr and Police members. Seven Reichswehr recipients went on to become general officers: Johannes Block, Curt-Ulrich von Gersdorff, Wolfdietrich von Xylander , Eduard Zorn, Robert Macher, Paul Hermann, and Theodor Kretschmer. Only one went on to become a corps commander.

Block was dismissed from the Reichswhr May 31, 1924. He reentered in 1934 and served as a battalion commander from 1937-1940, and a regimental commander from 1940-1942 prior to command of the 294th Infantry Division. During the last two years of the war he commanded three different corps before being killed in action January 26, 1945 near Lask Poland. His "Blood Order" medal number was #1393.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.

Its follows. Regards. Tigre.
Last edited by tigre on Thu Jun 21, 2007 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Jerry » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:29 pm

Tigre has asked me to post some of this document. Below is the first part of Chapter 4.

CHAPTER 4


BACKGROUND, EDUCATION, AND EXPERENCE



INTRODUCTION


This chapter will be to examine the background, education, and experience factors of German corps commanders in World War II. A total of 332 men served as permanent or acting commanders for the ninety-three German Army corps from 1939 to 1945. Central to a thorough understanding of these factors is a review of the system of general officer grades and their equivalent Amen icon counterparts.

The basic grade system is shown below:


Table 6
General Officer Grades

German Grade / Abbreviation / English Translation /American Equivalent

Generalfeldmarschall / GFM / Field Marschal / General of the Army
Generaloberst / GO / Colonel General / General
General der Infanterie / GdI / General of Infantry / Lieutenant General
General der Artillerie / GdA / General of Artillery / " "
General der Panzer / GdPz / General of Panzers / " "
General der Pionier / GdPi / General of Engineers / " "
General der Gebirgstruppe / GdGebTr / General of Mountain Troops / " "
General der Kavallerie / GdKav / 0General of Cavalry / Lieutenant General
Generalleutnant / GL / Lieutenant General / Major General
Generalmajor / GM / Major General / Brigadier General


In comparing German grades with American ones it should be noted that a German generalmajor was routinely a commander of a division while his American counterpart seldom was. Moving up, a generalleutnant could command either a division or corps, while his major general American counterpart most often stayed at division level.1 To avoid this mental conversion of grades I will use German grade for all commanders.




BACKGROUND

AGE


The first characteristic to be examined is age. Major General J.F.C. Fuller in his work Generalship Its Diseases and Their Cure: A Study of the Personal Factor n Command states that physical vigor and energy are important assets of generalship and are usually found in younger men.2 Despite this theory, the German corps commanders were a mature group of individuals and were not young by the standards of the time. The following information shows the age groups as defined by age on assuming corps command.


Table 7
Age of Commanders

Age / Number of Officers* / Percentage of Total

40 to 44 / 6 / 1.8
45 to 50 / 104 / 31.8
51 to 55 / 162 / 49.5
56 to 60 / 44 / 13.4
61 to 65 / 11 / 3.3

* Note: Ages were determined for 327 of 332 commanders


The oldest individual was GL Hans Schmidt who was 64 years old when he assured command of the IX Corps in 1944. The youngest was GM Kurt von Liebenstein who assured command of the Africa Corps, January 1943, at age 43.



OFFICER SELECTION

Prior to World War I an individual could become an officer by attending one of ten cadet schools or by applying directly to a regimental commander. Applicants were evaluated for responsibility, willpower, and character. Educational factors were considered
secondary. The most significant element of education was the "Abitur", a diploma recognizing nine years of primary and secondary education, and granting the recipient the right to enter a university. The state of Bavaria demanded the officer candidate possess this certificate while by 1910 some 63% of all Prussian cadets had earned one. Long term implications for the Abitur were even more significant as acceptance for General Staff training depended on it.3

During World War I, huge demands for officers caused a dilution in the character and educational standards of officer candidates. Casualties increased while replacements were drawn from older reservists and inexperienced young officers. In 1916 the Supreme Headquarters began to transfer members of the "old officer corps" from the front lines to General Staff service in an attempt to prevent the total destruction of the traditional officer corps.4


After the conflict selection again became difficult. Under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, the post-war Reichswehr was reduced to 4,000 officers, of whom 3,000 were wartime officers and 1,000 were promoted noncommissioned officers. Outside candidates
were expected to have an extensive pre-university education level.
The Abitur was desired but not required. In its place, the candidate could take special equivalency examinations, a system which assisted enlisted candidates lacking in formal education.5

The environment through which the future corps commanders entered service fostered candidates with all around excellent character rather than more educated, technically oriented individuals. Additionally, character was often judged by the status of family influence and wealth. One standard was that of nobility and will be examined next.


NOBILITY

While most officers were members of the upper and middle classes, officers of noble descent had always figured prominently in German military tradition. During the Reichswehr era of 1924-1932, nobility again fared well in the composition of the officer corps. The following three tables reflect nobility composition of newly promoted majors (major), lieutenant colonels (oberstleutnant) and colonels (oberst). Many of the later corps commanders passed through these grades during this time.6

Table 8 Newly Promoted Majors

Year / Promoted / Nobles / Percent Noble

1924 / 73 / 12 / 16.4
1925 / 68 / 16 / 23.5
1926 / 74 / 19 / 25.6
1927 / 81 / 17 / 20.9
1928 / 93 / 27 / 29.0
1929 / 65 / 16 / 24.6
1930 / 66 / 10 / 15.1
1931 / 90 / 17 / 18.8
1932 / 73 / 5 / 1.3

Total / 683 / 139 / 20.3



Table 9 Newly Promoted Lieutenant Colonels

Year / Promoted / Nobles / Percent Noble

1924 / 43 / 14 / 32.5
1925 / 30 / 6 / 20.0
1926 / 43 / 13 / 30.2
1927 / 61 / 17 / 27.8
1928 / 67 / 26 / 38.8
1929 / 71 / 17 / 23.9
1930 / 70 / 14 / 20.0
1931 / 83 / 22 / 26.5
1932 / 65 / 12 / 18.4

Total / 533 / 141 / 26.4


Table 10 Newly Promoted Colonels

Year / Promoted / Nobles / Percent Noble

1924 / 32 / 10 / 31.2
1925 / 27 / 12 / 44.4
1926 / 29 / 13 / 44.8
1927 / 34 / 7 / 20.5
1928 / 45 / 13 / 28.8
1929 / 40 / 15 / 37.5
1930 / 46 / 11 / 23.9
1931 / 55 / 22 / 40.0
1932 / 45 / 10 / 22.2
Total / 353 / 113 / 32.0


However, the high percentage of nobility during the 1932 - 1945 period diminished. In 1932, 23.8% of all officers were nobles with 5270 of general officers in this category.7 This percentage had dwindled by 1939. At the beginning of the war, although the Army had a large number of landed gentry and aristocracy, the percentage of noble general officers had dropped to 33.8 This percentage declined even further by 1944 when only 197 of all generals were nobles.9

The scope of this thesis must limit the thorough investigation of the various strata of nobility. David Nelson Spires' doctoral dissertation points out that:10

...as far as the Reichswehr is concerned, "old" officer families or those that traditionally had supplied officers to the army, could be more significant than "new" noble families.


Qmer Bartov in his study of the German Army on the Eastern Front defines membership in the nobility as all officers with a "von" and other prefixes of aristocratic origin attached to the family name.11 Using this definition, the following pattern of nobility emerges when examining the corps commanders.


Table 11 Commanders of Noble Descent

Year / Commanders of Noble Descent in Corps Command

1937 / 8
1938 / 9
1939 / 13
1940 / 21
1941 / 22
1942 / 31
1943 / 31
1944 / 39
1945 / 27

Seventy-five (22.6%) of the corps commanders were members of the nobility. From the results of this analysis it appears as though this representation remained constant throughout the war. Additionally, this figure corresponds closely with the percentage of
total general officers.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.

More to follow.

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German Corps Commanders in WW II.

Post by tigre » Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:31 pm

Thanks a lot for helping me Jerry. :wink: .Cheers. Tigre.
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Post by Jerry » Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:12 am

Hello Tigre,

You're quite welcome, glad I can help. I'll post the rest of chapter 4 as soon as I can.

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Post by Jerry » Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:20 pm

Well, I finally finished proofing and formatting this.

Chapter 4 - part 2


BRANCH AFFILIATION

Branch rivalries played a large role in command relationships in the .y during both the expansion era and actual wartime. David Nelson Spires again presents baseline data for branch composition for promotion in the Reichswehr era as shown for generalmajor, generalleutnant, and general.22


Table 16 - Newly Promoted Generalmajor



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 13 / 4 - 30.7 / 2 - 15.4 / 7 - 53.8 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 8 / 1 - 12.5 / 2 - 25.0 / 4 - 50.0 / 1 - 12.5

1926 / 10 / 5 - 50.0 / 1 - 10.0 / 3 - 30.0 / 1 - 10.0

1927 / 15 / 7 - 46.6 / 1 - 6.6 / 5 - 33.3 / 2 - 13.3

1928 / 16 / 11 - 68.7 / 0 - 0.0 / 5 - 31.2 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 2 - 11.7 / 5 - 29.4 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 19 / 12 - 63.1 / 0 - 0.0 / 7 - 36.8 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 1 - 11.7 / 4 - 23.5 / 2 - 11.7

1932 / 19 / 11 – 57.8 / 2 - 10.5 / 6 - 31.5 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 134 / 71 - 52.9 / 11 - 8.2 / 46 - 34.3 / 6 - 4.4



Table 17 - Newly Promoted Generalleutnant



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 4 / 3 - 75.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 4 / 2 - 50.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1926 / 5 / 5 – 100 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0

1927 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1928 / 6 / 1 - 16.6 / 3 - 50.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 6 / 3 - 50.0 / 1 - 16.6 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 5 / 3 - 60.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 0 - 0.0

1932 / 6 / 4 - 66.6 / 0 - 0.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 50 / 29 - 58.0 / 8 - 16.0 / 13 - 26.0 / 0 - 0.0



Table 18 - Newly Promoted General der Infanterie, etc.



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1925 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1926 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1927 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0

1928 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 /0.0

1929 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1930 / 1 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0

1931 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1932 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

Total / 8 / 5 / 62.5 / 0 / 0.0 / 3 / 37.5 / 0 / 0.0


Older generals viewed infantry as the dominant branch and attempted to control the Army Personnel Branch to the detriment of other branch officers.23 This was especially so with respect to the formation of the new panzer forces. Hasso von Manteuffel stated that
the new panzer branch required special leaders and commanders, but the older arms displayed opposing views. To maintain stability within the armored force, GO Heinz Guderian reported directly to Hitler as Inspector-General of Armored Troops and had full input concerning appointments to the command of armored formations.24


The distribution of corps commanders by branch was as follows:


Table 19 - Branch Affiliation


Branch / Number of Commanders / Percentage


Infantry / 131 / 51.5

Artillery / 63 / 18.9

Panzer / 54 / 16.2

Cavalry / 18 / 5.4

Mountain Troops / 15 / 4.5

Engineer / 9 / 2.7

Luftwaffe 2 / 0.6


Another aspect of branch affiliation concerns the commanders of panzer corps and mountain corps. Sixty-one per cent of all panzer corps commanders were of the panzer branch, while forty-one percent of the commanders of the mountain corps were mountain troop officers. Artillery and cavalry officers commanded in both infantry and panzer corps. Infantry generals served across the entire spectrum of units.



GENERAL STAFF SERVICE

The German General Staff Corps was a group of specially selected, trained, and educated officers. Its mission was to serve as a control mechanism to assist the commander in directing large military units. This included planning, coordinating, supervising, and assuring operational readiness.25

Candidates for the General Staff were selected based on "character, disposition, physical, and intellectual abilities".26 Membership was always select. Fewer than one percent of all officers in the Army were selected as General Staff Corps officers in the Prussian Army. Membership rose to twenty percent during the Weimar Republic.27 By 1939 this amounted to 417 officers.28

Austrian General Staff officers had little difficulty after the Anschluss in obtaining positions on the German General Staff. A former Austrian officer, General de Bartha, stated that in n many respects the Austrian General Staff was the equal of its German counterpart.29

Although the size of the General Staff increased to 1167 officers by 1944, their relative importance in the Army hierarchy began to decrease beginning in 1941.30 After the failure to take Moscow in December 1941, Hitler unfairly blamed not only several high ranking commanders, but also the General Staff for the lack of adequate winter preparations.31

In September 1942 Hitler accused the General Staff of "cowardice" and berated GO Hairier , Chief of Army General Staff. This led to Raider' s dismissal and marked the end of the period when the General Staff truly conducted operations.32

Many corps commanders were members of the General Staff. Their prominence during the war was significant and will be discussed at length in a later chapter. Distribution of corps commanders with General Staff experience is as shown:33


Table 20 - Commanders from the General Staff

Year / Number of commanders from General Staff / Percentage of Total

1939 / 31 / 66

1940 / 50 / 70

1941 / 61 / 71

1942 / 78 / 57

1943 / 83 / 49

1944 / 82 / 40

1945 / 50 / 36



This trend mirrors Hitler's increasing intervention with the officer corps. By January 1943 he ordered the reintegration of the General Staff into the regular officer corps and established performance as the primary criteria for promotion, not General Staff membership.34



PREVIOUS COMMAND AND STAFF EXPERIENCE

As in all military organizations, most corps commanders had established a pattern of successful performance at previous command and staff assignments. In the staff arena, two General Staff positions were considered extremely important: operations officer
(Ia) of a division and chief of staff at a corps or higher level.

Division operations officers normally held the rank of major. In addition to his duties in operations, he also served as the chief of staff as the division structure dial not allocate a
separate position for one. The division supply officer (Ib) and the division intelligence officer (Ic) were subordinated to him.35

Chiefs of staff had much more prestige and authority than other officers of equal rank.36 Colonels and lieutenant colonels served as corps chiefs of staff, while army chiefs of staff were usually colonels or major generals. Responsibilities for the corps chief of staff were initially laid out in the Prussian Army in 1814 and formalized in 1865 in a royal order which stated:37

When I have given no special instructions on filling the post of a
general commanding during his temporary absence, the chief of
the General Staff will transact the current duties of the general...


In reviewing prior staff service, thirty corps commanders had been division operations officers, sixty-six served previously as corps chiefs of staff, and thirty-eight were army chiefs of staff. Multiple staff assignments of service as both corps and army chief of staff were held by thirty-four later cars. While these staff assignments were not mandatory prerequisites for future command, they certainly were indicators of excellent performance and potential.

In addition to previous staff experience, prior division command was essential for elevation to corps command. This trend is amplified by the following division command summary:38


Table 21 - Prior Division Command Experience

Corps commanders who were commanders of: / Number / Percentage

Infantry Divisions / 246 / 74.1

Panzer Divisions / 40 / 12.0

Reserve Divisions / 0 / 0.0

Infantry and Panzer Divisions / 11 / 3.3

No division command / 35 / 10.5


An analysis of prior division command experience reveals several important trends. First, 89.5% of all corps commanders had prior division com and experience. Most of the thirty-five who did not were very senior generals who commanded corps at the start of the war. Thus, their opportunities for division command were limited by the smaller size of the army in the mid-1930s. Those less senior who dial not command at the division level frequently were General Staff officers who held significant staff commands at corps, army, and army group level.


None of the corps commanders had previous reserve division command as his sole division command experience. It is safe to conclude that reserve division command signaled little possibility for further command progression.

Fifty-one corps commanders (15.4%) previously commanded panzer divisions. In examining the panzer corps, thirty-six commanders (40.9%) had previously commanded panzer divisions. Of every three panzer division commanders who later commanded at the corps level, two commanded a panzer corps while one commanded a corps of a different type. No single panzer division served as an overwhelming source of future panzer corps commanders . The 4th and 11th Panzer Divisions each produced four. When an individual proved he could successfully command division mobile forces, he was quite
likely to be retained by Guderian and the panzer branch for further panzer corps commands, rather than be transferred to other formations.


INFLUENCE OF THE NAZI PARTY

According to Helmet Kleikamp, author of "The Army Personnel Office", with very few exceptions the Nazi party exercised no influence on Army appointments. Army officer promotions and assignments were based on performance and qualifications, not political considerations.39


One facet of party affiliation was the Nazi Party's highest decoration for service, “The Decoration of 9 November 1923" also known as "The Blood Order". Hitler created this decoration in March 1934 to commemorate the failed Putsch {attempted overthrow of
Bavarian government} of November 9, 1923 in Munich. Eligibility was initially limited to persons who had participated in the events of November 9th and who were Party members by January 1, 1932. These individuals were affectionally known as "Old Comrades". In 1938, eligibility was expanded to persons who had rendered outstanding
services to the Party in the 1920s and had received a Weimar court death sentence and served at least one year in jail for political crimes, or been severely wounded or killed in Party service.40

Awards for this first criterion of eligibility totaled 1500. Of these 810 went to Party members, 500 to Freikorps troopers, and 140 to Reichswehr and Police members. Seven Reichswehr recipients went on to become general officers: Johannes Block, Curt-Ulrich von Gersdorff, Wolfdietri.ch von Xylander, Eduard Zorn, Robert Macher, Paul Hermann, and Theodor Kretschmer. Only one went on to become a corps conmander.41


Although Party officials may have had no influence on appointments and promotions, indirect pressures existed in the presence of several senior Army officials who sympathized with the Nazis and could affect personnel issues.42 Generalfeldmarschall
Wilhelm Keitel, General der Infanterie Rudolf Schnundt, and General der Infanterie Wilhelm Burgdorf were three of these men.

Wilhelm Keitel served as Chief of Staff of the Combined Services (0KW) from 1938 to the end of the war. Richard Brett-Smith, author of Hitler's Generals, states that Keitel did score than anyone to "bring about the domination of the Reichswehr by the Nazis."
Married to Generalfeldmarschall von Blomberg's daughter, he was in addition the brother of the Chief of the Army Personnel Office Bodewin Keitel and undoubtedly had some influence in appointments. His duty assignment can be summarized as funneling Hitler's orders down to the Army and passim up, with a dose of interpretation, their complaints and questions to the Fuehrer.43


Rudolf Schmundt was Chief of the Army Personnel Office from Bodewin Keitel's departure in 1942 to his own death as a result of injuries suffered in the July 20 bombing at Hitler' s • headquarters. Again Brett-Smith categorizes Schmundt as an avowed Nazi who was known throughout the Officer Corps as "John the Disciple". Schmundt
influenced a wide range of appointments to include even army group command and probably speeded the rise of several like-minded officers.44

Wilhelm Burgdorf served faithfully as chief Wehrmacht adjutant to Hitler prior to assuming the position of Personnel Chief from Rudolf Schmundt in 1944. He was "hated for his brutality by 99 per cent of the officer corps" stated Manfred Romnel, son of
Generalfeldmarschall Rommel. From colonel to general he did not command troops but did show loyalty and discretion toward Hitler and was entrusted with visiting Rommel with the choice of suicide or arrest for involvement in the July 20 Plot.45

The influence of these men on the Army Personnel Office was probably in the line of what they did not do more than what they did. It would have been very difficult to explain that a particular officer was selected for a position because he was a National Socialist. But for officers seeking to return to active duty from retirement or volunteering for frontline service from the Replacement Army bureaucratic delays and refusals were surely in order for chronic complainers against the Nazis.46




CHAPTER SUMMARY

The background information in this chapter shows the corps commanders generally to be mature individuals of approximately 50-57 years of age. About 23% were members of the nobility, generally the same as for general officers as a whole. Most commanders were career soldiers with uninterrupted service from World War I, some entered the Army from the police, the Austrian Army after the Anschluss, and some were recalled from retirement. Concerning branch affiliation, 52 % were infantry officers, 19% artillery, and 16% panzer. Almost 50 % of the corps commanders were General Staff officers with many having staff experience as division operations officers and corps chiefs of staff. More than 89 % had been division commanders. Finally, Nazi Party influence was minimal in their rise.



ENDNOTES

1 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, (San Rafael, California: Presidio Press), 1977, p.12.

2 J.F.C. Fuller, Generalship Its Diseases and Their Cure: A Study of the Personal Factor in Command, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Military Service Pub fishing Co.), 1936, p.70

3 Martin van Creveld, Fighting, Power German, Military Performance,_ 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: (IL Associates)', 1980, pp. 150-152.

4 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.
5 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.

The selection process for Eduard Zorn, a later generalmajor, was a typical one and worthy of review. Late in 1920 Zorn applied in writing to the commander of Infantry Regiment 19 Colonel Ritter von Haack for admission for officer training. In his application Zorn included information on: date of birth, state affiliation, religion, level of education, profession of father, and personal history. In addition he furnished two recommendation letters from prominent citizens of his community. During the ensuing background investigation, Zorn underwent a physical aptitude and medical test. With these complete, he participated in a one to three day personal interview with Colonel
von Haack and selected members of his staff. The results of this process reflect Zorn's aptitude for service. He was a candidate for the Abitur which fulfilled educational requirements. His character was exemplary as he was the son of an officer killed in action during World War I. Additionally, his brother Hans was already a junior officer in the regiment and had an excellent service record himself. In sum, Eduard Zorn was intelligent, physically fit, motivated, and apolitical. David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", (Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation: University of Washington), 1979, pp.9-i2.

6 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.508.

7 Omen Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941-45, German Troops and the Barbarization of War are, hew York: St. Martin's Press), 1986, .43.

8 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, p.5.

9 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.43.

10 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.27.

11 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.172.

12 Michael Geyer, "The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan), p.44.

13 Telford Taylor, The March of Conquest: The German Victories in Western Europe, 1940, yew York Simon and Schuster 1958, pp.21 and 409.

14 Telford Taylor, The March, p. 409.



Table 22 Corps Commanders Coming Out of Retirement


Grade / Name / Corps Commanded / Originally Retired / Finally Retired

GdI / Boehm-Tettelbach / XXXII, XXXVII, II / 31.3.33 /28.2.43
GL / Brandt,G / XXXII / 31.1.31 / 31.8.42
GL / Feige XXXVI / 30.9.35 / 30.6.42
GdI / Geyer IX / 30.4.39 / 31.12.43
GL / von Gienanth / XXXVI / 30.9.33 / 30.6.43
CdI / von Greiff / III, XXXXV / 31.12.29 / 31.8.42
GdI / Haenicke / XXXVIII / 30.9.32 / Did not
GL / Heinemann / LXV / 30.9.37 / 28.2.45
GdA / Kaupisch / XXXI / 30.9.32 / 30.6.42
GdK / von Kleist / XXII / 28.2.38 / Did not
GdI / Koch,F / XXXXIV / 30.9.31 / 31.5.42
GdA / Lucht / XIII, LXVI, LXXXII / 31.3.32 / Did not
GdI / Metz, H / XXXIV / 1.4.31 / 31.1.43
GdI / von Nagy / LXXI / 31.12.35 / 31.1.43
GdK / von Pogrell / XXXII / 28.2.38 / 31.5.42
GdI /von Prager / XXV, XXVII / 1.2.31 / 30.6.42
GdI / von Schenckendorff / XXXV / 28.2.30 / Died 6.7.43
GdI / Schmidt,H / IX / 31.1.31 / 31.10.43
GdI / Schwandner / LIX / 1934 / 30.8.42
GdA / Ulex / X / 31.3.39 / 31.12.41
GM / von Unger / XXXIII / 31.7.32 / Did not
GdI / Wiktorin / XXVIII / 1935 / 30.11.44

15 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger, p.91.

GdK Ewald von Kleist commanded the XXII Corps from 1939-1940. He continued his rise with the commands of Panzer Group Kleist, 1st Panzer Army, Army Group A, and Army Group South Ukraine. He was dismissed from the service March 30, 1944 and died in 1954 in a Soviet Prisoner of War Camp.


16 Guenther B1unentritt , "The German Armies of 1914 and 1939", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS B-296, (Washington, D. C. Office of the Chief of Military History), 1947, p.46.

17 Wolf Keilig, Die Generale des Heeres, pp.76,113,232,370,379.

The following corps commanders transferred from the Police to the Army:



Table 23 Corps Commanders from the Police


Grade / Name / Corps / Date Transferred from police / Grade retained from police

GdI / Abraham / LXIII 15.10.35 Major
GL / Beyer,F / XVII, XXXXIX, LXXX LVII, 1.4.35 Oberstleutnant
GL / Chill / XXVI, LV / 1.10.36 Major

GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 1.7.35 /Major
GdPz / Fries / XXXXVI Pz / 1936 / Major
GdI / Grasser / XXVI LVI / 1935 / Major
GdGbT / von Hengl / XIX LIX / 6.10.36 / Major
GdPz / Henrici,S / XXXXX Pz / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Hohn / IX / 1.9.35 / Hauptmann
GL / Jahr / XXIV / 22.11.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Kaellner / XXIV / 1935 / Hauptmann
GL / Lasch / LXIV / 1.7.35 / Major
GdI / von Leyser / XV, XXI, XXVI / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Mueller,F. / V, XXXIV, LIX, LXVIII / 16.3.36 / :Major
GL / Neumann,FW / XXX, XXXIII, LXXXIX / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
Gdl / von Oven / VIII / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdA / Pfeiffer / VI / 1.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL /Roettig / LXVI / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GdPi. / Sacks / LXIV / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Schuenennnann / XXXIX Pz / 16.3.36 / Major
GL / Sponheimer / XXVIII, X, LIV, LXVII / 16.3.36 / Oberst
GdI / Strecker / XI / 14.6.35 / Generalrmajor
GL / Usinger / I / 1.10.35 / Major
GdI / Wiese / VIII, XXXV / 1.8.35 / Major
GdI / Witthoefc / VII / 1.4.36 / Oberst
GM / Wolpert / LXXXVIII / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdI / von Zangen / LXXXIV, LXXXVII / 1.8.35 / Oberstleutnant

18 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Ei.chenlaubtraeger 1940-1945. (Wiener Neustadt, Oesterrei.ch: WeiTburg Verlag), 1982, p.105. GdI Friedrich Wi.lhelm Mueller made the most rapid rise of the "Police" commanders. Laterally transferring from the Hamburg Police in March 1936, he was a battalion commander from 1938-1940, a regimental commander 1940-1942, and a division commander from 1942 1944. In 1944 he served as both temporary and permanent corps commander before assuming cozmiand of the 4th Army January 29, 1945. After the war he was condemned for war crimes and hanged in Athens, May 1947.

19 Friedrich Stahl, Heereseinteilung 1 (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun-Pallas-Verlag), 1953, p.145.

20 Wolf Keili.g, Die Generate des Heeres_. (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun Pallas-Verlag), 1983, pp.33,78,8O,89,152,218,237,273,278.

21 Dernot Bradley and Richard Schulze-Kossens, Taetigkeitsbericht des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt1.10.42-29.10.44. Osnabrueck, ERG. Biblio Verag), 1984, p.42. GL Eibl became the only corps commander to be killed by his own troops when he was seriously wounded by a handgrenade thrown by a soldier in a passing Italian truck column as he was sitting on the fender of his staff car. He under went emergency surgery, without anathesia, which resulted in the amputation of a leg, but died.

22 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", pp.508-509.

23 Heinz Guderian and Kurt Zeitzler, "Comments on P-041a-P-041hh", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-04111, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chef of Military History), 1953, p.2.

24 Hasso von Manteuffel, "Fast Mobile and Armored Troops", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# B-036, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1945, pp.3,10,19.

25 Trevor N. Dupuy, The German General Staff. Institution of Demonstrated Excellence for National Connnand,Planning,Coordination, and Combat Perrormance.TDunn Lori.ne, VA.: Historical Evaluation i3 Research Organization), 1984, p.6.

26 Franz Halder, "Control of the German Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSrI P-041d, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.3.

27 Trevor N. Depuy, General_ Staff , pp.6 and B-1.

28 W. Victor Madej, German Army Order of Battle 1939-1945, (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Game Marketing Company 98I, Vo 1, p.37.

29 de Bartha, "Austro-Hungarian General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study IIS # C-O€3, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1946, p.5.

30 Walter Goerlitz, History of the Cerman General Staff 1657-1945. (New York: Praeger), 1953, p.418

31 Walter Goerlitz, History, p.405.

32 Hansgeorg Model, Der deutsche Generalstabsoffizier, (Frankfurt, FRG: Bernard & Graefe Veriag), 1968, p.127. 33 Michael Geyer, "'The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" p. 47

34 Helmet Kleikamp, "German Army High CQnnand: The Central Branch of the Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSS# P-041x, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.7.

35 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, German uilitar Performance, 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: C&L Defense Cosultants ), 1980, o.~~.

36 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, p.13.

37 Bronsart von Schellendorf, The Duties of the General Staff (Volume 1) (London: C. Kegan Paul & Compa y S, 1t77, p.160.


38 The following individuals commanded both panzer divisions and panzer corps.


Table 24 Panzer Corps Cannanders from Panzer Divisions


Grade/ Name/ Corps Commanded / Division Commanded

GdPz/ von Arnim,H. / XXXIX Pz 17th Pz
GdPz / Balck / XXXX, XXXXVIII, XIV Pz / 11th Pz
GdPz / Breith / III Pz / 3rd Pz
GdPz / Cruewell / Africa / 11th Pz
GdPz / Decker / XXXIX Pz / 5th Pz
GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 4th Pz
GdPz / von Edelsheim / XXXXVIII Pz / 24th Pz
GdPz / von Esebeck,H. / LVII Pz, XXXXVI Pz / 2nd Pz, 11th Pz, 15th Pz
GdPz / Fehn,G. / XXXX Pz, Africa / 5th Pz
GdPz / von Funck / XXXXVII Pz 7th Pz
GdPz / Geyr von Schweppenburg / III Pz, XXXX Pz, 3rd Pz
GL / Harpe / XXXXI Pz / 12th Pz
Oberst / Heidkaemper / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GL / Heim / XXXXVIII Pz / 14th Pz
GdPz / Herr / LXXVI Pz / 13th Pz
GdPz / Hube / XIV Pz / 16th Pz
GL / Kaellner / XXIV Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / von Kessel / VII Pz / 20th Pz
GdPz Kirchner / LVII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz von Knobelsdorff / XXIV Pz, XXXX Pz, XXXXVIII Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / Krueger,W. / LVIII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz / von Langermann und Erlencamp / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GdA / Lemelsen / XXXXVII Pz / 5th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,S. / XXXXVI Pz / 26th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,H. / XXXXVII Pz / 2nd Pz, 20th Pz
GdPz / Nerving / XIV Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, Africa / 18th Pz
GdPz / Raus / VIII Pz / 6th Pz
GdPz / Ronirel / Africa / 7th Pz
GdPz / von Saucken / XXXIX Pz, GD. III Pz. / 4th Pz
GdPz / Schaal / LVI Pz / 10th Pz
GdPz / von Schwerin,G. / LVI Pz / 116th Pz
GdPz / von Senger und Etterlein / XIV Pz / 17th Pz
GdPz / von Thoma / Africa / 6th Pz, 17th Pz 20th Pz
GM / von Vaerst / Africa / 15th Pz
GL / von Vormann / VII Pz / 23rd Pz
GL / von Wietersheim,W. / XXXXI Pz / 11th Pz

39 Helmet Kleikamp, "The Army Personnel Office", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSii P-04lhh, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.37.

40 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer and Fatherland; Military Awards of the Third Reich (Volume 1-2)7 San Jose: R. James Bender), 1976 vo1 2, p. 186

41 Klaus Patzwal1, Derr Blutorden der NDSAP, (Hamburg, FRG.: Patzwall Verlag), 1985, pp.li-56.

Block was dismissed from the Reichswehr May 31, 1924. He reentered in 1934 and served as a battalion commander from 1937 1940, and a regimental commander from 1940-1942 prior to command of the 294th Infantry Division. During the last two years of the war he commanded three different corps before being killed in action January 26, 1945 near Lack Poland. His "Blood Order" medal number was #1393. Source : Lenfield and Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger,, p.353.

42 Dr. S.A. Lewis, Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in a private discussion circa October 1987.

43 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.188-190.

44 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, pp.193-194.

45 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.194-195.

46 Hermann Geyer, Das IX Armaeekorps in Ostfeldzug 1941, (Neckargemuend, FRG: Scharnhorst Buchkameradschitt), 1969, pp.8-10.

An excellent example of this is shown in the career of Herman Geyer. Born in 1882, he served in both staff and command positions in World War I and the Reichswehr before assuming command of the V Corps in 1935. He left active duty in April 1939 embittered at the thought of the "injustice" at having to retire at this time. However his retirement ended after only four months when he returned to service as the commander of the IX Corps which he led in the French Campaign winning a Knight's Cross. Geyer was dismissed again in January 1942 after a serious disagreement with his army commander
Generaloberst Hoeppner. He attempted to regain active command but was known to Post Minister Ohnesorge as a critic of the Nazi Party. His requests went unanswered from the Personnel Office and he finally committed suicide in 1946.


Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.


Jerry
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Chapter 4 - part 2


BRANCH AFFILIATION

Branch rivalries played a large role in command relationships in the .y during both the expansion era and actual wartime. David Nelson Spires again presents baseline data for branch composition for promotion in the Reichswehr era as shown for generalmajor, generalleutnant, and general.22


Table 16 - Newly Promoted Generalmajor



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 13 / 4 - 30.7 / 2 - 15.4 / 7 - 53.8 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 8 / 1 - 12.5 / 2 - 25.0 / 4 - 50.0 / 1 - 12.5

1926 / 10 / 5 - 50.0 / 1 - 10.0 / 3 - 30.0 / 1 - 10.0

1927 / 15 / 7 - 46.6 / 1 - 6.6 / 5 - 33.3 / 2 - 13.3

1928 / 16 / 11 - 68.7 / 0 - 0.0 / 5 - 31.2 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 2 - 11.7 / 5 - 29.4 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 19 / 12 - 63.1 / 0 - 0.0 / 7 - 36.8 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 1 - 11.7 / 4 - 23.5 / 2 - 11.7

1932 / 19 / 11 – 57.8 / 2 - 10.5 / 6 - 31.5 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 134 / 71 - 52.9 / 11 - 8.2 / 46 - 34.3 / 6 - 4.4



Table 17 - Newly Promoted Generalleutnant



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 4 / 3 - 75.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 4 / 2 - 50.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1926 / 5 / 5 – 100 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0

1927 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1928 / 6 / 1 - 16.6 / 3 - 50.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 6 / 3 - 50.0 / 1 - 16.6 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 5 / 3 - 60.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 0 - 0.0

1932 / 6 / 4 - 66.6 / 0 - 0.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 50 / 29 - 58.0 / 8 - 16.0 / 13 - 26.0 / 0 - 0.0



Table 18 - Newly Promoted General der Infanterie, etc.



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1925 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1926 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1927 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0

1928 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 /0.0

1929 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1930 / 1 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0

1931 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1932 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

Total / 8 / 5 / 62.5 / 0 / 0.0 / 3 / 37.5 / 0 / 0.0


Older generals viewed infantry as the dominant branch and attempted to control the Army Personnel Branch to the detriment of other branch officers.23 This was especially so with respect to the formation of the new panzer forces. Hasso von Manteuffel stated that
the new panzer branch required special leaders and commanders, but the older arms displayed opposing views. To maintain stability within the armored force, GO Heinz Guderian reported directly to Hitler as Inspector-General of Armored Troops and had full input concerning appointments to the command of armored formations.24


The distribution of corps commanders by branch was as follows:


Table 19 - Branch Affiliation


Branch / Number of Commanders / Percentage


Infantry / 131 / 51.5

Artillery / 63 / 18.9

Panzer / 54 / 16.2

Cavalry / 18 / 5.4

Mountain Troops / 15 / 4.5

Engineer / 9 / 2.7

Luftwaffe 2 / 0.6


Another aspect of branch affiliation concerns the commanders of panzer corps and mountain corps. Sixty-one per cent of all panzer corps commanders were of the panzer branch, while forty-one percent of the commanders of the mountain corps were mountain troop officers. Artillery and cavalry officers commanded in both infantry and panzer corps. Infantry generals served across the entire spectrum of units.



GENERAL STAFF SERVICE

The German General Staff Corps was a group of specially selected, trained, and educated officers. Its mission was to serve as a control mechanism to assist the commander in directing large military units. This included planning, coordinating, supervising, and assuring operational readiness.25

Candidates for the General Staff were selected based on "character, disposition, physical, and intellectual abilities".26 Membership was always select. Fewer than one percent of all officers in the Army were selected as General Staff Corps officers in the Prussian Army. Membership rose to twenty percent during the Weimar Republic.27 By 1939 this amounted to 417 officers.28

Austrian General Staff officers had little difficulty after the Anschluss in obtaining positions on the German General Staff. A former Austrian officer, General de Bartha, stated that in n many respects the Austrian General Staff was the equal of its German counterpart.29

Although the size of the General Staff increased to 1167 officers by 1944, their relative importance in the Army hierarchy began to decrease beginning in 1941.30 After the failure to take Moscow in December 1941, Hitler unfairly blamed not only several high ranking commanders, but also the General Staff for the lack of adequate winter preparations.31

In September 1942 Hitler accused the General Staff of "cowardice" and berated GO Hairier , Chief of Army General Staff. This led to Raider' s dismissal and marked the end of the period when the General Staff truly conducted operations.32

Many corps commanders were members of the General Staff. Their prominence during the war was significant and will be discussed at length in a later chapter. Distribution of corps commanders with General Staff experience is as shown:33


Table 20 - Commanders from the General Staff

Year / Number of commanders from General Staff / Percentage of Total

1939 / 31 / 66

1940 / 50 / 70

1941 / 61 / 71

1942 / 78 / 57

1943 / 83 / 49

1944 / 82 / 40

1945 / 50 / 36



This trend mirrors Hitler's increasing intervention with the officer corps. By January 1943 he ordered the reintegration of the General Staff into the regular officer corps and established performance as the primary criteria for promotion, not General Staff membership.34



PREVIOUS COMMAND AND STAFF EXPERIENCE

As in all military organizations, most corps commanders had established a pattern of successful performance at previous command and staff assignments. In the staff arena, two General Staff positions were considered extremely important: operations officer
(Ia) of a division and chief of staff at a corps or higher level.

Division operations officers normally held the rank of major. In addition to his duties in operations, he also served as the chief of staff as the division structure dial not allocate a
separate position for one. The division supply officer (Ib) and the division intelligence officer (Ic) were subordinated to him.35

Chiefs of staff had much more prestige and authority than other officers of equal rank.36 Colonels and lieutenant colonels served as corps chiefs of staff, while army chiefs of staff were usually colonels or major generals. Responsibilities for the corps chief of staff were initially laid out in the Prussian Army in 1814 and formalized in 1865 in a royal order which stated:37

When I have given no special instructions on filling the post of a
general commanding during his temporary absence, the chief of
the General Staff will transact the current duties of the general...


In reviewing prior staff service, thirty corps commanders had been division operations officers, sixty-six served previously as corps chiefs of staff, and thirty-eight were army chiefs of staff. Multiple staff assignments of service as both corps and army chief of staff were held by thirty-four later cars. While these staff assignments were not mandatory prerequisites for future command, they certainly were indicators of excellent performance and potential.

In addition to previous staff experience, prior division command was essential for elevation to corps command. This trend is amplified by the following division command summary:38


Table 21 - Prior Division Command Experience

Corps commanders who were commanders of: / Number / Percentage

Infantry Divisions / 246 / 74.1

Panzer Divisions / 40 / 12.0

Reserve Divisions / 0 / 0.0

Infantry and Panzer Divisions / 11 / 3.3

No division command / 35 / 10.5


An analysis of prior division command experience reveals several important trends. First, 89.5% of all corps commanders had prior division com and experience. Most of the thirty-five who did not were very senior generals who commanded corps at the start of the war. Thus, their opportunities for division command were limited by the smaller size of the army in the mid-1930s. Those less senior who dial not command at the division level frequently were General Staff officers who held significant staff commands at corps, army, and army group level.


None of the corps commanders had previous reserve division command as his sole division command experience. It is safe to conclude that reserve division command signaled little possibility for further command progression.

Fifty-one corps commanders (15.4%) previously commanded panzer divisions. In examining the panzer corps, thirty-six commanders (40.9%) had previously commanded panzer divisions. Of every three panzer division commanders who later commanded at the corps level, two commanded a panzer corps while one commanded a corps of a different type. No single panzer division served as an overwhelming source of future panzer corps commanders . The 4th and 11th Panzer Divisions each produced four. When an individual proved he could successfully command division mobile forces, he was quite
likely to be retained by Guderian and the panzer branch for further panzer corps commands, rather than be transferred to other formations.


INFLUENCE OF THE NAZI PARTY

According to Helmet Kleikamp, author of "The Army Personnel Office", with very few exceptions the Nazi party exercised no influence on Army appointments. Army officer promotions and assignments were based on performance and qualifications, not political considerations.39


One facet of party affiliation was the Nazi Party's highest decoration for service, “The Decoration of 9 November 1923" also known as "The Blood Order". Hitler created this decoration in March 1934 to commemorate the failed Putsch {attempted overthrow of
Bavarian government} of November 9, 1923 in Munich. Eligibility was initially limited to persons who had participated in the events of November 9th and who were Party members by January 1, 1932. These individuals were affectionally known as "Old Comrades". In 1938, eligibility was expanded to persons who had rendered outstanding
services to the Party in the 1920s and had received a Weimar court death sentence and served at least one year in jail for political crimes, or been severely wounded or killed in Party service.40

Awards for this first criterion of eligibility totaled 1500. Of these 810 went to Party members, 500 to Freikorps troopers, and 140 to Reichswehr and Police members. Seven Reichswehr recipients went on to become general officers: Johannes Block, Curt-Ulrich von Gersdorff, Wolfdietri.ch von Xylander, Eduard Zorn, Robert Macher, Paul Hermann, and Theodor Kretschmer. Only one went on to become a corps conmander.41


Although Party officials may have had no influence on appointments and promotions, indirect pressures existed in the presence of several senior Army officials who sympathized with the Nazis and could affect personnel issues.42 Generalfeldmarschall
Wilhelm Keitel, General der Infanterie Rudolf Schnundt, and General der Infanterie Wilhelm Burgdorf were three of these men.

Wilhelm Keitel served as Chief of Staff of the Combined Services (0KW) from 1938 to the end of the war. Richard Brett-Smith, author of Hitler's Generals, states that Keitel did score than anyone to "bring about the domination of the Reichswehr by the Nazis."
Married to Generalfeldmarschall von Blomberg's daughter, he was in addition the brother of the Chief of the Army Personnel Office Bodewin Keitel and undoubtedly had some influence in appointments. His duty assignment can be summarized as funneling Hitler's orders down to the Army and passim up, with a dose of interpretation, their complaints and questions to the Fuehrer.43


Rudolf Schmundt was Chief of the Army Personnel Office from Bodewin Keitel's departure in 1942 to his own death as a result of injuries suffered in the July 20 bombing at Hitler' s • headquarters. Again Brett-Smith categorizes Schmundt as an avowed Nazi who was known throughout the Officer Corps as "John the Disciple". Schmundt
influenced a wide range of appointments to include even army group command and probably speeded the rise of several like-minded officers.44

Wilhelm Burgdorf served faithfully as chief Wehrmacht adjutant to Hitler prior to assuming the position of Personnel Chief from Rudolf Schmundt in 1944. He was "hated for his brutality by 99 per cent of the officer corps" stated Manfred Romnel, son of
Generalfeldmarschall Rommel. From colonel to general he did not command troops but did show loyalty and discretion toward Hitler and was entrusted with visiting Rommel with the choice of suicide or arrest for involvement in the July 20 Plot.45

The influence of these men on the Army Personnel Office was probably in the line of what they did not do more than what they did. It would have been very difficult to explain that a particular officer was selected for a position because he was a National Socialist. But for officers seeking to return to active duty from retirement or volunteering for frontline service from the Replacement Army bureaucratic delays and refusals were surely in order for chronic complainers against the Nazis.46




CHAPTER SUMMARY

The background information in this chapter shows the corps commanders generally to be mature individuals of approximately 50-57 years of age. About 23% were members of the nobility, generally the same as for general officers as a whole. Most commanders were career soldiers with uninterrupted service from World War I, some entered the Army from the police, the Austrian Army after the Anschluss, and some were recalled from retirement. Concerning branch affiliation, 52 % were infantry officers, 19% artillery, and 16% panzer. Almost 50 % of the corps commanders were General Staff officers with many having staff experience as division operations officers and corps chiefs of staff. More than 89 % had been division commanders. Finally, Nazi Party influence was minimal in their rise.



ENDNOTES

1 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, (San Rafael, California: Presidio Press), 1977, p.12.

2 J.F.C. Fuller, Generalship Its Diseases and Their Cure: A Study of the Personal Factor in Command, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Military Service Pub fishing Co.), 1936, p.70

3 Martin van Creveld, Fighting, Power German, Military Performance,_ 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: (IL Associates)', 1980, pp. 150-152.

4 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.
5 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.

The selection process for Eduard Zorn, a later generalmajor, was a typical one and worthy of review. Late in 1920 Zorn applied in writing to the commander of Infantry Regiment 19 Colonel Ritter von Haack for admission for officer training. In his application Zorn included information on: date of birth, state affiliation, religion, level of education, profession of father, and personal history. In addition he furnished two recommendation letters from prominent citizens of his community. During the ensuing background investigation, Zorn underwent a physical aptitude and medical test. With these complete, he participated in a one to three day personal interview with Colonel
von Haack and selected members of his staff. The results of this process reflect Zorn's aptitude for service. He was a candidate for the Abitur which fulfilled educational requirements. His character was exemplary as he was the son of an officer killed in action during World War I. Additionally, his brother Hans was already a junior officer in the regiment and had an excellent service record himself. In sum, Eduard Zorn was intelligent, physically fit, motivated, and apolitical. David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", (Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation: University of Washington), 1979, pp.9-i2.

6 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.508.

7 Omen Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941-45, German Troops and the Barbarization of War are, hew York: St. Martin's Press), 1986, .43.

8 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, p.5.

9 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.43.

10 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.27.

11 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.172.

12 Michael Geyer, "The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan), p.44.

13 Telford Taylor, The March of Conquest: The German Victories in Western Europe, 1940, yew York Simon and Schuster 1958, pp.21 and 409.

14 Telford Taylor, The March, p. 409.



Table 22 Corps Commanders Coming Out of Retirement


Grade / Name / Corps Commanded / Originally Retired / Finally Retired

GdI / Boehm-Tettelbach / XXXII, XXXVII, II / 31.3.33 /28.2.43
GL / Brandt,G / XXXII / 31.1.31 / 31.8.42
GL / Feige XXXVI / 30.9.35 / 30.6.42
GdI / Geyer IX / 30.4.39 / 31.12.43
GL / von Gienanth / XXXVI / 30.9.33 / 30.6.43
CdI / von Greiff / III, XXXXV / 31.12.29 / 31.8.42
GdI / Haenicke / XXXVIII / 30.9.32 / Did not
GL / Heinemann / LXV / 30.9.37 / 28.2.45
GdA / Kaupisch / XXXI / 30.9.32 / 30.6.42
GdK / von Kleist / XXII / 28.2.38 / Did not
GdI / Koch,F / XXXXIV / 30.9.31 / 31.5.42
GdA / Lucht / XIII, LXVI, LXXXII / 31.3.32 / Did not
GdI / Metz, H / XXXIV / 1.4.31 / 31.1.43
GdI / von Nagy / LXXI / 31.12.35 / 31.1.43
GdK / von Pogrell / XXXII / 28.2.38 / 31.5.42
GdI /von Prager / XXV, XXVII / 1.2.31 / 30.6.42
GdI / von Schenckendorff / XXXV / 28.2.30 / Died 6.7.43
GdI / Schmidt,H / IX / 31.1.31 / 31.10.43
GdI / Schwandner / LIX / 1934 / 30.8.42
GdA / Ulex / X / 31.3.39 / 31.12.41
GM / von Unger / XXXIII / 31.7.32 / Did not
GdI / Wiktorin / XXVIII / 1935 / 30.11.44

15 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger, p.91.

GdK Ewald von Kleist commanded the XXII Corps from 1939-1940. He continued his rise with the commands of Panzer Group Kleist, 1st Panzer Army, Army Group A, and Army Group South Ukraine. He was dismissed from the service March 30, 1944 and died in 1954 in a Soviet Prisoner of War Camp.


16 Guenther B1unentritt , "The German Armies of 1914 and 1939", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS B-296, (Washington, D. C. Office of the Chief of Military History), 1947, p.46.

17 Wolf Keilig, Die Generale des Heeres, pp.76,113,232,370,379.

The following corps commanders transferred from the Police to the Army:



Table 23 Corps Commanders from the Police


Grade / Name / Corps / Date Transferred from police / Grade retained from police

GdI / Abraham / LXIII 15.10.35 Major
GL / Beyer,F / XVII, XXXXIX, LXXX LVII, 1.4.35 Oberstleutnant
GL / Chill / XXVI, LV / 1.10.36 Major

GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 1.7.35 /Major
GdPz / Fries / XXXXVI Pz / 1936 / Major
GdI / Grasser / XXVI LVI / 1935 / Major
GdGbT / von Hengl / XIX LIX / 6.10.36 / Major
GdPz / Henrici,S / XXXXX Pz / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Hohn / IX / 1.9.35 / Hauptmann
GL / Jahr / XXIV / 22.11.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Kaellner / XXIV / 1935 / Hauptmann
GL / Lasch / LXIV / 1.7.35 / Major
GdI / von Leyser / XV, XXI, XXVI / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Mueller,F. / V, XXXIV, LIX, LXVIII / 16.3.36 / :Major
GL / Neumann,FW / XXX, XXXIII, LXXXIX / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
Gdl / von Oven / VIII / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdA / Pfeiffer / VI / 1.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL /Roettig / LXVI / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GdPi. / Sacks / LXIV / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Schuenennnann / XXXIX Pz / 16.3.36 / Major
GL / Sponheimer / XXVIII, X, LIV, LXVII / 16.3.36 / Oberst
GdI / Strecker / XI / 14.6.35 / Generalrmajor
GL / Usinger / I / 1.10.35 / Major
GdI / Wiese / VIII, XXXV / 1.8.35 / Major
GdI / Witthoefc / VII / 1.4.36 / Oberst
GM / Wolpert / LXXXVIII / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdI / von Zangen / LXXXIV, LXXXVII / 1.8.35 / Oberstleutnant

18 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Ei.chenlaubtraeger 1940-1945. (Wiener Neustadt, Oesterrei.ch: WeiTburg Verlag), 1982, p.105. GdI Friedrich Wi.lhelm Mueller made the most rapid rise of the "Police" commanders. Laterally transferring from the Hamburg Police in March 1936, he was a battalion commander from 1938-1940, a regimental commander 1940-1942, and a division commander from 1942 1944. In 1944 he served as both temporary and permanent corps commander before assuming cozmiand of the 4th Army January 29, 1945. After the war he was condemned for war crimes and hanged in Athens, May 1947.

19 Friedrich Stahl, Heereseinteilung 1 (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun-Pallas-Verlag), 1953, p.145.

20 Wolf Keili.g, Die Generate des Heeres_. (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun Pallas-Verlag), 1983, pp.33,78,8O,89,152,218,237,273,278.

21 Dernot Bradley and Richard Schulze-Kossens, Taetigkeitsbericht des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt1.10.42-29.10.44. Osnabrueck, ERG. Biblio Verag), 1984, p.42. GL Eibl became the only corps commander to be killed by his own troops when he was seriously wounded by a handgrenade thrown by a soldier in a passing Italian truck column as he was sitting on the fender of his staff car. He under went emergency surgery, without anathesia, which resulted in the amputation of a leg, but died.

22 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", pp.508-509.

23 Heinz Guderian and Kurt Zeitzler, "Comments on P-041a-P-041hh", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-04111, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chef of Military History), 1953, p.2.

24 Hasso von Manteuffel, "Fast Mobile and Armored Troops", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# B-036, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1945, pp.3,10,19.

25 Trevor N. Dupuy, The German General Staff. Institution of Demonstrated Excellence for National Connnand,Planning,Coordination, and Combat Perrormance.TDunn Lori.ne, VA.: Historical Evaluation i3 Research Organization), 1984, p.6.

26 Franz Halder, "Control of the German Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSrI P-041d, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.3.

27 Trevor N. Depuy, General_ Staff , pp.6 and B-1.

28 W. Victor Madej, German Army Order of Battle 1939-1945, (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Game Marketing Company 98I, Vo 1, p.37.

29 de Bartha, "Austro-Hungarian General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study IIS # C-O€3, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1946, p.5.

30 Walter Goerlitz, History of the Cerman General Staff 1657-1945. (New York: Praeger), 1953, p.418

31 Walter Goerlitz, History, p.405.

32 Hansgeorg Model, Der deutsche Generalstabsoffizier, (Frankfurt, FRG: Bernard & Graefe Veriag), 1968, p.127. 33 Michael Geyer, "'The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" p. 47

34 Helmet Kleikamp, "German Army High CQnnand: The Central Branch of the Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSS# P-041x, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.7.

35 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, German uilitar Performance, 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: C&L Defense Cosultants ), 1980, o.~~.

36 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, p.13.

37 Bronsart von Schellendorf, The Duties of the General Staff (Volume 1) (London: C. Kegan Paul & Compa y S, 1t77, p.160.


38 The following individuals commanded both panzer divisions and panzer corps.


Table 24 Panzer Corps Cannanders from Panzer Divisions


Grade/ Name/ Corps Commanded / Division Commanded

GdPz/ von Arnim,H. / XXXIX Pz 17th Pz
GdPz / Balck / XXXX, XXXXVIII, XIV Pz / 11th Pz
GdPz / Breith / III Pz / 3rd Pz
GdPz / Cruewell / Africa / 11th Pz
GdPz / Decker / XXXIX Pz / 5th Pz
GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 4th Pz
GdPz / von Edelsheim / XXXXVIII Pz / 24th Pz
GdPz / von Esebeck,H. / LVII Pz, XXXXVI Pz / 2nd Pz, 11th Pz, 15th Pz
GdPz / Fehn,G. / XXXX Pz, Africa / 5th Pz
GdPz / von Funck / XXXXVII Pz 7th Pz
GdPz / Geyr von Schweppenburg / III Pz, XXXX Pz, 3rd Pz
GL / Harpe / XXXXI Pz / 12th Pz
Oberst / Heidkaemper / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GL / Heim / XXXXVIII Pz / 14th Pz
GdPz / Herr / LXXVI Pz / 13th Pz
GdPz / Hube / XIV Pz / 16th Pz
GL / Kaellner / XXIV Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / von Kessel / VII Pz / 20th Pz
GdPz Kirchner / LVII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz von Knobelsdorff / XXIV Pz, XXXX Pz, XXXXVIII Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / Krueger,W. / LVIII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz / von Langermann und Erlencamp / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GdA / Lemelsen / XXXXVII Pz / 5th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,S. / XXXXVI Pz / 26th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,H. / XXXXVII Pz / 2nd Pz, 20th Pz
GdPz / Nerving / XIV Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, Africa / 18th Pz
GdPz / Raus / VIII Pz / 6th Pz
GdPz / Ronirel / Africa / 7th Pz
GdPz / von Saucken / XXXIX Pz, GD. III Pz. / 4th Pz
GdPz / Schaal / LVI Pz / 10th Pz
GdPz / von Schwerin,G. / LVI Pz / 116th Pz
GdPz / von Senger und Etterlein / XIV Pz / 17th Pz
GdPz / von Thoma / Africa / 6th Pz, 17th Pz 20th Pz
GM / von Vaerst / Africa / 15th Pz
GL / von Vormann / VII Pz / 23rd Pz
GL / von Wietersheim,W. / XXXXI Pz / 11th Pz

39 Helmet Kleikamp, "The Army Personnel Office", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSii P-04lhh, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.37.

40 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer and Fatherland; Military Awards of the Third Reich (Volume 1-2)7 San Jose: R. James Bender), 1976 vo1 2, p. 186

41 Klaus Patzwal1, Derr Blutorden der NDSAP, (Hamburg, FRG.: Patzwall Verlag), 1985, pp.li-56.

Block was dismissed from the Reichswehr May 31, 1924. He reentered in 1934 and served as a battalion commander from 1937 1940, and a regimental commander from 1940-1942 prior to command of the 294th Infantry Division. During the last two years of the war he commanded three different corps before being killed in action January 26, 1945 near Lack Poland. His "Blood Order" medal number was #1393. Source : Lenfield and Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger,, p.353.

42 Dr. S.A. Lewis, Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in a private discussion circa October 1987.

43 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.188-190.

44 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, pp.193-194.

45 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.194-195.

46 Hermann Geyer, Das IX Armaeekorps in Ostfeldzug 1941, (Neckargemuend, FRG: Scharnhorst Buchkameradschitt), 1969, pp.8-10.

An excellent example of this is shown in the career of Herman Geyer. Born in 1882, he served in both staff and command positions in World War I and the Reichswehr before assuming command of the V Corps in 1935. He left active duty in April 1939 embittered at the thought of the "injustice" at having to retire at this time. However his retirement ended after only four months when he returned to service as the commander of the IX Corps which he led in the French Campaign winning a Knight's Cross. Geyer was dismissed again in January 1942 after a serious disagreement with his army commander
Generaloberst Hoeppner. He attempted to regain active command but was known to Post Minister Ohnesorge as a critic of the Nazi Party. His requests went unanswered from the Personnel Office and he finally committed suicide in 1946.


Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.


Jerry
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Well, I finally finished proofing and formatting this.

Chapter 4 - part 2


BRANCH AFFILIATION

Branch rivalries played a large role in command relationships in the .y during both the expansion era and actual wartime. David Nelson Spires again presents baseline data for branch composition for promotion in the Reichswehr era as shown for generalmajor, generalleutnant, and general.22


Table 16 - Newly Promoted Generalmajor



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 13 / 4 - 30.7 / 2 - 15.4 / 7 - 53.8 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 8 / 1 - 12.5 / 2 - 25.0 / 4 - 50.0 / 1 - 12.5

1926 / 10 / 5 - 50.0 / 1 - 10.0 / 3 - 30.0 / 1 - 10.0

1927 / 15 / 7 - 46.6 / 1 - 6.6 / 5 - 33.3 / 2 - 13.3

1928 / 16 / 11 - 68.7 / 0 - 0.0 / 5 - 31.2 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 2 - 11.7 / 5 - 29.4 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 19 / 12 - 63.1 / 0 - 0.0 / 7 - 36.8 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 17 / 10 - 58.8 / 1 - 11.7 / 4 - 23.5 / 2 - 11.7

1932 / 19 / 11 – 57.8 / 2 - 10.5 / 6 - 31.5 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 134 / 71 - 52.9 / 11 - 8.2 / 46 - 34.3 / 6 - 4.4



Table 17 - Newly Promoted Generalleutnant



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 4 / 3 - 75.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1925 / 4 / 2 - 50.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 1 - 25.0 / 0 - 0.0

1926 / 5 / 5 – 100 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0 / 0 - 0.0

1927 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1928 / 6 / 1 - 16.6 / 3 - 50.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1929 / 6 / 3 - 50.0 / 1 - 16.6 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

1930 / 7 / 4 - 57.1 / 1 - 14.2 / 2 - 28.5 / 0 - 0.0

1931 / 5 / 3 - 60.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 1 - 20.0 / 0 - 0.0

1932 / 6 / 4 - 66.6 / 0 - 0.0 / 2 - 33.3 / 0 - 0.0

Total / 50 / 29 - 58.0 / 8 - 16.0 / 13 - 26.0 / 0 - 0.0



Table 18 - Newly Promoted General der Infanterie, etc.



Year / Promoted / Inf. # - % / Cav. # - % / Art. # - % / Tech. # - %


1924 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1925 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1926 / 0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1927 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0

1928 / 2 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 50.0 / 0 /0.0

1929 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1930 / 1 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0

1931 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

1932 / 1 / 1 / 100.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0 / 0 / 0.0

Total / 8 / 5 / 62.5 / 0 / 0.0 / 3 / 37.5 / 0 / 0.0


Older generals viewed infantry as the dominant branch and attempted to control the Army Personnel Branch to the detriment of other branch officers.23 This was especially so with respect to the formation of the new panzer forces. Hasso von Manteuffel stated that
the new panzer branch required special leaders and commanders, but the older arms displayed opposing views. To maintain stability within the armored force, GO Heinz Guderian reported directly to Hitler as Inspector-General of Armored Troops and had full input concerning appointments to the command of armored formations.24


The distribution of corps commanders by branch was as follows:


Table 19 - Branch Affiliation


Branch / Number of Commanders / Percentage


Infantry / 131 / 51.5

Artillery / 63 / 18.9

Panzer / 54 / 16.2

Cavalry / 18 / 5.4

Mountain Troops / 15 / 4.5

Engineer / 9 / 2.7

Luftwaffe 2 / 0.6


Another aspect of branch affiliation concerns the commanders of panzer corps and mountain corps. Sixty-one per cent of all panzer corps commanders were of the panzer branch, while forty-one percent of the commanders of the mountain corps were mountain troop officers. Artillery and cavalry officers commanded in both infantry and panzer corps. Infantry generals served across the entire spectrum of units.



GENERAL STAFF SERVICE

The German General Staff Corps was a group of specially selected, trained, and educated officers. Its mission was to serve as a control mechanism to assist the commander in directing large military units. This included planning, coordinating, supervising, and assuring operational readiness.25

Candidates for the General Staff were selected based on "character, disposition, physical, and intellectual abilities".26 Membership was always select. Fewer than one percent of all officers in the Army were selected as General Staff Corps officers in the Prussian Army. Membership rose to twenty percent during the Weimar Republic.27 By 1939 this amounted to 417 officers.28

Austrian General Staff officers had little difficulty after the Anschluss in obtaining positions on the German General Staff. A former Austrian officer, General de Bartha, stated that in n many respects the Austrian General Staff was the equal of its German counterpart.29

Although the size of the General Staff increased to 1167 officers by 1944, their relative importance in the Army hierarchy began to decrease beginning in 1941.30 After the failure to take Moscow in December 1941, Hitler unfairly blamed not only several high ranking commanders, but also the General Staff for the lack of adequate winter preparations.31

In September 1942 Hitler accused the General Staff of "cowardice" and berated GO Hairier , Chief of Army General Staff. This led to Raider' s dismissal and marked the end of the period when the General Staff truly conducted operations.32

Many corps commanders were members of the General Staff. Their prominence during the war was significant and will be discussed at length in a later chapter. Distribution of corps commanders with General Staff experience is as shown:33


Table 20 - Commanders from the General Staff

Year / Number of commanders from General Staff / Percentage of Total

1939 / 31 / 66

1940 / 50 / 70

1941 / 61 / 71

1942 / 78 / 57

1943 / 83 / 49

1944 / 82 / 40

1945 / 50 / 36



This trend mirrors Hitler's increasing intervention with the officer corps. By January 1943 he ordered the reintegration of the General Staff into the regular officer corps and established performance as the primary criteria for promotion, not General Staff membership.34



PREVIOUS COMMAND AND STAFF EXPERIENCE

As in all military organizations, most corps commanders had established a pattern of successful performance at previous command and staff assignments. In the staff arena, two General Staff positions were considered extremely important: operations officer
(Ia) of a division and chief of staff at a corps or higher level.

Division operations officers normally held the rank of major. In addition to his duties in operations, he also served as the chief of staff as the division structure dial not allocate a
separate position for one. The division supply officer (Ib) and the division intelligence officer (Ic) were subordinated to him.35

Chiefs of staff had much more prestige and authority than other officers of equal rank.36 Colonels and lieutenant colonels served as corps chiefs of staff, while army chiefs of staff were usually colonels or major generals. Responsibilities for the corps chief of staff were initially laid out in the Prussian Army in 1814 and formalized in 1865 in a royal order which stated:37

When I have given no special instructions on filling the post of a
general commanding during his temporary absence, the chief of
the General Staff will transact the current duties of the general...


In reviewing prior staff service, thirty corps commanders had been division operations officers, sixty-six served previously as corps chiefs of staff, and thirty-eight were army chiefs of staff. Multiple staff assignments of service as both corps and army chief of staff were held by thirty-four later cars. While these staff assignments were not mandatory prerequisites for future command, they certainly were indicators of excellent performance and potential.

In addition to previous staff experience, prior division command was essential for elevation to corps command. This trend is amplified by the following division command summary:38


Table 21 - Prior Division Command Experience

Corps commanders who were commanders of: / Number / Percentage

Infantry Divisions / 246 / 74.1

Panzer Divisions / 40 / 12.0

Reserve Divisions / 0 / 0.0

Infantry and Panzer Divisions / 11 / 3.3

No division command / 35 / 10.5


An analysis of prior division command experience reveals several important trends. First, 89.5% of all corps commanders had prior division com and experience. Most of the thirty-five who did not were very senior generals who commanded corps at the start of the war. Thus, their opportunities for division command were limited by the smaller size of the army in the mid-1930s. Those less senior who dial not command at the division level frequently were General Staff officers who held significant staff commands at corps, army, and army group level.


None of the corps commanders had previous reserve division command as his sole division command experience. It is safe to conclude that reserve division command signaled little possibility for further command progression.

Fifty-one corps commanders (15.4%) previously commanded panzer divisions. In examining the panzer corps, thirty-six commanders (40.9%) had previously commanded panzer divisions. Of every three panzer division commanders who later commanded at the corps level, two commanded a panzer corps while one commanded a corps of a different type. No single panzer division served as an overwhelming source of future panzer corps commanders . The 4th and 11th Panzer Divisions each produced four. When an individual proved he could successfully command division mobile forces, he was quite
likely to be retained by Guderian and the panzer branch for further panzer corps commands, rather than be transferred to other formations.


INFLUENCE OF THE NAZI PARTY

According to Helmet Kleikamp, author of "The Army Personnel Office", with very few exceptions the Nazi party exercised no influence on Army appointments. Army officer promotions and assignments were based on performance and qualifications, not political considerations.39


One facet of party affiliation was the Nazi Party's highest decoration for service, “The Decoration of 9 November 1923" also known as "The Blood Order". Hitler created this decoration in March 1934 to commemorate the failed Putsch {attempted overthrow of
Bavarian government} of November 9, 1923 in Munich. Eligibility was initially limited to persons who had participated in the events of November 9th and who were Party members by January 1, 1932. These individuals were affectionally known as "Old Comrades". In 1938, eligibility was expanded to persons who had rendered outstanding
services to the Party in the 1920s and had received a Weimar court death sentence and served at least one year in jail for political crimes, or been severely wounded or killed in Party service.40

Awards for this first criterion of eligibility totaled 1500. Of these 810 went to Party members, 500 to Freikorps troopers, and 140 to Reichswehr and Police members. Seven Reichswehr recipients went on to become general officers: Johannes Block, Curt-Ulrich von Gersdorff, Wolfdietri.ch von Xylander, Eduard Zorn, Robert Macher, Paul Hermann, and Theodor Kretschmer. Only one went on to become a corps conmander.41


Although Party officials may have had no influence on appointments and promotions, indirect pressures existed in the presence of several senior Army officials who sympathized with the Nazis and could affect personnel issues.42 Generalfeldmarschall
Wilhelm Keitel, General der Infanterie Rudolf Schnundt, and General der Infanterie Wilhelm Burgdorf were three of these men.

Wilhelm Keitel served as Chief of Staff of the Combined Services (0KW) from 1938 to the end of the war. Richard Brett-Smith, author of Hitler's Generals, states that Keitel did score than anyone to "bring about the domination of the Reichswehr by the Nazis."
Married to Generalfeldmarschall von Blomberg's daughter, he was in addition the brother of the Chief of the Army Personnel Office Bodewin Keitel and undoubtedly had some influence in appointments. His duty assignment can be summarized as funneling Hitler's orders down to the Army and passim up, with a dose of interpretation, their complaints and questions to the Fuehrer.43


Rudolf Schmundt was Chief of the Army Personnel Office from Bodewin Keitel's departure in 1942 to his own death as a result of injuries suffered in the July 20 bombing at Hitler' s • headquarters. Again Brett-Smith categorizes Schmundt as an avowed Nazi who was known throughout the Officer Corps as "John the Disciple". Schmundt
influenced a wide range of appointments to include even army group command and probably speeded the rise of several like-minded officers.44

Wilhelm Burgdorf served faithfully as chief Wehrmacht adjutant to Hitler prior to assuming the position of Personnel Chief from Rudolf Schmundt in 1944. He was "hated for his brutality by 99 per cent of the officer corps" stated Manfred Romnel, son of
Generalfeldmarschall Rommel. From colonel to general he did not command troops but did show loyalty and discretion toward Hitler and was entrusted with visiting Rommel with the choice of suicide or arrest for involvement in the July 20 Plot.45

The influence of these men on the Army Personnel Office was probably in the line of what they did not do more than what they did. It would have been very difficult to explain that a particular officer was selected for a position because he was a National Socialist. But for officers seeking to return to active duty from retirement or volunteering for frontline service from the Replacement Army bureaucratic delays and refusals were surely in order for chronic complainers against the Nazis.46




CHAPTER SUMMARY

The background information in this chapter shows the corps commanders generally to be mature individuals of approximately 50-57 years of age. About 23% were members of the nobility, generally the same as for general officers as a whole. Most commanders were career soldiers with uninterrupted service from World War I, some entered the Army from the police, the Austrian Army after the Anschluss, and some were recalled from retirement. Concerning branch affiliation, 52 % were infantry officers, 19% artillery, and 16% panzer. Almost 50 % of the corps commanders were General Staff officers with many having staff experience as division operations officers and corps chiefs of staff. More than 89 % had been division commanders. Finally, Nazi Party influence was minimal in their rise.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.

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Post by Jerry » Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:51 pm

And the last part of Chapter 4.

ENDNOTES

1 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, (San Rafael, California: Presidio Press), 1977, p.12.

2 J.F.C. Fuller, Generalship Its Diseases and Their Cure: A Study of the Personal Factor in Command, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Military Service Pub fishing Co.), 1936, p.70

3 Martin van Creveld, Fighting, Power German, Military Performance,_ 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: (IL Associates)', 1980, pp. 150-152.

4 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.
5 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 152.

The selection process for Eduard Zorn, a later generalmajor, was a typical one and worthy of review. Late in 1920 Zorn applied in writing to the commander of Infantry Regiment 19 Colonel Ritter von Haack for admission for officer training. In his application Zorn included information on: date of birth, state affiliation, religion, level of education, profession of father, and personal history. In addition he furnished two recommendation letters from prominent citizens of his community. During the ensuing background investigation, Zorn underwent a physical aptitude and medical test. With these complete, he participated in a one to three day personal interview with Colonel
von Haack and selected members of his staff. The results of this process reflect Zorn's aptitude for service. He was a candidate for the Abitur which fulfilled educational requirements. His character was exemplary as he was the son of an officer killed in action during World War I. Additionally, his brother Hans was already a junior officer in the regiment and had an excellent service record himself. In sum, Eduard Zorn was intelligent, physically fit, motivated, and apolitical. David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", (Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation: University of Washington), 1979, pp.9-i2.

6 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.508.

7 Omen Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941-45, German Troops and the Barbarization of War are, hew York: St. Martin's Press), 1986, .43.

8 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, p.5.

9 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.43.

10 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", p.27.

11 Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, p.172.

12 Michael Geyer, "The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan), p.44.

13 Telford Taylor, The March of Conquest: The German Victories in Western Europe, 1940, yew York Simon and Schuster 1958, pp.21 and 409.

14 Telford Taylor, The March, p. 409.



Table 22 Corps Commanders Coming Out of Retirement


Grade / Name / Corps Commanded / Originally Retired / Finally Retired

GdI / Boehm-Tettelbach / XXXII, XXXVII, II / 31.3.33 /28.2.43
GL / Brandt,G / XXXII / 31.1.31 / 31.8.42
GL / Feige XXXVI / 30.9.35 / 30.6.42
GdI / Geyer IX / 30.4.39 / 31.12.43
GL / von Gienanth / XXXVI / 30.9.33 / 30.6.43
CdI / von Greiff / III, XXXXV / 31.12.29 / 31.8.42
GdI / Haenicke / XXXVIII / 30.9.32 / Did not
GL / Heinemann / LXV / 30.9.37 / 28.2.45
GdA / Kaupisch / XXXI / 30.9.32 / 30.6.42
GdK / von Kleist / XXII / 28.2.38 / Did not
GdI / Koch,F / XXXXIV / 30.9.31 / 31.5.42
GdA / Lucht / XIII, LXVI, LXXXII / 31.3.32 / Did not
GdI / Metz, H / XXXIV / 1.4.31 / 31.1.43
GdI / von Nagy / LXXI / 31.12.35 / 31.1.43
GdK / von Pogrell / XXXII / 28.2.38 / 31.5.42
GdI /von Prager / XXV, XXVII / 1.2.31 / 30.6.42
GdI / von Schenckendorff / XXXV / 28.2.30 / Died 6.7.43
GdI / Schmidt,H / IX / 31.1.31 / 31.10.43
GdI / Schwandner / LIX / 1934 / 30.8.42
GdA / Ulex / X / 31.3.39 / 31.12.41
GM / von Unger / XXXIII / 31.7.32 / Did not
GdI / Wiktorin / XXVIII / 1935 / 30.11.44

15 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger, p.91.

GdK Ewald von Kleist commanded the XXII Corps from 1939-1940. He continued his rise with the commands of Panzer Group Kleist, 1st Panzer Army, Army Group A, and Army Group South Ukraine. He was dismissed from the service March 30, 1944 and died in 1954 in a Soviet Prisoner of War Camp.


16 Guenther B1unentritt , "The German Armies of 1914 and 1939", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS B-296, (Washington, D. C. Office of the Chief of Military History), 1947, p.46.

17 Wolf Keilig, Die Generale des Heeres, pp.76,113,232,370,379.

The following corps commanders transferred from the Police to the Army:



Table 23 Corps Commanders from the Police


Grade / Name / Corps / Date Transferred from police / Grade retained from police

GdI / Abraham / LXIII 15.10.35 Major
GL / Beyer,F / XVII, XXXXIX, LXXX LVII, 1.4.35 Oberstleutnant
GL / Chill / XXVI, LV / 1.10.36 Major

GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 1.7.35 /Major
GdPz / Fries / XXXXVI Pz / 1936 / Major
GdI / Grasser / XXVI LVI / 1935 / Major
GdGbT / von Hengl / XIX LIX / 6.10.36 / Major
GdPz / Henrici,S / XXXXX Pz / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Hohn / IX / 1.9.35 / Hauptmann
GL / Jahr / XXIV / 22.11.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Kaellner / XXIV / 1935 / Hauptmann
GL / Lasch / LXIV / 1.7.35 / Major
GdI / von Leyser / XV, XXI, XXVI / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL / Mueller,F. / V, XXXIV, LIX, LXVIII / 16.3.36 / :Major
GL / Neumann,FW / XXX, XXXIII, LXXXIX / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
Gdl / von Oven / VIII / 15.3.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdA / Pfeiffer / VI / 1.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GL /Roettig / LXVI / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GdPi. / Sacks / LXIV / 1.10.35 / Oberst
GL / Schuenennnann / XXXIX Pz / 16.3.36 / Major
GL / Sponheimer / XXVIII, X, LIV, LXVII / 16.3.36 / Oberst
GdI / Strecker / XI / 14.6.35 / Generalrmajor
GL / Usinger / I / 1.10.35 / Major
GdI / Wiese / VIII, XXXV / 1.8.35 / Major
GdI / Witthoefc / VII / 1.4.36 / Oberst
GM / Wolpert / LXXXVIII / 15.10.35 / Oberstleutnant
GdI / von Zangen / LXXXIV, LXXXVII / 1.8.35 / Oberstleutnant

18 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Ei.chenlaubtraeger 1940-1945. (Wiener Neustadt, Oesterrei.ch: WeiTburg Verlag), 1982, p.105. GdI Friedrich Wi.lhelm Mueller made the most rapid rise of the "Police" commanders. Laterally transferring from the Hamburg Police in March 1936, he was a battalion commander from 1938-1940, a regimental commander 1940-1942, and a division commander from 1942 1944. In 1944 he served as both temporary and permanent corps commander before assuming cozmiand of the 4th Army January 29, 1945. After the war he was condemned for war crimes and hanged in Athens, May 1947.

19 Friedrich Stahl, Heereseinteilung 1 (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun-Pallas-Verlag), 1953, p.145.

20 Wolf Keili.g, Die Generate des Heeres_. (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun Pallas-Verlag), 1983, pp.33,78,8O,89,152,218,237,273,278.

21 Dernot Bradley and Richard Schulze-Kossens, Taetigkeitsbericht des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt1.10.42-29.10.44. Osnabrueck, ERG. Biblio Verag), 1984, p.42. GL Eibl became the only corps commander to be killed by his own troops when he was seriously wounded by a handgrenade thrown by a soldier in a passing Italian truck column as he was sitting on the fender of his staff car. He under went emergency surgery, without anathesia, which resulted in the amputation of a leg, but died.

22 David Nelson Spires, "The Career of the Reichswehr Officer", pp.508-509.

23 Heinz Guderian and Kurt Zeitzler, "Comments on P-041a-P-041hh", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-04111, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chef of Military History), 1953, p.2.

24 Hasso von Manteuffel, "Fast Mobile and Armored Troops", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# B-036, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1945, pp.3,10,19.

25 Trevor N. Dupuy, The German General Staff. Institution of Demonstrated Excellence for National Connnand,Planning,Coordination, and Combat Perrormance.TDunn Lori.ne, VA.: Historical Evaluation i3 Research Organization), 1984, p.6.

26 Franz Halder, "Control of the German Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSrI P-041d, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.3.

27 Trevor N. Depuy, General_ Staff , pp.6 and B-1.

28 W. Victor Madej, German Army Order of Battle 1939-1945, (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Game Marketing Company 98I, Vo 1, p.37.

29 de Bartha, "Austro-Hungarian General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study IIS # C-O€3, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1946, p.5.

30 Walter Goerlitz, History of the Cerman General Staff 1657-1945. (New York: Praeger), 1953, p.418

31 Walter Goerlitz, History, p.405.

32 Hansgeorg Model, Der deutsche Generalstabsoffizier, (Frankfurt, FRG: Bernard & Graefe Veriag), 1968, p.127. 33 Michael Geyer, "'The Transformation of the German Officer Corps" p. 47

34 Helmet Kleikamp, "German Army High CQnnand: The Central Branch of the Army General Staff", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSS# P-041x, (Washington, D. C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.7.

35 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, German uilitar Performance, 1914-1945, (Potomac, Maryland: C&L Defense Cosultants ), 1980, o.~~.

36 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, p.13.

37 Bronsart von Schellendorf, The Duties of the General Staff (Volume 1) (London: C. Kegan Paul & Compa y S, 1t77, p.160.


38 The following individuals commanded both panzer divisions and panzer corps.


Table 24 Panzer Corps Cannanders from Panzer Divisions


Grade/ Name/ Corps Commanded / Division Commanded

GdPz/ von Arnim,H. / XXXIX Pz 17th Pz
GdPz / Balck / XXXX, XXXXVIII, XIV Pz / 11th Pz
GdPz / Breith / III Pz / 3rd Pz
GdPz / Cruewell / Africa / 11th Pz
GdPz / Decker / XXXIX Pz / 5th Pz
GdPz / Eberbach / XXXXVII Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, XXXX Pz / 4th Pz
GdPz / von Edelsheim / XXXXVIII Pz / 24th Pz
GdPz / von Esebeck,H. / LVII Pz, XXXXVI Pz / 2nd Pz, 11th Pz, 15th Pz
GdPz / Fehn,G. / XXXX Pz, Africa / 5th Pz
GdPz / von Funck / XXXXVII Pz 7th Pz
GdPz / Geyr von Schweppenburg / III Pz, XXXX Pz, 3rd Pz
GL / Harpe / XXXXI Pz / 12th Pz
Oberst / Heidkaemper / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GL / Heim / XXXXVIII Pz / 14th Pz
GdPz / Herr / LXXVI Pz / 13th Pz
GdPz / Hube / XIV Pz / 16th Pz
GL / Kaellner / XXIV Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / von Kessel / VII Pz / 20th Pz
GdPz Kirchner / LVII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz von Knobelsdorff / XXIV Pz, XXXX Pz, XXXXVIII Pz / 19th Pz
GdPz / Krueger,W. / LVIII Pz / 1st Pz
GdPz / von Langermann und Erlencamp / XXIV Pz / 4th Pz
GdA / Lemelsen / XXXXVII Pz / 5th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,S. / XXXXVI Pz / 26th Pz
GL / von Luettwitz,H. / XXXXVII Pz / 2nd Pz, 20th Pz
GdPz / Nerving / XIV Pz, XXXXVIII Pz, Africa / 18th Pz
GdPz / Raus / VIII Pz / 6th Pz
GdPz / Ronirel / Africa / 7th Pz
GdPz / von Saucken / XXXIX Pz, GD. III Pz. / 4th Pz
GdPz / Schaal / LVI Pz / 10th Pz
GdPz / von Schwerin,G. / LVI Pz / 116th Pz
GdPz / von Senger und Etterlein / XIV Pz / 17th Pz
GdPz / von Thoma / Africa / 6th Pz, 17th Pz 20th Pz
GM / von Vaerst / Africa / 15th Pz
GL / von Vormann / VII Pz / 23rd Pz
GL / von Wietersheim,W. / XXXXI Pz / 11th Pz

39 Helmet Kleikamp, "The Army Personnel Office", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MSii P-04lhh, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.37.

40 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer and Fatherland; Military Awards of the Third Reich (Volume 1-2)7 San Jose: R. James Bender), 1976 vo1 2, p. 186

41 Klaus Patzwal1, Derr Blutorden der NDSAP, (Hamburg, FRG.: Patzwall Verlag), 1985, pp.li-56.

Block was dismissed from the Reichswehr May 31, 1924. He reentered in 1934 and served as a battalion commander from 1937 1940, and a regimental commander from 1940-1942 prior to command of the 294th Infantry Division. During the last two years of the war he commanded three different corps before being killed in action January 26, 1945 near Lack Poland. His "Blood Order" medal number was #1393. Source : Lenfield and Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtraeger,, p.353.

42 Dr. S.A. Lewis, Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in a private discussion circa October 1987.

43 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.188-190.

44 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals,, pp.193-194.

45 Richard Brett-Smith, Hitler's Generals, pp.194-195.

46 Hermann Geyer, Das IX Armaeekorps in Ostfeldzug 1941, (Neckargemuend, FRG: Scharnhorst Buchkameradschitt), 1969, pp.8-10.

An excellent example of this is shown in the career of Herman Geyer. Born in 1882, he served in both staff and command positions in World War I and the Reichswehr before assuming command of the V Corps in 1935. He left active duty in April 1939 embittered at the thought of the "injustice" at having to retire at this time. However his retirement ended after only four months when he returned to service as the commander of the IX Corps which he led in the French Campaign winning a Knight's Cross. Geyer was dismissed again in January 1942 after a serious disagreement with his army commander
Generaloberst Hoeppner. He attempted to regain active command but was known to Post Minister Ohnesorge as a critic of the Nazi Party. His requests went unanswered from the Personnel Office and he finally committed suicide in 1946.

Source: The Unknown Generals - Germans Corps Commanders in WW II. French Maclean - Maj USA - 1974.

Jerry
When you're in command..... command!

gauting
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German Corps Commanders in WW II

Post by gauting » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:45 pm

I don't have a copy of the thesis or the other sources but I am very surprised to read that Schwandner supposedly retired in 1934 (he was 53 then) - I have yet to see any other source on that, in any archive (I would be glad to see any new ones though).

In 1934, Schwandner was Generalmajor and Infanterieführer of WKII (Stettin) in Schwerin (until Oct 1934) under WK II CO von Bock. He then formed the secret Aufstellungsstab in Hamburg on Oct 1, 1934, for what was to become the 20th Division a year later, as commanding general (Generalleutnant as of May 1, 1935).
Before WK X was formed officially a year later, with GdK Knochenhauer as CO of the WK (Oct 1935), the unit was first still under command of WK II (von Bock), according to the Stammtafel of the unit (see Asmus, vol.1, p. 7f).
Schwandner led the division until 1938 and was thereafter continuously under appointment until being put to the Führerreserve at the end of 1941 (after his command of the LIX Corps), and retiring 8 months later (then at age 61).

I can only assume that if such a claim of retirement was made anywhere, that it was to help "hiding" the preparations for the expansion of 7 to 36 divisions between 1934 and 1935.

Any clarification welcome!
G.

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German Corps Commanders in WW II

Post by tigre » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:30 pm

Thank you very much for that great effort Jerry. All the best. Tigre.
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Post by Jerry » Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:06 pm

My pleasure Tigre. I'll do Chapter 5 next.

Gauting,

Sorry, can't vouch for the document's accuracy. FWIW, Keilig does not indicate that Schwander retired and returned either.

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Post by Jerry » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:28 pm

CHAPTER 5


PERFORMANCE, PROMOTION, AND POTENTIAL


INTRODUCTION


To this point this study has examined many of the background characteristics of corps commanders. This chapter will review the actual performance of the generals in corps command by examining four major areas: demonstrated performance, as evidenced by awards and decorations, promotion, by examining the German Army promotion system, potential, through advancement to higher command, and the final disposition of the commanders to include retirements, relief’s, prisoners of war, and killed in action.

PERFORMANCE

The first characteristic examined is demonstrated performance of duty through the German system of awards and decorations. J.F.C. Fuller, in his treatise on generalship, stated that heroism is the "soul of leadership" and is essential to generalship.1

The Germans apparently agreed with Fuller as they established the most elaborate awards system of any combatants in the war, due in part to their experience in World War I. The awards system then was mismanaged, with too few different medals, confusing distinctions between bravery and service, and separate awards for officers and enlisted men. In addition, the subordinate states of Germany, such as Bavaria, issued their own awards.2

At the outbreak of World War II, the Iron Cross 1st Class and 2nd Class were reinstituted. Both medals had originally been proposed by Colonel Gneisenau to King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in 1811, for acts of military bravery. Two years later both were officially founded and awarded to Prussian soldiers during the campaigns against Napoleon. Both awards were reinstituted by Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, and were open to all Germans, not only Prussians. In 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm II reopened the awards and expanded eligibility to include bravery in the field
or for service to the war effort.3

On September 1, 1939 Hitler reinstituted the venerable Iron Cross 2nd Class to reward a single act of bravery in combat beyond the normal requirements of duty. It could be awarded to all members of the Armed Forces or to non-military individuals serving with the military. The Iron Cross 1st Class, reinstituted the same day, was 74 usually awarded for an additional three to five significant acts.4 Although the intent was to let an appropriate time pass between award of the 2nd Class to that of the 1st Class, this could be compressed to one or two days.5

Also on September 1, 1939 Hitler instituted a new decoration, the. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for continuous acts of exceptional bravery or in the case of higher ranks for successful execution of battle or for formulating outstanding battle plans.6 Recommendation for the Knight's Cross required the endorsement of the chain of command through army commander with the final decision made by Hitler.7 Prerequisites included previous award of both classes of the Iron Cross. Enlisted personnel as well as officers were eligible for this award. Some 7,300 Knight's Crosses were a awarded.8

For commanding officers however, bravery alone was not justification for recommendation for the Knights Cross. In addition the officer had to demonstrate several instances of exercising independent decisions. This is best amplified by comments by Field Marshall Schoener concerning a recommendation for the award to a colonel. Schoerner wrote that for a regimental commander to lead a counterattack personally with machine-guns and hand grenades was not 9 exceptional bravery but a "self evident duty".9

On June 3, 1944 Hitler instituted the next higher grade the of Knight's Cross, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves. This award was intended to further recognize those individuals, already winners of the Knight's Cross, for continued - accomplishments of bravery and initiative. Enlisted personnel, officers, and foreign military personnel were eligible to receive the Oakleaves and by war's end 882 had.10

One year later on June 21, 1941 Hitler again introduced another higher grade of award the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves and Swords. This grade was designed to continue to reward those previous recipients of the Oakleaves who accomplished further feats of military achievement. Although all German military personnel were eligible to receive this award, only 159 officers actually did.11

On July 15, 1941 Hitler introduced what was believed to be the final upgrade, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds. Again it was intended to reward further achievement and by the end of the war had only been awarded 27 times.12

By December 29, 1944 Hitler decided that one ultimate award be created for Germany's twelve bravest soldiers, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds. 76 Three days later the first of these decorations was bestowed on Luftwaffe Stuka Pilot Colonel Hans Rudel. No other presentations were made.13

Each of the grades of the Knight's Cross except the last was won by Army personnel and are shown below:


Table 25 - Army Recipients of the Knight's Cross

Number Percentage of Total
Knight's Cross 5070 69
Oakleaves 486 55
Swords 75 47
Diamonds 11 41

Corps commanders figured prominently as recipients of all of these awards as Hitler used the higher classes of Knight's Cross as an effective motivational tool.14 The following is a presentation of 77 those corps commanders as a function of their highest award received and the percentage of all corps commanders receiving each grade:


Table 26 - Highest Decorations Received by the Corps Commanders

Number Percentage of Total
Knight's Cross 133 40.1
Oakleaves 102 30.7
Swords 35 10.5
Diamonds 7 2.1


Many of the corps commanders received these awards for previous service as regimental and division commanders. In reviewing actual corps command, we find that none received the Diamonds for 78 corps command. Individuals who received the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords for achievement as corps commanders were: 15


27 - Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords for Corps Command Table

Grade Name Decoration Corps Date

GL Hube Swords XIV Panzer 21.12.42
GdPz Harpe Swords XXXXI Panzer 15.9.43
GdPz Breith Swords III Panzer 21.2.44
GdGebTr Kreysing Swords XVII 13.4.44
GdI Jordan Swords VI 20.4.44
GdI Wegener Swords L 17.9.44
GdPz v. Knobelsdorff Swords XXXX Panzer 21.9.44
GdI Recknagel Swords XXXXII 23.10.44
GdI v. Obstfelder Swords LXXXVI 5.11.44
GdA Weidling Sword's XXXXI Panzer 28.11.44
GdPz Herr Swords LXXVI Panzer 18.12.44


It is interesting to note that of these eleven commanders, six received the award as commanders of panzer corps. Forty-five received the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves for service as corps commanders. Fifteen of these men were commanders of panzer corps.
Finally, a further forty five individuals earned the Knight's Cross. Only five of these men were panzer corps commanders. This distribution reveals two items. First, recognition for achievement in panzer corps came quicker than that in other types. Second, by the time most individuals reached corps command they had already been awarded the Knight's Cross for previous subordinate command level achievement, although this was certainly not a prerequisite.

The importance of the bestowal of the grades of the Knight's Cross can not be over estimated. Rudolf Hofmann, a former department chief in the Army Personnel Office, in his description of the officer promotion system stated that Knight's Cross winners
"automatically" were given more generous, preferential promotions.16 Recipients received favorable publicity including tours among civilian industry, postcards in their honor and free gifts. Interviews with several radiomen in the 12th SS Panzer Regiment aptly sum up the prestige associated with the award. They stated that after a particularly difficult tank assault the following radio message was transmitted by the battalion commander: "Tanks halt! That should get us the Knight's Cross!"17 (It did).

Although many corps commanders received the Knight's Cross, others were awarded the German Cross in Gold. Hitler instituted this award in September 1941 for repeated acts of valor or outstanding service not justifying the higher Knight's Cross. The recipient had
to have the Iron Cross 1st Class, but the German Cross was not in the cumulative line as previously described. During the period 1941 1945 Army personnel received 16,876 German Crosses. Twenty corps commanders had this award as their highest decoration.18


PROMOTIONS

The basis for officer promotions in the German Army was the officer efficiency reporting system. This program had a time honored tradition, initially established in the Prussian Army by King Frederick Wilhelm I in 1725.19 Prior to World War II the system called for an annual report for each officer. Based on these reports seven categories• were established into which an officer could be classified. The highest two classifications were: (1) Officers suitable for service at the High Command, and (2) Officers suitable
for General Staff duty.20

General officers were arranged on lists submitted every three months to the Army Personnel Office. The top three categories were: (1) "Born Leaders", (2) Officers who would perform well in the next higher command, and (3) Officers who should be placed
temporarily in the next higher command to prove their abilities.21 The efficiency report provided the most important information in determining appointments and promotions.22

The narrative comments on the report furnished valuable insights into the potential of each officer. A promotion list prepared in February 1945 on several officers reflects these observations.23

GdGebTr Jodl - "Bright with a strong willed personality, prominent tactical ability."

GdPz Roettiger - "Suitable as a commanding general (corps), later an army commander."

GdK Westphal - "Towering personal leader. Great achiever."

GL von' Gyldenfeldt - ""Tactical and operational talent. Clear judgment, sure decisions."

GL Foertsch - "Outstanding tactical and operational vision.., steady in a crisis."

GL Melzer - "Personally valiant... good tactical vision. Steady in a crisis. Good improviser."

As reflected by the comments, these individuals represented the best in the promotion system and a high level of competency.

Until 1942 the promotion system was oriented on seniority. However after this time, under pressure from Hitler and growing officer losses, the system reoriented from seniority to frontline service. In practical terms this meant that General Staff officers ,
for example, could not qualify for promotion without doing a frontline tour.24 With this in mind Kurt Zeitzler, former Chief of Staff of the Army, stated after the war that promotions were handed out too quickly and lavishly during the war.25 The following table 26 shows this expansion of general officer grades from 1938 to 1944:


Table 28 - General Officers in Service

Grade October 1938 May 1942 May 1943 May 1944
Generalfeldmarschall 0 8 15 16
Generaloberst 3 19 18 26
General der Infanterie, etc. 31 99 141 170
Generalleutnant 87 223 369 473
Generalmajor 154 465 501 565
Total 275 814 1044 1250


Eleven corps commanders were promoted to generalfeldmarschall. They are shown in the table below:


Table 29 - Corps Commanders Promoted to Generalfeldmarschall

Grade Name Corps Corps Commander (from-to) Date Promoted to GFM

GdA von Brauchitsch I 1.10.35-1.4.37 19.7.40
GdI Busch VIII 4.2.38-24.10.39 1.2.43
GdK von Kleist VIII 1.5.35-4.2.38 1.2.43
GdK von Kleist XXII 8.39-11.40
GdA von Kluge VI 1.4.35-1.12.38 S 19.7.40
GdA von Kuechler I 1.4.37-8.39 30.6.42
GdI von Manstein XXXVIII 1.2.40-15.3.41 1.7.42
GdI von Manstein LVI 2.41-12.9.41
GdPz Model XXXXI Pz 1.10.41-15.1.42 1.3,44
GdA von Reichenau VII 1.10.35-4.2.38 19.7.40
GdGbT Schoerner XIX 15.1.42-1.10.43 5.4.45
GdGbT Schoerner XXXX Pz 10.43-4.44
GdK von Wei.chs XIII 1.10.37-20.10.39 1.2.43
GdI von Witzleben III 1.12.34-10.11.38 19.7.40

Several points become obvious when examining this data. First, eight of eleven (73%) of these men came from the nobility. Branch representation was led by artillery with four of the commanders (36%) followed by infantry with three (27%). The average time span from leaving corps command to promotion to GFM was approximately twenty-seven months, with von Manstein the fastest riser at ten months and Busch and von Weichs the slowest at forty months each. Six (55%) were prewar corps commanders, while two (18%) were promoted out of this level within two months of the beginning of the war. Finally, the average corps command tour was twenty-one months, with Model serving the shortest time, less than four months.

The rank of generaloberst was the next senior grade in the general officer structure. Twenty-eight corps commanders attained this rank, with very different results from those reaching GFM. Only six (21%) came front the nobility. Branch representation was led this time by infantry with thirteen of the commanders (46%) followed by eight panzer (29%), three artillery (11%), three cavalry (11%), and one engineer (3.5%). The average time span from leaving corps command to promotion to GO was less than twelve months. Only two (7%) served entirely as prewar corps commanders. The average corps command tour was fourteen months, with GdPi Jaenecke serving the shortest time at only two an a half months in command of the IV 27 Corps in the surrounded 6th Army at Stalingrad.27


The great majority of corps commanders served at the General der Infanterie, etc., level and were not promoted higher. This was not a reflection of unsatisfactory performance but rather a result of the personnel needs of the Army. By May 1944 there were seven requirements for the rank of general der infanterie for every need for a generaloberst. Nine officers served as commanders at the 28 generalleutnant grade and were promoted to the GdI level.28



HIGHER COMMAND

An even more important factor than promotion was selection for higher level command, army and army group. As mentioned before, general officers with the highest ratings could be categorized in efficiency reports as those who would perform well in higher
commands or who should be placed temporarily in the next higher command to prove their abilities. As only twenty-seven armies existed during the war, and not all simultaneously, selection criteria was intense.

Eighty-two corps commanders were elevated to army command with twenty-two (27%) members of the nobility. Seventy-six (93%) had served as career officers through the Reichswehr period, five (6%) had transferred from the police, and two (l%) returned from earlier retirement. Examining branch affiliation, thirty-five (43%) were from the infantry, twenty-one (26%) from the panzer, and thirteen (16%) from the artillery. Sixty-two (73%) were General Staff.

Concerning awards twenty-eight (34%) were Knight's Cross recipients, thirty-one (38%) Oakleaves, eighteen (22%) Swords, and five (6%) Diamonds. No army commander failed to receive one of the above awards.

In examining actual corps command factors, twenty-two of the army commanders had been panzer corps commanders, four were mountain corps commanders and sixty-three were infantry corps commanders. The average time of service as a corps commander was eighteen months before elevation to army command.

The highest field command in the German Army was the army group. Eighteen existed during the course of the war with selection to command being even more stringent than that at army level.

Twenty-five corps commanders were ultimately elevated to army group command after successful army command. The remaining army group commanders were very senior officers who had started the war at army level or higher. Ten (40%) of all army group commanders were members of the nobility. Twenty-three (92%) had served completely through the Reichswehr period as career soldiers, one (4%) had transferred from Austrian Army, and only one (4%) returned from retirement.

Concerning branch affiliation, eleven (44%) were from the infantry, six (24%) were panzer officers, four (16%) came from the artillery, three (12%) from the cavalry, and one (4%) was a mountain troop officer. Nine (36%) of these individuals were General Staff officers.

In the field of awards, three (12%) were Knight's Cross recipients, ten (40%) Oakleaves, nine (36%) Swords, and three (12%) Diamonds. Six (24%) of the army group commanders had been panzer corps commanders, one (470) a mountain corps commander and eighteen (72%) infantry corps commanders. The average time of service as a corps commander was twenty-one months.29



FINAL DISPOSITIONS OF THE CORPS COMMANDERS

In the previous segment many corps commanders were promoted to higher grades and command positions. This section will examine those individuals killed in action as corps commanders, taken prisoner during the war and joined the National Committee for a Free
Germany, or who were retired or dismissed from command.

German losses during World War Two were staggering. A yearly breakdown of casualties by total dead and officer dead shown on the next page reveals the scope of this statement:

Table 30 - German Dead 1939 - 1944

Year Total Dead Officer Dead Officer % of Total
1939-1940 73,829 4,357 5.9
1940-1941 138,301 7,831 5.6
1941-1942 445,036 16,960 3.8
1942-1943 418,276 16,484 3.9
1943-1944 534,112 20,696 3.9
1944-12.44 167,335 5,304 3.2
Total 1,776,889 71,614 4.0

Losses among general officers was also high. Bernhard von Claer, in his study "Generals of the Third Reich", stated that 342 general officers died during the war as shown.31


Table 31 - General Officer Fatalities (By Grade)

Grade Number Died
Generalfeldmarschall 7
Generaloberst 11
General der Infanterie,etc. 62
Generalleutnant 126
Generalmajor 136
Total 342


Table 32 - General Officer Fatalities (By Cause)

Fate General Officers:

Killed in Action 169
Missing in Action (Presumed Dead) 45
Accidental Death 25
Died of Natural Causes (On Duty) 46
Died of Natural Causes (After Discharge) 12
Suicide 25
Executed 20
Total 342

Corps commanders also suffered heavily. The following is a listing of all corps commanders killed while in command:

Table 33 - Corps Commander Fatalities


Grade Name Command Date Killed Location

GL Baade LXXXI 8.5.45 Segeberg
GdI Block,J. LVI Pz 26.1.45 Lask
GL von Bodenhausen L 2.5.45(S) Kurland
GdI von Briesen,K LII 20.11.41 Derijewka
GdPz Decker XXXIX Pz 21.4.45(S) Braunschweig
GdI Dostler LXXIII 2.5.45 Italy
GdGbT Eglseer XVIII 23.6.44(A) Salzburg
GL Eibl XXIV Pz 21.1.43 Don
GdI von Erdmannsdorff,W XCI 8.5.45 Laibach
GdPz Fehn,G XV 5.6.45 Yugoslavia
GdI Hauffe XI II 22.7.44 Ukraine
GL Jahr XXIV Pz 20.1.43(S) Storoshewoje
GL Kaellner XXIV Pz 18.4.45 Sokolnica
GdI von Krosigk XVI 16.3.45. Kur land
GdPz von Langermann XXIV Pz 3.10.42 Storoshewoje
GdA Marcks,E LXXXIV 12.6.44 Normandy
GdA Martinek XXXIX Pz 28.6.44 Beresinow
GdI Mieth IV Pz 2.9.44 Jassy
GdI Priess XVIII 21.10.44 East Prussia
CdI Recknagel XXXXII 23.1.45 Petrikau
GL Schuenerunann XXXIX Pz 29.6.44 Pagost
GL von Speck XVIII 15.6.40 France
GdA Stemmermann,W XI 18.2.44 Tscherkassy
GdA Wandel XXIV Pz 14.1.43 Chilino
CdI Wegener L 24.9.44 Kurland
GdI von Wickede X 23.6.44(A) Salzburg
GdPz Zorn XXXXVI Pz 2.8.43 Krassnaja


This information provides several important conclusions. Twenty-seven corps commanders were killed while in command. Of these twenty-two (81%) were killed in action, three (11%) committed suicide (S), and two (7%) were killed in air accidents (A). Eleven individuals (41%) were killed while commanding panzer corps. As expected losses increased later in the war after the tide had turned against Germany. Only three commanders (11%) were killed during Germany's offensive years of 1939 to 1942, while four died (15%) in 1943, a year of transition, and twenty fell (74%) during the defensive fighting of 1944 and 1945. Examining locations for each fatality reveals that twenty-one (77%) were killed on the Eastern Front against the Soviets and three (11%) were killed on the Western / Italian Fronts against the Western Allies.

The National Committee for a Free Germany was formed in July 1943 from German émigrés and prisoners of war held in the Soviet Union. This group published a manifesto which called on the German people to overthrow Hitler, establish a non-Nazi government, stop the war, and relinquish all occupied territories.32 Membership in
the committee was open to all; however, the Soviets encouraged higher ranking officers to join to legitimize the movement. The High Command and Hitler naturally condemned the members as traitors. Reaction of junior military personnel seems to have been mixed, perhaps leaning against the committee also. It would seem that no personnel as high ranking as corps commanders would have joined, but this is not the case. The following table lists those who did:


Table 34 - National Committee for a Free Germany

Grade Name Corps Command Date Captured

GdI Buschenhagen LII 8.44
GdI Gollwitzer LIII 28.6.44
GdA Hell VII 8.44
GL Hoffrneister XXXXI 1.7.44
GL von Luetzow XXXV 5.7.44
GdI Mueller,L HIV 21.8.44
GL Mueller,V XXII,XXVII 7.7.44
GL Postel XXX 8.44
GL Schloemer XIV 29.1.43
GdA von Seydlitz-Kurzbach LI 30.1.43
GdI Strecker XI,h'VII 2.2.43
GdI Voelckers XXVII 9.7.44

In examining this information it is seen that twelve generals who had been corps commanders joined the Committee. Eleven (92%) were career officers; one (8%) had been in the police. Four commanders (33%) were General Staff officers and two (17%) were members of the nobility. In branch analysis nine (75%) were infantry, two (17%) artillery, and one (8%) engineer. No panzer or mountain generals joined.

Twenty corps commanders were dismissed from the service at the termination of command. Dismissed is a difficult word to define. Four were probably fired; GdA Behlendorff, GdPi Foerster, GL von Sponeck, and GdPz Stumme.33 Sixteen others were perhaps more gracefully retired after corps command. When examining these sixteen it is seen that six (38%) were members of nobility and three (19%) were General Staff officers. Not many were recipients of higher awards, in fact eleven (69%) did not win even the German Cross in Gold. Eight were infantry officers, three were artillery, three were cavalry, one was an engineer, and one was a panzer officer.


CHAPTER SUMMAY

In reviewing the factors of performance, promotion, and potential the corps commanders were well decorated soldiers, in a society that valued this characteristic. Two hundred seventy-seven commanders, (83.4%) , received one of the grades of the Knight's Cross, Germany's highest military decoration. Concerning promotions, eleven corps commanders continued their careers to be promoted to Generalfeldmarschall which represents 3.3 percent of all corps commanders. Twenty-eight reached the rank of Generaloberst, most within twelve months of leaving a corps.

Eighty-two commanders later commanded armies and twenty-five went on to command army groups. in reviewing both promotions and later commands these commanders represented a higher percentage of nobility and General Staff officers than the overall general officer population.

Summarizing branch affiliation it would appear as though panzer and mountain commanders fared well concerning awards, promotions, and later command in comparison to overall branch strength.

Twenty-seven corps commanders were killed while in command, most on the Eastern Front and most during the latter course of the war, Many commanders became prisoners of war with twelve joining the National Committee for a Free Germany. A further twenty were dismissed from service after their corps command.

In the final chapter a more detailed summary of all factors of command will be presented and the corps commanders on the Eastern, Western, and Italian Fronts will be measured against this standard.


ENDNOTES

1 J.F.C. Fuller, Generalship • Its Diseases and Their Cure . A Study of the Personal Factor in Command, Harrisburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing Co.), 1936, p.23.

2 Martin van Creveld, Fighting power, German Military Performance, 1914-1945,, (Potomac, Mary land: C&L Defense Consultants), 1980, p.124.

3 John R. Angolia, On the Field of Honor, A History of the Knight's Cross Bearers Voumel-21, (San Jose : R. James Bender) , 1980, Vol 1, pp.14-22.

4 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer and Fatherland; Military Awards of the Third Reich (Volume 1 2) (San Jose : R. James Bender),' 197 Vo1' 1, p.337 and 343. ,

5 Unpublished award documents to Unteroffizier Karl Binz, 25th Infantry Division, show the award of the Iron Cross 2nd Class on June 5, 1940 and the Iron Cross 1st Class the following day.

6 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer, Vol 1 pp.356-357.

7 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p.126.

8 John R. Angolia, On the Field, Vol 1, p.14.

9 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p.126.

10 John R. Angolia, On the Field, Vol 2, pp.108 and 125. Leopold Steinbatz, a Luftwaffe Non-Commissioned Officer pilot, was posthumously awarded the Swords and promoted to lieutenant after being shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft fire near Woltshansk. He had
amassed 99 kills before his death. This is the only instance of an NCO winning the award.

11 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer, Vol 1, pp.366-367.

12 John R. Angolia, On the Field, Vol 1, p.52.

13 John R. Angolia, On the Field, Vol 1, pp.46-50. Rudel was a legend in World War II German his incredible feats of dive bombing efficiency. By war's end he had destroyed 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, numerous smaller naval ships and more than 519 armored vehicles. He was wounded five times, one resulting in the loss of a leg.

14 John R. Angolia, For Fuehrer, Vol 1, p.336.

15 Erwin Lenfeld and Franz Thomas, Die Eichenlaubtrae er 1940-1945, (Wiener Neustadt, Oesterreich: WeilFiFg Verlag) 1982, pp.14, r8', 81, 85, 88, 129, 204, 273, 341, 344, 431.

GL Hube won the Knight's Cross as commander of the 16th Panzer Division August 1, 1941, and the Oakleaves as commander of the same unit January 16, 1942. He was awarded the Swords for his leadership of the XIV Panzer Corps in the Stalingrad pocket December 12, 1942, and the Diamonds as commander of the 1st Panzer Army during the breakout from the Kamenez-Podolsk pocket. On April 20, 1944 Hube received this last award at Berchtesgarden from Hitler and was killed in an aircraft accident the following day enroute to the front.

GdPz Harpe was awarded the Knight's Cross August 13, 1941 and the Oakleaves December 31, 1941 as commander of the 12th Panzer Division. He won the swords as commander of the XXXXI Panzer Corps for actions during the Kursk offensive September 15, 1943.

GdPz Breith won the Knight's Cross as commander of the 5th Panzer Brigade during the French Campaign in 1940. He assumed command of the 3rd Panzer Division and received the Oakleaves in this position January 31, 1942. He won the Swords as commander of the III Panzer Corps February 21, 1944 for defensive actions along
the Dnjepr River.

GdGebTr Kreysing was awarded the Knight's Cross as commander of the 16th Infantry Regiment May 18, 1940 and the Oakleaves January 18, 1943 as the commander of the 3rd Mountain Division. He received the Swords on April 13, 1944 as commander of the XVII Corps also for actions along the Dnjepr River line.

GdI Jordan received the Knight's Cross June 5, 1940 as commander of the 49th Infantry Regiment and the Oakleaves June 16, 1942 in the same unit. After a tour as the 7th Infantry Division commander, he assumed command of the 6th Corps and received the Swords for military achievement in this unit April 20, 1944 as part of the 9th Army at Rshev.

GdI Wegener won the Knight's Cross October 27, 1941 and the Oakleaves January 18, 1942 as commander of the 94th Infantry Regiment. Promoted to command the 32nd Infantry Division later in the year, he assumed command of the L Corps and won the Swords September 17, 1944 for actions in Kurland with Army Group North. He was killed in action seven days later.

GdPz von Knobelsdorff earned the Knight's Cross as commander of the 19th Panzer Division September 17, 1941. On November 12, 1943 he won the Oakleaves as commander of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps. For actions at Jassy Rumania he was awarded the Swords as commander of the XXXX Panzer Corps.

GdI Recknagel won the Knight's Cross as the 54th Infantry Regiment commander August 5, 1940. As commander of the 111th Infantry Division he won the Oakleaves November 6, 1943. He received the Swords October 23, 1944 as commander of the XXXKII Corps for defensive actions at Kowel with the 4th Panzer Army. Recknagel was killed in action near Lodz Poland January 18, 1945.

GdI von Obstfelder received all three grades of the Knight's Cross as a corps commander. As the XXIX Corps commander he won the Knight's Cross on July 27, 1941, and the Oakleaves June 7, 1943. On November 5, 1944 as commander of the LXXXVI Corps for actions in stabilizing the Western Front near Venlo in the Netherlands.

GdA Weidling was awarded the Knight's Cross as the 86th Infantry Division commander January 15, 1943. He received the Oakleaves and Swords as commander of the XXXXI Panzer Corps February 22 and November 28, 1944 respectively for actions in defense of Army Group Center during the massive Soviet Summer 1944 Offensive. He died in 1955 in a Soviet prisoner of war camp.

GdPz Herr won the Knight's Cross as commander of the 13th Motorized Brigade, October 2, 1941 and the Oakleaves while in command of the 13th Panzer Division August 9, 1942. He finally received the Swords as commander of the LXXVI Panzer Corps December 18, 1944 for the tenacious defense up the Italian peninsula with the 14th Army.

16 Rudolf Hofmann, "German Efficiency Report System", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-134, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p. 46.

17 Jost W. Schneider, Their Honor was Loyalty! An Illustrated and Documentary History of the Knights Cross Holders of the Waffen SS and Police 1940-1945 (San Jose, California: U. James Bender Publishing , 1977, p.167.

18 Horst Scheibert, Die Traeger eger des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold (Band I, Das Heer), (Friedberg, ERG: Podrun-Pal_as-Verlag , 1983, pp.ll15.

19 Rudolf Hofmann, "German Efficiency Report System", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-134, (Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.3.

20 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p. 166.

21 Helmut Kleinkamp, "The Army Personnel Office", U.S. Army Historical Division Study MS# P-041hh, (Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1952, p.21.

22 Rudolf Hofmann, "German Efficiency Report System", p.36.

23 Oberkommando des Heeres, Heerespersonalamt, Amtsgruppe P3, Roll 48, Item H8/7, Series T-78, Records of Headquarters German Army High Command Microfilm, (Washington, D.C: The National Archives), 1961.

24 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p.167.

25 Heinz Guderian and Kurt Zeitzler, "Comments on P-41a - P-041hh", U.S. Army Historical Division Study SIS# P-04111, (Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1953, p.34.

26 Wolf Keilig Das Deutsche Heer 1939-1945 (Band I-III), (Bad Nauheim, FRG: Podzun-Verlag, 1956V 1 III, p.2 3.


27 The following corps commanders were promoted to the rank of
generaloberst:

Table 35 - Generaloberst

Grade Name Corps Corps Commander(from-to) Date Promoted to GO

GdPz von Arnim, H XXKIX Pz 11.11.41-30.11.42 3.12.42
GdI Blaskowitz II 1935-1938 1.10.39
GdA Dollmann IX 1.10.34-8.39 19.7.40
GdI von Falkenhorst XXI 8.39-4.40 19.7.40
GdI Friessner XXIII 20.1.43-7.12.43 1.7.44
GdPz Guderian XVI 4.2.38-20.11.38 19.7.40
GdPz Guderian XIX 1.9.39-11.40
GdA Haase,C III 19.11.38-13.11.40 19.7.40
GPz Harpe XXXXI Pz 15.1.42-15.10.43 20.4.44
GdI Heinrici VII 1.2.40-8.4.40 1.1.43
“ “ XII 9.4.40-16.6.40
“ “ XXXXIII 18.6.40-20.1.42
GdA Heitz VIII 25.10.39-31.1.43 30.1.43
GdI Hilpert LXIX 22.6.42-25.7.42 1.5.45
“ “ XXIII 25.7.42-20.1.43
“ “ LIV 20.1.43-1.8.43
“ “ VI 19.3.43-11.'i.3
“ “ I 10.11.43-1.2.44
“ “ I 30.3.44-1.9.44
GdK Hoepner XVI 24.11.38-2.41 19.7.40
GdI Hollidt XVIII 23.1.42-2.4.42 1.9.43
“ “ “ 12.6.42-7.12.42
GdI Hoth XV 10.11.38-11.40 19.7.40
GdPz Hube XIV 15.9.42-17.1.43 20.4.44
“ “ “ 5.3.43-22.10.43
GdPi Jaenecke IV 1.11.42-16.1.43 30.1.44
GdK Lindemann,G L 25.10.40-16.3.42 3.7.42
GdK von Mackensen III Pz 15.1.41-31.3.42 6.7.43
“ “ “ 20.7.42-2.1.43
GdPz Raus XI 1.3.43-10.43 15.8.44
“ “ XXXXVII Pz 5.11.43-25.11.43
GdPz Reinhardt XXXXI 15.2.40-30.9.41 1.1.42
GdI Rendulic XXXV 1.11.42-4.43 1.4.44
GdI Ruoff V 5.39-12.1.42 1.4.42
GdI von Salmuth XXX 10.5.41-27.12.41 1.1.43
GdPz Schmidt,R )MIX Pz 1.2.40-10.11.41 1.1.42
GdI von Schobert VII 4.2.38-25.10.40 19.7.40
GdI Strecker XVII 2.4.42-6.5.42 30.1.43
“ “ XI 6.5.42-2.2.43
GdPz von Vietinghoff XIX 1.39-8.39 1.9.43
“ “ XIII 26.10.39-25.10.40
“ “ XXX0CVI 1.11.40-10.6.42
GdI Weiss XXVII 31.8.42-2.2.43 1.2.44


28 Each of the following commanders served his entire tour as a generalleutnant and was promoted after leaving corps command:

Table 36 - Generalleutnant

Grade Name Corps Promoted To Date Promoted

GL von Choltitz LXXXIV GdI 1.8.44
“ “ XXXXVIII Pz
“ “ XVII
GL Graeser XXIV GdPz 1.9.44
“ “ VIII Pz
GL Jahn LXXXVIII GdA 1.10.44
GL Mayer II GdI 1.4.45
GL Roettig LXVI GdI 1.8.43
GL von Scheele LII GdI 1.12.43
“ “ LIII
GL Stapf XXXXIV GdI 1.10.42
GL von Vonnann XXXXVII Pz GdPz 27.6.44
GL Ziegler III Pz GdA 1.1.44

29 The following corps commanders went on to command at the army
group level: +

Table 38 - Army Group Commanders

Grade Name Army Group Dates Commanded

GdPz von Arnim, H Tunis 9.3.43-12.5.43
GdPz Balck G 9.44-12.44
GdI Blaskowitz G 12.44-1.45
GdI Blaskowitz H 28.1.45-7.4.45
GdA von Brauchitsch 4 1937-1939
GdI Busch Center 12.10.43-27.6.44
“ “ Northwest 20.3.45-23.3.45
GdI Friessner North 1.7.44-25.7.44
“ “ South Ukraine 25.7.44-22.12.44
GL Harpe A 28.9.44-16.1.45
GdI Heinrici. Vistula 20.3.45-29.4.45
GdI Hilpert Kurland 24.3.45-30.4.45
GdK von Kleist A 10.9.42-9.3.43
“ “ South Ukraine 9.3.43-31.3.44
GdA von Kluge Center 19.12.41-10.43
“ “ D 2.7.44-17.8.44
“ “ B 2.7.44-17.8.44
GdA von Kuechler North 17.1.42-9.1.44
GdK Lindemann,G North 31.3.44-1.7.44
GdI von Manstein Don / South 22.11.42-31.3.44
GdPz Model North 9.1.44-31.3.44
“ “ North Ukraine 31.3.44-27.6.44
“ “ Center 28.6.44-16.8.44
“ “ B 17.8.44-21.4.45
GdA von Reichenau South 1.12.41-17.1.42
GdPz Reinhardt,G Center 1.6.8.44-25.1.45
GdI Rendulic Kurland 15.1.45-27.1.45
“ “ North 27.1.45-10.3.45
“ “ Kurland 10.3.45-24.3.45
“ “ South 25.3.45-8.5.45
GdGbT Schoerner South 31.3.44-20.7.44
“ “ North 25.7.44-18.1.45
“ “ Center 18.1.45-30.4.45
GdI Schulz, F G 2.4.45-8.5.45
GdPz von Vietinghoff Kurland 29.1.45-10.3.45
“ “ C 10.3.45-30.4.45
GdK von Weichs B 15.7.42-10.7.43
“ “ F 26.8.43-25.3.45
GdI Weiss North 12.3.45-5.4.45
GdI von Witzleben D 26.10.40-15.3.42
GdI Woehler South 28.12.44-25.3.45

30 Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power, p.183.

31 Bernhard von Claer, "Generals of the Third Reich", U.S. Array Historical Division Study MS# B-513, (Washington,D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History), 1946, Annex 2.

32 Bodo Scheurig, Free Germany , The National Committee and the League, of German Officers, (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press 7', 1969, p.43.

33 Dermot Bradley and Richard Schulze-Kossens, Taetigkeitsbericht des Chefs des Heerespersonalamtes General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt: 1.10.42-29.10.44. (Osnabrueck, FRG: Biblio Verlag 1984, 1 pp.72,126.'

34 Wolf Keilig, Die Generale des Heeres, (Friedberg, FRG: Podzun
Pallas-Verlag), 1983, pp.17,40,41 2,164,186,237,260,262,290,
304,305,318,355,359.
When you're in command..... command!

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