Armeegruppe (Armeeabteilung?) "A" - 1939.

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Armeegruppe (Armeeabteilung?) "A" - 1939.

Post by Shadow » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:20 am

Hello All!
Can anyone give me information on the Armeegruppe (or Armeeabteilung?) - "A" - that was stationed on the western front during the invasion of Poland?
Info in the "other" forum state it was both an Armeegruppe and an Armeeabteilung at the same time and was commanded by a Gen.d.Inf. Kurt von Hammerstein from 10th to 21st Sept.1939. Does this mean it was activated 10 days AFTER the invasion of Poland commenced? General Hammerstein is also mentioned in other sources as a Generaloberst in Sept. 1939?. The "Armeeabteilung-A" mentioned has it becoming "Military Befehlshaber Krakow" in Sept.1939, but this makes no sense to me if it was stationed on the western front!
Most confused! :?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
best regards -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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Post by Shawn » Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:24 pm

According to the biographical profile in Die Generale des Heeres, 1921-1945, Band 5 (v. Haack-Hitzfeld) by Dermot Bradley, et al. (Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, Germany, 1999), the following relevant information is listed for Generaloberst z.V. Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord.

Promotions:
• Generaloberst: 31 January 1934 (effective the date of his retirement from the army)
• Generaloberst z.V.: 10 September 1939

Assignments:
• 10 September 1939-21 September 1939: Commander-in-Chief of Armeegruppe A (West Wall).
• 21 September 1939: Placed at the disposal of the Army – not employed again during World War II.

In Die deutsche Wehrmacht 1939-1945: Führung und Truppe (Militair-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, Germany, 1993), Kurt Mehner likewise describes the unit as Armeegruppe A and lists the same dates of command. However, a few pages later, Mehner lists the following:

Armeeabteilung “A”[10.0.39-13.10.39, an der holländischen Grenze, umgebildet in Mil.Bfh. Krakau/Grenzabschnitt Süd in Polen, dann Ob.Ost, wurde Mil.Bfh.i.Gen.Gouv./Wehrm.Bfh.Gen.Gouv./Bfh.Gen.Gouv.
Ob: 10-9.39-21.9.39, Gen.d.Inf. [incorrect - should be Generaloberst z.V.] Hammerstein-Equord, Kurt Frhr. von;
Chef: 30.9.39-13.10.39, Gen.Maj. Hilpert, Carl.

Of note, Hilpert’s profile in the Bradley book lists the following:

8 September 1939: Chief of the General Staff of Armeeabteilung A.
13 September 1939: Chief of the General Staff of Grenzabschnitts Süd, Krakau.

Again, several pages later Mehner gives the following:

Grenzschutz-Abschnittskommando Süd
[13.10.39-1.5.40, nach Lagenbericht ab 9.10. Gef.Std. in Krakau; aus Arm.Abt.A und Mil.Bfh.Krakau, ab 20.10.39 zugleich Oberost, nach Ablösung der in den Westen verlegten und in H.Gr.A umben. H.Gr.Süd/Oberost, Stab bildete AOK 9]
Bfh.: 15.10.39-1.5.40, Gen.d.Art. Ulex, Wilhelm;
Ia: 15.10.39-1.5.40, Obstlt. Schwarz, Otto;

I guess I really haven’t answered your question, but I hope this helps out anyway! It’s confusing to me as well!

Regards,
Shawn

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Post by Shawn » Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:40 pm

To further add to the confusion, I have some documents from Generaloberst Carl Hilpert's file at the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv at Freiburg that, in a hand written list of assignments, gives the following:

Sept.-Okt. 39: als Chef der Armee Abt. A (Generaloberst v. Hammerstein) in der Rheinprovinz.
25. Okt.-Feb. 40: in Krakau als Grenzabschnitt Süd (Stab General Ulex).

I'm not certain who compiled and wrote this assignments list, but judging by the numerous references to his family, it might have been provided by his widow. For instance, the eldest of his two sons, Philipp Hilpert, entered the Army in 1937 as a Fahnenjunker in Infantry Regiment 21. He was killed in action on 30 September 1943 on the southern sector of the Eastern Front. He held the rank of Hauptmann was a battalion leader in Infantry Regiment 55 at the time.

Regards,
Shawn

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CONFUSION.

Post by Shadow » Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:45 pm

Greetings Shawn!

Thanks much for your information.
Just knowing I’m not the only one confused about this command is a help.

In the Feldgrau CD set of OoBs it shows:

HEERESGRUPPE – “C”:

“A”:
(under the “army” column with no indication of AGrp. or A.Abt.)

Reserve:
HQ: XXVII (27 AK

VI (06) AK:
- 16 Border Guard Regt

XXX (30) AK:
- 9 Border Guard Regt

V (05) AK:
- 225 Inf Div
- 22 Inf Div (-)

Christoph Awender’s excellent “wwiidaybyday” site, however, shows all of the above Korps under the blanket umbrella of AOK-5.
“Die Deutsche Wehrmacht” also shows the same thing.
“Axis History Factbook” shows XXVII AK serving on the west wall Sept.39 and the other 3 serving in Poland - Sept.39, so this is obviously in error!
“Lexikon der Wehrmacht”:
V AK – Sept.39 – Armee-Abteilung A – HGrp.C - niederl. Grenz
VI AK – Sept.39 – AOK-5 – HGrp.C – Trier
XXVII AK – Sept.39 – Armee-Abteilung A – HGrp.C – Niederrheim
XXX AK – Sept.39 – Armee-Abteilung A – HGrp.C – Niederrheim

If, in fact, this shadowy (pun intended) command did exist, and it must have - what did they command? I’ve run across mention in other sources of a command set up to guard the northern German/Holland area and this is the one I’ve always assumed was “A”.
Whatever “A” was it obviously only existed for a short period of time, but if the OKH called a Generaloberst (normally and army commander) out of retirement to be its Befehlshaber then I always thought it must have had some substance.

Just a thought! Could this fledgling headquarters “A” have been formed along the Holland border (10 days after the initial Polish invasion), with Gen.Obst. Hammerstein as it’s “figurehead” commander (only C.O. for 11 days!), then transferred to Poland in mid-October, where ex X (10) AK commander Gen.W.Ulex took it over?

Anyway, nothing like a good mystery!
Thanks again for your help Shawn -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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Post by Stauffenberg » Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:00 am

Shadow and Shawn!

Mehner is indeed not the appropriate source for researching Armeeabteilung/Armeegruppe A, MBH Krakau, Oberost and Grenzschutz Süd. Here is what I have:

Armeeabteilung/Armeegruppe A - 10.09.1939
Kdr.: Hammerstein-Equord Freiherr von Kurt, Gen. Obst. z. V.
Ch. d. St.: Hilpert Karl, Gen. Maj.
Ia: ?

MBH Krakau - acting as Grenzschutz Süd - Date unknown
Kdr.: Ulex Wilhelm, Gen. d. Art. z. V. (15.10.1939-14.05.1940)
Ch. d. St.: Hilpert Karl, Gen. Maj. (until 15.02.1940)
Brauner von Haydringen Josef, Gen. Maj. (from 15.02.1940)
Ia: ?, Schwarz Otto, Obstlt. i. G. (01.12.1939 - see Keilig and Mehner p. 37)

Oberost III - 14.05.1940, after Oberost II became 9th Army on 14.05.1940
Kdr.: Gienanth Freiherr von Kurt, Gen. d. Kav. z. V.
Ch. d. St.: Brauner von Haydringen Josef, Gen. Maj.
Ia: Schwarz Otto, Obstlt. i. G.

MBH Generalgouvernement (GG) - 21.07.1940
Kdr.: Gienanth Freiherr von Kurt, Gen. d. Kav. z. V.
Ch. d. St.: Brauner von Haydringen Josef, Gen. Maj.
Ia: Schwarz Otto, Obstlt. i. G.

Wehrkreis Generalgouvernement (GG) - 15.07.1942
Kdr.: Gienanth Freiherr von Kurt, Gen. d. Kav. z. V. (bis 30.09.1942)

Additionally bothering is the fact that Mehner and Keilig both added a further Chief of Staff Armeeabteilung A/MBH Krakau, Herbert Osterkamp. But maybe he was just Ia. Moreover I´m not sure if Biblio is right stating Hilpert´s change of command on 13.09.1939. Could it be 13.10.1939 - would make sense.
Just a thought! Could this fledgling headquarters “A” have been formed along the Holland border (10 days after the initial Polish invasion), with Gen.Obst. Hammerstein as it’s “figurehead” commander (only C.O. for 11 days!), then transferred to Poland in mid-October, where ex X (10) AK commander Gen.W.Ulex took it over?
I think you are right, IMO.
Armeeabteilung “A”[10.0.39-13.10.39, an der holländischen Grenze, umgebildet in Mil.Bfh. Krakau/Grenzabschnitt Süd in Polen, dann Ob.Ost, wurde Mil.Bfh.i.Gen.Gouv./Wehrm.Bfh.Gen.Gouv./Bfh.Gen.Gouv.

Grenzschutz-Abschnittskommando Süd
[13.10.39-1.5.40, nach Lagenbericht ab 9.10. Gef.Std. in Krakau; aus Arm.Abt.A und Mil.Bfh.Krakau, ab 20.10.39 zugleich Oberost, nach Ablösung der in den Westen verlegten und in H.Gr.A umben. H.Gr.Süd/Oberost, Stab bildete AOK 9]
That´s indeed most curious. I think the above text is right, but the 2nd text is wrong. Oberost (II) was a newly created staff created on 20.10.1939 which became 9th Army on 14.05.1940.

PS: Shadow, You remember our discussion regarding Oberost on 10.05.1940. I stated that Blaskowitz was Oberost until 14.05.1940. A further source I found is stating that he was Oberost (II) until 30.04.1940, Führerreserve 01.05.1940-14.05.1940 and retook command of Oberost (II) on 14.05.1940 to rename Oberost (II) 9th Army. In the meantime Gienanth (Höh. Kdo. XXXVI) also led Oberost (II) from 01.05.1940-14.05.1940 while still being Cdr. Höh. Kdo. XXXVI (until 14.05.1940). On 14.05.1940 he took Grenzschutz Süd to rename it Oberost (III). So maybe Gienanth is a fair guess for being Oberost on 10.05.1940, too. :!:

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Post by Shadow » Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:27 pm

Stauffenberg wrote: PS: Shadow, You remember our discussion regarding Oberost on 10.05.1940. I stated that Blaskowitz was Oberost until 14.05.1940. A further source I found is stating that he was Oberost (II) until 30.04.1940, Führerreserve 01.05.1940-14.05.1940 and retook command of Oberost (II) on 14.05.1940 to rename Oberost (II) 9th Army. In the meantime Gienanth (Höh. Kdo. XXXVI) also led Oberost (II) from 01.05.1940-14.05.1940 while still being Cdr. Höh. Kdo. XXXVI (until 14.05.1940). On 14.05.1940 he took Grenzschutz Süd to rename it Oberost (III). So maybe Gienanth is a fair guess for being Oberost on 10.05.1940, too. :!:
:D
Greetings friend Stauffenberg!

Thanks for all the information.
As far as the above goes; yes, indeed, I remember our discussions re: Blaskowitz etc.etc. This info certainly seems to cement Gienanth as OB Ost for 10 May and clears the fog a little bit more! Great!
BTW - somebody posted a question, on another thread here, re: border guard units (OOB's) for the period 1933-39. Do you have any info?
A new friend, here at Feldgrau, says he's sending me an 07 Sept. 1939 original OOB for A.Abt."A" , this coming Monday, so that should about answer all my questions!

To Shawn: - think he's sending you a copy as well!

Anyway! Thanks again Stauffenberg! You're always a lifesaver!
Best regards -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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