PERFORMANCE, PROMOTION, AND POTENTIAL
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.
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
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
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
General der Infanterie,etc. 62
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
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.
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.
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
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 188.8.131.52-25.1.45
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,
When you're in command..... command!