Your observations are very interesting, indeed. I also believe that Heinrici began to develop his defensive technique during the battles of H.Gr. Mitte
in 1942/43, but I did not delve into any primary documents of the 4.Armee
—this was just beyond the scope of my current work.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:I did not know that he had used it in the Carpathians
It was in the Carpathians where Heinrici demonstrated mastery of his technique of withdrawing his forces before a Soviet artillery barrage, then defeating the immediate Soviet assault. This was a major german success that has gone almost unnoticed in any history because of the lack of primary documents on Armeegruppe Heinrici
While in command of Armeegruppe Heinrnci
, his Chef des Generalstabes
was von Trotha. While there is no hard evidence I’ve located to date, I suspect that von Trotha (who replaced Wenck on Guderian’s staff after his car accident) may have influenced Guderian to appoint Heinrici as OB
of H.Gr. Weichsel
based on von Trotha’s comments about Heinrici’s defensive technique in the Carpathians. Von Trotha remained a strong supporter of Heinrici through the end of the war, and it was no coincidence that after Heinrici took command of H.Gr. Weichsel
he requested that von Trotha be assigned to his staff as Chef des Generalstabes
There are some potentially very good sources for Heinrici’s tenure as OB
in the Carpathians, but I have not aggressively pursued them yet. I still have a few more volumes of the Oderfront
One last comment, Heinrici is one of the few German generals that served in continuous positions of command--with a few exceptions--from the start of Operation Barbarossa to the end of war in the east, ultimately taking responsibility for Germany's final defense of the war. His remarkable military career and overall wartime experiences deserves a thorough biographical study.