|17. Armee (AOK 17)|
|Active||20 December 1940 – 7 May 1945|
|Disbanded||7 May 1945|
The German Seventeenth Army (German: 17. Armee) was a World War II field army.
On 22 June 1941, the 17th Army was part of Army Group South when Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa and invaded the Soviet Union. From 1 July, the Hungarian "Mobile Corps" ( Gyorshadtest ) was subordinated to the 17th Army. Along with 1st Panzer Army, the 17th Army encircled Soviet forces in central Ukraine during the Battle of Uman. Approximately 100,000 Soviet troops were captured. The 17th Army participated in the Battle of Kiev. Army Group South was ordered to resume the offensive, with the objective of capturing Rostov-on-Don, the gateway to the Caucasus oil fields, and Kharkov, a major center of heavy industry for the Soviet Union.
In October 1941, the army came under the command of Hermann Hoth, who was convicted post-war in the High Command Trial.Hoth was an active supporter of the war of annihilation ( Vernichtungskrieg ) against the Soviet Union. He called upon his men to understand the need for "harsh punishment of Jewry". In support of the Severity Order issued by Walter von Reichenau in October 1941, in November 1941 Hoth issued the following directive to troops under his command:
Every sign of active or passive resistance or any sort of machinations on the part of Jewish-Bolshevik agitators are to be immediately and pitilessly exterminated ... These circles are the intellectual supports of Bolshevism, the bearers of its murderous organisation, the helpmates of the partisans. It is the same Jewish class of beings who have done so much damage to our own Fatherland by virtue of their activities against the nation and civilisation, and who promote anti-German tendencies throughout the world, and who will be the harbingers of revenge. Their extermination is a dictate of our own survival.
Under Hoth's command, units of the 17th Army took part in the hunt for and murder of Jews in its territory of control.
In 1942, Army Group South was to spearhead the German summer offensive in Russia known as Case Blue. The 17th Army was to give flank protection to 1st Panzer Army as it struck towards the Don River. From June to July, the German 17th Army, the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia, and the Romanian 3rd Army were organized as "Army Group Ruoff". In August 1942, Hitler sub-divided Army Group South into two new army groups: Army Group A and Army Group B. Army Group A included the 17th Army, the 1st Panzer Army, and the 4th Panzer Army. Army Group B included the 2nd Army, the 6th Army, the Italian 8th Army, and the Hungarian 2nd Army. By October 1942, the Romanian 3rd Army and the Romanian 4th Army were added to further bolster Army Group B.
While Army Group B struck towards Stalingrad, Army Group A and the 17th Army attacked towards the Caucasus oilfields in what was to be known as the Battle of the Caucasus. However, by December with Soviet forces en-circled the 6th Army at Stalingrad, Army Group A withdrew from Southern Russia but 17th Army was ordered to hold the Kuban bridgehead. Hitler demanded a three-mile road and rail bridge across the Strait of Kerch in spring 1943 to support a push through the Caucasus to Persia, although the Cable Railway (Aerial tramway) which went into operation on July 14 with a daily capacity of one thousand tons was adequate for the defensive needs of the 17th Army in the Kuban bridgehead. Because of frequent earth tremors, vast quantities of extra-strength girders would be required, and their transport would curtail shipments of military material to the Crimea.
By October 1943, the 17th Army was forced to retreat from the Kuban bridgehead across the Kerch Strait to Crimea. During the following months, the Red Army pushed back the German forces in the southern Ukraine. In November 1943, they eventually cut off the land-based connection of 17th Army through the Perekop Isthmus. Hitler forbade a sea evacuation of 17th Army because he thought the Red Army could use the Crimean Peninsula to launch air attacks against Romanian oil refineries. By the end of 1943, the Soviet command began landing troops in Kerch Strait and, by 10 April 1944, moving troops near the Sivash and together with an attack at the Perekop Isthmus forced 17th Army to fall back to Sevastopol. The German Supreme Command of the Armed Forces ( Oberkommando der Wehrmacht , or OKW) intended to hold Sevastopol as a fortress, much as the Red Army had done during the first battle for the Crimea from 1941 to 1942. Inadequate repair to the defenses of Sevastopol made this impossible and, on 9 May 1944, Sevastopol fell in less than one month after the start of the battle.
The Army lost much of its heavy equipment in the Crimea. Considerable losses were suffered in terms of men lost in battle and losses associated with the sea evacuation. The Army was subsequently reorganized and continued to fight on the Eastern Front, including in the Battle of Bautzen.
|No.||Commander||Took office||Left office||Time in office|
|1||General der Infanterie|
Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
|20 December 1940||4 October 1941||288 days|
|5 October 1941||19 April 1942||196 days|
Hans von Salmuth
|20 April 1942||31 May 1942||41 days|
|1 June 1942||24 June 1943||1 year, 23 days|
|25 June 1943||1 March 1944||250 days|
|2 March 1944||31 March 1944||29 days|
|1 April 1944||28 April 1944||27 days|
|7||General der Infanterie|
|1 May 1944||25 July 1944||85 days|
|8||General der Infanterie|
|26 July 1944||30 March 1945||247 days|
|9||General der Infanterie|
|1 April 1945||7 May 1945||36 days|
Hermann Hoth was a German army commander and war criminal during World War II. He fought in the Battle of France and as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front. Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, and the 4th Panzer Army during the Wehrmacht's 1942 summer offensive.
The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist was a German field marshal during World War II. An early pioneer of "blitzkrieg" warfare, Kleist was the commander of Panzer Group Kleist, the first operational formation of several Panzer corps in the Wehrmacht during the Battle of France, the Battle of Belgium, the Invasion of Yugoslavia and Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.
The First Battle of Smolensk was a battle during the second phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, in World War II. It was fought around the city of Smolensk between 10 July and 10 September 1941, about 400 km (250 mi) west of Moscow. The Ostheer had advanced 500 km (310 mi) into the USSR in the 18 days after the invasion on 22 June 1941. The German army encountered unexpected resistance during the battle, leading to a two-month delay in their advance on Moscow.
Case Blue was the German Armed Forces' name for its plan for the 1942 strategic summer offensive in southern Russia between 28 June and 24 November 1942, during World War II.
The Battle of Rostov (1941) was a battle of the Eastern Front of World War II, fought around Rostov-on-Don between the Army Group South of Nazi Germany and the Southern Front of the Soviet Union.
The 1st Panzer Army was a German tank army that was a large armoured formation of the Wehrmacht during World War II.
The 4th Panzer Army was a German panzer formation during World War II. As a key armoured component of the Wehrmacht, the army took part in the crucial battles of the German-Soviet war of 1941–45, including Operation Barbarossa, the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the 1943 Battle of Kiev.
The Crimea Campaign was an eight-month-long campaign by Axis forces to conquer the Crimea Peninsula, and was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles on the Eastern Front during World War II. The German, Romanian, and defending Soviet troops suffered heavy casualties as the Axis forces tried to advance through the Isthmus of Perekop linking the Crimean peninsula to the mainland at Perekop, from summer of 1941 through to the first half of 1942.
The Battle of the Caucasus is a name given to a series of Axis and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area on the Eastern Front of World War II. On 25 July 1942, German troops captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia, opening the Caucasus region of the southern Soviet Union, and the oil fields beyond at Maikop, Grozny, and ultimately Baku, to the Germans. Two days prior, Adolf Hitler issued a directive to launch such an operation into the Caucasus region, to be named Operation Edelweiß. German forces were compelled to withdraw from the area that winter as Operation Little Saturn threatened to cut them off.
The Crimean offensive, known in German sources as the Battle of the Crimea, was a series of offensives by the Red Army directed at the German-held Crimea. The Red Army's 4th Ukrainian Front engaged the German 17th Army of Army Group A, which consisted of Wehrmacht and Romanian formations. The battles ended with the evacuation of the Crimea by the Germans. German and Romanian forces suffered considerable losses during the evacuation.
The 11th Army was a World War II field army.
The Crimea Shield was a World War II German military decoration awarded to military personnel under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein who fought against Soviet Red Army forces and captured the Crimea region between 21 September 1941 and 4 July 1942. It was instituted on 25 July 1942. It was the most widely distributed of the various German shields with approximately 250,000 being awarded.
Richard Ruoff was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded the 4th Panzer Army and the 17th Army on the Eastern Front.
The Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, also known in Soviet historical sources as the liberation of right-bank Ukraine, was a strategic offensive executed by the Soviet 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ukrainian Fronts, along with the 2nd Belorussian Front, against the German Army Group South and Army Group A, and fought from 24 December 1943 – 17 April 1944. The battles on the right-bank Ukraine and in the Crimea were the most important event of the 1944 winter-spring campaign on the Eastern Front.
The Separate Coastal Army, also translated to English as Independent Coastal Army, was an army-level unit in the Red Army that fought in World War II. It was established on July 18, 1941, by the order of the Southern Front from the forces of 9th Army’s Coastal Group and was stood up on July 20, 1941.
The Kuban Bridgehead, also known as the "Goth's head position" , was a German position on the Taman Peninsula, Russia, between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Existing from January to October 1943, the bridgehead formed after the Germans were pushed out of the Caucasus. The heavily fortified position was intended as a staging area for the Wehrmacht which was to be used to renew attacks towards the oil wells of the Caucasus. The bridgehead was abandoned when the Red Army breached the Panther–Wotan line, forcing an evacuation of the German forces across the Kerch Strait to Crimea.
The 414th Rifle Division was twice formed as an infantry division of the Red Army; very briefly in the winter of 1941/42, then from the spring of 1942 until after the end of the Great Patriotic War. It was officially considered a Georgian National division, having nearly all its personnel of that nationality in its second formation. After its second formation it remained in service in the Caucasus near the borders of Turkey and Iran in the 44th Army until the summer of 1942, when it was redeployed to help counter the German drive toward Grozny. As German Army Group A retreated from the Caucasus in January, 1943 the division was reassigned to the 37th Army in North Caucasus Front, and during the fighting in the Taman Peninsula during the summer it served in both the 58th and 18th Armies, earning a battle honor in the process. It entered the Crimea during the Kerch–Eltigen Operation in November, and was awarded the Order of the Red Banner following the offensive that liberated that region in April and May, 1944, fighting in the 11th Guards Rifle Corps of the Separate Coastal Army. After the Crimea was cleared the Coastal Army remained as a garrison and the 414th stayed there for the duration of the war. Postwar, it was relocated to Tbilisi, being renumbered as the 74th Rifle Division in 1955 and disbanded the following year.
The 417th Rifle Division was formed as an infantry division of the Red Army in the spring of 1942 and served in that role until after the end of the Great Patriotic War. Although it was formed in the Transcaucasus, unlike the 414th and 416th Rifle Divisions formed in about the same place at the same time it was never designated as a National division. After its formation it remained in service in the Caucasus under direct command of the Transcaucasus Front until the summer of 1942, when it was redeployed first to the Northern Group of Forces in that Front and then to the 9th Army. As German Army Group A retreated from the Caucasus in January, 1943 the division was reassigned to the 58th Army and a few months later to 37th Army in North Caucasus Front. In July it redeployed northward to join Southern Front, where it was assigned to the 63rd Rifle Corps in 44th Army in mid-September as the Front fought through south Ukraine, eventually reaching the land routes to the Crimea. It took part in the offensive that liberated that region in April and May, 1944, fighting in the 51st Army and winning both a battle honor and the Order of the Red Banner in the process. After the Crimea was cleared the 51st Army was moved far to the north, joining 1st Baltic Front. During operations in the Baltic states the 417th was further distinguished with the award of the Order of Suvorov. In March, 1945 it joined the Courland Group of Forces on the Baltic coast containing the German forces encircled in northwest Latvia. It ended the war there and was soon moved to the Ural Military District before being downsized to a rifle brigade. This brigade was briefly brought back to divisional strength during the Cold War.
The LIV Army Corps was a Wehrmacht army corps during World War II. It was formed in June 1941. After February 1944, it was upgraded to an command equivalent in rank but not in name to an army, something that the Wehrmacht dubbed an army detachment. It operated under the following names: