Army Group A

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Army Group A
Heeresgruppe A
CountryFlag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany
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Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe.svg

Army Group A (Heeresgruppe A) was the name of several German Army Groups during World War II. During the Battle of France, the army group named Army Group A was composed of 45½ divisions, including 7 armored panzer divisions. It was responsible for breaking through the heavily-forested Ardennes region. The operation, which was part of Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), was resoundingly successful for the Germans, as the army group outflanked the best troops of France and its allies, eventually leading to France's surrender. [1]

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Battle of France Successful German invasion of France

The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.

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In 1942, Army Group South on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union was split into Army Group A and Army Group B, and Army Group A was responsible for the invasion into the Caucasus. In 1945, months before the fall of Nazi Germany, Army Group A was renamed Army Group Centre.

Army Group South name of a number of German Army Groups during World War II

Army Group South was the name of two German Army Groups during World War II. It was first used in the 1939 September Campaign, along with Army Group North to invade Poland. In the invasion of Poland Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedt and his chief of staff Erich von Manstein. Two years later, Army Group South became one of three army groups into which Germany organised their forces for Operation Barbarossa. Army Group South's principal objective was to capture Soviet Ukraine and its capital Kiev.

Eastern Front (World War II) theatre of conflict during World War II, encompassing Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans)

The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Western Front, 1940

During the German invasion of the Low Countries and France Army Group A was under the command of Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt and was responsible for the break-out through the Ardennes. It was composed of 45½ divisions, including the 7 panzer divisions of Panzer Group Kleist.

Low Countries historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or historically also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

<i>Generaloberst</i> General officer rank

Generaloberst, in English colonel general, was, in Germany and Austria-Hungary—the German Reichswehr and Wehrmacht, the Austro-Hungarian Common Army, and the East German National People's Army, as well as the respective police services—the second highest general officer rank, ranking above full general but below general field marshal. It was equivalent to Generaladmiral in the Kriegsmarine until 1945, or to Flottenadmiral in the Volksmarine until 1990. The rank was the highest ordinary military rank and the highest military rank awarded in peacetime; the higher rank of general field marshal was only awarded in wartime by the head of state. In general, a Generaloberst had the same privileges as a general field marshal.

Order of Battle

4th Army (Wehrmacht) field army of the Wehrmacht during World War II

The 4th Army was a field army of the Wehrmacht during World War II.

Günther von Kluge German general

Günther von Kluge was a German field marshal during World War II who held commands on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. He commanded the 4th Army of the Wehrmacht during the invasion of Poland in 1939 and the Battle of France in 1940, earning a promotion to Generalfeldmarschall. Kluge went on to command the 4th Army in Operation Barbarossa and the Battle for Moscow in 1941.

V Army Corps (Wehrmacht)

V Army Corps was a corps in the German Army during World War II.

Eastern Front, 1942

In 1942, Army Group South was in southern Russia on the Eastern Front. For Case Blue (Fall Blau), the summer offensive of the German Armed Forces ( Wehrmacht ), Army Group South was split into Army Group A and Army Group B. Army Group A was ordered south to capture the oil fields in the Caucasus.

Army Group A included the following armies:

Eastern Front, 1945

On January 16, 1945 Colonel Bogislaw von Bonin, the Chief of the Operational Branch of the Army General Staff (Generalstab des Heeres) gave Heeresgruppe A permission to retreat during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive, rejecting a direct order from Adolf Hitler for them to hold fast. Although Heeresgruppe A escaped encirclement and regrouped, von Bonin was arrested by the Gestapo on January 19, 1945, and imprisoned first at Flossenbürg concentration camp and then Dachau concentration camp. He was eventually liberated along with other prisoners in South Tyrol by the US Army in May 1945.

On 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.

Commanders

CommanderTook officeLeft officeTime in office
1
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S37772, Gerd v. Rundstedt.jpg
Rundstedt, Gerd Generalfeldmarschall
Gerd von Rundstedt
(1875–1953)
15 October 19391 October 194011 months
2
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S36487, Wilhelm List.jpg
List, WilhelmGeneralfeldmarschall
Wilhelm List
(1880–1971)
10 July 194210 September 19422 months
3
Hitler portrait crop.jpg
Hitler, Adolf Adolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
10 September 194221 November 19422 months
4
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1986-0210-503, General Ewald von Kleist.jpg
Kleist, EwaldGeneralfeldmarschall
Ewald von Kleist
(1881–1954)
22 September 1942June 19436 months
5
General Lanz v Celju (cropped).jpg
Lanz, Hubert General der Gebirgstruppe
Hubert Lanz
(1896–1982)
June 1943July 19431 month
(4)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1986-0210-503, General Ewald von Kleist.jpg
Kleist, EwaldGeneralfeldmarschall
Ewald von Kleist
(1881–1954)
July 194325 March 19448 months
6
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L29176, Ferdinand Schorner.jpg
Schörner, Ferdinand Generaloberst
Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
25 March 194431 March 19440 months
7
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1981-104-30, Josef Harpe.jpg
Harpe, JosefGeneraloberst
Josef Harpe
(1887–1968)
28 September 194417 January 19453 months
(6)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L29176, Ferdinand Schorner.jpg
Schörner, FerdinandGeneraloberst
Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
17 January 194526 January 19450 months

Chiefs of Staff

Chief of StaffTook officeLeft officeTime in office
1
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H01758, Erich v. Manstein.jpg
Manstein, Erich Generalleutnant
Erich von Manstein
(1887–1973)
26 October 19391 February 194098 days
2
Blank.png
Sodenstern, Georg General der Infanterie
Georg von Sodenstern
(1889–1955)
6 February 19401 October 1940238 days
3
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2006-0094, Hans von Greiffenberg.jpg
Greiffenberg, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans von Greiffenberg
(1893–1951)
10 July 194223 February 1943228 days
4
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-718-0149-12A, Paris, Rommel, von Rundstedt, Gause und Zimmermann (cropped).jpg
Gause, AlfredGeneralleutnant
Alfred Gause
(1896–1967)
23 February 194313 May 194379 days
(3)
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2006-0094, Hans von Greiffenberg.jpg
Greiffenberg, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans von Greiffenberg
(1893–1951)
13 May 194316 July 194364 days
5
Hans Rottiger.jpg
Röttiger, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans Röttiger
(1896–1960)
16 July 194324 March 1944252 days
6
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-237-1051-15A, Walter Wenck.jpg
Wenck, WaltherGeneralleutnant
Walther Wenck
(1900–1982)
24 March 194422 July 1944120 days
7
Blank.png
Xylander, WolfGeneralleutnant
Wolf-Dietrich von Xylander
(1903–1945)
28 September 194415 February 1945 208 days

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References

  1. Jackson, J. T. (2003). The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-280300-9.