Army Group North

Last updated
Army Group North
Heeresgruppe Nord
  • 2 September 1939 – 10 October 1939
  • 20 June 1941 – 25 January 1945
  • 25 January 1945 –8 May 1945
CountryFlag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany

Army Group North (German : Heeresgruppe Nord) was a German strategic echelon formation, commanding a grouping of field armies during World War II. The German Army Group was subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the German army high command, and coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics, including the Army Group North Rear Area.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Echelon formation

An echelon formation is a formation in which its units are arranged diagonally. Each unit is stationed behind and to the right, or behind and to the left, of the unit ahead. The name of the formation comes from the French word échelon, meaning a rung of a ladder, which describes the shape that this formation has when viewed from above or below.

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.


Operational history

The Army Group North was created on the 2 September 1939 by reorganization of the 2nd Army Headquarters. Commander in Chief as of 27 August 1939 was Field Marshal Fedor von Bock.

Fedor von Bock German field marshal

Moritz Albrecht Franz Friedrich Fedor von Bock was a German field marshal who served in the German army during the Second World War. Bock served as the commander of Army Group North during the Invasion of Poland in 1939, commander of Army Group B during the Invasion of France in 1940, and later as the commander of Army Group Center during the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941; his final command was that of Army Group South in 1942.

Invasion of Poland

The first employment of Army Group North was in the invasion of Poland of 1939, where in September it controlled:

Invasion of Poland invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent

The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, and in Germany as the Poland Campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.

The 3rd Army was a German field army that fought during World War II.

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.

10th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht) formation of the German Army during World War II

The 10th Panzer Division was a formation of the German Army during World War II. It was formed in Prague in March 1939, and served in the Army Group North reserve during the invasion of Poland of the same year. The division participated in the Battle of France in 1940, including the Siege of Calais, and in Operation Barbarossa attached to Army Group Center in 1941.

The Army Group was commanded by Fedor von Bock for the operation.

After the end of the campaign, it was transferred to the Western Theatre and on the 10 October 1939 was renamed as the Army Group B, and consisted of:

Invasion of the Soviet Union

In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was reformed from Army Group C on 22 June 1941. Army Group North was commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb [1] and staged in East Prussia. Its strategic goal was Leningrad, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank of Army Group Centre in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils-Kholm Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's Baltic offensive operation the army group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia. It served mainly in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944. Commander in Chief 22 June 1941: Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb.

Its subordinate armies were deployed with the following immediate objectives:

The Baltic offensive operation

All operational objectives such as Tallinn were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensives such as the Battle of Raseiniai, and the army group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad. However, while the Baltic states were overrun, the Siege of Leningrad continued until 1944, when it was lifted as a result of the Red Army Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation.

In September 1941, the Spanish Blue Division was assigned to Army Group North.

Northern Russia offensive operation

October 1941

  • 16th Army
  • 18th Army

Nevsky Pyatachok
Operation Nordlicht

Northern Russia defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler

September 1942

December 1942

Demyansk Pocket
Kholm Pocket
Soviet Toropets-Kholm Operation
Battle of Velikiye Luki
Battle of Krasny Bor

Baltic defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: Field marshal Walter Model
Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner
Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner

March 1944

Battle of Narva, consisting of:

  1. Battle for Narva Bridgehead and
  2. Battle of Tannenberg Line

Combat in South Estonia, 1944
Soviet Baltic Offensive
Battle of Porkuni
Battle of Vilnius (1944)
Battle of Memel

After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945, the Army Group was renamed Army Group Courland. On the same day, in East Prussia, a new Army Group North was created by renaming Army Group Center. On the 2 April 1945, the army group was dissolved, and the staff formed the 12th Army headquarters.

Campaign in East Prussia

Army Group North (old Army Group Centre), was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Königsberg in East Prussia. On April 9, 1945 Königsberg finally fell to the Red Army, although remnants of Army Group units continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil & Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe.

October 1944

November 1944

December 1944

Soviet East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Königsberg
Heiligenbeil pocket

Campaign in West Prussia

Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic
Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss
February 1945

Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive
Battle of Kolberg
Courland Pocket
On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.


CommanderTook officeLeft officeTime in office
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1977-120-11, Fedor von Bock.jpg
Bock, FedorGeneralfeldmarschall
Fedor von Bock
27 August 193920 June 19411 year, 297 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L08126, Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb.jpg
Leeb, WilhelmGeneralfeldmarschall
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
20 June 194117 January 1942211 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R63872, Georg von Kuchler.jpg
Küchler, GeorgGeneralfeldmarschall
Georg von Küchler
17 January 19429 January 19441 year, 357 days
No image available (photo).jpg
Model, WalterGeneralfeldmarschall
Walter Model
9 January 194431 March 194482 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L08017, Georg Lindemann.jpg
Lindemann, GeorgGeneraloberst
Georg Lindemann
31 March 19444 July 194495 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-018-27A, Johannes Friessner.jpg
Frießner, JohannesGeneraloberst
Johannes Frießner
4 July 194423 July 194419 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L29176, Ferdinand Schorner.jpg
Schörner, FerdinandGeneralfeldmarschall
Ferdinand Schörner
23 July 194427 January 1945188 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1995-027-32A, Lothar Rendulic.jpg
Rendulic, LotharGeneraloberst
Lothar Rendulic
27 January 194512 March 194544 days
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-088-3724-06A, Russland, Generale vor Holzhaus (cropped).jpg
Weiß, WalterGeneraloberst
Walter Weiß
12 March 19452 April 194521 days

See also

Notes and references

  1. Kirchubel, Robert (2012). Operation Barbarossa 1941 (2): Army Group North. Osprey. p. 18.


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