Battle of Nuremberg (1945)

Last updated
Battle of Nuremberg
Part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany during World War II
3. US Inf.-Div. in Nurnberg, 20.04.1945.jpg
American soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division walk through a devastated Nuremberg.
Date16–20 April 1945
Location
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States

Flag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg Germany

Naval Ensign of Russia.svg Russian Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Wade Haislip Flag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg Karl Holz   [1]
Strength
45,000 troops [2] 2 divisions,
2 regiments
Several ad-hoc units of
Luftwaffe and Volkssturm [3]
RLA volunteers

The Battle of Nuremberg was a five-day battle between the forces of the United States 7th Army on one side, and Nazi Germany and Russian Liberation Army volunteers on the other during World War II. The battle saw some of the fiercest urban combat during the war and it took four days for the United States to capture the city. The battle was a blow to Nazi Germany as Nuremberg was a center of the Nazi regime. Many rallies took place in the city and to lose the city to the Americans took a heavy toll on already low German morale. [1] Even though American forces heavily outnumbered the German forces, [2] it wasn't until 20 April, that the 7th Army took the city center. The battle devastated the city.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

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.

Russian Liberation Army military unit

The Russian Liberation Army was a collaborationist formation, primarily composed of Russians, that fought under German command during World War II. The army was led by Andrey Vlasov, a Red Army general who had defected, and members of the army are often referred to as Vlasovtsy (Власовцы). In 1944, it became known as the Armed Forces of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia.

Contents

Background

The United States, United Kingdom, France and Canada jointly invaded Germany from the west on 8 February 1945. The German Army took heavy losses as the Allied armies crossed the Rhine and surrounded the Ruhr area as the Soviet and Polish armies pushed from the east. By April the US and Soviet armies were closing in on each other, constricting an already narrow gap of German-controlled territory running from Berlin to Munich and including Nuremberg. As the 12th Army Group continued to push east towards Berlin, the 6th Army Group received orders to push into southern Germany and into Austria. [4] Despite the heavier resistance from the German Army in the south as compared to the north, the US 7th Army broke out of its bridgehead on the Rhine south of Frankfurt on 28 March. After fierce fighting, the 7th Army captured Aschaffenburg in Bavaria on 3 April and Heilbronn in Württemberg on 12 April, which left Nuremberg wide open to American attack. On 12 April the German High Command ordered the unconditional defense of all cities and Hitler placed Reich Defense Commissioner and Gauleiter of Franconia Karl Holz in charge of the German Army around Nuremberg. [1] On 15 April the 7th Army advanced towards Nuremberg, rapidly capturing Bamberg in the process. [4] As the 7th Army neared Nuremberg, Holz ordered setting up anti-tank barriers as well as anti-aircraft guns around the old city. Holz's forces were heavily outnumbered, but he still believed that "the Americans would break sooner or later". [1]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

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.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

The battle

By 16 April, the 7th Army had begun its assault on Nuremberg—not from the west as Holz expected, but from the east and northeast. By the end of the day, the Americans had captured the outskirts of Erlenstegen and Buch. Arthur Schoeddert, a constable of anti-aircraft artillery, failed to execute Hitler's orders to blow up electricity, gas and water plants in the city.

By 17 April, the 7th Army captured the marshaling yard and the surrounding area as well as the Veilhofstrasse and Woehrd neighborhoods. By evening, the airport to the north was captured and US artillery began to shell the old city. American troops met fierce resistance around the old city on 18 April, which destroyed and damaged many buildings around the old city, including the historic city castle. On 18 April, as American artillery continued to shell the old city, and U.S. troops were able to reach the old city via the Burgschmietstrasse.

On 20 April, the 3rd Infantry Division under the command of Major General John W. O'Daniel and the 45th Infantry Division under Major General Robert T. Frederick laid siege to the old city. German resistance was so great that American heavy artillery and air support was deployed. Holz ordered his men to continue to fight. Holz himself was trapped in the police station in the old city, but continued to resist. After American troops gave him four chances for a peaceful surrender, he was killed while American troops overran the building. After Holz's death, second-in-command Colonel Wolf realised that the city could no longer be held. At 11:00 he ordered all German troops in the area to surrender. On the evening of 20 April, the American flag was hoisted at Adolf Hitler Platz, formally ending the battle. [5]

John W. ODaniel United States Army general

Lieutenant General John Wilson O'Daniel, nicknamed "Iron Mike", was a senior United States Army officer who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. He is perhaps best known for serving with the 3rd Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France during World War II. He was the commanding general (CG) of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Robert T. Frederick Recipient of the Purple Heart medal

Major General Robert Tryon Frederick was a senior United States Army officer who fought in World War II. During the war, he commanded the 1st Special Service Force, the 1st Allied Airborne Task Force, and the 45th Infantry Division. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and several other decorations, and is the only American serviceman who received eight Purple Hearts during World War II.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 End of the War in Nuremberg Archived 20 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine . - The US takes a symbolic Nazi German city.
  2. 1 2 Unequal battle - Battle for Nuremberg
  3. MacDonald, Charles B., The Last Offensive, p. 423, GPO: Washington D.C., 1993.
  4. 1 2 Bedessem, Edward M. (1996). Central Europe, 22 March – 11 May 1945. CMH Online bookshelves: The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II. Washington: US Army Center of Military History. ISBN   0160481368. CMH Pub 72-36.
  5. Battle for Nuremberg Archived 25 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine . - Timeline of the battle