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Maximilian von Weichs

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Title: Maximilian von Weichs  
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Subject: Belgrade Offensive, Alexander Löhr, Fedor von Bock, Erich von Manstein, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
Collection: 1881 Births, 1954 Deaths, Barons of Germany, Field Marshals of Nazi Germany, German Military Personnel of World War I, Knights of the Order of Franz Joseph, Military Personnel of Bavaria, Military Personnel Referenced in the Wehrmachtbericht, People Educated at the Wilhelmsgymnasium, Munich, People from Dessau-Roßlau, People from the Duchy of Anhalt, People Indicted by the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals, People Indicted for Crimes Against Humanity, People Indicted for War Crimes, Recipients of the Clasp to the Iron Cross, 1St Class, Recipients of the Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918, Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Recipients of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Recipients of the Military Merit Order (Bavaria), 4Th Class, Reichswehr Personnel
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Maximilian von Weichs

Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs
Born (1881-11-12)12 November 1881
Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, German Empire
Died 27 September 1954(1954-09-27) (aged 72)
Burg Rösberg near Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1900–45
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held 1st Panzer Division
XIII Corps
2nd Army
Army Group B
Army Group F
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
Clasp to the Iron Cross
Signature

Maximilian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lamoral Reichsfreiherr von und zu Weichs an der Glon, known as Weichs or Weichs an der Glon (12 November 1881 – 27 September 1954) was a German Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Contents

  • Early life and career 1
    • World War II 1.1
    • Stalingrad 1.2
  • Medals and decorations 2
    • Wehrmachtbericht references 2.1
  • Dates of ranks 3
  • References 4
    • Citations 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2
  • External links 5

Early life and career

coat of arms

Weichs was born into a noble family at Dessau in Anhalt, a son of an Army colonel. Following his graduation from the Wilhelmsgymnasium in Munich, he entered the Bavarian Cavalry in 1900 and fought with them in World War I. From 1915 until 1918 he served with the General Staff of the 3rd Bavarian Army Corps. After the war he remained in the newly created Reichswehr where he worked at a number of General Staff positions and later served as an instructor. Transferred from the 3rd Cavalry Division to command Germany's 1st Panzer Division upon its formation in October 1935, he led the unit in maneuvers that impressed Army Commander in Chief Werner von Fritsch.[1] Weichs' aristocratic and cavalry credentials demonstrated the continuing influence of these military elites in Germany's modernizing force.[2]

In October 1937 he became the commander of the 13th Army Corps, that later served in the 1938 German annexation of the Sudetenland.

World War II

For the German invasion of Poland beginning World War II in 1939, Weichs was appointed head of his own Army Corps "Weichs". After the Polish surrender, and in preparation for the invasion of France, he was made Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Army, a part of Rundstedt’s Army Group A in the West. For his successes in the French campaign he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and promoted to colonel-general. Leading his corps, Weichs later took part in the Balkans Campaign, and in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was assigned to lead the 2nd Army as a part of Fedor von Bock’s Army Group Centre. He led the 2nd Army in 1941 through the Battle of Kiev, the Battle of Smolensk, and then on to Vyazma and Bryansk.

In 1942, for Fall Blau, Weichs was assigned to lead the newly created Army Group B. Army Group B was composed of Salmuth's 2nd Army, Hoth’s 4th Panzer Army, and Paulus's 6th Army. In addition to the German armies, Army Group B included the 2nd Hungarian Army, 8th Italian Army, the Third and the Fourth Romanian Army. The 6th Army was assigned to take the city of Stalingrad and cover approximately 800 km of front.

Stalingrad

Weichs warned about his lines being stretched too thinly, but Adolf Hitler ignored his warnings. Weichs' fears were realised when Operation Uranus smashed the Romanian armies on his flanks, cutting off the 6th Army inside Stalingrad. Suggesting retreat, Weichs fell out of Hitler’s favor. Consequently, parts of Army Group B were taken away from the command of Weichs and incorporated into a new "Army Group Don", led by Manstein. Later in February, the remaining part merged with the Don Group into a newly reinstated Army Group South, also led by Manstein. Weichs was put in leader reserve.

Weichs was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall on 1 February 1943. As the German situation was starting to become more dire, in August 1943 Weichs was appointed Commander of Army Group F in the Balkans defending against possible Allied invasion in what was seen as Germany’s weak underbelly and fighting off local partisan groups that were gaining strength. In late 1944, he oversaw the German retreat from Greece and most of Yugoslavia.

As Nazi Germany fell apart, Weichs was finally retired on March 25, 1945, and was arrested by American troops in May. During the Nuremberg Trials, Weichs was implicated in war crimes committed while suppressing the partisans, however, he was removed from the Hostages Trial due to medical reasons without having been judged or sentenced.

Weichs died at Burg Rösberg near Bonn.

Medals and decorations

Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Saturday, 18 October 1941 (Sondermeldung) An der Durchführung dieser Operationen waren die Armeen des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kluge, der Generalobersten Freiherr von Weichs und Strauß sowie Panzerarmeen der Generalobersten Guderian, Hoth, Hoeppner und des Generals der Panzertruppen Reinhardt beteiligt.[6] (Special Bulletin) In the execution of these operations were involved, the armies of Field Marshal Reinhardt.
Sunday, 19 October 1941 An der Durchführung dieser Operationen waren die Armeen des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kluge, der Generalobersten Freiherr von Weichs und Strauß sowie Panzerarmeen der Generalobersten Guderian, Hoth, Hoeppner und des Generals der Panzertruppen Reinhardt beteiligt.[7] In the execution of these operations were involved, the armies of Field Marshal Reinhardt.
19 January 1945 (extra) Unter der sicheren Führung des Generalfeldmarschalls Freiherr von Weichs und des Generalobersten Löhr haben Truppen aller Waffengattungen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS in vorbildlicher Kampfgemeinschaft mit Verbänden der Luftwaffe und Kriegsmarine erst bei tropischer Hitze und dann in Schneestürmen der kroatischen Berge, die besonderen Schwierigkeiten dieses Gebirgs- und Bandenkrieges gemeistert und sämtliche gegen Flanken und Rücken ihrer Bewegungen gerichteten feindlichen Angriffe erfolgreich abgewehrt.[8] Under the secure leadership of Field Marshal von Weichs and Colonel General Löhr, troops of all branches of the Army and the Waffen-SS in an exemplary combat alliance with forces of the Air Force and Navy, at first in tropical heat and then into snow storms of the Croatian mountains, have overcome the particular difficulties of this mountain- and partisan-war, and successfully defended all hostile attacks against their flanks and rear movements.

Dates of ranks

References

Citations

  1. ^ Showalter, D. Hitler's Panzers: The Lightning Attacks That Revolutionized Warfare. New York: Berkley, 2009. p 47.
  2. ^ Showalter 2009, p. 59.
  3. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 772.
  4. ^ a b c d Thomas 1998, p. 422.
  5. ^ a b c Miller, Michael D. "Generalfeldmarschall Maximilian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lamoral Reichsfreiherr von und zu Weichs [an der Glon]". Axis Biographical Research (in German). Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, pp. 701–702.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 702.
  8. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, pp. 408, 409.

Bibliography

  •  
  • Hürter, Johannes (2006). Hitlers Heerführer - Die deutschen Oberbefehlshaber im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion 1941/42.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag.  
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag.  
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985.  
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985.  

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of 1st Panzer Division
1 October 1935 – 30 September 1937
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Rudolf Schmidt
Preceded by
none
Commander of XIII Army Corps
1 October 1937 – October 1939
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff
Preceded by
none
Commander of 2nd Army
20 October 1939 – 13 July 1942
Succeeded by
General Hans von Salmuth
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock
Commander of Army Group South
July 1942 – 12 February 1943
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Erich von Manstein
Preceded by
none
Commander of Army Group F (Belgrade)
26 August 1943 – 25 March 1945
Succeeded by
none
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