German High Commanders of WW2

Discussions on the personalities of the Wehrmacht and of the organizations not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Dieter Zinke, askropp and Frech.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 16 Dec 2015 20:14

Before I take on AOK 2, I wonder how I should list the period between 11.11.1941 (when Weichs left) and 26.11. (when Schmidt arrived). The KTB says nothing about an interim commander. How should I imagine the actual command during those two weeks? Who issued the orders? The oldest corps commander? The Chef AOK 2? HGr Mitte? Or no one at all? That seems impossible.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by histan » 17 Dec 2015 19:41

According to the FMS Study that covers the operations of AOK 2 at that time, the Chef Oberst i.G. Gustav Harteneck ran the operations side of the Army until Schmidt arrived. I guess that the administrative side, such as assessments, promotion recommendations, that required the signature of the army commander was held in abeyance until Schmidt arrived.

Regards

John

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German army commanders of WW2: 2. Armee

Post by askropp » 19 Dec 2015 23:10

Okay, I will list Harteneck as "mdstvWdGb" because he was not even an Armeeführer. I don't know when Schmidt was appointed, but he is first mentioned on 23.11. and did not arrive until 26.11. because of bad winter weather. Here is my try:

2. Armee
05.10.1939 - 23.10.1939 Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz
23.10.1939 - 11.11.1941 General der Kavallerie (19.07.1940 Generaloberst) Maximilian Freiherr von Weichs
11.11.1941 - 26.11.1941 Oberst i.G. Gustav Harteneck (mdstvWdGb)
26.11.1941 - 16.01.1942 General der Panzertruppe Rudolf Schmidt (mdstvFb)
16.01.1942 - 13.07.1942 Generaloberst Maximilian Freiherr von Weichs
13.07.1942 - 05.02.1943 General der Infanterie (30.01.1943 Generaloberst) Hans von Salmuth
05.02.1943 - 12.03.1945 General der Infanterie (30.01.1944 Generaloberst) Walter Weiß
12.03.1945 - 07.04.1945 General der Panzertruppe Dietrich von Saucken (mdFb)
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histan
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by histan » 23 Dec 2015 19:51

Hi askrop

I have difficulty pinning down the formation date for AOK 2.
Usually reliable sources give at least three different dates - 07.10.1939, 14.10.1939, and 20.10.1939
I think the date 05.10.1939 comes from B M-H Das Heer and is a mistake - since he also states that AOK 8 was renamed on 07.10.1939.

However, in an entry in the diary of von Bock for 21.10.1939 he names von Weichs as one of his three army commanders - so he was actually in command before 23.10.1939.

I hope to have a definitive answer by the end of January - NARA permitting.

Regards

John

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 24 Dec 2015 10:07

The entry on Blaskowitz in Biblio's "Ritterkreuzträger" series says

14.10.1939 mit Wirkung vom 05.10.1939 Oberbefehlshaber der 2. Armee (Umbenennung)
26.10.1939 mit Wirkung vom 23.10.1939 Oberbefehlshaber Ost [...] (Fernschreiben vom 20.10.1939),

but it doesn't give the original sources. It seems the Umbenennung was retroactive, so 14.10. may be correct.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by Mori » 02 Jan 2016 10:24

About Schlemm during Plunder-Varsity - because that's precisely the days we're talking about: my interpretation is it took a few days for higher command to realize how disabled Schlemm was, and some more to find a replacement. Hence there was a gap in command during a critical time.

One issue was the Luftwaffe was reluctant to have an Army general at the head of 1FS. It is also part of the explanation why Student replaces Blumentritt in April. However, there were not many skilled air force generals to lead a land army.

I should point that having Straube permanently replace Schlemm was not an option. That Straube had the interim job is low probability too: Straube was perceived as "much above his ceiling" in handling a corps. During Veritable, Schlemm - without any regret from higher commands - did all he could to sideline Straube and take any responsibilities off him. (See also Straube's Special Interrogation by the British, which gives a very different picture than the FMS)

Besides, I am not aware of primary sources on 1FS for 1945, or on above / below organizations that could be more specific. I take it that none survived.

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 10 Jan 2016 14:41

Now what do you do if the original sources are contradictory?

KTB AOK 1 says:

"12.05.1944 Die 1. Armee wird [...] der Armeegruppe G voll unterstellt."
"16.05.1944 Übernahme der Armeegruppe G durch den bisherigen OB der 1. Armee, Generaloberst Blaskowitz. Übernahme des Oberbefehls über die 1. Armee durch General der Panzertruppe Lemelsen."

But in the Anlagen, both Blaskowitz and Lemelsen say in an Armeebefehl that the handover took place on 10 May. This seems to make much more sense because Blaskowitz could hardly take over AGr G on 12 May if he did not leave AOK 1 before 16 May. Beltinger ("Die Geschichte der Heeresgruppe G") says that Blaskowitz arrived at the new HQ of AGr G as early as 9 May.

Also, Lemelsen says on 3 June that he has to leave "sofort" and "ohne Abschied", so that he obviously did not stay on until Chevallerie arrived on 6 June. I guess this is another case of the Chef administering the army in the meantime.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by Stauffenberg II » 22 Jan 2016 20:40

histan wrote:Hi askrop

I have difficulty pinning down the formation date for AOK 2.
Usually reliable sources give at least three different dates - 07.10.1939, 14.10.1939, and 20.10.1939
I think the date 05.10.1939 comes from B M-H Das Heer and is a mistake - since he also states that AOK 8 was renamed on 07.10.1939.

However, in an entry in the diary of von Bock for 21.10.1939 he names von Weichs as one of his three army commanders - so he was actually in command before 23.10.1939.

I hope to have a definitive answer by the end of January - NARA permitting.

Regards

John
Dear friends, I think the Handliste der Generalstabsoffiziere definitely resolves the mystery: check out the entries of Schilling (Ia) as well as Juergen Schmidt (BvTO). Both entries show 25.10.1939!!

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 22 Jan 2016 21:28

Thank you, but I would still like to read the 1939 KTB of AOK 2 in NARA T-312 R-1076 (and of course also the 1939 KTB of AOK 8 in R-38) before I voice my final opinion on that matter.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by histan » 23 Jan 2016 00:17

25.10.1939 was the date typed on the Stellebestzung stand 15.11.1939 for the re-naming of AOK 8 into AOK 2. This was then crossed out and replaced by 07.10.1939 for the renaming of AOK 8 into Grenz Abschitt Mitte until 19.10.1939 when it says it became AOK 2 on 20.10.1939. It also has von Weichs as OB from 20.10.1939.

But we know from the KTB of AOK that it handed over command of Grenz Abschnitt Mitte on 13.10.1939 and moved back to Dresden prior to moving West and being renamed.

A "Generalskartei" for Blaskowitz shows him as OB AOK 2 14.10.1939 and Ob Ost 20.10.1939 as does his short bio on the Bundesarchiv site.

A "Generalskartei" for von Weichs shows him as OB AOK 2 23.10.1939 but von Bock says he was one of his army commanders on 21.10.1939. His short bio on the Bundesarchiv site states 26.10.1939 OB AOK 2 mit Wirkung vom 23.10.1939.

A "Generalskartei" for Felber states that he was Chef AOK 2 from 20.10.1939.

So much conflicting information from usually good sources.

I await copies of the Peronalakte of Blaskowitz, von Weichs, and Felber. and of the KTB for AOK 2. So depends on the blizzards on the East coast of the USA!

Regards

John

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 23 Jan 2016 01:13

Okay, so I will wait with AOK 3 until further notice from John. I am doubtful that any of the armies that changed their names in 1939 was immediately assigned a new number, they probably were either Grenzabschnittkommandos or without any name for at least a few days.
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by Stauffenberg II » 23 Jan 2016 08:57

Hi Askropp,

re. AOK 3 to AOK 16 the handlist of the Ch. GZ shows the following:

Boeckh-Behrens (Ia): 23.10.1939
Rauser (Qu 1): 23.10.1939
Ritter u. Edl. v. Dawans (Ic): 23.10.1939
Ulrich (Id): 23.10.1939

This is also confirmed by Vogel´s entry in the handlist becoming Ia Wehrkreis I (new Grenzabschnitt Nord) on 23.10.1939 and Prüter´s leaving as Ob. Qu. M (Ia IV. A. K. as per as 23.10.1939).

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by genstab » 23 Jan 2016 12:39

Histan/John,
Re your post of 17 December, would you give me the number of the NARA FMS manuscript covering 2nd Army in its early months? I always try to cite sources for commanders' dates. Greatly appreciate it.

Best,
Bill in Cleveland
snow on the East Coast but laughably little here so far

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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by askropp » 23 Jan 2016 16:08

I think there can be no doubt that AOK 3 ceased to exist on 22.10.1939, and that the majority of the staff stayed together to form AOK 16. But was this number assigend immediately or was it done retroactively? The main KTB (of the Ia AOK 16) seems to be lost or non-existent for 1939, but there are other records that go back into that year.

The Abt. IVb (Armeearzt) KTB says:
"Das AOK 16 wurde am 22.10.39 neu aufgestellt."

The Abt. III (Armeerichter) KTB also says:
"Mit 22. Oktober 1939 wurde das AOK 3 in AOK 16 umbenannt; an demselben Tage wurde das Gericht mit dem Stab des AOK 16 in Ortelsburg nach dem Westen verladen. Am 24.10.1939 wurde in Bengel ausgeladen und die Ortsunterkunft in Bad Bertrich bezogen."

But the Abt. IVc (Armeeveterinär) KTB says:
"AOK 3 wurde mit Wirkung v. 22.10.39 aufgelöst. Der Stab fuhr am 22.10.39 von Ortelsburg nach Bad Bertrich und übernahm ab 27.10.39 die 16. Armee. Ankunft in Bertrich am 24.10.39. [...] AOK 16 übernimmt ab 27.10. 09.00 die Versorgung im Armeebereich."

So we have contradictory original info on whether AOK 3 became AOK 16 in Ortelsburg on 22.10. or the staff or former AOK 3 travelled to Bad Bertrich to become AOK 16 there on 27.10. (but probably mit Wirkung vom 22. or 23.)
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Re: Interim army commanders

Post by histan » 23 Jan 2016 23:53

A couple of quick points:

FMS Study P-143a Selected Army Operations on the Eastern Front is source for Harteneck.

I have a copy of a Kriegsrangliste for AOK 16 from early 1943. Some of the staff listed, including the OB - Busch, were there from the formation. Their dates are given as 22.10.1939. But - all of the "Generalskartei" give appointment dates of 23.10.1939.

Regards

John

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