General Theodor Busse

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Benoit Douville
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General Theodor Busse

Post by Benoit Douville » 26 May 2003 02:56

I found a great Biographical data on the Third Reich site of Marcus but my main question here is why this guy end it up has one the most important Man in the Battle of Berlin? What was his best accomplishment before the Battle of Berlin? I am also looking for picture about him. Any info will be greatly appreciated

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Elwyn W
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Post by Elwyn W » 26 May 2003 03:39

Hi Benoit,

He was Manstein's chief of staff from Mar 43 to April 44 through the trying periods of Citadel and Cherkassy.

Cheers
Freiherr

The first pic I think came from VJK.
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Momchil Milanov
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Post by Momchil Milanov » 17 Aug 2004 21:00

Image

Image

Regards

Ernst Barkmann

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Dieter Zinke
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Post by Dieter Zinke » 17 Aug 2004 22:35

Hitlers last visit (CI. AK in Harnekop) in front linie 03.03.1945. Inthe manor-house of Graf Haeseler. From left to right:
Wilhelm Berlin (KG CI. AK), Robert Ritter von Greim, Franz Reuss (Kommandeur 4. Flieger-Division), Job Odebrecht (KG II: Flakkorps), Theodor Busse.

Oberstab
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HerrGeneral
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Post by HerrGeneral » 17 Aug 2004 23:58

Oberstab, this looks like one and the same photo but in both cases croped.

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HerrGeneral
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Post by HerrGeneral » 18 Aug 2004 00:14

This is pretty much how the whole photo looks like. Now, somebody must have this in color.
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Elwyn W
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Post by Elwyn W » 18 Aug 2004 04:24

Here you go. Don't forget Kleinheisterkamp right behind Busse on the extreme right

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Freiherr
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HerrGeneral
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Post by HerrGeneral » 18 Aug 2004 09:52

freiherr, that's not the same photo, notice the positions of the heads. You'd not happend to have a better res of this one?

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Elwyn W
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Post by Elwyn W » 18 Aug 2004 13:25

HerrGeneral,

I know it was a few frames away. But if you wanted to see Busse, that's all I have.

cheers
Freiherr

Wilfried Abenaschon
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Post by Wilfried Abenaschon » 19 Aug 2004 11:34

Hello,

Could someone give the names of everybody here?

Willab

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Dieter Zinke
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Post by Dieter Zinke » 22 Aug 2006 09:05


Jan-Hendrik
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Re: General Theodor Busse

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 28 May 2009 07:37

Did he never participated in any Freikorps?

Jan-Hendrik

Dr. Sandy Mitcham
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Re: General Theodor Busse

Post by Dr. Sandy Mitcham » 10 Jun 2009 22:07

Busse and Wilhelm Burgdorf married sisters and became close personal friends. Burgdorf was a Nazi, the head of the powerful HPA (Army Personnel Office), a pal of Martin Bormann, and a man of great influence in Berlin during the last 10 months of the Third Reich. Burgdorf was behind Busse's appointment.

Dr. Sandy Mitcham

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AlifRafikKhan
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Re: General Theodor Busse

Post by AlifRafikKhan » 13 Jan 2010 12:55

Here is biography of Theodor Busse from amazing book by Steven H. Newton "Kursk, The German View" :

Despite the fact that Field Marshal Erich von Manstein characterized Theodor Busse as "my closest collaborator" and that he rose to command one of the last armies defending Berlin, he has attracted very little attention either from historians or German officers composing their memoirs. The primary reason for this neglect appears to be the fact that Busse, capable as he undoubtedly was, came across as overbearing, excessively optimistic, zealously protective of his relationship with von Manstein, and far too closely tied with members of Hitler's personal entourage for anyone's comfort. Put simply, nobody liked him.

Alexander Stahlberg best captures the feelings of the other officers toward Busse. Having just drawn his billet as von Manstein's adjutant in the critical days when the Sixth Army still held out at Stalingrad, Stahlberg made the requisite courtesy calls—"in precise order of seniority, according to custom"—on Army Group Don's chief of staff, Major General Friedrich Schulz, and Busse, the operations officer. "I at once felt trust and liking for General Schulz," Stahlberg recalled, but "things were quite different" with Busse. "When I went to his office, he offered me a chair facing him, turned the light of a standard lamp on me and questioned me about everything he was interested in without my being able to see his face," the young adjutant later wrote, noting that as a result "there was a wall between us from the start."

Theodor Busse was a Prussian, born at Frankfort on the Oder (the town he would later defend as an army commander) on 15 December 1897. He entered the army as an officer cadet in December 1915 and received his commission as a lieutenant in the 12th Grenadier Regiment in February 1917. Young Busse must have impressed someone during thefinal year of World War I, because he received one of the 4,000 prized officer slots allowed in the post-Versailles Reichswehr (German army). By July 1937, Major Busse had risen to become the la (operations officer) of the 22nd Infantry Division, the post in which he gained promotion to lieutenant colonel in February 1939. During the Polish campaign, the 22nd Infantry Division found itself relegated to a reserve role but played a much more active part in the conquest of the Netherlands in May 1940. Although Busse appears to have performed well, he also rankled General of Artillery Franz Haider, chief of the Army General Staff, by circulating a tactless report that harshly criticized the Luftwaffe's (Germany's air force) interservice cooperation even before the campaign ended. This unfortunate lapse probably contributed to Busse missing out in the major round of promotions and decorations following France's defeat.

Knowing that he could not afford to let his peers get too far ahead of him, Busse jumped at the chance to become operations officer for the newly formed Eleventh Army in September 1940. Eleventh Army had been activated to train new divisions raised for the invasion of the Soviet Union, and when Busse joined the staff there were no plans to utilize it in the campaign. Fortunately for Busse, his new commander, Colonel General Eugen Ritter von Schobert, was a committed national socialist (Nazi) and preferred like-minded men around him. Though Busse was not a Nazi, he strongly supported Hitler's leadership and apparent success as a warlord. Even more critical to Busse's career was the fact that Twelfth Army headquarters, in the wake of the successful Balkan campaign during the late spring of 1941, could not be released from garrison duty to participate in Operation Barbarossa. On short notice, Eleventh Army headquarters was shipped to Romania to control German forces there.

Arguably the biggest break of Busse's life came on 12 September 1941, when the airplane carrying von Schobert crashed, killing everyone aboard. His successor—and the man to whom Busse would be linked throughout the rest of the war—was Erich von Manstein. Busse served von Manstein as operations officer during the Eleventh Army's conquest of the Crimea and held the same post at Army Group Don during the Stalingrad campaign. In March 1943 von Manstein chose Busse over Henning von Tresckow (another gifted staff officer who happened to be a ringleader in the anti-Hitler conspiracy within the army) to become chief of staff, a position he held through the battles for Kursk, the Dnepr River line, the Cherkassy debacle, and the encirclement of the First Panzer Army in early 1944. Relations between the two men did not start amicably. Busse admitted to R. T. Paget, von Manstein's postwar defense attorney and earliest biographer, that "during the first two weeks I hated his guts; I never left his presence without smarting. But in spite of myself I admired his amazing grasp" of the strategic and operational situations. Eventually Busse found the key to working with his new commander; as Paget wrote, von Manstein "hated paperwork and rarely read papers that were put before him. He expected his officers to report concisely upon their contents and he then initialed the papers to indicate that they had been reported upon. His officers were not encouraged to be verbose." Busse also learned that von Manstein preferred optimism to gloom, and though other staff officers ridiculed his trademark assurance ("It's a bad business, Sir, but we'll manage somehow!") the young Prussian understood the field marshal more completely than they.

Unfailing optimism and personality quirks represented only the smaller part of the reason many of Busse's fellow officers mistrusted him. Busse had married a woman whose sister had married Lieutenant General Wilhelm Burgdorf, who rose to become one of Hitler's adjutants and ultimately the chief of the army's personnel office. If officers close to the front viewed Busse with disdain, their feelings toward Burgdorf reached the level of revulsion. Hard-drinking and politically ambitious without being constrained by any hint of a conscience, Burgdorf routinely wrecked careers, cheerfully turned over accused officers to the mercies of the People's Court, and earned himself a grisly footnote in history as the man dispatched to ensure that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel committed suicide in 1944 following the failed assassination attempt against Hitler. Heinz Guderian characterized Burgdorf as "oafish," which was about the most polite description applied to him. It was a measure of Busse's social ineptitude that he never realized that his practice of spending an hour or so on the telephone with Burgdorf every evening added more bricks to the wall between himself and his peers. Ironically, Busse does not seem to have used these conversations with Burgdorf to advance any particular agenda. In fact, Busse actively supported the idea of the army forcing Hitler to name von Manstein or Gerd von Rundstedt as effective Commander- in-Chief for the Russian front, something he obviously did not communicate to his brother-in-law.

Busse received the Knight's Cross in January 1944, based on his work as Army Group South's chief of staff, and when Hitler sacked von Manstein in March, Busse remained in place to provide continuity as Colonel General Walter Model took over. He was transferred to command the 112th Infantry Division on 20 July 1944—ironically the very day Hitler survived the famous assassination attempt. In the purges of the army's senior leadership that followed the failed plot, an indisputably loyal and nonpolitical officer like Busse (especially one whose brother-in-law now controlled the personnel office) enjoyed excellent career prospects: After commanding his division for less than two weeks (he may or may not have actually reported for duty), Theodor Busse received command of the I Corps in Army Group North. Promotion to command of the Ninth Army in front of Berlin followed six months later.

In the waning days of the Third Reich, Busse demonstrated an aptitude for operational command and a firmness of resolve that astounded his critics. Initially Busse believed that if he could hold the Oder River line long enough, the Americans would take Berlin and save the bulk of Germany from Soviet occupation. When that idea proved chimerical, Busse steadfastly covered the retreat of German refugees as long as he could, then fought his way west to link up with General of Panzer Troops Walter Wenck's Twelfth Army, managing to salvage 40,000 of his initial 200,000-man command from the final conflagration. Accomplishing these feats required Busse to ignore or even defy orders from Hitler, the German Army High Command (OKH), and his army group commander; only Burgdorf's patronage, the unyielding support of Heinz Guderian (the current chief of the Army General Staff), and Busse's ability to establish an informal relationship with Reichsminister Joseph Goebbels allowed him to remain in command long enough to do so.

Busse, who would later resurface as West Germany's director of civil defense, contributed to only three projects under the auspices of the U.S. Army's historical program. He was one of six coauthors of study P- 143(a)(ll) ("Selected [Ninth] Army Operations on the Eastern Front") and one of thirty-three participants in the turgid P-211 study (a 315-page work entitled "Weather Information for Army Tactical Operations") for which he penned a mere fifteen pages.10 Busse's primary accomplishment involved coordination of the Operation Citadel study: He selected the five coauthors, created the general guidelines, and, having read the individual chapters, wrote the overview and introduction. Fully aware of the impediments to research (lack of maps, reports, etc.), Busse admitted that the study could not "lay claim to being a first-rate work of analytical military history," but he had obviously taken pains to verify his information as thoroughly as possible.

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