The Generals of 1945

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The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 05 Mar 2018 18:10

As a complement to the "General Officers Seniority Dates" thread, I will begin an effort to gather all information on the sometimes controversial promotions of general officers during the last months of the war, with the hope to make it a little clearer what we know and what we know not.

Before I begin, I will address several preliminary issues. The first question (somewhat contradictory to the title of this thread) is: do we know of alleged promotions to the rank of General (i.e. ohne Nachweis) for the time before 1945? So far, I am aware of only four (the tricky subject of z.V.-Offiziere not included):

General der Infanterie Karl Strecker (1884-1973), alleged promotion to Generaloberst mit RDA vom 01.01.1943 (or 30.01.1943?)
Oberst Ludwig Krug (1894-1972), alleged promotion to Generalmajor mit RDA vom 01.07.1944
Oberst Carl Bründel (1888-1957), alleged promotion to Generalmajor mit RDA vom 01.09.1944
Oberst d.R. Joachim Reuter (1895-1983), alleged promotion to Generalmajor d.R. mit RDA vom 01.11.1944

Of those, Strecker's claim can be considered as having been definitely refuted (see here).

Krug and Bründel were captured by Allied troops while they were Obersten commanding Regimenter. IMO, their later promotion is also unlikely, because there should be original sources available otherwise. Krug is listed by Keilig in the appendix among the unconfirmed promotions while Bründel is only listed by Bradley.

Although there exists a Karteikarte listing Reuter's promotion, he was obviously confused with Erich Reuter.

Does anybody know any other claims of unconfirmed promotions during 1944?
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by Stauffenberg II » 05 Mar 2018 20:09

Schilling´s alleged promo to Gen. Lt. (1944) is the only promotion before 1945 which comes to mind.

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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 05 Mar 2018 20:45

Jürgen, I forgot about Schilling. So for the sake of completeness:

Generalmajor Otto Schilling (1892-1982), alleged promotion to Generalleutnant mit RDA vom 01.10.1944

This claim can be as easily refuted as Strecker's (see Schilling's own thread).
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 06 Mar 2018 14:48

test.jpg
I knew that this order (from Schmundt's Tätigkeitsbericht) existed, but I didn't remember when it was issued. As it looks now, the alleged promotions of Krug and Bründel are probably nonsense.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 07 Mar 2018 16:07

Now to another preliminary thought, the question of who was able to promote an officer to general's rank. Of course, the ordinary answer would be: Hitler through the HPA, or maybe the HPA through Hitler. But what about the last days of the war when Hitler and Burgdorf were in fact incapacitated? When Keilig compiled his "Rangliste 1944/45", he already knew the following document:
test1.jpg
This was not very spectacular. As we can see, promotions were only authorized up to the grade of Hauptmann. What Keilig didn't knew (according to his own statement) was whether this authorization had been extended during the last days of April. In fact, Maisel (who was with Kesselring in the Südraum) tried to obtain such an extension on 28 April:
test2.jpg
And really, the desired extension was issued in the following telex (later endorsed by GFM Keitel):
test3.jpg
One could wonder why this order was issued in the name of Burgdorf, then already dead. Did he send Maisel the requested "Einverstanden" in one of his last Funksprüche? Did Maisel, who had in fact already taken over the Dienstgeschäfte of the HPA, issue the order on his own authority, claiming it had been approved by Burgdorf? Did he confer with Dönitz and Keitel in Flensburg? In any case, the decisive point with regard to our subject is the fact that the extended authority did not - and thus did never - include the appointment of generals. Therefore, after Hitler and Burgdorf were gone, possible promotions can only have been issued by or through Maisel in the Südraum and Westhoven in the Nordraum, of course with the consent of or at the request of Dönitz and / or Kesselring.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 08 Mar 2018 21:04

The next step is a short description of the promotion procedure. For that purpose, it is necessary to differentiate between planmäßigen and bevorzugten promotions.

Regarding the planmäßige Beförderungen, Generalmajore were usually promoted to Generalleutnanten after two years of service in the lower rank, and Obersten to Generalmajoren after four years. The promotions were issued mit Wirkung und RDA von certain dates, usually the first of a month. In 1945, the Nazi holidays of 30.01. and 20.04. were used instead of 01.02. and 01.05.1945. In 1945, the following officers from DAL T were eligible for promotion to general's rank (standen zur Beförderung heran):

Zum Generalleutnant:
01.01.1945 Generalmajore mit RDA vom 01.06.1942 (26) bis (34)
30.01.1945 Generalmajore mit RDA vom 01.07.1942 (1) bis (6)
01.03.1945 Generalmajore mit RDA vom 01.07.1942 (7) bis (10)
01.04.1945 Generalmajore mit RDA vom 01.07.1942 (11) bis (15)
20.04.1945 Generalmajore mit RDA vom 01.07.1942 (16) bis (20a)

Zum Generalmajor:
01.01.1945 Obersten mit RDA vom 01.01.1941
30.01.1945 Obersten mit RDA vom 01.02.1941
01.03.1945 Obersten mit RDA vom 01.03.1941
01.04.1945 Obersten mit RDA vom 01.04.1941 (1) bis (32)
20.04.1945 Obersten mit RDA vom 01.04.1941 (33) bis (124)

But this does not mean that all those officers were actually promoted. The units and offices in which they were serving had to determine whether they were geeignet for the higher rank, and of course the HPA and Hitler also had a veto. In fact, of the Generalmajore who should have been eligible for a planmäßige promotion to GL in 1945, only one is alleged to have been actually promoted (and even this is so far unconfirmed). For the Obersten, a far bigger group, many planmäßige promotions to GM are documented.

As all offciers who were planmäßig promoted were automatically of higher rank than those officers who were bevorzugt promoted to rank from the same date, it was not difficult to assign them Ordnungsnummern. They would begin with the (1) and the last number would usually be identical with the number of officers who were planmäßig promoted mit RDA from that date. Those Ordnungsnummern would usually be assigned before the actual date of the promotion.

The following Generalmajore are known to have been planmäßig promoted in 1945:
01.01.1945 (1) bis (4a)
30.01.1945 (1) bis (11)
01.03.1945 (1) bis (8)

After 01.03.1945, no Ordnungsnummern were assigned in original sources. Ordnungsnummern for 01.04. and 20.04. that have been circulated in the web (including this forum) are post-war compilations. Judging after the RDA, there was still a handful of planmäßige promotions in April. Why they didn't get any Ordnungsnummern, I don't know. As there was ample time for the HPA to prepare the lists of planmäßige Beförderungen for both 01.04. and 20.04. (the deadlines were 01.03. and 01.04., when the HPA was still fully operational), those promotions should have been added to the officer and unit Karteikarten and also the last Stellenbesetzung. If they are missing, it makes a promotion of the officer in question unlikely.

[My remarks on the bevorzugten promotions will follow soon.]
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 09 Mar 2018 18:07

Requests for bevorzugte Beförderungen arrived at the HPA in a continuous stream. If they were approved, the officers in question were promoted mit RDA from either the last or (in the majority of the cases) the next Beförderungstermin. At least in 1945, bevorzugte promotions were initially issued without an Ordungsnummer. Some time later, when it became clear who was in the batch, Ordnungsnummern were added in the order of seniority. This is apparent when you examine the cards from the Generalskartei, e.g. those from 01.01.1945:
test1.jpg
test2.jpg
On the first card, Philippi's Ordnungsnummer was added in handwriting. On the second card, it was also added later (paler ink ribbon).
Or take another example from 30.01.1945:
test3.jpg
test4.jpg
On the first card, the Ordnungsnummer was not added. On the second card, it was added later (and noticeably lower).
After 30.01.1945, no Ordnungsnummern were assigned to bevorzugten Beförderungen in official sources. My theory is that the Ordnungsnummern for the bevorzugten promotions mit RDA vom 30.01.1945 and those for the planmäßigen promotions mit RDA vom 01.03.1945 were created at the same time (presumably in late February), and afterwards the assignment of Ordnungsnummern was stopped altogether.

As we have original sources that show promotions mit Wirkung und RDA vom 20.04.1945, the promotions mit Wirkung und RDA vom 01.04.1945 should all be documented. At the very least, claims of undocumented promotions with any RDA earlier than 20.04.1945 must be considered as less likely to be genuine than claims of undocumented promotions mit RDA vom 20.04.1945. Any promotion issued after 20.04.1945 should have been backdated to this day, but there is even proof of a few promotions mit RDA vom 01.05.1945 (issued during the short reign of Dönitz, may it have been accidentally or deliberately). The later a promotion was issued in April or May 1945, the harder it is to prove.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 10 Mar 2018 14:26

Karteikarten and Stellenbesetzungen show only the dates of Wirkung and RDA, not the actual date of the promotion. Personalveränderungen would show, but are not available for 1945. The best we have are the Orderanweisungen and similar HPA documents, but they are anything but complete. But there is one clue to the correct sequence of the promotions, although it does not show the exact date. It is the Order-Nummer of the promotion (often also an Ernennung) given on many Karteikarten. Those numbers started anew at the beginning of each year, so we had Order Nr. 1 on 01.01.1945. Order Nr. 1300 was reached (and passed) in April.
test1.jpg
Example: Oppeln was promoted to GM (and ernannt to Divisionskommandeur) with order Nr. 318. Note that only one type of Karteikarte gives the correct Order number, the other type follows a different count (see below for another card from Oppeln's set).
test2.jpg
The cards from the Generalskartei are supplemented by the cards from the unit Kartei, which show the same Order numbers. This is especially important as some officers (or their promotions) are not in the Generalskartei.
test3.jpg
We can now tell that, although Oppeln had a RDA as GM of 30.01.1945 (16) and Carl Anders had the (17), Anders was promoted before Oppeln, because his Order number was the 276. As I described in my last post, the seniority was determined later by comparing their RDA as Obersten. Note that it is still possible that both promotions became effective on the same day.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by iggy88 » 10 Mar 2018 18:14

Askropp:
Thank you for your incredibly thorough explanation of the promotion process. It will be most helpful as I go through HPA documents.

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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 11 Mar 2018 17:34

Thanks, I already feared I was beginning to bore you guys. Now let us have a look at the generals of 1945, although the first batch could also be counted among the generals of 1944 because they were usually promoted in December mit Wirkung und RDA vom 01.01.1945. Remember that for a certain period in 1944/45, the first slot of some promotion lists was left empty (although I did not find a convincing explanation for that practice yet). Order numbers are given if known. Orders with the same number contained officers who were subordinated to the same command (e.g. Heeresgruppen, selbstständige Armeen etc.)

I will begin with two backdated promotions issued during the first days of January:

Generalleutnant
01.12.1944 (2a) Hans Wagner - Order Nr. 26

Generalmajor
01.10.1944 (16a) Ludwig Steyrer - Order Nr. 39


Generale mit RDA vom 01.01.1945

Generale
(1) nicht vergeben
(2) Friedrich Volckamer von Kirchensittenbach (Gebirgstruppe) - Order Nr. 4398
(3) Hellmuth Thumm (Infanterie) - Order Nr. 4397
(4) Maximilian Felzmann (Artillerie) - Order Nr. 4401
(5) Karl Decker (Panzertruppe) - Order Nr. 4401

Generalleutnante
(1) nicht vergeben
(2) Hans Schittnig - Order Nr. 4391
(3) Clemens Betzel - Order Nr. 4392

Generalmajore
(1) Erwin Lahousen (Edler von Vivremont)
(2) Joseph Rupprecht
(3) Hartmann Freiherr von Ow auf Wachendorf
(4) Adolf Westhoff
(4a) Arthur Zierold - Order Nr. 205
(5) [nicht vergeben?]
(6) Hans-Joachim Gravenstein - Order Nr. 4400
(7) Peter Körte - Order Nr. 4402
(8) Friedrich Kittel - Order Nr. 4402
(9) Rolf Menneking
(10) Hans Hüttner - Order Nr. 4393
(11) Georg Koßmala - Order Nr. 4402
(12) Wilhelm Viebig - Order Nr. 4402
(13) Georg Reinicke - Order Nr. 4400
(14) Erwin Kaschner - Order Nr. 4402
(15) Arnold Burmeister - Order Nr. 4470
(16) Heinz Kokott - Order Nr. 4402
(17) Walter Nagel
(18) Eberhard Thunert - Order Nr. 4390
(19) Helmut Kleikamp
(20) Rudolf Huebner - Order Nr. 4394
(21) Rudolf Bader - Order Nr. 4471
Hanns-Horst von Necker [?]
(22) Christian Landau - Order Nr. 4402
(23) Martin Bieber - Order Nr. 4395
(24) Oldwig von Natzmer
(25) Rudolf Lippert - Order Nr. 4401
(26) Erich Schmidt - Order Nr. 4402
(27) Hanns Laengenfelder - Order Nr. 4399
(28) Alfred Philippi - Order Nr. 4396

Generalmajore d.R.
(1) Rudolf von Oppen
Werner Schulze - Order Nr. 275


The first four GM were planmäßige Beförderungen. Technically, Zierold's was also planmäßig, but his promotion was decided on later (probably in the second week of January). Rudolf von Oppen was promoted around 04.01.1945, and Schulze even later (at a time when already promotions mit RDA vom 30.01.1945 were made). Schulze's Ordnungsnummer is not listed, but must have been the (2) by default. Necker was re-transferred from the Luftwaffe to the Heer on 01.03.1945. His Ordnungsnummer, if he got any, should have been the (21a).
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 17 Mar 2018 14:27

Generale mit RDA vom 30.01.1945

Generale
(1) nicht vergeben
(2) Werner von Erdmannsdorff (Infanterie) - Order Nr. 313
(3) Walther Hahm (Infanterie) - Order Nr. 318
(4) Walther Melzer (Infanterie) - Order Nr. 275
(5) Hans Röttiger (Panzertruppe) - Order Nr. 359
(5a) Siegfried Westphal (Kavallerie) - Order Nr. 785
(6) Ernst-Anton von Krosigk (Infanterie) - Order Nr. 312
August Winter [?]

Generalleutnante
(1) Gerhard Poel - Order Nr. 379
(2) [nicht vergeben?]
(3) Ralph von Heygendorff - Order Nr. 378
(4) Richard Koll - Order Nr. 281
(5) Hermann Hohn - Order Nr. 276
Hans Junck - Order Nr. 543
Franz-Eccard von Bentivegni - Order Nr. 694


Generalleutnant d.R.
Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz - Order Nr. 274

Generalmajore
(1) Johann Manussi (Edler von Montesole)
(1a) Ulrich Bormann - Order Nr. 271
(1b) Johann Mirow - Order Nr. 273

(2) Wilhelm Strecker
(3) Julius Coretti
(4) Othmar Krüpl
(5) Alfred Hyden
(6) Viktor Luschnig
(7) Johann Simmler
(8) Helmut Hipp
(9) Ernst Graewe
(10) Kurt Lottner
(11) Alfred Kuzmany
(12) [nicht vergeben?]
(13) Anton Eberth - Order Nr. 272
(14) Anton Glasl - Order Nr. 234
(15) Walter Kühn - Order Nr. 355
(16) Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski - Order Nr. 318
(17) Carl Anders - Order Nr. 276
(18) Kurt Hähling - Order Nr. 312
(19) Joachim Schwatlo-Gesterding - Order Nr. 235
(20) Hans Kissel - Order Nr. 323
(21) Robert Macher - Order Nr. 233
(22) Wilhelm Söth - Order Nr. 271
(23) Hellmuth Mäder - Order Nr. 375
(24) Hans-Joachim Deckert - Order Nr. 277
(25) Hermann Harrendorf - Order Nr. 318
(26) Hans-Joachim Kahler
(27) Ernst König - Order Nr. 314
(28) Otto Ernst Remer - Order Nr. 372
(29) Theodor Tolsdorff - Order Nr. 278
Wilhelm Conze
Hans von Ahlfen - Order Nr. 556
Herbert Gundelach
Ernst Gonell - Order Nr. 589
Helmut Bechler - Order Nr. 667
Rudolph-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff - Order Nr. 924
Erich Seidel - Order Nr. 525
Ludwig Kirschner - Order Nr. 524
Wilhelm Bleckwenn - Order Nr. 525
Alois Weber - Order Nr. 525


Generalmajor d.R.
Werner Kolb - Order Nr. 525

You will have noticed that there are some mysterious gaps in the lists. Missing are the GM mit RDA vom 01.01.1945 (5), the GL mit RDA vom 30.01.1945 (2) and the GM mit RDA vom 30.01.1945 (12). Now, these gaps are always between the last officer with a planmäßige Beförderung and the first officer with a bevorzugte Beförderung. This is surely no coincidence. If we interpret the missing officers with a (1) (mostly full generals) also as such a gap (as there never were planmäßige Beförderungen to full general), this fits perfectly well. Why this was done, I still can't tell. Someone opined those gaps could have been empty slots for possible backdated promotions, but those usually got a letter.

On August Winter (who may or may not have gotten a RDA of 30 January), later more. At this point, I am aware of the following unconfirmed claims of promotions to GM mit RDA vom 30.01.1945: Karl Patzak, Karl Jakwerth, Josef Dahme, Wilhelm Ritter. Patzak, Jakwerth and Dahme would have been planmäßige Beförderungen. The fact that we have no original sources of their promotion, while he have some for their peers, and especially that there is no empty RDA slot, makes their promotions very unlikely. They cannot have been promoted planmäßig, and I can see no reason why they should have been promoted later. As far as I know, their career was undistinguished and they did not even serve in an I-Stelle. Ritter was an RDA peer of Glasl and Conze as an Oberst, so his promotion appears to have been possible, but still not very likely.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 17 Mar 2018 22:48

By pure coincidence, I was able to ascertain that Gundelach's promotion was in fact post-surrender:
gundelach.png
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 18 Mar 2018 07:37

As you have seen in this folder was also a doc by AOK 2, dated 11.5.45 about several promotions.

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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by askropp » 18 Mar 2018 11:03

Thanks for the hint. I guess you meant this one?
aok ostpreußen.png
Alas, there are no generals mentioned. But this is not surprising as Saucken's authority as an independent army commander covered only promotions up to the grade of Oberst.
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Re: The Generals of 1945

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 18 Mar 2018 11:32

Yes, that one!

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