Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

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Egorka
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Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 12 May 2012 21:16

Hello,

I thought that members of this forum may advice on the following subject.

BACKGROUND:
Montgomery accepted the surrender of German forces in Holland, in Northwest Germany Including all Islands, and in Denmark on May 4, 1945 @18:30.
Please read the text here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/gs10.asp
Clause #2 states that "All hostilities on land, on sea, or in the air by German forces in the above areas to cease at 0800 hrs. British Double Summer Time on Saturday 5 May 1945."

On one hand the Germans surrendered to "C.-in-C. 21 Army Group" (see clause #1).
On the other hand in clause #3 we read, that German command is to "carry out at once, and without argument or comment, all further orders that will be issued by the Allied Powers on any subject."

I understand that "The Allied Powers" here also legally includes the Soviet Armed Forces.
I had some doubts, as sometimes one can read something like "Allies and Soviet Union". But is seem to me it is more of post WW2 phenomena.
This view of mine is also supported by Montgomery himself as it appears from his speech in this video @0:44 where he definitely includes Soviet Union into definition of Allies.

So now, K.Donitz still ordered his forces to continue the evacuation and maintain armed resistance to RKKA. Also in the areas mentioned in the Montgomery's surrender agreement.
The most apparent of such examples should be the denial of German commandant (with 12.000 soldiers) to surrender to Soviet forces on Danish island of Bornholm. They unwillingly surrendered only after 16:00 May 9th.
The last naval battle in the region (with Soviet casualties) was at 18:41 the same day.

It appears German forces on Bornholm violated clauses #2 and #3 of the surrender agreement and consequently were subject to clause #4.

So now the QUESTION:
Did Germans breach the surrender terms by continuing after 0800 May 5th armed resistance to RKKA on Bornholm and its territorial waters?
So it seems to me so far...
Best regards
Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Galahad » 13 May 2012 20:45

--Bornholm isn't in "northwest Germany", or any of the other areas specified in the instrument of surrender, per se. Therefore I don't think it wasn't covered by the surrender terms of 4 May 1945, and its commander had the duty to continue resisting until he was ordered to surrender by his superiors after the general surrenders signed on 7 May 1945 and 8 May 1945. More to the point, he had been ordered to surrender to the British and was following orders--only there weren't any British around to surrender to.

--However, since he didn't surrender until Soviet forces landed on the island on 9 May, and after a short fight, he could be considered in violation of Article 1 of the General Surrender signed on 8 May 1945. That specified that active operations were to cease at 2301 hours on 8 May and all forces were to completely disarm.

--Unless, of course, he wasn't notified for whatever reason. In which case his original orders stood so far as he was concerned.

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 14 May 2012 08:05

-- Bornholm isn't in "northwest Germany", but it is part of Denmark. I do understand the "picularity" of Bornholm's location in relation to the rest of Denmark. This "picularity" played its role. But, as I see it so far, formally Bornholm was included.
There is one thing though. I have heard an opinion that since Dönitz supreme commander did not surrender at that point then all the forces reporting directly to him were not obliged to follow the Montgomery's surrender agreement. This is because the agreement was signed by "German Command" and therefor applied down the chain of this command. If that is true (and I have vague indications that von Kamptz reported directly to Dönitz), then there was no violation of the Montgomery's agreement.
Else there was.

-- Good point.

-- He was notified.
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Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Aber » 14 May 2012 13:51

'The German Command' in the document is ambigious - does it refer to all German ground forces, or just those under Field Marshall Busch in Army Group NorthWest?

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Gorque » 14 May 2012 14:20

A cursory inquiry suggests that von Kamptz was either under orders or the impression that Bornholm was to be surrender to the Western Allies.

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 14 May 2012 19:24

Gorque wrote:A cursory inquiry suggests that von Kamptz was either under orders or the impression that Bornholm was to be surrender to the Western Allies.
As I know Kamptz had orders from Dönitz to continue evacuation after 5 May 1945.
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Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Gorque » 15 May 2012 15:00

Egorka wrote:
Gorque wrote:A cursory inquiry suggests that von Kamptz was either under orders or the impression that Bornholm was to be surrender to the Western Allies.
As I know Kamptz had orders from Donitz to continue evacuation after 5 May 1945.
Hi Egor:

I hadn't read about that fact during my searches yesterday, although that would seem highly probable considering the confusing and ever-shifting conditions during that time-frame.

Anyhow, I found this little tidbit from May 30, 1945 that I opine speaks for the confusion prevalent at the time. :)

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 98,5511921

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Gorque

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Gorque » 15 May 2012 15:41

Hi Egor:

Here's a link to a longer newspaper article from the same date:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 73,4538372

and a link to the debate in House of Commons that spawned the articles.

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/comm ... 530_HOC_18

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Gorque

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 15 May 2012 18:13

Thanks, Gorque! Interesting links.
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Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 21 May 2012 10:54

Hi,

I checked the book "Tyske og russiske aktiviteter på Bornholm under 2. Verdenskrig", 2004 ("German and Soviet activities on Bornholm during Second World War").
Though it is OK and detailed account of this narrow topic, I had some questions about overall quality of the book.

I have not seen in the book that G.v.Kamptz was reporting directly to Karl Dönitz during 5th to 9th of May 1945.
According to the command structure described in the book, German commandant of Bornholm G.v.Kamptz was reporting to Vizeadmiral Werner Lange who was part of Marineoberkommando Ostsee in Kiel (see attachment).
IF this info is correct than, IMHO, Werner Lange was to follow the Montgommery's capitulation (Kiel is located in Holstein).

BUT... According to http://www.feldgrau.com/kmsorg.html W.Lange seem to had been replaced by Konteradmiral Günther Schubert on 30 March 1945.
Admiral Commanding, West Baltic
Vizeadmiral Werner Lange 11.29.44-3.30.45
Konteradmiral Günther Schubert 3.30.45-7.22.45

Though does it change anything???
Both W.Lange and G.Schubert were to follow the Montgomery's capitulation and so do the forces under their chain of command.

Image
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Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 21 May 2012 13:15

Information:

P.S: http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=9214

Kommandierender Admiral westliche Ostsee

Formed on 29 Nov 1944 and subordinate to the Marineoberkommando Ostsee. It controled Seekommandanten between the German-Danish border to the German-Polish border west of Leba & included the island of Bornholm. The Staff Quarters were in Ahlbeck bei Swinemünde.

Kommandierender Admiral
Vizeadmiral Werner Lange (29 Nov 1944-30 Mar 1945)
Konteradmiral Günther Schubert (31 Mar 1945-22 Jul 1945)

Chef des Stabes
Kapitän zur See Karl Prossinagg (29 Nov 1944-00 Apr 1945)
Kapitän zur See Günther Wachsmuth (00 Apr 1945-00 May 1945)

Führungsstab

1. Führungsstabsoffizier
Korvettenkapitän der Reserve Walter Sigmann (00 Dec 1944-00 May 1945)
3. Führungsstabsoffizier
Korvettenkapitän der Reserve Heinrich Spindler (00 Dec 1944-00 May 1945)
4. Führungsstabsoffizier
Korvettenkapitän der Reserve Franz Schmitz-Lenders (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)
Ing.-Offizier
Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) der Reserve Paul Surbir (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)

Quartiermeisterstab

Quartiermeister
Fregattenkapitän M.A. Hans Naumann (00 Nov 1944-00 Nov 1944)
Fregattenkapitän Paul-Adolf Reiche (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)
Qu III
Korvettenkapitän Franz Thill (00 Dec 1944-00 May 1945)
Artilleriewaffenreferent
Kapitänleutnant (W) Kuno Fischer (00 Dec 1944-00 May 1945)
Sperrwaffenreferent
Korvettenkapitän (W) z.V. Karl-Anton Beuss (00 Jan 1945-00 May 1945)
Sanitätsoffizier
Flottenarzt Dr.med. Erich Domke (00 Nov 1944-00 Apr 1945)
Marineoberstabsarzt Dr.med. Ernst Stutz (00 Apr 1945-00 May 1945)
P I
Korvettenkapitän M.A. der Reserve Hans-Stephan Krukenberg (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)
Verwaltungsoffizier & Intendant
Fregattenkapitän (V) Richard Grupp (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)
Stellvertreter
Geschwaderintendant Dr. Johannes Schultz (00 Nov 1944-00 May 1945)

Gericht des Kommandierenden Admirals westliche Ostsee

Leitender Richter und Rechtsberater
Geschwaderrichter Dr. Heinrich Burckhardt (00 Dec 1944-00 May 1945)

unmittelbar unterstellte Dienststellen

Bevollmächtigter des Kommandierenden Admirals westliche Ostsee in Stettin
Kapitän zur See Wolfgang Kähler (00 Mar 1945-00 Apr 1945)

Subordinate Commands & Units

Seekommandant Pommern
Seekommandant Schleswig-Holstein und Mecklenburg
Inselkommandant Bornholm
10. Sicherungsdivision
Kommandant der Seewasserstraße Kaiser-Wilhelm Kanal
Marinepeilabteilung II
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Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Gorque » 21 May 2012 13:39

Hi Egor:

Thanks for posting of the documents.

The document referenced in the first post mentions that all forces within the defined region were to surrender to the forces under the command of 21st Army Group. I'm of the opinion that the Germans were reading the surrender document very specifically in order to delay the turn-over of the island to the Soviet forces in order to prolong the evacuation of forces from Eastern Europe. This all could have been resolved with the dispatch of a small British contingent to the island, IMHO.

Best regards,

Gorque

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 21 May 2012 14:55

Gorque wrote:Hi Egor:
Thanks for posting of the documents.

The document referenced in the first post mentions that all forces within the defined region were to surrender to the forces under the command of 21st Army Group. I'm of the opinion that the Germans were reading the surrender document very specifically in order to delay the turn-over of the island to the Soviet forces in order to prolong the evacuation of forces from Eastern Europe.
Hello,

Well, right. That is how I see it right now so far.
So, basically, Germans violated the Montgomery's surrender when applied to Bornholm and all the sea/air traffic which went through this island.
This also means the German installation and other war material were a legitimate target on Bornholm right until the 23:00 09 May 1945.

It is just that my Danish friends complain to me that Soviets bombed Germans on Bornholm on 7th and 8th of May with some civilian (10 people) and material (two towns received relatively heavy damage) destruction.
This all could have been resolved with the dispatch of a small British contingent to the island, IMHO.
Kind of. But it was not. There are many reasons for this. British delegation arrived to Copenhagen on the evening 05th of May. And they informed Danish officials that they were not instructed to include Bornholm. Generally SHAEF was not clear on the Soviet position on Bornholm and Eisenhower did not want to risk disturbing Soviets without prior consulting.
So Eisenhower sent request to Moscow 18:30 8th of May asking about Soviets plans for Bornholm.
Soviets landed at 15:00 9th of May.
It is not clear when Soviets actually got Eisenhowers telegram, but it is clear that they had they own strategical plans for the island.
Best regards
Igor

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Gorque » 21 May 2012 19:37

Egorka wrote: Hello,

Kind of. But it was not. There are many reasons for this. British delegation arrived to Copenhagen on the evening 05th of May. And they informed Danish officials that they were not instructed to include Bornholm. Generally SHAEF was not clear on the Soviet position on Bornholm and Eisenhower did not want to risk disturbing Soviets without prior consulting.
So Eisenhower sent request to Moscow 18:30 8th of May asking about Soviets plans for Bornholm.
Soviets landed at 15:00 9th of May.
It is not clear when Soviets actually got Eisenhowers telegram, but it is clear that they had they own strategical plans for the island.


Small wonder that events turned out as they did. Good luck with your Danish friends. :)

Best regards,

Gorque

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Re: Question on German surrender to Montgomery on 4 May 1945

Post by Egorka » 21 May 2012 21:10

Why did you highlight that sentence? :)
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Igor

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