GFM Fedor von Bock

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Feb 2015 03:26

A few questions:

Why, with so many victories did he only have the vanilla "Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross"?

Why was he chosen to lead Army Group Center?

Why is he not in the pantheon of great generals?

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by Georges JEROME » 17 Feb 2015 14:25

During polish campaign, like leader of HG Nord he made the job in North Poland and Danzig westprussia area.
During western campaign he made the job in Belgium and The Netherlands

That's was for that he won RK

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by doogal » 17 Feb 2015 19:48

IN 1935 GFM von Bock became commander of third army group which provided in times of war the staff for the first two operational army groups. He commanded German forces during the Anschluss and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Poland and France making him the most experienced AG commander by the time of Barbarossa. Runstedt while having the main effort in France had come out of retirement and so had von Leeb. There was a shortage of experience at this level and stayed that way until many senior commanders had served as active Divisional Corps and Army commanders. It is self evident if you look at the successive commanders, then you must take into account the Nazi attitude to that soldier there views, if they were acceptable etc.. While Bock was no Nazi he had a respected sense of duty which gave him the reputation as a safe pair of hands..
These were the "old Prussians" Hitler had to trust.

:milsmile:

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by Cult Icon » 17 Feb 2015 21:17

I have ordered the war diaries of von Bock and already have Halder's (very interesting) war diary.

I had wondered if honoring most Army generals and AG generals was often problematic for Hitler as it can be seen as a basis for promotion. It was the 'politically correct' generals or 'harmless' individual fighters (air aces) that wore the oak leaves or swords in 1942. If Bock was awarded in the same manner as these men, he would have been one of the first wearers of the diamonds. Rundstedt, and then Leeb would have followed.

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by doogal » 18 Feb 2015 09:37

There were the following recipients of the Ritterkreuz with oak leaves swords and diamonds awarded in 1942:
Adolf Galland, Gordon M. Gollob, Hans Joachim Marseille, Hermann Graf (all Luftwaffe)

General awarded the ritterkreuz with oak leaves and swords: Rommel, Kesselring, Karl Eibl, Hans Hube, Model not in 1942 though

The enactment for the extra awards were not instituted at the same time oak leaves (1940) swords and diamonds(28 Sep 1941)
So the timing and the current combat commands would have had an effect, eg, think of successful commanders without the full award.

For example Guderian only had a ritterkreuz with oak leaves, ( Guderians awards came in 39 & 41 with no award for the battle of France) while Walter Nehring had a Ritterkreuz with oak leaves and swords (Nehring got the awards in 41(rk) with 18th Pz...then oak leaves 44 XXIV. Pz.Korps, swords 45 still XXIV. Pz.Korps) very hard to find any continuity or logic in the manner of awards as the war progressed.

As such von Rundstedt: Ritterkreuz 39 Heeresgruppe South: Oak leaves 44 : Swords 45 - von Rundstedt gave up command health 1941/until re-employed
F. von Bock: Ritterkreuz 39 no other award still in command AG South May 1942

It makes little sense but the longer the war went on the more they seemed to hand them out: and the criteria lowered:
Last edited by Dieter Zinke on 18 Feb 2015 11:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Feb 2015 17:52

Bock didn't get anything for several clear cut operational victories 41-42: Minsk, 1941. Kharkov II, 1942

Smolensk 41' was touted as a propaganda victory but nothing was awarded. Nothing was awarded for Vyzama-Bryansk pockets during Typhoon 41' (understandable, but still propaganda could have made it so..)

The Knight's Cross was greatly devalued by 1943, with marginal acts being awarded.

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by doogal » 18 Feb 2015 19:27

I suppose his 19th July promotion in 1940 to GFM covers his participation in the West.
Cult Icon wrote :Bock didn't get anything for several clear cut operational victories 41-42: Minsk, 1941. Kharkov II, 1942
I would assume that the AG commander in this case (41) did not receive an award owing to the continuation of the campaign, and that the army commanders operations were recognised..????
July 41 Heinz Guderian gets his oak leaves so does Hermann Hoth. Have to look at all the awards to army commanders through this period.

(42) removed from command although When von Manstein and von Kleist were removed from army group command they received recognition in awards:

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by luftk » 18 Feb 2015 19:47

Would von Bock's placement on Führer-Reserve (19 Dec 1941-16 Jan 1942) rendered him unable to receive the Eastern Front Medal?

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by doogal » 18 Feb 2015 20:16

it should have been awarded for service btwn 15th Nov - 15th April and awarded for (sure there are other qualifying criteria)

Wounded in action, 14 days served in active combat within the specified area between 15 November 1941 and 15 April 1942
60 days served in specified area between 15 November 1941 and 15 April 1942, non-combat
Killed in action (posthumous award)
Injury caused by frostbite (or another injury related to the climate) severe enough to warrant the issue of a Wound Badge


Bock did receive awards from Italy Romania and hungary btwn 40-42

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by Cult Icon » 01 Mar 2015 05:43

In 'Panzer Leader', Guderian says that he was the 5th man to get the Oakleaves (summer 1941). He got it at the same time as the CO of VIII. Fliegerkorps, von Richthofen.

doogal wrote:
I would assume that the AG commander in this case (41) did not receive an award owing to the continuation of the campaign, and that the army commanders operations were recognised..????
July 41 Heinz Guderian gets his oak leaves so does Herman Hoth. Have to look at all the awards to army commanders through this period.:

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by luftk » 02 Mar 2015 14:29

So he could have been eligible for the Eastern Front Medal, despite his brief placement on Führer-Reserve?
Is there any record of him receiving this medal, if so?

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by doogal » 03 Mar 2015 07:52

doesn't look like he received it : and while he was removed(ostensibly for health reasons which should have made him eligible)from command he still would have qualified for 60 days service btwn those dates..

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by luftk » 04 Mar 2015 19:09

Ok, thanks. :)

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by krichter33 » 01 Feb 2017 07:21

The RK, maybe for higher ranks, was devalued after 1943, but for many of the lower ranking officers and soldiers, it was still very hard to win. One just has to read a few vorschlags to see that.......As for Bock, I think he is one of the most underrated of all the Operational level German field commanders.

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Re: GFM Fedor von Bock

Post by ProxyCentauri » 23 Feb 2017 12:35

Cult Icon wrote:A few questions:
Why, with so many victories did he only have the vanilla "Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross"?
Why was he chosen to lead Army Group Center?
Why is he not in the pantheon of great generals?
Mr Jerome simple statements are probably the correct answer. Bock got his RitterKreutz because he successfully lead his units to final and decisive victories in Poland and in the West. This did not happen with Army Group Centre. Bock was also one of the Generals in Hitlers financial pocket, which probably made Hitler look down on him.
Apparently, after being sacked from the Army Group Centre position and never get a really important field commando again Bock had the nerve to call up the instance responsible for the bribery Money and ask' does this mean that I am not entitled to achieve cuts from the fund anymore?'
Bock, Raeder and other gready Generals did what they could to hide this not very flattery fact after the war but truth has a tendency to pop up now and then :)

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