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Frederich von Mellenthin
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Frederich Wilhelm von Mellenthin (born 1904 in Breslau, Poland) was a Generalmajor in the German Army during World War II.1 Between 1924 and 1935, he served in the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the Bundeswehr. After that, he attended the German officers' War Academy until 1937.
Just before the start of World War II, between 1937 through December 1939, he served as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) in the III Corps of the German Army. He participated in the September 1939 invasion of Poland, where III Corps attacked from Pomerania and pressed along the Vistula River toward Warsaw, cutting off the retreat of Polish units in the Corridor.
Between June and August 1940, he was the First General Staff Officer (Ia-Operations) with the 197th Infantry Division during the Battle of France. Then between September 1940 and February 1941, he was the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) in the First Army, then on occupation duty in western Europe. After this quiet period, from March through May 1941, he was the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) with the Second Army during Germany's invasion of the Balkans.
Thereafter von Mellenthin was shipped to North Africa, where between June 1941 and September 1942 he served as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intelligence) to Field Marshall Rommel in the Panzer Group / Panzer Army Afrika. He participated in the battles of Tobruk, Gazala, and El Alamein. Between July and September of 1942 he also served as the Acting Operations Staff Officer to Erwin Rommel. Due to the high stress of these assignments, he spent September and October of 1943 in a military hospital at Garmish, Germany recovering from exhaustion.
Upon recovery, from November 1942 to May 1944, he served as Chief of General Staff for the XLVIII Panzer Corps on the Eastern Front, where he participated in battles throughout the Ukraine and at Stalingrad, Kursk, and Kiev. As Chief of Staff for the XLVIIIth Panzer Corps, he made frequent radio contact with General Paulus at Stalingrad, to learn of his battle plans for Hitler's order to hold the encircled city against the attacking Red Army. Shortly thereafter he was transferred, and between May and September 1944 he was Chief of General Staff for General Balck's Fourth Panzer Army, which fought around Baranov on the Vistula River in Russia.
In September 1944 he was transferred to eastern France, where until November he served as Chief of General Staff Army Group G under General Hasso von Manteuffel. He participated in the Campaign of the West along the front line between Luxembourg and Switzerland, serving in battles around Nancy, Metz, Arracourt, and Alsace-Lorraine.
Mellenthin was relieved of his command along with several other German officers in early December 1944, due to the unauthorized retreat of the German forces, and retired to the Officers’ Pool of High Command Army. However, General Heinz Guderian obtained restoration to duty for him in late December. From December 28 through February 1945 he was attached to the 9th Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge, where he fought just north of Bastogne. Between March and May 1945 he was Chief of General Staff to Gen. Hasso von Manteuffel’s Fifth Panzer Army, which was defending western Germany in the Ruhr region and around Cologne.
During the eastward retreat he was captured by the British at Hoxter on the Weser River, on May 3, 1945.
His book Panzerschlachten, translated into English as Panzer Battles, documents all the campaigns he participated in with substantial detal.
Note 1: His older brother, Horst von Mellenthin was a General of Artillery during the Second World War.