32nd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 32nd Infantry Division of the German Army was mobilized on 1 August 1939 for the upcoming invasion of Poland. The 32nd Infantry Division was formed on 1 October 1936 in Köslin, in the II Military District under the command of Generalleutnant Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, the division was already mobilize on 1 August 1939 and transferred to the Polish border in the area of Preußisch Friedland. At the outbreak of World War II, the crossed the Polish border on 1 September 1939. On 6 September the division crossed the Drewenz at Gollup and continued its advance to the Modlin Fortress via Sierpc, the division encircled the fortress from the southeast and marched to Warsaw-Praga. In December 1939 the division was moved to the Eifel, here the Feldersatz-Bataillon 32 was transferred to the 162nd Infantry Division in January 1940. In February 1940, the II. /Infanterie-Regiment 94 was handed over to the 292nd Infantry Division, the division marched through Ohain to Cambrai, and from here south of Douai to La Bassée and Lille.
During the second campaign, Fall Rot, the division crossed the river Somme at Bray-sur-Somme. Afterwards the division pursued the defeated French opponents to the river Loire near Nantes, here the division remained until August 1940. It relocated to the Cotentin peninsula, in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, in October 1940 the division was transferred to East Prussia. At the same time, the staff of Infanterie-Regiment 4 and every 3rd battalion of infantry regiment were handed off to the 122nd Infantry Division. Their commander was General der Infanterie Walter Graf von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt, commander of the II
Ernst Busch (field marshal)
Ernst Bernhard Wilhelm Busch was a German field marshal during World War II who commanded the 16th Army. He was a recipient of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, born in 1885, Busch entered the Prussian Army in 1904 and served during World War I. He was awarded the Pour le Mérite in 1918, after the war, Busch remained in the army reaching divisional level command. Busch served under Wilhelm List during the Invasion of Poland of 1939, and he was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross by Hitler. During Operation Barbarossa in September 1941, the 16th Army captured Demyansk before taking part in the siege of Leningrad in positions near from Staraya Russa to Ostashkov, promoted to field marshal, Busch commanded Army Group Centre in 1943 and 1944. Busch was recalled in March 1945 when he became head of Army Group Northwest, along with Kurt Student and his 1st Parachute Army, Busch had the task of trying to halt the advance of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomerys forces into Germany.
Busch surrendered to Montgomery on 3 May 1945, and died of heart failure in a prisoner of war camp in England, armee Oak Leaves on 21 August 1943 as Generalfeldmarschall and Commander-in-chief of 16
Most of the Low Countries are coastal regions bounded by the North Sea or the English Channel. The countries without access to the sea have linked themselves politically and economically to those with access to one union of port. The Low Countries were the scene of the northern towns, newly built rather than developed from ancient centres. In that period, they rivaled northern Italy for the most densely populated region of Europe, all of the regions mainly depended on trade and the encouragement of the free flow of goods and craftsmen. Germanic languages such as Dutch and Luxembourgish were the predominant languages, secondary languages included French, Romance-speaking Belgium, the Romance Flanders, and Namur. Governor Mary of Hungary used both the expressions les pays de par deça and Pays dEmbas, which evolved to Pays-Bas or Low Countries, today the term is typically fitted to modern political boundaries and used in the same way as the term Benelux, which includes Luxembourg. The name of the country the Netherlands has the same meaning.
The same name of countries can be found in other European languages, for example German Niederlande, les Pays-Bas, and so on. In the Dutch language itself no plural is used for the name of the modern country, so Nederland is used for the modern nation and de Nederlanden for the 16th century domains of Charles V. In Dutch, and to an extent in English, the Low Countries colloquially means the Netherlands and Belgium, sometimes the Netherlands. For example, a Derby der Lage Landen, is an event between Belgium and the Netherlands. Belgium was renamed only in 1830, after splitting from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, before the Napoleonic wars, it was referred to as the Southern, Spanish or Austrian Netherlands. It is still referred to as part of the low countries, the region politically had its origins in Carolingian empire, more precisely, most of it was within the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia. After the disintegration of Lower Lotharingia, the Low Countries were brought under the rule of various lordships until they came to be in the hands of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy.
Hence, a part of the low countries came to be referred to as the Burgundian Netherlands called the Seventeen Provinces up to 1581. Even after the secession of the autonomous Dutch Republic in the north. The Low Countries were part of the Roman provinces of Gallia Belgica, Germania Inferior and they were inhabited by Belgic and Germanic tribes. In the 4th and 5th century, Frankish tribes had entered this Roman region and they came to be ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, under which dynasty the southern part was re-Christianised
Erwin Rommel, popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. Rommel was a decorated officer in World War I and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his actions on the Italian Front. In World War II, he distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France and he commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Rommel supported the Nazi seizure of power and Adolf Hitler, although his attitude towards Nazi ideology, in 1944, Rommel was implicated in the 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler. Due to Rommels status as a hero, Hitler desired to eliminate him quietly. Rommel was given a funeral, and it was announced that he had succumbed to his injuries from the strafing of his staff car in Normandy. Rommel was born on 15 November 1891 in Southern Germany at Heidenheim,45 kilometres from Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, part of the German Empire.
He was the third of five children of Erwin Rommel Senior, a teacher and school administrator, as a young man Rommels father had been a lieutenant in the artillery. At age 18 Rommel joined the local 124th Württemberg Infantry Regiment as a Fähnrich, in 1910 and he graduated in November 1911 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in January 1912 and was assigned to the 124th Infantry in Weingarten. He was posted to Ulm in March 1914 to the 46th Field Artillery Regiment, XIII Corps and he returned to the 124th when war was declared. While at Cadet School, Rommel met his wife, 17-year-old Lucia Maria Mollin. They married in November 1916 in Danzig, during World War I, Rommel fought in France as well as in the Romanian and Italian Campaigns. The armies continued to skirmish in open engagements throughout September, as the trench warfare typical of the First World War was still in the future. For his actions in September 1914 and January 1915, Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, Rommel was promoted to Oberleutnant and transferred to the newly created Royal Wurttemberg Mountain Battalion of the Alpenkorps in September 1915, as a company commander.
The Mountain Battalion was next assigned to the Isonzo front, in an area in Italy. The offensive, known as the Battle of Caporetto, began on 24 October 1917, Rommels battalion, consisting of three rifle companies and a machine gun unit, was part of an attempt to take enemy positions on three mountains, Kolovrat and Stol. In two and a days, from 25 to 27 October and his 150 men captured 81 guns and 9,000 men. In one instance, the Italian forces, taken by surprise, acting as advance guard in the capture of Longarone on 9 November, Rommel again decided to attack with a much smaller force
The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geological features of the Ardennes mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. Geologically, the range is a extension of the Eifel. The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, called Oesling, the greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy. The region is typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers and its most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium and Charleville-Mézières in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants. The Ardennes is otherwise relatively sparsely populated, with few of the cities exceeding 10,000 inhabitants with a few exceptions like Eupen or Bastogne. The Eifel range in Germany adjoins the Ardennes and is part of the geological formation. N. B. the Belgian Province of Luxembourg in the above list is not to be confused with the known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The Ardennes is an old mountain formed during the Hercynian orogeny, in France similar formations are the Armorican Massif, the Massif Central, the low interior of such old mountains often contain coal, plus iron and other metals in the sub-soil. This geologic fact explains the greatest part of the geography of Wallonia, the region was uplifted by a mantle plume during the last few hundred thousand years, as measured from the present elevation of old river terraces. This geological region is important in the history of Wallonia because this old mountain is at the origin of the economy, the history, Wallonia presents a wide range of rocks of various ages. Some geological stages internationally recognized were defined from rock sites located in Wallonia, except for the Tournaisian, all these rocks are within the Ardennes geological area. Before the 19th century industrialization, the first furnaces in the four Walloon provinces and in the French Ardennes used charcoal for fuel and this industry was in the extreme south of the present-day Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the region called Gaume.
Wallonia became the industrial power area of the world in proportion to its territory. The rugged terrain of the Ardennes limits the scope for agriculture, the region is rich in timber and minerals, and Liège and Namur are both major industrial centres. The extensive forests have an abundant population of wild game, the scenic beauty of the region and its wide variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, cycling and canoeing, make it a popular tourist destination. The region took its name from the ancient Silva, a vast forest in Roman times called Arduenna Silva, the modern Ardennes covers a much smaller area. The Song of Roland describes Charlemagne as having a nightmare the night before the Battle of Roncevaux Pass of 778 and this nightmare took place in the Ardennes forest, where his most important battles occurred. Another song about Charlemagne, the Old French 12th-century chanson de geste Quatre Fils Aymon, mentions many of Wallonias rivers and other places
12th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 12th Infantry Division – known as the 12th Volksgrenadier Division – was a Wehrmacht military unit of Nazi Germany that fought during World War II. The division was formed in 1934 and it participated in the invasion of Poland in 1939 and the 1940 campaign in France and the Low Countries. In the Soviet Union, the division joined Operation Barbarossa, the division was destroyed in the Soviet Operation Bagration in the summer of 1944. The division was re-activated in September 1944 and posted to the newly created Western Front, the division was formed in 1934 from Pomeranias Mecklenburger population, with its home station being in Schwerin. In order to hide Germanys remilitarisation – a breaking of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles – the unit was codenamed Infanterieführer II to disguise its size. It did not assume its bona-fide designation until the creation of the Wehrmacht was announced in October 1935, alongside the name change, Lieutenant General Wilhelm Ulex was placed in charge of the division, before being replaced by Major General Albrecht Schubert the following October.
Schubert was promoted to Lieutenant General in March 1938, in November, the command over the 89th Infantry Regiments 1st Battalion was given to Helmuth Beukemann. In July 1939, the division was moved to Koenigsburg, East Prussia as Germany prepared for the invasion of Poland. The 12th Infantry took part in the invasion of Poland, following the campaign, the division remained stationed in the region until May 1941 in an occupational capacity, when it was ordered to return to East Prussia. In June 1941 the division joined Operation Barbarossa under Army Group North as an element of the 16th Army and it took part in Army Group Norths capture of the Latvian city of Daugavpils, sweeping north-eastward to Leningrad where it was finally stopped in its tracks during the siege effort. With support from Hermann Göring, planes containing supplies were flown in to aid the divisions while they were in the pocket for some 81 days between 8 February and 20 March. Göring would gloat about his success in freeing the pocket during the Battle of Stalingrad that year, while liberated, the 12th Infantry had left the pocket in a much-weakened state.
In 1943, with the German Army on the retreat, the fought in the Belarussian city of Vitebsk. This resulting deterioration of effectiveness led to its capitulation during the Soviets Summer Offensive in July 1944, the division was re-activated in September 1944, where it was sent to the newly created Western Front. Again placed under the command of Colonel Gerhard Engel, the division – at some point being redesignated the 12th Volksgrenadier Division – was at a strength of some 12,800 men. With Allied forces approaching the Siegfried Line, the division was made a division against the Siegfried Line near Aachen. The following day, elements of the 9th Panzer Division were added to the 12th Volksgrenadier and it proceeded to take command of the immediate area around Düren. The division saw action in the Western Front in the Ardennes as part of the 6th Panzer Armys I SS-Panzer Corps, on January 1, Lieutenant General Engel was seriously wounded by Allied forces, and Colonel Rudolf Langhaeuser assumed temporary command until Engels return in February
7th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
The 7th Panzer Division was an armored formation of the German Army in World War II. It participated in the Battle of France, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the occupation of Vichy France, the division fought successfully in France in 1940, and again in the Soviet Union in 1941. In May 1942, the division was withdrawn from the Soviet Union and sent back to France to replace losses and refit. The division fought in the offensive at Kursk in the summer of 1943, suffering heavy losses in men. Through 1944 and 1945, the division was understrength and continuously engaged in a series of defensive battles across the eastern front. It was twice evacuated by sea, leaving what was left of its equipment behind each time. After fighting defensively across Prussia and northern Germany, the men escaped into the forest. In October 1939, the 2nd Light Division became the 7th Panzer Division and it consisted of 218 tanks in three battalions, with two rifle regiments, a motorcycle battalion, an engineer battalion, and an anti-tank battalion.
Newly promoted General Erwin Rommel, who had served on Hitlers staff during the Invasion of Poland, was able, with an intervention from Hitler, upon taking command on 10 February 1940, Rommel quickly set his unit to practicing the maneuvers they would need in the upcoming campaign. The invasion began on 10 May 1940, Rommel was active in the forward areas, directing the efforts to make a crossing, which were initially unsuccessful due to suppressive fire by the French on the other side of the river. By 16 May the division had reached his objective at Avesnes. On 20 May the division reached Arras, General Hermann Hoth received orders that the town should be bypassed and its British garrison thus isolated. He ordered the 5th Panzer Division to move to the west and 7th Panzer Division to the east, the following day the British launched a counterattack, deploying two infantry battalions supported by heavily armoured Matilda Mk I and Matilda II tanks in the Battle of Arras. The German 37 mm anti-tank gun proved ineffective against the heavily armoured Matildas, the 25th Panzer Regiment and a battery of 88 mm anti-aircraft guns were called in to support, and the British withdrew.
On 24 May, Hitler issued a halt order, the reason for this decision is still a matter of debate. He may have overestimated the size of the British forces in the area, the halt order was lifted on 26 May. 7th Panzer continued its advance, reaching Lille on 27 May, for the assault, Hoth placed the 5th Panzer Division under Rommels command. The Siege of Lille continued until 31 May, when the French garrison of 40,000 men surrendered
Richard Ruoff was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded the 4th Panzer Army and the 17th Army on the Eastern Front, Ruoff took command of V Army Corps on 1 May 1939, and led this unit into World War II. He concurrently commanded V Wehrkreis in Stuttgart, Ruoff was given command of the 4th Panzer Army from 8 January 1942 to 31 May 1942. The 4th Panzer Army was part of Army Group A which was formed when Army Group South was split into two formations for the offensive of 1942. Ruoff commanded the 17th Army from 1 June 1942 to 24 June 1943, the 17th Army was part of Army Group A. Ruoff was the commander of the 17th Army when, on 3 June 1942, the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia was briefly subordinated to it. From June to July, the German 17th Army, the CSIR, by July 1942, Ruoff lost the Italian unit. The CSIR was subsumed by the larger Italian Army in Russia, during the late summer, as part of Army Group A, Ruoff and the 17th Army attacked towards the Caucasus oilfields.
By December, Soviet forces had destroyed the armies defending its flanks and had en-circled the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, Army Group B was withdrawn from southern Russia but Ruoff and the 17th Army were ordered to hold the Kuban bridgehead. In June 1943, he was moved to the command reserve, serious allegations of war crimes were levied against the 17th Army under Ruoffs command in the 1943 Krasnodar Trial conducted by the military tribunal of the Soviet North Caucasian Front. However, post-war, the Soviet Union did not seek Ruoffs extradition, armeekorps Battle of the Caucasus Battle of Stalingrad
Eastern Front (World War II)
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II and it resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower. The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front, in addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shared a dislike for the outcome of World War I. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union, Estonia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. I need the Ukraine so that they cant starve us out, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states, the annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum, acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, Wehrmacht officers told their troops to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood and the red beast.
The vast majority of German soldiers viewed the war in Nazi terms, Hitler referred to the war in unique terms, calling it a war of annihilation which was both an ideological and racial war. In addition, the Nazis sought to wipe out the large Jewish population of Central, after Germanys initial success at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler saw the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest. On 3 October 1941, he announced, We have only to kick in the door, Germany expected another short Blitzkrieg and made no serious preparations for prolonged warfare. Throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union underwent massive industrialization and economic growth under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, Stalins central tenet, Socialism in one country, manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Plans from 1929 onwards. It served as a testing ground for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army to experiment with equipment and tactics that they would employ on a wider scale in the Second World War
Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach
Walther Kurt von Seydlitz-Kurzbach was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Seydlitz-Kurzbach was relieved of his command in early 1943 and abandoned the German army lines under German fire to surrender to the Red Army. He became a Soviet collaborator while a prisoner of war, after the war he was convicted by the Soviet Union of war crimes. In 1996, he was pardoned by Russia. Seydlitz-Kurzbach was born in Hamburg, into the noble Prussian Seydlitz family, during World War I he served on both fronts as an officer. During the Weimar Republic, he remained an officer in the Reichswehr. The corps was subordinated to the Sixth Army during the Battle of Stalingrad, on 25 January 1943, he told his subordinate officers that they were free to decide for themselves on whether to surrender. Paulus immediately relieved him of command of his three divisions, a few days later, Seydlitz fled the German lines under fire from his own side with a group of other officers.
He was taken into Soviet custody, where he was interrogated by Captain Nikolay Dyatlenko and he was identified by the interrogations as a potential collaborator. In August 1943, he was taken two other Generals to a political re-education center at Lunovo. A month later, he was sent back to prisoner of war camps to recruit other German officers. He was a leader in the forming under Soviet supervision of an anti-Nazi organization and he was condemned by many of his fellow generals for his collaboration with the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to death in absentia by Hitlers government and his role in Soviet propaganda was largely equivalent to that of Andrey Vlasov in Nazi propaganda. In 1949 he was charged with war crimes and he was put on trial for responsibility for actions against Soviet POWs and the civilian population while in Wehrmacht service. In 1950, a Soviet tribunal sentenced him to 25 years’ imprisonment, but in 1955 he was released to West Germany, Seydlitz died on 28 April 1976 in Bremen.
On 23 April 1996 a posthumous pardon was issued by Russian authorities, Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves Knights Cross on 15 August 1940 as Generalmajor and commander of 12. Infanterie-Division Oak Leaves on 31 December 1941 as Generalmajor and commander of 12, infanterie-Division Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach in the German National Library catalogue