Army Group A

Army Group A
Heeresgruppe A
Country  Nazi Germany
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe.svg

Army Group A (Heeresgruppe A) was the name of several German Army Groups during World War II. During the Battle of France, the army group named Army Group A was composed of 45½ divisions, including 7 armored panzer divisions. It was responsible for breaking through the heavily-forested Ardennes region. The operation, which was part of Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), was resoundingly successful for the Germans, as the army group outflanked the best troops of France and its allies, eventually leading to France's surrender.[1]

In 1942, Army Group South on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union was split into Army Group A and Army Group B, and Army Group A was responsible for the invasion into the Caucasus. In 1945, months before the fall of Nazi Germany, Army Group A was renamed Army Group Centre.

Western Front, 1940

During the German invasion of the Low Countries and France Army Group A was under the command of Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt and was responsible for the break-out through the Ardennes. It was composed of 45½ divisions, including the 7 panzer divisions of Panzer Group Kleist.

Order of Battle

Eastern Front, 1942

In 1942, Army Group South was in southern Russia on the Eastern Front. For Case Blue (Fall Blau), the summer offensive of the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht), Army Group South was split into Army Group A and Army Group B. Army Group A was ordered south to capture the oil fields in the Caucasus.

Army Group A included the following armies:

Eastern Front, 1945

On January 16, 1945 Colonel Bogislaw von Bonin, the Chief of the Operational Branch of the Army General Staff (Generalstab des Heeres) gave Heeresgruppe A permission to retreat during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive, rejecting a direct order from Adolf Hitler for them to hold fast. Although Heeresgruppe A escaped encirclement and regrouped, von Bonin was arrested by the Gestapo on January 19, 1945, and imprisoned first at Flossenbürg concentration camp and then Dachau concentration camp. He was eventually liberated along with other prisoners in South Tyrol by the US Army in May 1945.

On 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.

Commanders

Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1
Gerd von Rundstedt
Rundstedt, GerdGeneralfeldmarschall
Gerd von Rundstedt
(1875–1953)
15 October 1939 1 October 1940 11 months
2
Wilhelm List
List, WilhelmGeneralfeldmarschall
Wilhelm List
(1880–1971)
10 July 1942 10 September 1942 2 months
3
Adolf Hitler
Hitler, AdolfAdolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
10 September 1942 21 November 1942 2 months
4
Ewald von Kleist
Kleist, EwaldGeneralfeldmarschall
Ewald von Kleist
(1881–1954)
22 September 1942 June 1943 6 months
5
Hubert Lanz
Lanz, HubertGeneral der Gebirgstruppe
Hubert Lanz
(1896–1982)
June 1943 July 1943 1 month
(4)
Ewald von Kleist
Kleist, EwaldGeneralfeldmarschall
Ewald von Kleist
(1881–1954)
July 1943 25 March 1944 8 months
6
Ferdinand Schörner
Schörner, FerdinandGeneraloberst
Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
25 March 1944 31 March 1944 0 months
7
Josef Harpe
Harpe, JosefGeneraloberst
Josef Harpe
(1887–1968)
28 September 1944 17 January 1945 3 months
(6)
Ferdinand Schörner
Schörner, FerdinandGeneraloberst
Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
17 January 1945 26 January 1945 0 months

Chiefs of Staff

Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office
1
Erich von Manstein
Manstein, ErichGeneralleutnant
Erich von Manstein
(1887–1973)
26 October 1939 1 February 1940 98 days
2
Georg von Sodenstern
Sodenstern, GeorgGeneral der Infanterie
Georg von Sodenstern
(1889–1955)
6 February 1940 1 October 1940 238 days
3
Hans von Greiffenberg
Greiffenberg, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans von Greiffenberg
(1893–1951)
10 July 1942 23 February 1943 228 days
4
Alfred Gause
Gause, AlfredGeneralleutnant
Alfred Gause
(1896–1967)
23 February 1943 13 May 1943 79 days
(3)
Hans von Greiffenberg
Greiffenberg, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans von Greiffenberg
(1893–1951)
13 May 1943 16 July 1943 64 days
5
Hans Röttiger
Röttiger, HansGeneralleutnant
Hans Röttiger
(1896–1960)
16 July 1943 24 March 1944 252 days
6
Walther Wenck
Wenck, WaltherGeneralleutnant
Walther Wenck
(1900–1982)
24 March 1944 22 July 1944 120 days
7
Wolf-Dietrich von Xylander
Xylander, WolfGeneralleutnant
Wolf-Dietrich von Xylander
(1903–1945)
28 September 1944 15 February 1945 † 208 days

References

  1. ^ Jackson, J. T. (2003). The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280300-9.

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