The "Siegfried Line", known in German as the Westwall, was a German defensive line built during the 1930s opposite the French Maginot Line. It stretched more than 630 km. From September 1944 to March 1945 the Siegfried Line was subjected to a large-scale Allied offensive; the official name for German defensive line construction program before and during the Second World War that collectively came to be known as the "Westwall" changed several times during the late 1930s reflecting areas in progress. Border Watch programme for the most advanced positions Limes Programme Aachen-Saar Programme Geldern Emplacement between Brüggen and Kleve Western Air Defence Zone These programmes were all pushed forward with the highest priority, putting a concentrated demand on available resources; the origin of the name "Westwall" is unknown, but it appeared in popular use from the middle of 1939. Small bunkers with 50 cm thick walls were set up with three embrasures towards the front. Sleeping accommodations were hammocks.
In exposed positions, similar small bunkers were erected with small round armoured "lookout" sections on the roofs. The programme was carried out by the Border Watch, a small military troop activated in the Rhineland after the region was re-militarised by Germany after having been de-militarised following the First World War; the Limes Programme began in 1938 following an order by Hitler to strengthen fortifications on the western German border. Limes refers to the former borders of the Roman Empire, its Type 10 bunkers were more constructed than the earlier border fortifications. These had walls. A total of 3,471 were built along the entire length of the Siegfried Line, they featured a central room or shelter for 10-12 men with a stepped embrasure facing backwards and a combat section 50 cm higher. This elevated section had embrasures at sides for machine guns. More embrasures were provided for riflemen, the entire structure was constructed so as to be safe against poison gas. Heating was from a safety oven, the chimney of, covered with a thick grating.
Space was tight, with about 1 m2 per soldier, given a sleeping-place and a stool. Surviving examples still retain signs warning "Walls have ears" and "Lights out when embrasures are open!" The Aachen-Saar programme bunkers were similar to those of the Limes programme: Type 107 double MG casemates with concrete walls up to 3.5 m thick. One difference was. Embrasures were only built at the front in special cases and were protected with heavy metal doors; this construction phase included the towns of Aachen and Saarbrücken, which were west of the Limes Programme defence line. The Western Air Defence Zone continued parallel to the two other lines toward the east, consisted of concrete Flak foundations. Scattered MG42 and MG34 emplacements added additional defence against both land targets. Flak turrets were designed to force enemy planes to fly higher, thus decreasing the accuracy of their bombing; these towers were protected at close range by bunkers from the Aachen-Saar programmes. The Geldern Emplacement lengthened the Siegfried Line northwards as far as Kleve on the Rhine, was built after the start of the Second World War.
The Siegfried Line ended in the north near Brüggen in the Viersen district. The primary constructions were unarmed dugouts, but their strong concrete design afforded excellent protection to the occupants. For camouflage they were built near farms. Standard construction elements such as large Regelbau bunkers, smaller concrete "pillboxes", "dragon's teeth" anti-tank obstacles were built as part of each construction phase, sometimes by the thousands; this standardisation was the most effective use of scarce raw materials and workers. "Dragon's teeth" tank traps were known as Höcker in German because of their shape. These blocks of reinforced concrete stand in several rows on a single foundation. There are two typical sorts of barrier: Type 1938 with four rows of teeth getting higher toward the back, Type 1939 with five rows of such teeth. Many other irregular lines of teeth were built. Another design of tank obstacle, known as the Czech hedgehog, was made by welding together several bars of steel in such a way that any tank rolling over it would get stuck.
If the contour of the land allowed it, water-filled ditches were dug instead of tank traps. Examples of this kind of defence are those north of Aachen near Geilenkirchen; the early fortifications were built by private firms, but the private sector was unable to provide the number of workers needed for the programmes that followed. With this organisation's help, huge numbers of forced labourers — up to 500,000 at a time — worked on the Siegfried Line. Transport of materials and workers from all across Germany was managed by the Deutsche Reichsbahn railway company, which took advantage of the well-developed strategic railway lines built on Germany's western border in World War I
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August; the decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion; the coast of Normandy of northwestern France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, the Canadians at Juno.
To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart's Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, Operation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation; this misled the Germans as to the location of the main Allied landings. Führer Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler's proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion; the Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket; the Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France on 15 August, the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August.
German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord. In June 1940, Germany's leader Adolf Hitler had triumphed in what he called "the most famous victory in history"—the fall of France. British craft evacuated to England over 338,000 Allied troops trapped along the northern coast of France in the Dunkirk evacuation. British planners reported to Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 4 October that with the help of other Commonwealth countries and the United States, it would not be possible to regain a foothold in continental Europe in the near future. After the Axis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin began pressing for a second front in Western Europe. Churchill declined because he felt that with American help the British did not have adequate forces for such a strike, he wished to avoid costly frontal assaults such as those that had occurred at the Somme and Passchendaele in World War I. Two tentative plans code-named Operation Roundup and Operation Sledgehammer were put forward for 1942–43, but neither was deemed by the British to be practical or to succeed.
Instead, the Allies expanded their activity in the Mediterranean, launching the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, invading Italy in September. These campaigns provided the troops with valuable experience in amphibious warfare. Attendees at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943 took the decision to launch a cross-Channel invasion within the next year. Churchill favoured making the main Allied thrust into Germany from the Mediterranean theatre, but his American allies, who were providing the bulk of the men and equipment, over-ruled him. British Lieutenant-General Frederick E. Morgan was appointed Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Commander, to begin detailed planning; the initial plans were constrained by the number of available landing-craft, most of which were committed in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific. In part because of lessons learned in the Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, the Allies decided not to directly assault a defended French seaport in their first landing.
The failure at Dieppe highlighted the need for adequate artillery and air support close air support, specialised ships able to travel close to shore. The short operating-range of British aircraft such as the Spitfire and Typhoon limited the number of potential landing-sites, as comprehensive air-support depended upon having planes overhead for as long as possible. Morgan considered four sites for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula and the Pas de Calais; as Brittany and Cotentin are peninsulas, the Germans could have cut off the Allied advance at a narrow isthmus, so these sites were rejected. Pas de Calais, the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, was the location of launch sites for V-1 and V-2 rockets still under development; the Germans regarded it as the most initial landing zone, accordingly made it the most fortified region. It offered the Allies few opportunities for expansion, however, as the area is bounded by numerous rivers and canals, whereas landings on a broad front in Normandy would permit simultaneous threats against the port of Cherbourg, coastal ports further west in Brittany, an overland attack towards Paris and into Germany.
Normandy was therefore chosen as the landing site. The most serious drawback of the Normandy coast—the lack of
A division is a large military unit or formation consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 30,000 in nominal strength. In most armies, a division is composed of several brigades; the division has been the default combined arms unit capable of independent operations. Smaller combined arms units, such as the American regimental combat team during World War II, were used when conditions favored them. In recent times, modern Western militaries have begun adopting the smaller brigade combat team as the default combined arms unit, with the division they belong to being less important. While the focus of this article is on army divisions, in naval usage division has a different meaning, referring to either an administrative/functional sub-unit of a department aboard naval and coast guard ships, shore commands, in naval aviation units, to a sub-unit of several ships within a flotilla or squadron, or to two or three sections of aircraft operating under a designated division leader.
Some languages, like Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish, use a similar word divizion/dywizjon for a battalion-size artillery or cavalry unit. In administrative/functional sub-unit usage, unit size varies though divisions number far fewer than 100 people and are equivalent in function and organizational hierarchy/command relationship to a platoon or flight. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller combined-arms units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France, in his book Mes Rêveries, he died without having implemented his idea. Victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice, he conducted successful practical experiments of the divisional system in the Seven Years' War. The first war in which the divisional system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. Lazare Carnot of the Committee of Public Safety, in charge of military affairs, came to the same conclusion about it as the previous royal government, the army was organised into divisions.
It made the armies more flexible and easy to maneuver, it made the large army of the revolution manageable. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together because of their increasing size. Napoleon's military success spread the corps system all over Europe; the divisional system reached its numerical height during the Second World War. The Soviet Union's Red Army consisted of more than a thousand divisional-size units at any one time, the total number of rifle divisions raised during the Great Patriotic War is estimated at 2,000. Nazi Germany had hundreds of numbered and/or named divisions, while the United States employed 91 divisions, two of which were disbanded during the war. A notable change to divisional structures during the war was completion of the shift from square divisions to triangular divisions that many European nations started using in World War I; this was done to pare down chain of command overhead. The triangular division allowed the tactic of "two forward, one back", where two of the division's regiments would be engaging the enemy with one regiment in reserve.
All divisions in World War II were expected to have their own artillery formations the size of a regiment depending upon the nation. Divisional artillery was seconded by corps level command to increase firepower in larger engagements. Regimental combat teams were used by the US during the war as well, whereby attached and/or organic divisional units were parceled out to infantry regiments, creating smaller combined-arms units with their own armor and artillery and support units; these combat teams would still be under divisional command but have some level of autonomy on the battlefield. Organic units within divisions were units which operated directly under Divisional command and were not controlled by the Regiments; these units were support units in nature, include signal companies, medical battalions, supply trains and administration. Attached units were smaller units that were placed under Divisional command temporarily for the purpose of completing a particular mission; these units were combat units such as tank battalions, tank destroyer battalions and cavalry reconnaissance squadrons.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures. This does not mean that divisions are equal in size or structure from country to country, but divisions have, in most cases, come to be units of 10,000 to 20,000 troops with enough organic support to be capable of independent operations; the direct organization of the division consists of one to four brigades or battle groups of its primary combat arm, along with a brigade or regiment of combat support and a number of direct-reporting battalions for necessary specialized support tasks, such as intelligence, logistics and combat engineers. Most militaries standardize ideal organization strength for each type of division, encapsulated in a Table of Organization and Equipment which specifies exact assignments of units and equipment for a division; the modern division became the primary identifiable combat unit in many militaries during the second half of the 20th century, supplanting the brigade.
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, Luxembourg, towards the end of the war in Europe; the offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor. The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of 16 December 1944, due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, poor aerial reconnaissance. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war; the battle severely depleted Germany's armored forces, they were unable to replace them.
German personnel and Luftwaffe aircraft sustained heavy losses. The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge, in the south, around Bastogne, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, terrain that favored the defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops; the furthest west the offensive reached was the village of Foy-Nôtre-Dame, south east of Dinant, being stopped by the British 21st Army Group on 24 December 1944. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive.
In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line. The Germans' initial attack involved 410,000 men; these were reinforced a couple of weeks bringing the offensive's total strength to around 450,000 troops, 1,500 tanks and assault guns. Between 63,222 and 98,000 of these men were killed, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties out of which some 19,000 were killed; the "Bulge" was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the second deadliest battle in American history. After the breakout from Normandy at the end of July 1944 and the Allied landings in southern France on 15 August 1944, the Allies advanced toward Germany more than anticipated; the Allies were faced with several military logistics issues: troops were fatigued by weeks of continuous combat supply lines were stretched thin supplies were dangerously depleted.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff chose to hold the Ardennes region, occupied by the U. S. First Army; the Allies chose to defend the Ardennes with as few troops as possible due to the favorable terrain and limited Allied operational objectives in the area. They had intelligence that the Wehrmacht was using the area across the German border as a rest-and-refit area for its troops; the speed of the Allied advance coupled with an initial lack of deep-water ports presented the Allies with enormous supply problems. Over-the-beach supply operations using the Normandy landing areas, direct landing ships on the beaches, were unable to meet operational needs; the only deep-water port the Allies had captured was Cherbourg on the northern shore of the Cotentin peninsula and west of the original invasion beaches, but the Germans had wrecked, mined, the harbor before it could be taken. It took many months to rebuild its cargo-handling capability; the Allies captured the port of Antwerp intact in the first days of September, but it was not operational until 28 November.
The estuary of the Schelde river, that controlled access to the port, had to be cleared of both German troops and naval mines. These limitations led to differences between General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commander of the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group, over whether Montgomery or Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, commanding the U. S. 12th Army Group, in the south would get priority access to supplies. German forces remained in control of several major ports on the English Channel coast until the end of the war in May 1945; the Allies' efforts to destroy the French railway system prior to D-Day, were successful. This destruction hampered the German response to the invasion, but it proved hampering to the Allies, it took time to repair bridges. A trucking system nicknamed the Red Ball Express brought supplies to front-line troops, but used up five times as much fuel, to reach the front line near the Belgian border, as it delivered. By early October, the Allies had suspended major offensives to improve their supply lines and supply availability at the front.
Montgomery and Bradley both pressed for priority delivery of supplies to their respective armies so they could continue their individual lines of advance and maintain
Astrakhan is a city in southern Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on two banks of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters below sea level; as of the 2010 Census, its population was 520,339. The oldest economic and cultural center of the Lower Volga, it is called the southernmost outpost of Russia and the Caspian capital; the city is a member of the Eurasian Regional Office of the World Organization "United Cities and Local Governments" Its population is diverse and includes one hundred ethnicities and fourteen religious denominations. The city is located in the upper part of the Volga delta, on eleven islands of the Caspian Depression; the distance to Moscow by road is 1,411 kilometers. The name is a corruption of Hashtarkhan, itself a corruption of Haji Tarkhan—a name amply evidenced in the medieval writings. Tarkhan is a Turco-Mongolian title standing for "great khan," or "king", while haji or hajji is a title given to one who has made the Islamic requisite of pilgrimage to Mecca.
Together, they denoted "the king who has visited Mecca." The city has given its name to the particular pelts from young karakul sheep, in particular to the hats traditionally made from the pelts. Colloquially, the city is known by the short form Astra. Another popular nickname is The Caspian Capital Astrakhan is in the Volga Delta, rich in sturgeon and exotic plants; the fertile area contained the capitals of Khazaria and the Golden Horde. Astrakhan was first mentioned by travelers in the early 13th century as Xacitarxan. Tamerlane burnt it to the ground in 1395 during his war with the Golden Horde. From 1459 to 1556, Xacitarxan was the capital of Astrakhan Khanate; the ruins of this medieval settlement were found by archaeologists 12 km upstream from the modern-day city. Starting in A. D. 1324, Ibn Battuta, the famous Muslim traveler, began his pilgrimage from his native city of Tangier, present-day Morocco to Mecca. Along the 75,000 mile trek, that took nearly 29 years, Ibn Battuta came in contact with many new cultures which he writes about in his diaries.
One specific country that he passed through on his journey was the Golden Horde ruled by the descendants of Genghis Khan, located on the Volga River in southern Russia. He claims the Athal is, “one of the greatest rivers in the world.”. In the winter, when the weather is cold, the Muslim ruler, or Sultan, stays in Astrakhan. Due to this cold water, the King orders the people of Astrakhan to lay many bundles of hay down on the frozen river, he does this to allow the people to travel over the ice. When Battuta and the King spoke about Battuta visiting Constantinople, which the King granted him permission to do, the King gifted Battuta with fifteen hundred dinars, many horses and a dress of honor. In 1556, the khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new fortress, or kremlin, built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga in 1558; this year is traditionally considered to be the foundation of the modern city. In 1569, during the Russo-Turkish War, Astrakhan was besieged by the Ottoman army, which had to retreat in disarray.
A year the Ottoman sultan renounced his claims to Astrakhan, thus opening the entire Volga River to Russian traffic. The Ottoman Empire, though militarily defeated, insisted on safe passage for Muslim pilgrims and traders from Central Asia as well as the destruction of the Russian's fort on the Terek river. In the 17th century, the city was developed as a Russian gate to the Orient. Many merchants from Armenia, Safavid Persia, Mughal India and Khiva khanate settled in the town, giving it a cosmopolitan character. For seventeen months in 1670 -- 1671, Astrakhan was held by his Cossacks. Early in the following century, Peter the Great constructed a shipyard here and made Astrakhan the base for his hostilities against Persia, in the same century Catherine the Great accorded the city important industrial privileges; the city rebelled against the Tsar once again in 1705, when it was held by the Cossacks under Kondraty Bulavin. A Kalmuck khan laid an abortive siege to the kremlin several years before that.
In 1711, it became the seat of a governorate, whose first governors included Artemy Petrovich Volynsky and Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev. Six years Astrakhan served as a base for the first Russian venture into Central Asia, it was granted town status in 1717. In 1702, 1718 and 1767, it suffered from fires. Astrakhan's kremlin was built from the 1580s to the 1620s from bricks taken from the site of Sarai Berke, its two impressive cathedrals were consecrated in 1710, respectively. Built by masters from Yaroslavl, they retain many traditional features of Russian church architecture, while their exterior decoration is baroque. In March 1919 after a failed workers' revolt against Bolshevik rule, 3,000 to 5,000 people were executed in less than a week by the Cheka under orders from Sergey Kirov; some victims were thrown into the Volga. During Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the A-A line running from Astrakhan to Arkhangelsk was to be the eastern limit of German military operation and occupation.
The plan was never carried out, as Germany captured neither Moscow. In the autumn of 1942, the region to the west of Astrakhan became one of the easternmost points in t
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
Hans-Valentin Hube was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded several panzer divisions during the invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union, he was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Diamonds, Nazi Germany's highest military decoration. Hube died in an air crash on 21 April 1944. Hans-Valentin Hube was born on 29 October 1890, in Naumburg an der Saale, German Empire. Hube volunteered for military service in the Prussian Army in 1909, served during World War I where he saw action during the Race to the Sea, was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern. In 1918, following the end of the war which ended with the German Empire's defeat and subsequent collapse, Hube served with the right-wing Freikorps paramilitary during the instability. Hube joined the Reichswehr, the successor of the Imperial German Army after the establishment of the Weimar Republic, continued his army service in the Wehrmacht after the founding of Nazi Germany, reaching the rank of Oberst in 1936.
Hube took part in the Battle of France as a regimental commander. He was appointed commander of 16th Infantry Division in June 1940; as commander of the 16th Panzer Division, he took part in Operation Barbarossa as part of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South. For this action during the campaign, Hube received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. On 16 January 1942, he was awarded the Oak leaves to the Knight's Cross for his actions in the Battle of Kiev. Hube led the division during Fall Blau and the Battle of Stalingrad. On 16 September 1942, Hube was given command of XIV Panzer Corps, the parent formation of the 16th Panzer Division. Hube commanded the XIVth Corps during Operation Uranus, he was promoted to General der Panzertruppe and received the Swords to the Knight's Cross with Oak leaves from Adolf Hitler on 21 December 1942. During his time at the Führer-Headquarters in Rastenburg, Hube argued but to no avail, for Hitler to allow the 6th Army to attempt a breakout. Instead, Hitler promised a new relief attack beginning in the middle of February.
Hube conveyed that plan to Paulus upon his return to the cauldron. However, Hube was ordered to fly out again on 10 January. To "reorganize the supply of the 6th Army."After the destruction of the 6th Army, Hube was sent to the Mediterranean front. He created Gruppe Hube in A four-division force whose task was to defend the island. With the advent of Operation Husky on 10 July, Hube commanded the overall German defence. On 17 July 1943 Hube was given command of all Flak troops on the island. Hube organised the evacuation to the Italian peninsula, he had prepared a strong defensive line, the'Etna Line' around Messina, that would enable the Germans to make a progressive retreat while evacuating large parts of his army to the mainland. Patton began his assault on the line at Troina, but it was a linchpin of the defense and stubbornly held. Despite three'end run' amphibious landings the Germans managed to keep the bulk of their forces beyond reach of capture, maintain their evacuation plans. Withdrawing a large number of troops from the threat of capture on Sicily represented a major success for the Axis.
Hube was involved in the battles defending positions at Salerno during the Allied Operation Avalanche. Afterwards Hube was transferred to the Führer-Reserve. On 23 October 1943, Hube was delegated as commander of the 200,000 man 1st Panzer Army serving with Army Group South under Field Marshal Erich von Manstein. In February 1944, Hube was confirmed as commander of the 1st Panzer Army. Shortly after, III. Panzerkorps, one of Hube's units, was required to assist German forces breaking out of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket. Soon after this, Hube's force was encircled in a pocket near Kamenets-Podolsky. Hube led the breakout which lasted from 27 March 1944 until 15 April 1944. On 20 April 1944, Hube returned to Germany where Adolf Hitler awarded him the Diamonds to the Knight's Cross and promoted him to Generaloberst for his actions in Sicily, Salerno and in the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket. Hube was killed when the aircraft, transporting him crashed after takeoff in Salzburg on 21 April 1944. Hube was given a state funeral in Berlin on 26 April 1944.
His coffin was laid out in the Reich Chancellery and the eulogy was delivered by Heinz Guderian. The guard of honour consisted of the generals Walther Nehring, Hermann Breith, Heinrich Eberbach and Hans Gollnick. Hube was buried at the Invalid's Cemetery in Berlin. Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Diamonds Knight's Cross on 1 August 1941 as Generalmajor and commander of the 16th Panzer Division 62nd Oak Leaves on 16 January 1942 as Generalmajor and commander of the 16th Panzer Division 22nd Swords on 21 December 1942 as Generalleutnant and commanding general of the XIV Panzer Corps 13th Diamonds on 20 April 1944 as General der Panzertruppe and commander in chief of the 1st Panzer Army Promoted to Generalleutnant on 1 January 1942.