Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre was the name of two distinct strategic German Army Groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union. On 25 January 1945, after it was encircled in the Königsberg pocket, Army Group Centre was renamed Army Group North, Army Group A became Army Group Centre; the latter formation retained its name until the end of the war in Europe. The commander in chief on the formation of the Army Group Centre was Fedor von Bock. Army Group HQ troops537th Signals Regiment 537th Signals Regiment Panzer Group 2 XXIV Panzer Corps 1st Cav. Div. 3rd Pz, 4th Pz. 10th Mot. Div. 267th IDXLVI Panzer Corps SS "Das Reich" Div. 10th Pz. Inf. Reg. "Gross Deutschland"XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div. 167th IDXII Army Corps 31st ID, 34th ID, 45th ID 255th ID Panzer Group 3 V Army Corps 5th ID, 35th IDVI Army Corps 6th ID, 26th IDXXXIX Panzer Corps 7th Pz, 20th Pz, 14th Mot.
Div. 20th Mot. Div. LVII Panzer Corps 12th Pz, 18th Pz, 19th Pz4th Army VII Army Corps 7th ID, 23rd ID, 258th ID, 268th ID, 221st Sec. Div. IX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 292nd IDXIII Army Corps 17th ID, 78th IDXLIII Army Corps 131st ID, 134th ID, 252nd ID 286th ID 9th Army VIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 161st IDXX Army Corps 162nd ID, 256th IDXLII Army Corps 87th ID, 102nd ID, 129th ID 403rd Sec. Div. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies launched their surprise offensive into the Soviet Union, their armies, totaling over three million men, were to advance in three geographical directions. Army Group Centre's initial strategic goal was to defeat the Soviet armies in Belarus and occupy Smolensk. To accomplish this, the army group planned for a rapid advance using Blitzkrieg operational methods for which purpose it commanded two panzer groups rather than one. A quick and decisive victory over the Soviet Union was expected by mid-November; the Army Group's other operational missions were to support the army groups on its northern and southern flanks, the army group boundary for the being the Pripyat River.
July 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, z. Vfg. 2nd ArmyAugust 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 2nd Army, Army Group Guderian September 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, 2nd ArmyBitter fighting in the Battle of Smolensk as well as the Lötzen decision delayed the German advance for two months. The advance of Army Group Centre was further delayed as Hitler ordered a postponement of the offensive against Moscow in order to conquer Ukraine first. October 1941 detailed order of battle2nd Army LIII Army Corps 56th ID, 31st ID, 167th IDLXIII Army Corps 52nd ID, 131st IDXIII Army Corps 260th ID, 17th ID Reserve: 112th ID2nd Panzer Army XXXIV Army Corps 45th ID, 134th IDXXXV Army Corps 95th ID, 296th ID, 262nd ID, 293rd IDXLVIII Panzer Corps 9th Pz, 16th Mot. Div. 25th Mot. Div. XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Pz, 4th Pz, 10th Mot. Div. XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div.4th Army VII Army Corps 197th ID, 7th ID, 23rd ID, 267th IDXX Army Corps 268th ID, 15th, 78th IDIX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 183rd ID, 292nd IDPanzer Group 4, Subordinated to 4th ArmyXII Army Corps 34th ID, 98th IDXL Army Corps 10th Pz, 2nd Pz, 258th IDXLVI Panzer Corps 5th Bz, 11th Pz, 252nd ID LVII Panzer Corps 20th Pz, SS "Das Reich" Mot.
Div. 3rd Mot. Div. 9th Army XXVII Army Corps 255th ID, 162nd ID, 86th IDV Army Corps 5th ID, 35th ID, 106th ID, 129th IDVIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 87th IDXXIII Army Corps 251st ID, 102nd ID, 256th ID, 206th ID 161st ID Panzer Group 3, Subordinated to 9th ArmyLVI Panzer Corps 6th Pz, 7th Pz, 14th Mot. Div. XLI Panzer Corps 1st Pz, 36th Mot. Div. VI Army Corps 110th ID, 26th ID, 6th IDNovember 1941 order of battle 2nd Panzer Army, 3rd Panzer Group, 2nd Army, 4th Army, 9th ArmyThe commander in chief as of 19 December 1941 was Günther von Kluge. 1942 opened for Army Group Centre with continuing attacks from Soviet forces around Rzhev. The German Ninth Army was able to repel these attacks and stabilise its front, despite continuing large-scale partisan activity in its rear areas. Meanwhile, the German strategic focus on the Eastern Front shifted to southwestern Russia, with the launching of Operation Blue in June; this operation, aimed at the oilfields in the southwestern Caucasus, involved Army Group South alone, with the other German army groups giving up troops and equipment for the offensive.
Despite the focus on the south, Army Group Centre continued to see fierce fighting throughout the year. While the Soviet attacks in early 1942 had not driven the Germans back, they had resulted in several Red Army units being trapped behind German lines. Eliminating the pockets took until July, the same month in which the Soviets made another attempt to break through the army group's front; the largest Soviet operation in the army group's sector that year, Operation Mars, took place in November. It was launched concurrently with Opera
Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
Hans-Jürgen von Arnim was a German general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded several armies. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Von Arnim joined the German Army in 1907 and took part in World War I. After the war, he remained in the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht. Arnim commanded the 52nd Infantry Division in both the Battles for France. In October 1940, Arnim was given command of the 17th Panzer Division. Von Arnim took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, on 1 October 1941, took command of XXXIX Panzer Corps until November 1942. On 20 February 1943 he was appointed commander of the 5th Panzer Army under Erwin Rommel in North Africa, whom he replaced as commander of the Army Group Africa on the 10th March 1943, he surrendered to the British forces on 12 May 1943 as a consequence of the successful allied Operation Vulcan. Von Arnim was interned along with 24 other German general officers at Camp Clinton and was released on 1 July 1947.
He died in 1962 in Germany. Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knight's Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords Wound Badge in White Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918 Wehrmacht Long Service Award 1st Class Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 4 September 1941 as commander of the 17th Panzer Division
Battles of Rzhev
The Battles of Rzhev were a series of Soviet operations in World War II between January 8, 1942 and March 31, 1943. Due to the high losses suffered by the Red Army, the campaign became known by veterans and historians as the "Rzhev Meat Grinder"; the operations took place in the general area of Rzhev, Sychyovka in Sychyovsky District, Vyazma against German forces. The major operations that were executed in this area of the front were: Rzhev–Vyazma Strategic Offensive Operation of the Kalinin Front, Western Front, Bryansk Front, Northwestern Front Sychyovsky–Vyazma offensive operation of the Kalinin Front Mozhaysk–Vyazma offensive operation of the Western Front Toropets–Kholm Offensive Operation of the Northwestern Front and reassigned to the Kalinin Front from 22 January 1942 Vyazma airborne operation of the Western Front Rzhev operation Operation Seydlitz and the Soviet defensive battles around Bely and Kholm-Zhirkovsky launched by 9th Army of Germany to eliminate the salient in the vicinity between Bely and Kholm–Zhirkovsky and annihilate the 39th Army and 11th Cavalry Corps of the Kalinin Front First Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front Second Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by the forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front Battle for Velikiye Luki by 3rd Shock Army of the Kalinin Front Third Rzhev–Sychyovka Offensive Operation by the forces of the Kalinin Front and Western Front, at the same time, the southern flank offensive operations on the Bryansk Front.
These were operations that occurred during the planned German retreat from the salient known as Operation Büffel During the Soviet winter counter-offensive of 1941, the Rzhev-Vyazma Strategic Offensive Operation, German forces were pushed back from Moscow. As a result, a salient was formed along the front line in the direction of the capital, which became known as the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient, it was strategically important for the German Army Group Centre due to the threat it posed to Moscow, was therefore fortified and defended. Initial Soviet forces committed by the Kalinin and Western Front included the 22nd, 29th, 30th, 31st, 39th of the former, the 1st Shock, 5th, 10th, 16th, 20th, 33rd, 43rd, 49th, 50th armies and three cavalry corps for the latter; the intent was for the 22nd Army, 29th Army and 39th Armies supported by the 11th Cavalry Corps to attack West of Rzhev, penetrate deep into the western flank of Army Group Centre's 9th Army. This was achieved in January, by the end of the month the cavalry corps found itself 110 km in the depth of the German flank.
To eliminate this threat to the rear of the Army Group Centre's 9th Army, the Germans had started Operation Seydlitz by 2 July. However, due to the nature of the terrain the supply route of the troops of the Soviet 22nd Army, 29th Army and 39th Armies which attempted to enlarge the penetration became difficult, they were encircled; the cutting of a major highway to Rzhev by the cavalry signalled the commencement of the Toropets–Kholm Offensive. The offensive was conducted in late 1942; this offensive was conducted across the northern part of the Western Front against the Wehrmacht's 4th Panzer Army and the 4th Army. A Soviet airborne operation, conducted by the 4th Airborne Corps in seven separate landing zones, five of them intended to cut major road and rail line of communication to the Wehrmacht's 9th Army. In the aftermath of the Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941–42, substantial Soviet forces remained in the rear of the German Ninth Army; these forces maintained a hold on the primitive forested swamp region between Bely.
On July 2, 1942, Ninth Army under General Model launched Operation Seydlitz to clear the Soviet forces out. The Germans first blocked the natural breakout route through the Obsha valley and split the Soviet forces into two isolated pockets; the battle ended with the elimination of the encircled Soviet forces. The next Rzhev-Sychyovka Offensive codenamed Operation Mars; the operation consisted of several incremental offensive phases: Sychyovka Offensive Operation 24 November 1942 – 14 December 1942 Belyi Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 16 December 1942 Luchesa Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 11 December 1942 Molodoi Tud Offensive Operation 25 November 1942 – 23 December 1942 Velikie-Luki Offensive Operation 24 November 1942 – 20 January 1943This operation was nearly as heavy in losses for the Red Army as the first offensive, failed to reach desired objectives, but the Red Army tied down German forces which may have otherw
Hans Graf von Sponeck
Hans Graf von Sponeck was a German general during World War II, imprisoned for disobeying orders and executed. Sponeck was born in 1888 in Düsseldorf, he received a military education and was commissioned as an officer in 1908. He had two sons by this marriage, he served in World War I as a battalion adjutant. Between 1924 and 1934, he served on the General Staff HQ and as full colonel, commanded an infantry regiment at Neustrelitz. In 1925, Sponeck was admitted to the Order of Saint John as a Knight of Honor. Sponeck commanded Infantry Regiment 48 at Döberitz until late 1937 when he transferred to the Luftwaffe to establish paratrooper units. During the course of the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair, Sponeck was recalled by contemporaries as having suggested his willingness to lead his troops in support of army commander-in-chief Werner von Fritsch if called to do so, though no such plan came to fruition. During the trial of General von Fritsch, Sponeck was called as a character witness but was put down by Göring, serving as Court President.
Sponeck became commander of the 22nd Infantry Division with 42nd Army Corps training the troops as airborne infantry. On 1 February 1940, Sponeck was promoted to Generalleutnant; the German airborne assault on the Low Countries began on 10 May 1940, led by Sponeck and General Kurt Student. Sponeck led the German troops in the failed Battle for The Hague and was captured, only to be saved by the bombardment of Rotterdam on the 14 May 1940 which led to the Dutch capitulation, he was wounded, on his return to Germany was further awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by Adolf Hitler. Before dawn on 22 June 1941, Operation Barbarossa was launched beginning the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Sponeck commanded the 22nd Infantry Division as part of the 11th Army in the area of Army Group South attacking in the direction of the Crimean Peninsula. Two days before the invasion, on 20 June 1941, Sponeck's general staff gave orders to the division that any Jewish Red Army prisoners of war should be identified and separated from the rest of the Soviet prisoners.
With the start of the invasion, Sponeck's division operated from the Romanian frontier driving into Bessarabia, to the southern Ukraine. In preparation for the invasion of Crimea, Sponeck's division was ordered in September and early October 1941 to attack east and north along the Sea of Azov to the cities of Henichesk and Berdiansk. On 7 October 1941 Sponeck ordered his division to work with the SS's Security Police and Sicherheitsdienst by rounding up, handing over Jewish civilians. Mass shootings of Jews by units of Einsatzgruppe D of the Security Police and SD are documented in both Henichesk and Melitopol shortly after these cities were occupied by the 22nd Infantry Division in October 1941. In Melitopol alone 2,000 Jewish men and children were massacred. In English captivity at Trent Park, one of General von Sponeck's subordinate senior officers, Colonel Dietrich von Choltitz, admitted frankly in a surreptitiously recorded conversation that he had taken an active part in the work of killing Jews during the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Because of sciatica and intestinal trouble, General von Sponeck took sick leave from his division on 14 October 1941. On Sponeck's return on 3 December 1941 Manstein gave him command of the XLII Army Corps, which had taken the Kerch Peninsula on the extreme eastern tip of Crimea. In Feodosia, within the area of Sponeck's command, 1,052 Jews were murdered on or around 10 December 1941 by units of Einsatzgruppe D with the active cooperation and participation of the local military field commander and military police. On 10 December 1941 General von Sponeck ordered that all Jews found within his area of command were to be treated in principle as "partisans", marked with the Star of David, "deployed as labor." He ordered that any Red Army soldiers captured those in uniform, were to be shot and approved reprisal actions against civilians for any local anti-German activity or sabotage. Historian Erik Grimmer-Solem remarks: The case of General von Sponeck is complicated, he had the moral courage to refuse an order from Hitler to stand his ground when his troops were threatened with destruction, he was court-martialed and killed by the Nazis for it.
At the same time, he did not refuse to carry out the criminal Commissar Order, which gave cover for what became a genocidal war against ‘Jewish Bolshevism’ in the Soviet Union. While von Sponeck was not a Nazi in the technical sense and was himself critical of some aspects of the regime, his orders and the actions of his troops leave no doubt that he had internalized anti-Semitic racism. Sponeck shows that it was not necessary to be an ideologically-driven Nazi to carry out the Nazi regime’s policy of mass murder. Under Nazism and in conditions of war, the lines between victim and perpetrator, between hero and follower could dissolve within a single person.” On 26 December 1941, the Soviet forces landed on Kerch, on 30 December executed another landing near Feodosiya with two armies. The operation was to drive to Sevastopol and relieve the garrison, now encircled by the German 11th Army; the 46th Division was the only division in a position to be able to block the Soviet advance. Manstein believed it could contain the landing, but the Soviets consolidated their bridgeheads and defeated the attacking Romanian brigades.
As a result, Sponeck, as the XLII Corps commander, chose to withdraw the division from Kerch through the Parpach narrows to avoid being caught and encircled by Soviet forc
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat
Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II, an army level commander. While serving as military commander of German-occupied France and as commander of the 17th Army in the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa, Stülpnagel was implicated in German war crimes, including authorising reprisal operations against civilian population and cooperating with the Einsatzgruppen in their mass murder of Jews, he was a member of the 20 July Plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, being in charge of conspirators' actions in France. After the failure of the plot, he was recalled to Berlin and attempted to commit suicide en route, but failed. Tried on 30 August 1944, he was executed on the same day. Born in Berlin, Stülpnagel joined the German military straight from school in 1904, served as a general staff officer in World War I. After the war he served in the Reichsheer reaching the rank of Colonel in 1933; the same year, he was appointed head of the'Foreign Armies' branch of the General Staff of the Army.
In 1935 he published a memorandum in which he combined anti-Bolshevism with anti-semitism By 1936 he was a Major General and commanded the 30th Infantry Division in Lübeck. On 27 August 1937 as a Lieutenant General he was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Army. In 1938, after the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair and the Sudeten Crisis, he established contact with the Schwarze Kapelle, revealing the secret plan for the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Stülpnagel took part in the military opposition's first plans to remove Hitler from power, but these plans were abandoned after the Munich Agreement. From 20 December 1940 to 4 October 1941, Stülpnagel was a General of Infantry and commanded the 17th Army. On 22 June 1941, after the launch of Operation Barbarossa, he led this army across southern Russia on the Eastern Front. Under Stülpnagel's command, the 17th Army achieved victory during the Battle of Uman and the Battle of Kiev. In February 1942, Stülpnagel was made German-occupied France's military commander, in succession to his cousin, Gen. Otto von Stülpnagel.
In this position, he, along with his personal adviser Lieutenant-Colonel Caesar von Hofacker, continued to maintain contact with other members of the conspiracy against Hitler. Substantial archival evidence indicates that during his tenure as commander of the 17th Army and military governor of France, Stülpnagel was involved in war crimes, he ordered that future reprisals for French Resistance activities were to take form in mass arrests and deportations of Jews. Following an attack on German soldiers, Stülpnagel ordered the arrest of 743 Jews French and had them interned at a German-run camp at Compiègne, another 369 Jewish prisoners were deported to Auschwitz in March 1942. In the Soviet Union, Stülpnagel signed many orders authorizing reprisals against civilians for partisan attacks and collaborated with the Einsatzgruppen in their mass murder of Jews, he admonished his soldiers not for the murder of the civilian population but for chaotic means in which it was undertaken the early premature taking of hostages and random measures.
He ordered his troops to focus on Jews and Communist civilians, remarking that Communists were Jews that needed capture anyway. On the day in question, 20 July 1944, Stülpnagel put his part of the plot into operation; this involved having Hans Otfried von Linstow, only informed of the plot on that same day, round up all SS and Gestapo officers in Paris and imprison them. However, when it became apparent that the assassination attempt in East Prussia had failed, Stülpnagel was unable to convince Field Marshal Günther von Kluge to support the uprising and was forced to release his prisoners; when Stülpnagel was recalled from Paris, he stopped at Verdun and tried to kill himself by shooting himself in the head with a pistol on the banks of the Meuse River. He only succeeded in blinding himself. Stülpnagel and his adviser were both arrested by the Gestapo, Stülpnagel was brought before the Volksgerichtshof on 30 August 1944, he was found guilty of high treason and hanged the same day by Piano Wire at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin.
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 21 August 1941 as General of the Infantry and commander-in-chief of the 17th Army Otto von Stülpnagel - cousin and German military commander of occupied France Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel in the German National Library catalogue
Walther-Peer Fellgiebel was a German author and a key member of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients. Fellgiebel served in World War II reaching the rank of a Major, he was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's father was the General Erich Fellgiebel. Fellgiebel joined the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients in 1954 and as of 1961 served on the board of directors, he became head of the order commission of the AKCR in 1970, a position he held until 1985. From this work evolved the book Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes, 1939–1945. For many years this book was considered a reference work on this topic. Fellgiebel himself indicated that the book was not official; the deteriorating situation of Nazi Germany during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. In some of these instances the AKCR accepted and listed holders of the Knight's Cross with questionable evidence.
Author Veit Scherzer analyzed the German Federal Archives and found discrepancies in 193 instances of the original 7,322 listings by Fellgiebel. Fellgiebel's work was translated into English in 2003 as Elite of the Third Reich: the Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, 1939-45. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 7 September 1943 as Oberleutnant as chief of the 2./leichte Heeres Artillerie-Abteilung 935 Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes, 1939–1945: Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer: Elite of the Third Reich: the Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, 1939-45, West Midlands, England: Helion. ISBN 9781874622468