Army Group E
Army Group E was a German Army Group active during World War II. Army Group E was created on 1 January 1943 from the 12th Army. Units from this Army Group were distributed throughout the Eastern Mediterranean area, including Albania, the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia, the Independent State of Croatia, its principal units were: 11th Luftwaffe Field Division - Generalleutnant Wilhelm Kohler Rhodes Assault Division LXVIII Army Corps 117th Jäger Division - General der Gebirgstruppe Karl von Le Suire 1st Panzer Division - Generalmajor Walter Krüger XXII Mountain Army Corps - General der Gebirgstruppe Hubert Lanz 104th Jäger Division - General der Infanterie Hartwig von Ludwiger 1st Mountain Division - Generalleutnant Walter Stettner 41st Fortress Division Fortress Crete 22nd Division - General der Infanterie Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller Also within the Army Group command were 22 penal "fortress battalions" of the "999" series. The Army Group participated in anti-partisan operations in Yugoslavia.
During the course of these operations, several atrocities were committed, including the massacres of Kalavryta and Distomo in Greece. Furthermore, during the disarmament of the Italian army in September 1943, German troops executed over 5,000 Italian prisoners of war in the Cephallonia Massacre. At the same time, the Army Group repelled the British attempt to seize the Italian-occupied Dodecanese Islands. Army Group troops were involved in the Chortiatis massacre. In the spring of 1945, during the retreat of the Wehrmacht forces from the Balkans, this Army Group withdrew to Hungary, with some units moving to Austria and southern Germany. During the 1945 retreat the fortress units were amalgamated into the LXXXXI Army Corps. Army Group E was joined with what was left of Maximilian von Weichs' Army Group F; that army group had been dissolved on 25 March 1945. A member of Army Group E who rose to prominence was Austrian president and United Nations General Secretary Kurt Waldheim, who served in the military administration of Thessaloniki.
Hogg, Ian V. German Order of Battle 1944: The regiments and units of the German ground forces and Armour Press, London, 1975 Tessin, Georg. Die Landstreitkräfte: Namensverbände / Die Luftstreitkräfte / Flakeinsatz im Reich 1943–1945. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen–SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939–1945. 14. Osnabrück: Biblio. ISBN 3-7648-1111-0. Thomas, Andrew, The German Army 1939-45: North Africa & Balkans, Osprey Publishing, 1998 ISBN 978-1-85532-640-8
Army Group Vistula
Army Group Vistula was an Army Group of the Wehrmacht, formed on 24 January 1945. It was put together from elements of Army Group A, Army Group Centre, a variety of new or ad hoc formations, it was formed to protect Berlin from the Soviet armies advancing from the Vistula River. Heinz Guderian had urged the creation of a new army group as an defensive measure to fill the gap opening in German defences between the lower Vistula and the lower Oder; the new Army Group Vistula was duly formed from an assortment of rebuilt and existing units. Guderian intended to propose Field-Marshal Maximilian von Weichs as commander. However, in a reflection of Hitler's desire to transfer control of the conflict from the Wehrmacht to the SS, Heinrich Himmler was appointed. Himmler, who lacked any real military knowledge, proved inadequate to the task. Other than Operation Solstice, the Army Group's only offensive action was a disastrous attempt to relieve the fortress of Kustrin late in March 1945, during which the subordinate XXXIX Panzer Corps took heavy casualties.
Under the command of Heinrici, parts of the army group fought through the Battle of Berlin and Battle of Halbe, with some of its elements not surrendering until the end of the war in Europe on 8 May 1945. Army Group Vistula's strength was in the region of 500,000 troops. Indeed, when first set up it was found that the army group lacked many essential facilities, such as proper maps or a headquarters signals detachment—the sole means of communication being Himmler's private telephone; the Army Group was formed from: The Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, part of Army Group A and had been shattered around Warsaw during the Vistula-Oder Offensive. This now was progressively rebuilt; the Second Army of Colonel-General Walter Weiss, which as part of Army Group Centre had been defending the line of the Narew river on the borders of East Prussia. The East Prussian Offensive had cut it off from the remnants of its parent formation, by late January it defended a long sector from Elbing in the east running westwards through Pomerania.
It therefore formed the new army group's eastern flank. The Eleventh SS Panzer Army was a'new' formation, assembled in western Pomerania. Soon after its formation it received the staff of the Third Panzer Army, destroyed in East Prussia. During the East Pomeranian Offensive, the Second Army was cut off from the remainder of the army group and withdrew into Danzig, where it was destroyed; the rest of Army Group Vistula was forced west of the Oder, though the Third Panzer Army retained a small bridgehead at Altdamm until the middle of March. Towards the end of April, the Twenty-First Army was added to Army Group Vistula. German Third Panzer Army III SS Panzer Corps CI Corps XXVII Corps XXXII Corps XXXXVI Panzer Corps Verteidigungsbereich Swinemünde German Twenty-First Army III SS Panzer Corps CI Corps XXVII Corps German Ninth Army CI Corps LVI Panzer Corps XI SS Panzer Corps V SS Mountain Corps Battle for Berlin
Army Group C
Army Group C was an army group of the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War. Army Group C was formed from Army Group 2 in Frankfurt on 26 August 1939, it commanded all troops on Germany’s western front but after the Polish campaign it was reduced to commanding the southern half of the western front, overseeing the frontal breakthrough through the Maginot Line during June 1940. At the end of the battle of France it moved back to Germany – under the cover name "Section Staff East Prussia" – moved to East Prussia on 20 April 1941. On 21 June 1941 it was renamed Army Group North, it was re-formed on 26 November 1943 by being again separated from the staff of Supreme Commander South and put in command of the southwestern front and the Italian Campaign. On 2 May 1945 Army Group C surrendered. 1st time 2nd time Army Group C Order of Battle from August, 1944
Army Group D
Army Group D was a German Army Group which saw action during World War II. Army Group D was formed on 26 October 1940 in France, its initial cadre coming from the disbanded Army Group C. On 15 April 1941, the status of Army Group D was upgraded. From that date on, the commander of Army Group D was to be considered Oberbefehlshaber West; as a result of this, Army Group D is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Army Group West. May 1941 Seventh Army First Army Fifteenth Army Commander of all German troops of Occupation in the NetherlandsMay 1944 Army Group G Army Group B Panzer Group West First Fallschirm ArmyDecember 1944 Army Group G Army Group B Army Group H Sixth SS Panzer Army Tessin, Georg. Die Landstreitkräfte: Namensverbände / Die Luftstreitkräfte / Flakeinsatz im Reich 1943–1945. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen–SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939–1945. 14. Osnabrück: Biblio. ISBN 3-7648-1111-0
1st Panzer Army
The 1st Panzer Army was a German tank army, a large armoured formation of the Wehrmacht during World War II. When formed on 1 March 1940, the 1st Panzer Army was named Panzer Group Kleist with Colonel General Ewald von Kleist in command. Panzer Group Kleist was the first operational formation of several Panzer corps in the Wehrmacht. Created for the Battle of France on 1 March 1940. Panzer Group Kleist played an important role in the Battle of Belgium. Panzer corps of the Group broke through the Ardennes and reached the sea, forming a huge pocket, containing several Belgian and French armies; when the armistice was signed, Group was deployed in occupied France, being renamed into Panzer Group 1 in November. In April 1941, Panzer Group 1 took part in the invasion of Yugoslavia as part of Field Marshal Maximilian von Weichs's Second Army. In May 1941 Panzer Group 1 was attached to Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. At the start of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, Panzer Group 1 included the III, XIV and XLVIII Army Corps with five panzer divisions and four motorized divisions equipped with 799 tanks.
Panzer Group 1 served on the southern sector of the Eastern Front against the Red Army and was involved the Battle of Brody which involved as many as 3,000 Red Army tanks. The units of the Group closed the encirclement near Kiev. After the fall of Kiev Panzer Group 1 was enlarged to the 1st Panzer Army with Kleist still in command; the army was forced to retreat eight days later. In January 1942, Army Group Kleist, which consisted of the First Panzer Army along with the Seventeenth Army, was formed with its namesake, Kleist, in command. Army Group Kleist played a major role in repulsing the Red Army attack in the Second Battle of Kharkov in May 1942. Army Group Kleist was disbanded that month; the First Panzer Army, still under Kleist, attached to Army Group South earlier, became part of Army Group A under Field Marshal Wilhelm List. Army Group A was to lead the thrust into the Caucasus during Operation Blue and capture Grozny and the Baku oilfields; the First Panzer Army was to spearhead the attack.
Rostov, Maykop and the Kuban region were captured. In September 1942, the offensive by Army Group A stalled in the Caucasus and List was sacked. After Adolf Hitler took personal control of Army Group A, he appointed Kleist to the command on 22 November 1942; as Kleist took over, Colonel-General Eberhard von Mackensen took the reins of the First Panzer Army. In December 1942, as the German 6th Army was being crushed in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Red Army launched an offensive against Army Group A; the First Panzer Army was ordered to retreat through Rostov in January 1943, before the Soviet forces could cut it off in the Kuban. By February 1943, the army had been withdrawn west of the Don River and Kleist withdrew the remains of his forces from Caucasus into the Kuban, east of the Strait of Kerch. In January 1943, von Mackensen's First Panzer Army became attached to Army Group Don under Field Marshal Erich von Manstein; the month after that, von Manstein redeployed the First Panzer Army together with the Fourth Panzer Army to counter-attack the Soviet breakthrough from the Battle of Stalingrad.
The First Panzer Army contributed to the success of the Third Battle of Kharkov in March 1943. In October 1943 Soviet forces crossed the Dnieper River between Kremenchug; the First Panzer Army counter-attacked along with the 8th Army, but failed to dislodge the Soviet forces. At the end of that month, as the Red Army closed in on Kiev, von Mackensen was replaced by Colonel-General Hans-Valentin Hube; the First Panzer Army remained attached to Army Group South from March 1943 to July 1944. By that time German troops had been pulled out from the Ukraine. In March 1944, crisis hit the First Panzer Army as it was encircled by two Soviet fronts in the Battle of Kamenets-Podolsky pocket. A successful breakthrough was made, losing the heavy equipment; that same month Hitler, who insisted his armies fight an inflexible defense to the last man, dismissed von Manstein. In October 1941, when the First Panzer Army had been formed, it was a large army consisting of four corps, several infantry, motorized, SS divisions, along with a Romanian army and some Italian, Romanian and Slovak divisions.
By the spring of 1944, the First Panzer Army had shrunk consisting of only three corps, two infantry, four panzer, one SS division. After July 1944 it retreated from Poland before fighting with Army Group A in Slovakia. During its existence, from October 1941 to May 1945, the First Panzer Army spent its entire time on the Eastern Front. In the spring of 1945, the First Panzer Army's main task was to defend the Ostrava region in the north of Moravia, at the time the last large industrial area in the hands of Third Reich. There the First Panzer Army was facing the advance of 4th Ukrainian Front from north-east and had lost most of its heavy and medium tanks. At the same time however the Panzer Army was flanked by the 2nd Ukrainian Front from the south. German defensive lines collapsed in the early hours of Prague Offensive; the staff of First Panzer Army, along with other commands subordinated to Army Group Center, surrendered to the Soviet forces on 9 May 1945 in the area of Deutsch-Brod, while the remnant
Army Group G
The German Army Group G fought on the Western Front of World War II and was a component of OB West. When the Allied invasion of Southern France took place, Army Group G had eleven divisions with which to hold France south of the Loire. Between August 17 and 18, the German Armed Forces High Command ordered Army Group G to abandon southern France; the German LXIV Corps, in charge of troops in the southwest since First Army had been withdrawn a few weeks earlier to hold the line on the River Seine southeast of Paris, formed three march groups and withdrew eastward toward Dijon. At the same time, the German Nineteenth Army, retreated northward through the Rhône valley toward the Plateau de Langres where it was joined by the German Fifth Panzer Army, assigned to Army Group G so that a counter-attack could be delivered against the United States Third Army; the retreat did not go according to plan, as the Nineteenth Army retreated many personnel of Army Group G were taken prisoner by the Sixth United States Army Group.
By the time the retreat was over General Johannes Blaskowitz had lost about half his force and was relieved on 21 September by General Hermann Balck. By mid September the Fifth were in position on the left wing of the German line north of the Swiss border. From there the Fifth Panzer with elements of the First attacked the United States Third Army, while the much reduced German 19th Army opposed the French First Army and the U. S. Seventh Army under General Alexander M. Patch. Army Group G fought in the Vosges Mountains during November 1944 and retreated through Lorraine and north Alsace during December. In late November 1944, Army Group G temporarily lost responsibility for the German troops in the Colmar Pocket and on the Rhine River south of the Bienwald to the short-lived Army Group Oberrhein. In January 1945 the Army Group attacked in Operation Nordwind, the last big German counter-attack on the Western Front. With the failure of Nordwind and the ejection of the Germans from the Colmar Pocket, Army Group Oberrhein was dissolved and Army Group G reassumed responsibility for the defense of southwestern Germany.
Unable to halt the offensive by Allied troops that cleared the Rhineland-Palatinate and subsequently assaulted over the Rhine River, Army Group G's troops fought to defend the cities of Heilbronn, Crailsheim and Munich during April 1945. Army Group G surrendered to U. S. forces at Haar, in Bavaria, in Germany on May 5, 1945. Cole, Hugh M. UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR: The European Theater of Operations THE ARDENNES: BATTLE OF THE BULGE Pogue, Forrest C. United States Army in World War II: European Theater of Operations: The Supreme Command Tessin, Georg. Die Landstreitkräfte: Namensverbände / Die Luftstreitkräfte / Flakeinsatz im Reich 1943–1945. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen–SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939–1945. 14. Osnabrück: Biblio. ISBN 3-7648-1111-0; the German View website of the 100th Infantry Division Association
Galicia (Eastern Europe)
Galicia is a historical and geographic region between Central and Eastern Europe. It was once the small Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia and a crown land of Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, which straddled the modern-day border between Poland and Ukraine; the area, named after the medieval city of Halych, was first mentioned in Hungarian historical chronicles in the year 1206 as Galiciæ. In 1253 Prince Daniel of Galicia was crowned the King of Rus or King of Ruthenia following the Mongol invasion in Ruthenia. In 1352 the Kingdom of Poland annexed the Kingdom of Galicia and Volhynia as the Ruthenian Voivodeship; the nucleus of historic Galicia lies within the modern regions of western Ukraine: the Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts near Halych. In the 18th century, territories that became part of the modern Polish regions of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Subcarpathian Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship were added to Galicia, it covers much of such historic regions as Lesser Poland.
Galicia became contested ground between Poland and Ruthenia from medieval times, in the 20th century between Poland and Ukraine. In the 10th century, several cities were founded in Galicia, such as Volodymyr and Jaroslaw, whose names mark their connections with Grand Princes of Kiev. There is considerable overlap between Galicia and Podolia as well as between Galicia and south-west Ruthenia in a cross-border region inhabited by various nationalities. Andrew II, King of Hungary from 1205 to 1235, claimed the title Rex Galiciae et Lodomeriae – a Latinised version of the Slavic names Halych and Volodymyr, the major cities of the principality of Halych-Volhynia, which the Hungarians ruled from 1214 to 1221. Halych-Volhynia had cut a swathe as a mighty principality under the rule of Prince Roman the Great in 1170–1205. After the expulsion of the Hungarians in 1221, Ruthenians took back rule of the area. Roman's son Daniel of Galicia was crowned king of Halych-Volhynia in 1253. About 1247 Daniel of Galicia founded Lviv, named in honour of his son Leo I, who moved the capital northwestwards from Halych to Lviv in 1272.
The Ukrainian name Halych comes from the Khwalis or Kaliz who occupied the area from the time of the Magyars. They were called Khalisioi in Greek, Khvalis in Ukrainian; some historians speculated that the name had to do with a group of people of Thracian origin who during the Iron Age moved into the area after Roman conquest of Dacia in 106 CE and may have formed the Lypytsia culture with the Venedi people who moved in the region at the end of Le Tène period. The Lypytsia culture replaced the existing Thracian Hallstatt and Vysotske cultures. Connection with Celtic peoples explains the relation of the name "Galicia" to many similar place names found across Europe and Asia Minor, such as ancient Gallia or Gaul, the Iberian Peninsula's Galicia, Romanian Galați; some other scholars assert that the name Halych has Slavic origins – from halytsa, meaning "a naked hill", or from halka which means "jackdaw". Although Ruthenians drove out the Hungarians from Halych-Volhynia by 1221, Hungarian kings continued to add Galicia et Lodomeria to their official titles.
In 1349, in the course of the Galicia–Volhynia Wars, King Casimir III the Great of Poland conquered the major part of Galicia and put an end to the independence of this territory. Upon the conquest Casimir adopted the following title: Casimir by the grace of God king of Poland and Rus and heir of the land of Kraków, Sieradz, Łęczyca, Pomerania. [In Latin: Kazimirus, Dei gratia rex Polonie et Rusie, nec non Cracovie, Siradie, Cuiavie, et Pomeranieque Terrarum et Ducatuum Dominus et Heres. Following the death of Casimir in 1370, Poland entered into a personal union with Hungary and Ruthenia came under the rule of a Ruthenian lord, Vladislaus II of Opole, appointed by the King of Hungary. Galicia was ruled for short time by various Hungarian voivodes of Ruthenia. Under the Jagiellonian dynasty (Kings of Poland from 1386 to 1572, the Kingdom of Poland revived and reconstituted its territories. In place of historic Galicia there appeared the Ruthenian Voivodeship. In 1526, after the death of Louis II of Hungary, the Habsburgs inherited the Hungarian claims to the titles of the Kingship of Galicia and Lodomeria, together with the Hungarian crown.
In 1772 the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, used those historical claims to justify her participation in the first partition of Poland. In fact, the territories acquired by Austria did not correspond to those of former Halych-Volhynia - the Russian Empire took control of Volhynia to the north-east, including the city of Volodymyr-Volynskyi – after which Lodomeria was named. On the other hand, much of Lesser Poland – Nowy S