Joachim Lemelsen was a German general during World War II who rose to army-level command. During Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, troops of the XLVII Motorized Corps under his command executed the criminal Commissar Order, prompting Lemelsen to complain: "Soon the Russians will get to hear about the countless corpses lying along the routes taken by our soldiers; the result will be that the enemy will hide in the woods and fields and continue to fight--and we shall lose countless comrades". Born in 1888 in Berlin, Lemelsen joined the army of Imperial Germany as an Fahnenjunker in the artillery and participated in World War I. Serving in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, he commanded the Artillery Lehr Regiment in 1934 and from the following year taught at infantry school. In March 1938, Lemelsen was given command of the 29th Infantry Division. Lemelsen took part in the Invasion of Poland. On 28 May 1940 he was given command of the 5th Panzer Division with which he participated in the Battle of Dunkirk.
On 25 November 1940 Lemelsen was given command of the new XLVII Motorized Corps, which he led in the Battle of Smolensk and the Battle of Kiev. Lemelsen reported to the Wehrmacht High Command about the executions of Soviet prisoners of war during the early phases of Operation Barbarossa: I am finding out about the shooting of prisoners, defectors or deserters, carried out in an irresponsible and criminal manner; this is murder. Soon the Russians will get to hear about the countless corpses lying along the routes taken by our soldiers, without weapons and with hands raised, dispatched at close range by shots to the head; the result will be that the enemy will hide in the woods and fields and continue to fight--and we shall lose countless comrades. The Corps was designated a Panzer Corps in June 1942 and participated as such in anti-partisan operations and in the Battle of Kursk, he temporarily commanded the 10th Army in Italy for two months until the end of December 1943. Lemelsen was given command of the 1st Army, stationed near the Atlantic coast in France in May 1944.
On 7 June, Lemelsen was transferred to Italy to take over command of the 14th Army to replace Eberhard von Mackensen who the theatre commander Albert Kesselring had dismissed. Lemelsen commanded the army in the Italian Campaign from June 1944 until mid October when he was given command of Germany's other major formation in Italy 10th Army. In February 1945 he returned to the leadership of 14th Army until the end of hostilities in Italy in early May. Imprisoned by British forces after the war, Lemelsen in 1947 testified on behalf of his former commander, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, during Kesselring’s war crimes trial before a British military court convened at Venice, Italy. Soon thereafter, Lemelsen was released, he died in 1954. Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class German Cross in Gold on 15 July 1942 as General der Panzertruppe and commander of the XXXXVII. Panzerkorps Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves Knight's Cross on 27 July 1941 as General der Panzertruppe and commander of the XXXXVII.
Panzerkorps Oak Leaves on 7 September 1943 as General der Panzertruppe and commander of the XXXXVII. Panzerkorps
Ranks and insignia of the German Army (1935–1945)
The Heer as the German army and part of the Wehrmacht inherited its uniforms and rank structure from the Reichsheer of the Weimar Republic. There were few alterations and adjustments made as the army grew from a limited peacetime defense force of 100,000 men to a war-fighting force of several million men; these ranks and insignia were specific to the Heer and in special cases to senior Wehrmacht officers in the independent services. The Nazi Party had its own series of paramilitary uniforms and insignia; the Reichswehr's visual acknowledgement of the new National Socialist reality came on 17 February 1934, when the Werner von Blomberg ordered the Nazi Party eagle-and-swastika, now Germany's National Emblem, to be worn on uniform blouses and headgear effective 1 May. The design adopted, in silver for the Reichsheer and in gold for the Reichsmarine, was a stylized eagle with outstretched, beveled wings clutching a wreathed mobile Hakenkreuz to be called the Wehrmachtsadler. On tunics this took the form of a cloth patch about 9 cm wide worn on the right breast, above the pocket.
For enlisted uniforms it was jacquard-woven or sometimes machine-embroidered in silver-grey rayon, for officers machine- or hand-embroidered in white silk or bright aluminum wire, for generals hand-embroidered in gold bullion. The backing was a close-woven velvetish fabric; the war brought several variations to the breast eagle, although it should be kept in mind that none of them was replaced or de-authorized, all were being worn side-by-side at war's end. When hostilities began in 1939, on the enlisted Feldbluse or field blouse the eagle was changed from silver-white to matte grey for reduced visibility. Another version appeared with the advent of the Model 1944 Field Blouse, which used a triangular backing for speed and simplicity of manufacture. Late in the war some Hoheitszeichen were printed on thin fabric. There were versions for other uniforms: both white and grey variants on black for the Panzer uniform, in dull grey-blue on tan backing for the tropical uniform. A stamped metal pin-on breast eagle was worn with the officers' white summer tunic.
In 19th century German armies and other elite regiments wore lengths of double braid encircling all or most of the collar as a mark of distinction. By the middle of World War I these ornate collars had been reduced to an embroidered representation of short lengths of braid joined at the ends, sewn to patches worn at the front of the collar; when the Reichsheer was established in 1921 as Germany's first national army Litzen were prescribed as the universal collar device for all personnel other than generals, the Third Reich continued the practice. However, for clarification it has to be distinguished between “collar patch”, NCO braid – the status symbol of all German NCO ranks – encircling the collar of the uniform tunic. An NCO wore both, collar patches, the collar encircling braid. Commissioned officers wore only collar patches. On both collar points of any uniform jacket there was a collar patch; each patch consisted of the padding, two parallel facings, the so-called Litzenspiegel, symbolising the double braid of the 19th century.
The padding of full-dress collar patches showed the wearer's Waffenfarbe. The dress tunic version was embroidered in fine aluminum thread on a patch of badge cloth; the backing showed through in the space between the two parallel facings of the collar patch, formed so a colour center stripe. On field – and service uniforms, beginning in late 1935, the collar patch was dark bottle-green to match the collar. For enlisted men, service collar patches were machine-woven in silver-grey rayon. NCOs wore standard enlisted collar patches but were distinguished by a strip of 9mm silver-grey diamond-woven rayon braid, sewn around the collar, except on the dress, where the NCO-Tresse was bright aluminum. However, the aluminum-embroidered NCO-Tressen on dress uniforms encircled the collar's upper edge, the simpler NCO-Tressen on service – or field uniform encircled the collar's lower edge. By 1938 the fast-growing Heer had found that it was impractical, for the enlisted field uniform, to manufacture and stock a multitude of collar patches in assorted Waffenfarben which had to be sewn on and changed by unit tailors.
Accordingly, new universal collar patches were introduced with the Litzenspiegel and Mittelstreifen woven in dark green to match the backing patch, which could be applied at the factory. With the wartime change to lower-visibility insignia enlisted collar patches were woven in matte "mouse-grey" with field-grey stripes, which were at first sewn to green collar patches as before but increas
General of the Infantry (Germany)
General of the Infantry is a former rank of German Ground forces. Present it is an appointment or position to an OF-6 rank officer, responsible for particular affairs of training and equipment of the Bundeswehr infantry. General of the Infantry was a former rank of General of the branch OF8 in the German land forces and in the Prussian Army and the Austro-Hungarian Army, it was the third-highest General officer rank, subordinate only to Colonel General and Field Marshal. It is equivalent to a three-star rank today; the same rank was adopted by the Finnish Army between the world wars. German cavalry officers of equivalent rank were called General der Kavallerie and those in the artillery corps were General der Artillerie. In 1935 the Wehrmacht added the ranks of General der Panzertruppe, General der Gebirgstruppen, General der Fallschirmtruppen, General der Nachrichtentruppen. In the Luftwaffe, the equivalent rank was General der Flieger; the rank was referred to only in the form of General, without specifying the specific forces the bearer commanded.
In the modern German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, the rank of Generalleutnant corresponds to the traditional rank of General der Infanterie. There was no equivalent rank in the army of East Germany, where it was merged into that of Generaloberst. In the Bundeswehr, the position of an infantry officer responsible for certain questions of troop training and equipment with the rank of Brigadier Generals; the position of general of the infantry is connected with that of commander of the infantry school. Corresponding service positions exist for other branches of the army. Since in this usage it refers to a position not a rank, an Oberst is sometimes "General of" his respective type of troops; the form of address is Herr General and/or Herr Oberst. Note that a number of these officers may have gone on to higher ranks during their careers. General Comparative officer ranks of World War II
Hans Cramer was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Cramer enlisted in the Prussian Army on 10 August 1914 and served in World War I. In September 1939 he took part in the invasion of Poland as commander of a detachment. In March 1941 he was appointed commander of tank regiment in the 15th Panzer Division, which became part of the German Africa Korps. In 1942 Cramer was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Chief of Armoured Troops, Mechanized Troops and Cavalry at the OKH, to the post itself. During late 1942 to January 1943 he temporarily commanded the XXXVIII Panzer Corps and the XI Army Corps. In February 1943 he returned to Africa as commander of the Afrika Korps. On 12 May 1943, with the capitulation of the German forces in North Africa, he was taken prisoner by the British. From 16 May on he was held in the special prison for captured German generals and staff officers at Trent Park, he was exchanged in May 1944 and returned to Germany because of his problems with asthma.
During his repatriation journey, he was allowed to see Montgomery's 21st Army Group preparing for the invasion of Europe, but was told he was in Kent, where Patton's mythical 1st U. S. Army Group was preparing for its invasion; this was part of Operation Fortitude, prior to D-Day. Cramer was appointed to Panzer Group West in France as a supernumerary; as former prisoner of war he fell under suspicion of complicity after the 20 July plot. He was placed under arrest on 26 July, held in the Gestapo prison on the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin and in a satellite of the Ravensbrück concentration camp until 5 August 1944. In September 1944 he was dismissed from the Wehrmacht. Cramer died in 1968. Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 27 June 1941 as Oberstleutnant and commander of Panzer-Regiment 8 im DAK German Cross in Gold on 5 March 1942 as Oberst in Panzer-Regiment 8
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium. Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29; the most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs; the combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.
Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024. On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization, established by the Treaty of Brussels. Talks for a new military alliance which could include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Portugal, Norway and Iceland; the North Atlantic Treaty was dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans.
In 1952 the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization. Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, in turn a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966. In 1982 the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature and focus on the continent of Europe.
This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO's military spending. NATO began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not been NATO concerns. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, most of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks, after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.
The organization has operated a range of additional roles since including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, annexation of Crimea; the first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established; the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.
Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional co
Walter Fries was a German general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Swords. Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class Eastern Front Medal German Cross in Gold on 9 October 1942 as Oberst in Infanterie-Regiment 87 Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords Knight's Cross on 14 December 1941 as Oberst and commander of the Infanterie-Regiment 87 Oak Leaves on 29 January 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 29. Panzergrenadier-Division Swords on 11 August 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 29. Panzergrenadier-Division Citations Bibliography
Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz
Smilo Freiherr von Lüttwitz was a German general during World War II and son of Walther von Lüttwitz. After World War II he joined the Bundeswehr on 1 June 1957 and retired on 31 December 1960. Lütwitz was born on 23 December 1895 in Strassburg into a family with a long history of military service, he joined the military service during the mobilisation on 3 August 1914 as an officer cadet in the 25th Division in Darmstadt. Lüttwitz saw combat at Tannenberg, Courland and Düna, he was wounded twice in 1915 and received the Iron Cross 1st class. He was commissioned as an officer in 1915. In 1916 Lüttwitz was transferred to a staff position with the X Corps in the Heeresgruppe Kronprintz for two years; the corps was under the command of his father General Walther von Lüttwitz. His father, a recipient of the Pour le Mérite, was one of the most decorated generals of the German Empire, he returned to front line duty in 1918 as an adjutant with the Darmstädter Dragoner in the temporary occupation of the Ukraine and southern Russia.
By the end of World War I he had received both classes of the Iron Cross and the Wound Badge in Silver. He remained in the Weimar Republic's Army. After the beginning of the Nazi leadership he joined the Panzer branch. In 1939 he was served as adjutant in the XV Army Corps, he was commanding an infantry regiment and the 4th Rifle Brigade. He served on the Eastern Front, he commanded the 26th Panzer Division in Italy, the LXXXV Army Corps and the 9th Army. During this time, he learned of the government issued orders for summary justice, he was allowed to retain command of his unit. He was released from internment in 1947, he went to the Evangelical Academy in Friedewald. During the period from 1954-1957 he was the head business manager for the relief organization Order of St. John in Rolandseck, he returned to the Evangelical Academy as Head of Administration. In 1957, he joined the new West German army as a lieutenant general, he was appointed commanding general of the III Corps in Koblenz. He retired in 1960.
In 1963, he became chairman of the board for a defense industry. In 1955, Lüttwitz was made a knight in the Order of St. John. In 1963, he took over as president of that organization. At the end of his military service, Lüttwitz received the American Legion of Merit in recognition of his service. Clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class & 1st Class German Cross in Gold on 27 October 1941 as Oberstleutnant and commander of the Schützen-Regiment 12 Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords Knight's Cross on 14 January 1942 as Oberst and commander of the Schützen-Regiment 12 426th Oak Leaves on 16 March 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 26. Panzer-Division 76th Swords on 4 July 1944 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 26. Panzer-Division Rechtsritter of the Order of Saint John Great Cross of Merit with star Legion of Merit