One of the great misnomers about the German Army during WWII was that it was far more proficient on the offense than it was on the defense. Many historians point to the awesome power of the German blitzkrieg in the first three years of the war to denote its initial battlefield success but then attempt to correlate their long retreat in the second half of the war to an inability to transition from offensive maneuver to an effective, defensive posture. This has given rise to the belief that the renowned German General Staff was an institution that tailored its martial instruction solely for the purpose of winning wars through offensive maneuver. But nothing could be further from the truth. Although the army’s commander-in-chief Adolf Hitler was certainly an avid proponent of offensive warfare and consistently implored his military underlings to carry out offensive operations, the German Army was to prove just as effective and resilient on the defense as it was sleek and overpowering on the offense. This too was a valuable compliment to the benevolent, instructional influence of the German General Staff institution, which proved just as adept at honing its staff’s defensive skills as it was in tutoring offensive maneuver.
It was the German Army’s steely resilience on the defense that most affected the sheer destructiveness of the war in the European Theater and greatly prolonged its duration. How else are we to explain the failure of the German Army to completely collapse after such devastating blows were thrust upon it on its eastern, western and southern fronts? Within a period of three months in the summer of 1944 the Allied armies completely destroyed two whole German army groups, consisting of six of their largest field armies, yet they were unable to prompt the wholesale breakthrough in the German front that would have occasioned the fall of the Nazi regime. A back and forth pendulum of successive blows fell upon the German Army in that summer; first Operation Bagration eviscerated Germany’s Eastern Front by eliminating more than 300,000 troops of Army Group Center from the army’s order of battle; followed by the stunning breakout of Western Allied forces from the Normandy bridgehead that shattered the German 7th Army and much of their 15th Army in the bottleneck of Falaise; as well as the powerful Jassy-Kishinev offensive in Romania, which shattered Army Group South and the 6th and 8th German Armies. Yet the German war machine, however mortally wounded it was, still managed to fight on for nine more months and effected four more powerful counteroffensives before it finally collapsed.
The skill and determination of Germany’s wartime commanders in the field had a huge impact in the preservation of cohesion among its core components and frontline troop’s will to resist. The fact that the German Army continued to offer up strong resistance despite the numerous, catastrophic injuries it had incurred was not only a tribute to the fighting prowess of the German soldier, but was a testament to the in-depth training, organizational development and benevolent influence ingrained from the General Staff institution. German history had bestowed upon the German Army an all-encompassing, martial directive that inculcated its command echelons with the ability to master all aspects of war and its most applicable tactical derivatives. Many of these commanders excelled at their profession, not because they were ardent Nazis or warmongers, but because they were astute and disciplined students of the military principles set forth from more than 200 years of institutional research and development in the art of fighting wars. This is what set apart the German Army of WWII from every other standing military formation on the planet. The following officers are just a few of the most acclaimed commanders that exhibited the high-quality of combat proficiency which the General Staff institution endeavored to sculpt and create.
11.) Gen. Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin: This accomplished military aristocrat was a perfect example of the type of all-encompassing, universal soldier the General Staff institution endeavored to create. Senger mastered the role of the behind-the-scenes, intellectual counsel of the chief of staff officer yet he proved equally effective when elevated to his own field command. Senger’s most notable achievement during the war was the almost super-human vigor he elicited from his troops in defense of the Italian peninsula against the Western Allied armies of Field Marshal Harold Alexander in the Mediterranean Theater. Senger led the XIV Panzer Corps in their dynamic defense of the German Gustav Line and held the Allies from taking the high ground of Monte Cassino for nearly six months in 1944. The high ground of Monte Cassino overlooked the key pass in the Appenines chain that formed the corridor into the Italian capital of Rome. Senger’s group repulsed more than four separate Allied attempts to storm the mountain and kept superior American, British and French forces bottled up on the Gustav Line while inflicting nearly five times more casualties on his more powerful opponents. Being the devout Roman Catholic he was, Senger endeavored to save the hallowed antiquities housed in the Fifth Century Benedictine Monastery atop Monte Cassino; even going so far as to negotiate a temporary cease-fire so all the ancient treasures could be whisked away to safety. Senger was also instrumental in delaying the Allied taking of Sicily and organized a highly effective evacuation of German troops across the Strait of Messina when the further defense of Sicily became untenable. Earlier in the war he led the 17th Panzer Division during Manstein’s Operation Winter Tempest, the attempt to rescue the German 6th Army from encirclement at Stalingrad. Senger’s division would come the closest to affecting the breakout of the 6th Army before they were abruptly halted by Manstein because of more pressing threats developing on the German front. But his determined and resolute defense of the Italian Peninsula was one of the primary reasons why the Western Allies were never able to achieve the decisive breakthrough on Germany’s Southern Front that it eventually did in the west and the east.
12.) Col.-Gen. Hans Hube: This great panzer commander was affectionately dubbed simply “The Man”, because of his troop’s genuine confidence in his ability to master all the numerous adversities they came up against. Hube oversaw the formation of the 16th Panzer Division from scratch, during the run-up to Operation Barbarossa and then gallantly led it through one of the most harrowing but distinguished advances of all the tank formations in Germany’s Army Group South. In 42’, Hube’s division spearheaded the stunning advance to the Volga River and he skillfully defended it from destruction when it was temporarily surrounded after far outrunning its supporting formations. He then took over the XIV Panzer Corps, which he led through most of the brutal Battle of Stalingrad. Hube was one of the luckier 6th Army officers who were evacuated from the pocket after the Soviet counterattack, though he had to be forcefully placed on the departing aircraft to keep him from remaining with his ill-fated troops. After the debacle at Stalingrad Hube reorganized the XIV Panzer Corps in Sicily and led a determined defense of the evacuation perimeter at Messina before moving onto the Italian mainland and then skillfully confounding the Allied landings at Salerno. In early 1944 he was promoted to command of the 1st Panzer Army during its arduous retreat from Southern Russia and the Ukraine. During the course of that long, debilitating affair Hube oversaw the rescue of thousands of German troops caught in the Korsun-Cherkassy pocket and then cleverly led his army’s fight out of their own incapacitating encirclement from the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket later in the spring. Hube was killed in a plane crash after returning from a visit with the fuehrer in Berlin, where he was awarded the prestigious Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds; just one of twenty-seven other German soldiers to receive Germany’s highest battlefield decoration of the Second World War.
13.) Col.-Gen. Hermann Hoth: The battlefield exploits of “Papa” Hoth were some of the most celebrated achievements in the German Army during the Second World War. He may have been Nazi Germany’s most prolific commanding general, having commanded some of the most storied blitzkrieg formations in the army’s highly triumphant early years of operations. Hoth was first and foremost, one of the German Army’s most acclaimed panzer commanders. He led the XV Motorized Corps during the German invasions of Poland and France, supervising the celebrated exploits of Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division and administering the decisive blow which destroyed the Polish Army. During Operation Barbarossa Hoth led the 3rd Panzer Group in one of the most renowned armored advances of the Second World War. His group assisted in orchestrating three of the most legendary enemy encirclements in military history, bagging more than one million Soviet POW’s at Minsk, Smolensk and Vyazma, before moving on to command of the 17th Army in the Ukraine. When Hitler set his sights on Southern Russia in 1942, he gave one of the most important operational commands to Hoth, as the leader of the tank-heavy 4th Panzer Army. This army made one of the more prolific advances in Germany’s Case Blue enterprise in the summer of 1942. Hoth’s panzers advanced more than 300 miles across the Don River before being redirected by Hitler onward to the Volga River at Stalingrad. Hoth’s headquarters was the only army formation that was spared from destruction when the Soviets counterattacked and entombed the 6th Army inside Stalingrad. Because of this Hoth was perfectly positioned to lead the rescue attempt into the Stalingrad pocket when Manstein commenced Operation Winter Tempest; the failed attempt to relieve the 6th Army in December of 42’. But when Manstein aimed to halt the stunning progression of the Soviet advance after Stalingrad, he assigned Hoth’s 4th Panzer Army to deliver the decisive blow of his celebrated ‘backhand stab’ counterattack at Kharkov, which instantly put a halt to the Soviet offensive. His distinguished career was abruptly cut short after Hitler dismissed him following the German debacle at the Battle of Kursk, although Hoth’s group acquitted itself better than any other German formation in that fruitless endeavor. Hoth’s formations traveled farther and probably faster than any other German unit in the Second World War.
14.) Gen. Hermann Balck: Sometimes military genius can be exercised during just one decisive engagement of a military commander’s otherwise inconspicuous career. In the case of German panzer general Hermann Balck that distinguished performance came at the height of one of the German Army’s most desperate moments on the Eastern Front. Following the Soviet counterattack that entombed the 6th Army in Stalingrad, the Axis formations along the Don Front had completely collapsed. The Soviet juggernaut had ripped open a massive hole on the Eastern Front and sent Germany’s Axis allies from Romania and Italy reeling back in disarray. As much as German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein labored to put together a makeshift force that could halt the enemy advance, he was unable to bring continuity to his ad-hoc defenses because of a critical dearth of operational mobility. Enter Gen. Hermann Balck’s 11th Panzer Division! After undergoing a more than 200-mile march to the threatened sector, Balck put into motion one of the most stupendous performances by a single panzer division in the whole war. As the Soviet 5th Tank Army approached the critical German defense line along the Chir River, Balck’s 11th Panzer Division performed a masterpiece of defensive maneuver. Remaining in a constant state of motion for more than two weeks, Balck’s panzers rushed from one threatened sector of the 40-mile front to another and gradually stabilized the German line, which allowed Manstein to undertake a separate operation to free the 6th Army in Stalingrad. In the two weeks of perpetual combat Balck’s unit endured it had destroyed more than a thousand enemy tanks and artillery pieces; captured more than 3,000 enemy troops and completely halted the progression of the Soviet’s Operation Neptune, autumn counteroffensive. Balck’s tactical operations during the crisis on the Chir River was one of the most masterly command performances by a divisional commander in the Second World War and earned him the coveted Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Although he later commanded with distinction the acclaimed Grossdeutchland Panzergrenadier Division, the XLVIII Panzer Corps, the depleted 4th Panzer Army, the revamped 6th Army and army group commands on the Western Front, he was never able to match the stunning achievements of operational command he so skillfully executed at the head of the 11th Panzer Division in the autumn of 1942.
15.) Gen. Dietrich von Saucken: Was another skillful, maneuver specialist whose many battlefield exploits served to preserve the fighting integrity of the German Army during its most challenging ordeals on the Eastern Front. He was a cavalry officer of aristocratic descent with impeccable humanitarian and chivalric qualities, which conspicuously accentuated his anti-Nazi persona. His cavalry beginnings made him a natural candidate for transition to the panzer arm, which he eagerly upheld in commanding the 4th Motorized Infantry Brigade during the invasions of France and Greece. His success in these operations brought him continued recognition with the panzer arm and quickly elevated his service to command of the 4th Panzer Division during the brutal Battle of Moscow. After being severely wounded during the battle for the Soviet capital, Saucken served in a number of training roles in the army’s esteemed panzer arm before reuniting with the 4th Panzer Division on the eve of the Battle of Kursk. It was there at the end of that war-changing battle that the distinguished, mechanized maneuver talents of Dietrich von Saucken became widely heralded throughout the army’s panzer fraternity. His expert handling of the division’s motorized components allowed them to engage on multiple fronts at a single time, which went a long way in halting the progression of Soviet counterattacks in the Gomel sector that nearly swallowed up Germany’s 9th and 2nd Armies. After the Soviet’s devastating Operation Bagration destroyed Army Group Center, Saucken took command of a makeshift assemblage of surviving German units designated as Kampfgruppe von Saucken and made a heroic stand to hold open a corridor across the Berezina River so thousands of stragglers could make it back to friendly lines. During the Soviet’s equally devastating Vistula-Oder offensive, Saucken was once again designated to lend his extraordinary talents in improvised defensive maneuver to thwart the Soviet tank spearheads from cutting off the retreating German Army east of the Oder River. But his most acclaimed operational exploit was in defense of the German province of East Prussia when his 2nd Army made a gallant, sacrificial stand against the invincible Soviet juggernaut in order to preserve an escape corridor for German civilians to evacuate the Hel Peninsula during the closing days of the war. Saucken was designated to lead some of the most difficult and thankless assignments in Germany’s debilitating, final withdrawal on the Eastern Front but his astute management of the limited forces at his disposal always ensured that the enemy would pay a horrific price for their advancement. He was the last recipient of the war to be honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.
16.) Col.-Gen. Josef Harpe: Sometimes an officer’s most prominent contributions to an army’s success comes not on the battlefield, but on the training grounds and lecture halls of the services most accredited learning institutions. As one of the original proponents of the German Army’s conversion to a more mobile, tank-driven army, Harpe became one of the foremost advocates of mechanized maneuver warfare. Along with Gen. Heinz Guderian, Harpe was one of the army’s expert, conceptual strategists in blitzkrieg operations. Whereas Guderian displayed his illustrious talents on the battlefield, Harpe spent a good deal of time training Germany’s original tank commanders from the training grounds at the prestigious Panzertruppenschulles at Munster and Wunsdorf. It wasn’t until Operation Barbarossa that Harpe’s innovative talents in mechanized warfare were put to the test as the commander of the new 12th Panzer Division. Harpe’s division cut a swath of destruction through northeastern Poland and Byelorussia as the spearhead unit of the LVII Panzer Corps in Gen. Hermann Hoth’s 3rd Panzer Group. Between June 1942 and October 1943, Harpe led the XLI Panzer Corps in the central part of the Eastern Front, engaging primarily in anti-partisan operations outside of Smolensk and Vyazma, until it took part in the Battle of Kursk as part of Field Marshal Walther Model’s 9th Army. In September 1944, Harpe took command of Army Group A defending the important Galician corridor. His formation took the brunt of the Soviet Lvov-Sandomierz offensive yet Harpe was able to organize a largely effective fighting retreat of his more mobile, mechanized units to the detriment of the slower-moving infantry formations. He was in charge of this grossly decimated unit when the Soviets struck again in early 1945 with their Vistula-Oder offensive. Soon thereafter he was sacked by Hitler for the army group’s undeserved failure to halt the Soviet advance. Gen. Harpe was one of the unsung heroes of the German Army’s highly acclaimed proficiency in mechanized maneuver warfare and one of the founding fathers of blitzkrieg tactics. He remains to this day, a giant in the evolution of armored warfare.
17.) Gen. Walther Nehring: Was another great tactician in the field of mechanized maneuver warfare who was compelled to utilize his inherent, offensive skills more in a defensive role to delay the inevitable collapse of German resistance on the Eastern Front. But he did this with unceasing regularity in the tumultuous final year of the war and forced the Red Army to pay a heavy price for their numerous battlefield victories. Nehring began the war as Gen. Heinz Guderian’s aggressive chief of staff in the XIX Panzer Corps during the German invasions of Poland and France. After a brief stint as a staff officer on the Eastern Front, Nehring succeeded Field Marshal Erwin Rommel as the commander of the illustrious German Akrika Korps. He led the Afrika Korps in its last offensive operation in the North African Theater during the failed Battle of Alam Halfa, in which he was severely wounded in an Allied strafing attack. But Nehring quickly redeemed himself through his clever maneuvering of German panzer forces in Tunisia during the defeat of Allied forces at Medjez el-Bab and the stunning recapture of Djedeida one month later. In 1944 he took command of the XXIV Panzer Corps, where it was widely recognized as Germany’s most effective unit during its desperate defense of the occupied provinces of Galicia and Silesia. Guderian vigorously applauded the defensive exploits of Nehring’s XXIV Panzer Corps in his postwar memoirs and singled out his former chief of staff as being Germany’s most capable and efficient field commander in the last eight months of combat on the Eastern Front. In March of 45’, he succeeded Gen. Gotthard Heinrici as the commander of the 1st Panzer Army and promptly led it with amazing versatility and resilience through its futile, but effective final month of existence on the warfront. Nehring’s 1st Panzer Army was the last organized German formation to cease resistance in the war. It managed to inflict more than twice as many casualties on the enemy as they had suffered themselves, even though the Red Army’s superiority in manpower and tank strength was a staggering 12:1 advantage. Nehring’s vigorous defense outside of Prague enabled many of the army group’s component formations to surrender to the American Army rather than their vengeful Soviet enemies.
18.) Gen. Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach: Sometimes a military commander’s most celebrated achievements on the battlefield are purposely understated because of later behavior deemed treasonous or unbecoming of an officer’s better judgment. Case in point would be American Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold, whose numerous battlefield exploits on behalf of the American Revolution were promptly expunged from his army’s historical record when he chose to collude with enemy Fifth Column conspirators. So too was the distinguished career of Gen. Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach relegated to the scrapheap of inconsequential, military infamy for his abrupt decision to surrender his general staff headquarters to the Red Army in the Stalingrad pocket and his later anti-Nazi broadcasts to the remaining officers of the doomed 6th Army, inducing them to surrender en mass rather than continue the fight on behalf of such a decadent regime. But this turncoat general deserves at least perfunctory recognition for his highly distinguished handling of German infantry forces in the brief time he held command in the Second World War. He was perhaps one of the German Army’s most capable infantry commanders during its dynamic success in the early years of the war. Seydlitz commanded the 12th Infantry Division during the invasion of France and was often cited in his army’s most distinguished dispatches for his adept handling of infantry forces under quite vexing circumstances. During Operation Barbarossa the 12th Infantry Division ran headlong into the heart of Soviet frontier forces on the east bank of the Niemen River and fiercely pushed them back across Lithuania until it had conquered the strategic crossroads town of Daugavpils and pushed their way across the Dvina River. But Seydlitz’ most commendable performance came at the head of the German infantry forces caught blind-sided in the Demyansk pocket when the Soviet counterattack around Moscow expanded to encompass the stalled German advance on the Leningrad axis. Seydlitz quite calmly and cunningly led the six German divisions caught in the pocket in one of the most harrowing but successful breakout attempts of a trapped German army in all of WWII. His clever coordination of artillery forces and mobile, logistical assets allowed his outgunned infantry forces to successfully stampede an exit corridor out of the pocket with minimal casualties to his frontline forces. Seydlitz-Kurzbach’s performance under pressure in the Demyansk pocket was widely acclaimed to be the most prolific use of a purely infantry army in an alternatingly defensive-offensive undertaking in all of WWII.
19.) Col.-Gen. Eberhard von Mackensen: This humble, aristocratic officer had heavy shoes to fill when he was admitted into the German General Staff. His father was none other than Field Marshal August von Mackensen, one of the unsung heroes of Imperial Germany’s vanquished army from the First World War. But the younger more than held his own by managing to carve out a rather successful track record in Germany’s panzer arm, even though he had little initial training with the army’s mechanized troops in the run-up to WWII. He began the war as the Chief of Staff in Germany’s 14th Army under Gen. Wilhelm List, charged with the conquest of Poland’s southern frontier in Galicia. List’s staff—with Mackensen in tow—then moved onto the 12th Army headquarters for the invasion of France and the Low Countries. But it was during Operation Barbarossa that the resourceful talents of Mackensen made their greatest impact, as the commander of the powerful III Panzer Corps in Kleist’s 1st Panzer Group. Mackensen’s panzer formation made one of the most glorious romps across Ukraine and Southern Russia; traveling farther than any other panzer formation on the Eastern Front. But it was never a cakewalk! The III Panzer Corps had to fight their way through some of the most solid Soviet defenses on the frontier and fell increasingly behind some of the other more celebrated panzer formations to the north. Once it unhinged the stalwart Soviet defenses in Galicia, Mackensen’s panzers became a mobile wrecking-ball for the next two years until they were finally stopped in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. In that span they played an intricate part in the almost complete destruction of the Red Army. Mackensen’s panzer corps assisted in the haul of Soviet POW’s in the Uman, Kiev and Mariupol pockets, which brought close to one million enemy forces into captivity. It broke the Soviet siege of Kharkov in the spring of 42’ by engendering the destruction of two Soviet field armies in the Izyum salient. Later in the summer Mackensen’s panzers took the first Caucasus oilfield at Maikop and then went on to the farthest reaches of Asiatic Russia. When Kleist was promoted to command of the higher army group, Mackensen took his spot as commander of the 1st Panzer Army; which turned out to be a far different undertaking for it entailed a wholesale retreat of German forces through the lands Mackensen had already conquered as leader of the III Panzer Corps. He finished the war as the commander of the 14th Army in Italy but his career was cut short when Hitler had him sacked for refusing to sanction the mass execution of Italian partisans in Rome.
20.) Gen. Otto Wohler: Clearly not as renowned as his erstwhile wartime mentor Erich von Manstein, or the Rommels’ and Guderians’ of the German Army, Otto Wohler was still one of the most steady and coolest-under-fire commanders of the Second World War. His most distinguished postings began in late 1941 when he was specifically chosen by Manstein to serve as his chief of staff with the 11th Army, far down in the southernmost sector of the Eastern Front. Manstein considered his colleague to be an indispensable source of his army’s success during his brilliantly-led Crimean Campaign in the winter and spring of 1942. From there he went on to serve as Chief of Staff in Army Group Center under Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge and once again played an intricate part in that acclaimed officer’s overall success in stalwart defense of the German front on the Moscow axis. His experience and success paid off in early 1943 when Wohler was given his first field command at the helm of the I Army Corps, which defended the line in Russia along the critical bend of the Don River outside of Stalingrad. It wasn’t long before Wohler’s group faced their first critical challenge as one of the main targets of the Soviet’s Operation Saturn during the winter of 42-43’. This powerful offensive ripped open the Axis front along the upper Don River when Wohler’s neighboring formation, the Italian 8th Army abruptly turned heel and fled from the battlefront. Because of this Wohler’s formations were forced into a desperate fighting retreat for the next three months as overwhelming Soviet tank forces continuously pressured it from three sides. But Wohler’s coolness under fire allowed him to implement a rather effective, elastic defense between the Don and Donets Rivers while he gradually picked up more stragglers to reinforce his pockmarked front. Manstein later claimed that Wohler’s performance during those trying times in the winter and spring of 1943 was one of the greatest displays of crisis management on the Eastern Front. Under Manstein’s recommendation, Wohler’s group formed the core of a new German 8th Army, which Manstein’s former chief of staff competently led for the next year and a half. Although Wohler’s army was forced to make the debilitating retreat from Russia and Ukraine after the Battle of Kursk, his astute skills in defensive improvisation kept the unit’s fighting integrity intact however harrowing an ordeal they faced. Unfortunately, Wohler’s unit was the victim of another comprehensive failure by a neighboring Axis formation when the duplicitous Romanian 4th Army fled from the field at the start of the Soviet’s Jassy-Kishinev offensive. Wohler’s 8th Army was promptly swallowed up by concentric attacks from the Red Army for which Hitler brusquely sacked its commander.
Col.-Gen. Heinrich von Vietinghof: A steady general of humble, aristocratic descent, Vietinghof made his greatest impact as the commander of the 10th Army in Italy, serving to confound the Allied advance up the peninsula with dogged determination and steadfast resistance. He was also a quite able panzer leader; serving as a corps commander in Gen. Heinz Guderian’s dynamic romp across Byelorussia during Operation Barbarossa.
Gen. Theodor Busse: Was given the thankless task of commanding the doomed 9th Army in defense of the Oder River during the Battle of Berlin. His exhausted and depleted forces took a hilltop position atop the Seelowe Heights and valiantly pounded the attacking Red Army for three days until they were eventually overwhelmed. During Busse’s sacrificial stand, the German 9th Army inflicted six times more casualties on the attackers, while gallantly saving hundreds of thousands of German civilians from the vindictive Red Army.
Gen. Hermann Breith: One of the outstanding mobile defense commanders in the German Army. Breith’s III Panzer Corps—a tank force in name only—made a harrowing, fighting retreat through Galicia and Poland while counterattacking every chance he could. His timely counterattack in the Baranow bridgehead brought the Soviet’s long 500-mile advance in the summer of 44’ to a grinding halt.
Gen. Joachim Lemelsen: Another distinguished panzer commander who fought with Guderian’s 2nd Panzer Group during Operation Barbarossa. His XLVII Panzer Corps made the critical attack behind the Red Army that brought about the capture of 350,000 Soviet troops in and around Smolensk. He also led the rugged defense of the Italian Peninsula as the commander of both the 10th and 14th Armies in 1944-45’. Lemelsen vigorously protested the horrific treatment of Soviet POW’s by the trailing SS formations on the Eastern Front and quickly fell out of favor with his Nazi masters. But he was considered too valuable to the German Army and continuously found employment in some of the most challenging theaters of the war.
Col.-Gen. Hans Reinhardt: Was another steady German general whose service was considered too invaluable to do without. Reinhardt led the 3rd Panzer Army for much of the war on the Eastern Front and later led the depleted remnants of Army Group Center after their destruction in 44’ from Operation Bagration. Reinhardt led a steadfast defense of East Prussia in the autumn and winter of 44-45’ and commanded the decisive attack to open up a corridor to the trapped Army Group North on the Courland Peninsula.