Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kursk German Leaders

July, 1943

Adolf Hitler

Hitler, Adolf
Commander-In-Chief of the German Army

Hitler feared a disaster at Kursk but felt a German victory on the Eastern Front was politically necessary to fortify Italy’s wavering resolve.  Additionally, his own self-confidence and his standing among his generals were at an all-time low following his decisions that led to the disaster at Stalingrad.  Germany’s subsequent loss at Kursk would hand the initiative to the Red Army for the remainder of the war.

Wilhelm Keitel

Keitel, Wilhelm
Field Marshal
Chief of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW)

Erich von Manstein

von Manstein, Erich
Field Marshal
Commander, Army Group South
                Attacked the southern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev

Manstein was sure he could succeed in breaking through Russian defenses at Kursk if only Hitler would release to him the last of Germany’s armored reserves.  Like other German generals he would be surprised by the devastating force of the coming Red Army counterattack.  

Guenther von Kluge

von Kluge, Guenther
Field Marshal
Commander, Army Group Center
                Attacked the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Defended the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

By the spring of 1943 von Kluge believed his army was worn out and badly needing to be refit.  He opposed von Manstein’s proposal to attack the Kursk Bulge in April. 

Walter Model

Model, Walter
Commander, Ninth German Army
                Attacked the northern face of the Kursk Bulge in Operation Citadel
                Acting Commander of Second Panzer Army and Ninth Army:
                                Defense of the Orel salient in Operation Kutuzov

Model was disturbed by the extent of Soviet defenses at Kursk and his concerns caused Hitler to further postpone Operation Citadel.  

Hermann Hoth

Hoth, Hermann
Colonel General
Commander, Fourth Panzer Army
                Made the principal German attack on the southern face of the Kursk Bulge
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev
                Defended in Soviet offensive toward Kharkov

Hoth’s armored forces included the lavishly equipped II SS Panzer Corps.  His decision to swing his armored attack toward Prokhorovka on 11 July led to the largest tank battle in history.  The remnants of his nine Panzer divisions would be met on rolling farmland by nearly 900 Soviet tanks.

Werner Kempf

Kempf, Werner
Colonel General
Commander, Army Detachment Kempf
                Attacked the southeastern shoulder of the Kursk Bulge
                Defended in Operation Rumiantsev

Heinz Guderian

Guderian, Heinz
Colonel General
Inspector-General of Panzer Troops

Guderian opposed any offensive in Russia during 1943 believing the Wehrmacht needed time to recover and to prepare for an Allied invasion of Western Europe.  Once the decision was made to proceed with Operation Citadel Guderian demanded a postponement in order to rush the latest tanks to the battlefield.

Kurt Zeitzler

Zeitzler, Kurt
Colonel General
Chief of the Army High Command (OKH)

Zeitler was one of the few German generals confident in the success of Operation Citadel.  He felt the new Panther and Tiger tanks would bring a decisive advantage to German forces at the upcoming battle.

Related Topics:

Kursk Russian Leaders



Hitler's War Strategy

No comments:

Post a Comment