Gerd of Rundstedt

general field marshal Gerd von Rundstedt

Karl Rudolf Gerd of Rundstedt (* 12. December 1875 in ashtray lives; † 24. February 1953 in Hanover) was a German army officer (since 1940 general field marshal).

In the Second World War commander of military major units was in from Rundstedt Poland campaign, in the west campaign and during the Russia campaign. It was used last as commander in chief west and had the task to prevent the allied invasion.

Rundstedt came of to an old Prussian officer family. His father general Gerd of Rundstedt had already carried service out in the Prussian army.

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] military career

1939 ago as a son of a major general in Prussian military tradition, steppedv. Rundstedt after the attendance of the institutes for cadet Oranienstein and large light field to 22. March 1892 as a wo1 into the infantry regiment (I.R.) “of Wittich” (3. Cure-hessian) No. 3 in Kassel. Here it became to 17. June 1893 to the Seconde second lieutenant carries. 1902 he married the daughter one Major and one promoted to first lieutenant. Starting from 1904 v. went through. Rundstedt training as the general staff officer at the war academy. After their conclusion 1907 it was kommandiert on sample into the large general staff, into which it to 24. March 1909 as a captain i.G. finally one took over.After activity of several years in the general staff it received as a company commander for the first time a troop command to 1912.

V. experienced the entire First World War. Rundstedt as a general staff officer in Turkey and France and became already to 28. November 1914 to the major i.G. carried.

Starting from 1919 it belonged to the smallOfficer corps of the reorganized realm resistance. At the 1. October 1920 to the lieutenant colonel i.G. and at the 1. February 1923 to the Colonel i.G. appointed, he took over at the 1. May 1925 as a commander the I.R. 18 in Paderborn. After its transport to the major general at the 1. November 1927, receivedit 1928 the command over the 2. Kavalleriedivision in Breslau. Here it became at the 1. March 1929 the lieutenant general appointed and at the 1. January 1932 as a commander of the 3. Division and commander in the military district III to Berlin appoint. With the transmission of the supreme command over thatGroup command I (Berlin) and the simultaneous transport to the general of the infantry at the 1. October 1932 had v. Rundstedt already before the seizure of power of the national socialists 1933 the point of the realm military hierarchy reaches.

After the seizure of power it was in its characteristic as highest commanders in the realm capital forthe military resistance against Hitler and the LV regime of large interest. From military considerations oppositional against Hitler's neoimperialistische conquest projects adjusted, was he (since that 15. March 1938 colonel general) in October 1938 nevertheless at the occupation of the Sudetenlandes as commanders in chief for this operationformed group commands takes part IV. The intention for territorial extension to the East at expense of Poland and Russia, expressed by Hitler several times in relation to the German military guidance , leaned v. Rundstedt off, there it just like army general staff boss Beck the German army as for such a program militarily not yet sufficiently preparedregarded.

role in the Second World War

of blitzkriegs against Poland and France

to 31. October 1938 on own desire from the active service separated colonel general became due to its recognized guidance qualities and the commitment of different advocates from the general staff for thatAttack on Poland („case white “) in the summer 1939 re-activates.

Been subordinate as commanders in chief of the army group south it thereby nearly 890,000 soldiers with whom it at the 1. September 1939 from Schlesien and the Slowakei out in Poland invaded. As a commander of one of the two giant federations used in the Poland campaignv. possessed. Rundstedt relevant portion of the military lightning victory against the German neighboring state.

With the attack on Polish forces in the area, led by it , Warsaw did without the army group boss from military-pragmatic calculation an assault with its army federations into closely cultivated cities and left insteadthe Polish metropolis of the Air Force bombard as well as under Artelleriebeschuss take. Background bildten the political arrangements with the Soviet Union, which a beginning of the Soviet attack in east Poland planned after income of the militarily important traffic junction Warsaw.

Briefly as commanders in chief east in defeated Poland residing, becameRundstedts army group for the planned large-scale attack on France to the German west border shifts. „The Sichelschnitt for this selected by Hitler due to its strategic Raffinesse “- plan of attack was essentially based on the conceptions of Rundstedts at that time closest coworker general v. One stone.

With its now as an army groupA designated troops seized v. Rundstedt in the context in the morning of the 10. May 1940 west offensive begun („case yellow “) Belgium and Luxembourg on and thus the operational-strategic conditions for the realization of the core phase „of the Sichelschnitt “- plan, whose main thrust its tanks should implement.

Rundstedts mobile combat forces pushedwithout large enemy resistance by of French military for Ardennenregion impassable held and in this way the fortress bulwarks of the magic emergency line functioning as of France main defense position went around. For its earnings/services with the conquest of France v. became. Rundstedt as well as eleven further officers to 19. July 1940into the traditional elitären rank of a general field marshal raised.

Its role as designate commanders in chief for the army federations planned as invasion troops against England supported its rank within the German military elite. Since the ambitionierte enterprise for the occupation of the British island after the missed air battle around England not to be realizedit could the 64-jährige was field marshal for other large operations vakant, why it belonged also to the guidance quantity for smashing of the Soviet Union instructed in the summer 1940.

the years 1941 to 1945

in Hitler to 22. June 1941 attack begun against the USSR stood for v.Rundstedt at the point of the army group south, which should conquer the Ukraine and the Caucasus. For its armed forces however the intended raid proved to the Volga and to the Kaspi sea due to the personnel and material inferiority as illusory, on height of the Krimhalbinsel stagnated thoseOffensive one of the southeast wing of the German east army. Against Hitler's instruction to dare no retreat v. thought. Rundstedt to a tactical cancelling of its logistically and physically strained federations.

Rundstedt belonged therefore to the generals, during the winter crisis the 1941 at the east front due to strategic-tactical differences with Hitlerfrom their posts were replaced. Already only the experienced military than commanders in chief west with headquarters in Paris kept few months later contrary to some its colleagues however a new point command, which also in personnel union the supreme command was coupled over the army group D at the same time.

AsHead in particular in north and southwest France stationed west army was incumbent on it after the guidance of Hitler's blitzkriegs now a strictly defensive task. Together with the troop of building of LV „organization Todt “(OT) it should for the defense of the invasion of the allied ones that already expected by the armed forces guidanceUp and development „the Atlantic barrier “- attachments organize. The experienced military v. Rundstedt made itself over the chances of success of the German defensive measures no illusions and already counted months before the actual invasion on a success of the allied armed forces in case of a renewed conflict on French soil.

As to 6. In the context of the amphibious operation Overlord in normandy , were strongly limited Rundstedts reaction possibilities landed June 1944 the allied troops, since the mobile main reserves could be used in the area Paris only with Hitler's express permission.

After liquidating the allied bridgehead due to, saw v. failed the substantial material and personnel inferiority of the armed forces and missing air control. Rundstedt no more chances to the military turn. After open criticism at the highest guidance it Hitler left to 2. July 1944 of general field marshal Günther of intelligent ones as commanders in chief west replace.

Also in order to rehabilitate itself karrieristisch, v. took over. Rundstedt afterwards the presidency of the honour yard of the armed forces. In this function it pushed numerous with the assassination attempt 20 on behalf the LV regime. July 1944 compromised armed forces member from the army, so that it sentenced by civilian law instanceswill could.

(from left to right:) Johannes Blaskowitz, Erwin Rommel, Gerd of Rundstedt

already at the beginning of of September 1944 used it the highest guidance again as commander in chief west; in this function v. led. Rundstedt of Koblenz from the rapid setting off movement of German west armed forces after Belgium and Elsass Lorraine.

After due to the slowed down allied raid the precarious situation of the German troops at the west front could stabilize briefly, v. led. Rundstedt on instruction of Hitler in December 1944 the last German large offensive in the Second World War. Of 250.000 the soldiers and 600Failed to tanks led attack on the Ardennen however already in the initial phase, led to the wear of the last German troop reserves and to a substanziellen Dezimierung of the west army. Thereupon again taken up advance of the allied ones and the gradual destruction of its remainder troops weakened by supply problems knew the WHETHERWest any longer do not prevent.

After the successful Rhine crossing of US troops with Remagen Hitler set field marshal v. Rundstedt at the beginning of March 1945 finally off and replaced it by Albert Kesselring.

Since May 1945 in British war shank, became v. Rundstedt accused of war crimes. Due to its bad state of healthit came however to no condemnation. Its heart illness caused the British to dismiss it in May 1949 from the shank. GFM v. Rundstedt died 1953 and is buried on the cemetery Hanover sticks.


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  • Rudolf Günter Huber: Gerd of Rundstedt. Its living and working in the area of conflict of social influences and personal locating, Peter long publishing house: Frankfurt/Main 2004, 465 S., ISBN 3-631-51933
  • Günther flower footstep: Of Rundstedt: The Soldier and the one, 1952
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