The German Army Group North was a large military offensive formation of the Wehrmacht used by Germany during the Polish Campaign and Operation Barbarossa, which was the invasion of the Soviet Union, during World War II. For the attack on Poland, in September 1939, Army Group North consisted of the 3rd Army and the 4th Army, plus four reserve divisions (three infantry and one armor), under the command of Fedor von Bock. These units would launch two deep thrusts southwards into Polish territory, with the 3rd Army advancing from northeast Germany and the 4th Army marching from East Prussia.
For Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was composed of the 16th Army, the 18th Army, and the 4th Panzer Army, plus two signals regiments, under the overall command of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb. With Army Group Center attacking Minsk and Smolensk and Army Group South advancing towards Kiev, Army Group North would strike along a northern corridor, towards Leningrad, with the task of taking that city and securing its port. In September 1941, not being able to capture that Soviet city in the first attack, Army Group North began the long siege of Leningrad. By mid 1942, Army Group South had been divided into two powerful offensive forces: Army Group A and Army Group B, which would attempt to carry out Case Blue (Fall Blau), the German military operation for the conquest of the Baku oil fields in the Caucasus and the territory on the Volga, which included Stalingrad. See “German Forces on the Eastern Front”.
Map showing Army Group North advancing into Poland in two columns (from Northeast Germany and from East Prussia) in September 1939
Map marking the three Army Groups movements into Russian territory in June 1941
Below: a spearhead armor unit of the 4th Panzer Army in 1941