German Generals and Commanders

During World War II, Germany had talented and capable Generals and commanders, who were the proud of the Wehrmacht. Down below there is a list of the best German commanders of the war, according to their tactical skills and courage:

1- Erich von Manstein. He planned Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), which was the German offensive against France through the Ardennes, in 1940. He was one of the most outstanding German commander.

2- Heinz Guderian. Commander of armoured divisions, he was the brain behind the German Blitzkrieg concept. He was also known for his courage and determination.

3- Erwin Rommel. Known as the Fox Desert, he gained renown and respect among both Axis and Allied troops in Northern Africa.

4- Ewald von Kleist. He was one of the most decorated General in the German Army, specially for bravery. He commanded Panzer units, fighting in the Poland Campaign, Battle of France, and on the Eastern Front.

5- Maximilian von Weichs. A highly decorated German officer, he commanded an army corps in the German invasion of Poland, and the 2nd Army in the Battle of France and Operation Barbarossa.

6- Günther von Kluge. He proved to be a brilliant strategist on the battlefield, commanding the 4th Army in Poland, in 1939, and the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups in the invasion of the Russia in 1941.

7- Hermann Göring. A WW1 ace pilot, he was the commander of the German Luftwaffe.

8- Karl Dönitz. Commander of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) who developed the “wolfpack” tactic submarine warefare.

9- Fedor von Bock. He commanded Army Group Center during the invasion of the Soviet Union.

10- Wilhelm List. He was commander of the 14th Army in Poland and the 12th Army in the invasion of France.

11- Walther von Reichenau. Commander of the 10th Army during the invasion of Poland, and 6th Army in the Eastern Front until his death in 1942, being replaced by von Paulus.

12- Gerd von Rundstedt. He commanded Army Group South in the Polish Campaign, Army Group A during the German invasion of France, and Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa.

13- Walther von Brauchitsch. He was commander in chief of the German Army.

14- Eberhard von Mackensen. Commander of 3rd Army Corps of Army Group South during Operation Barbarossa, and commander of 1st Panzer Army in Operation Fall Blau.

Battle of Plataea (Summary)

The Battle of Plataea took place in August 479 BC, during the Greco-Persian Wars. While the Persians, under King Xerxes I, were attempting for the second time to expand their empire’s borders westward, into the Mediterranean area, the Greeks were defending not only their territory, but their lifestyle, and freedom. Thus, it was a fierce military clash between the West and the tyranny of the East.

The Greek city-states organized a 70,000-men army, under Pausanias, to fight against the Persian invading forces, composed of 130,000 troops, commanded by General Mardonius. Despite the overwehlming number of enemy soldiers, the Greeks, most of them Spartans and Athenians, thoroughly defeated the approaching Persians on the plains near the city of Plataea, Greece, in 479 BC. About 40,000 Persians got killed and more than 50,000 wounded and taken prisoners. The reason for the Greek victory was the highly military superiority of the Spartan infantry man over the Persian soldier as he was intensely mentally and physically trained in military warfare since their childhood.

Weapons used by the Greeks:

Offensive: long spear (doru), short sword (xiphos), bow and arrow.

Defensive: shield (hoplon), breastplate (cuirass), and bronze helmet, with cheekplates.

Operation Cedar Falls

Operation Cedar Falls was the largest ground operation conducted by US Forces against the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. It was initiated on January 8, 1967, and ended on January 28, 1967. The objective of this large-scale search and destroy mission was to eliminate the Iron Triangle, a major Viet Cong stronghold, located near Saigon, from which the communist guerrilla force carried out attacks on South Vietnamese Army’s and US bases.

To eradicate the Iron Triangle as a Vietcong stronghold, Operation Cedar Falls also entailed the complete relocation of the area civilian population to new villages in order to isolate them from communist contacts and influence, as well as the defoliation of whole areas. To successfully carry out Operation Cedar Falls, more than 30,000 US and South Vietnamese troops were deployed, supported by military aircraft such as the F-105 fighters.

Operation Cedar Falls was planned as a hammer and anvil operation. Under the cloak of deceptive deployments on seemingly routine operations, the 25th Infantry Division with the 196th Infantry Brigade attached to it was to assume blocking positions west of the Iron Triangle, along the Saigon River, whereas one brigade of the 1st Infantry Division was assigned the same task along the Song Thi Tinh River east of the area of operations. The remaining units were then supposed to “hammer” the Vietcong against this “anvil” by rapidly moving through the Iron Triangle, scouring it for enemy troops and installations, and clearing it of civilians. A tight encirclement of the area was to prevent communist units from retreating.

Although Operation Cedar Falls was scheduled to begin on January 5, 1967, it started three days later, when weather conditions were most favorable. It was divided into two distinct phases. During preparatory phase I, January 5–9, the “anvil” was set up by positioning the relevant units along the Iron Triangle’s flank, and an air assault on Ben Suc, a key fortified Viet Cong village, was to take place on January 8 (D-day). These operations were to be succeeded by the completion of the area’s encirclement as well as a concerted drive of American forces through the Iron Triangle (the “hammer”) from both the south and the west in phase II.

The American army officers who conducted the operation later evaluated it as a success. Nevertheless, left-biased journalists gave a bleaker picture, arguing that Cedar Falls failed to achieve its main goal since the Vietcong’s setback in the Iron Triangle was temporary.

Battle for the Reichstag

The Battle for the Reichstag was the vicious and final phase of the Battle of Berlin in which the Soviet 150th Rifle Division fought against a 1,000-man German garrison composed of Waffen-SS units and sailors who had holed up inside the Reichstag. These men fought tenaciously, causing heavy losses to the Soviet forces. It took place between April 29 and May 2, 1945, during World War II.

The Battle of the Reichstag began at 02:30 hours, on April 29, 1945, after the Soviet 3rd Shock Army had crossed the Moltke bridge and started to fan out into the surrounding streets and buildings. The initial assaults on the buildings next to the Reichstag, including the Ministry of the Interior, were hindered by the lack of supporting artillery. It was not until the remainder damaged bridges were repaired that artillery could be moved up in support of the advancing infantry units. At 04:00 hours, in the Führerbunker, Hitler signed his last will and testament and, shortly afterwards, married Eva Braun. At dawn the Soviets pressed on with their assault in the southeast. After very heavy fighting, they managed to capture Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albrechtstrasse, but a Waffen SS unit counter-attacked, forcing the Soviets to withdraw from the building.

At 06:00 hours, on April 30, when the Russians had finally taken the bridges and were able to bring up artillery support, the 150th Rifle Division, 3rd Shock Army, launched an assault on the Reichstag. Nevertheless, this first attacking wave of red soldiers were thrown back by determined German troops entrenched in the building. The Waffen-SS troops inside had the support from 12.8 cm guns, emplaced two kilometers away on the Berlin Zoo flak tower. Several assaults had been repelled by the Germans, decimating entire companies, when the Soviets were finally able to enter the building. The Reichstag had not been in use since 1933, but now its interior was nothing but a maze of rubble and debris. The German troops inside made excellent use of this and lay heavily entrenched. Fierce room-to-room fighting broke out. At 01:30 hours on May 1, Soviet troops made their way to the roof to hoist up their communist flag.

The close quarter battle for the Reichstag raged on until very late in the evening when the surviving German troops pulled out of the building and headed north. During that same timeframe, about 100 of the last German combatants surrendered. A further 300 defenders were dead and another 350 were already lying wounded in the basement. Finally, on May 2, 1945, the Red Army was able to control the whole building.

Below: Battle for the Reichstag Map

battlefortheReichstag

Battle of Majuro

The Battle of Majuro was a military engagement of WW2 Marshall Islands Allied Campaign. It was fought between Japanese troops and US forces, on January 30-31, 1944, on the small island of Majuro, in the Marshalls. It took place almost simultaneously with the Battle of Kwajalein, which started on January 31. Lying 220 miles southeast of this island, Majuro would serve as an advanced air and naval base and it had to be captured first to protect and ensure the supply lines to the US forces that would invade the other islands.

Although it was lightly defended, the Japanese troops on Majuro consisted of three companies of the Special Naval Landing Forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The invasion of this island began on the morning of January 30, 1944. The first US unit to land on the beach was a Marine reconnaissance company of the 4th Marine Division, V Amphibious Corps. They were followed by the 2nd Battalion from 106th Regiment of the US Army’s 7th Infantry Division. With the fire support from naval guns on US warships, it took the US troops more than 24 hours to capture Majuro as the fighting was vicious and intense.

US commanders: Major General Harry Schmidt (4th Marine Division); Major General Charles H Corlett (US Army’s 7th Infantry)

Japanese commander: General Monzo Akiyama, who got killed in action.

battleofmajuroMarshall

Battle of Toulouse (721)

The Battle of Toulouse of 721 was a battle fought between the Frankish army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine and the invading Muslim army of the governor of al-Andalus during the Early Middle Ages. It took place in Toulouse, France, in 721 AD. The result of the Battle of Toulouse was a victory of the Frankish army over the islamic hordes that had besieged the city of Toulouse. Thus, the Germanic Frankish forces hindered the spread of Islam throughout Europe. This first Muslim attempt to destroy Europe had taken place three centuries before the Crusades.

The governor of Muslim Spain (al-Andalus), Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani, had built up a strong army from North Africa, Yemen, and Syria to conquer Aquitaine, which was a large duchy in the southwest of modern-day France, formally under Frankish sovereignty, but in practice almost independent in the hands of the dukes of Aquitaine. Having marched into France through the Pyrenees mountains, Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani besieged the city of Toulouse, then Aquitaine’s most important city. Highly outnumbered, Duke Odo of Aquitaine, known as Eudes, stealthily left the city to find help. He returned three months later, just before the city was about to fall to the enemy, and defeated the Muslim invaders on June 9, 721, at what is now known as the Battle of Toulouse.

The victory at the Battle of Toulouse was essentially the result of a classic enveloping movement by Duke Odo. After Odo originally fled, the Muslims became overconfident, and instead of maintaining strong outer defenses around their siege camp, and continuously scouting, did neither. Thus, when Eudes returned, he was able to launch an almost totally surprise attack on the siege force, scattering it at the first attack, and slaughtering units which were resting, or fled without weapons or armour. Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani managed to get away with a fraction of his forces, but died shortly thereafter.

When Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi became the new governor of Al-Andalus in 730 AD, he rebuilt the Muslim army, again raising levies from North Africa, Yemen, and Syria and invaded Gaul in strength in 732. This time Odo of Aquitaine tried to stop him at Bordeaux, but was defeated, and Bordeaux was plundered. But Charles Martel, Mayor of the Palace of Frankish kings, prepared for this greater Islamic invasion mounted by Abdul Rahman and thoroughly defeated the Muslim army at the Battle of Poitiers in 732 AD. Thus Martel became hailed as the savior of Europe, and of the Church itself. Martel’s later campaigns against the Muslims in 736-7 almost certainly assured the development of Europe and of the Roman Catholic Church.