The German 9th Army was a field army deployed by the Wehrmacht during World War II. It was Hitler’s last-ditch defense on the East, against the advancing Zhukov’s communist forces, taking part in the ferocious Battle of Berlin. Created in May 1940, it had been held in reserve, deployed along the Siegfried Line, during the Battle of France and had practically not seen combat action that year. Originally, it was composed of approximately 140,000 men, arranged in three corps, which included infantry and armored divisions, as well as artillery units, with its first commander being General Johannes Albracht Blaskowitz.
The 9th Army’s baptism of fire took place during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, being part of Army Group Center. Under General Adolf Strauss. Its men fought in the Battles of Bialystok-Minsk and Smolensk, between June and July. However, in December 1941, it suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Moscow, due to extreme cold weather conditions and stiff Soviet resistance. Being reinforced, it kept fighting on the Eatern Front through the remainder of the war, trying to stop the powerful Soviet counter offensives. against the German center defensive lines.
In 1943, the German 9th Army was a 220,000-men-strong unit. Nevertheless, by early 1945, it had been reduced to a battered army of 100,000 war-weary soldiers. In January 1945, they were deployed westward of the Oder River, in the Seelow Heights region, about 90 km east of Berlin. By this time, it was under General Theodor Busse, last commander. After the Battle of the Seelow Heights, the 9th Army was split up, with several units pulling back into the capital of the Third Reich, being destroyed in the final Battle of Berlin as it desperately fought alongside the German 12th Army and the Volkssturm militia.
Volkssturm and 9th Army troops in the Battle of Berlin (Footage)