Georg von Kuechler

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Georg von Kuechler (1881-1968) was a German Army Generalfeldmarschall commanding the Eighteenth German Army, then Army Group North (Russian Front), in Operation Barbarossa. He commanded the Thirteenth German Army in the German invasion of Poland, and the Eighteenth German Army in the Battle of France, being ordered to stop before Dunkirk so the Luftwaffe could destroy the retreating forces. While he was promoted to army group command in Russia, he was relieved when he ordered a retreat.

An artillery officer in the First World War, he fought with a Freikorps in 1919.

Poland

In Poland, his forces captured Danzig.[1] While he was aggressive in command, he also protested the light sentences given to Schutzstaffel (SS). personnel who murdered a work detail. [2] Walter von Brauchtisch suppressed the sentences after Heinrich Himmler intervened.

Battle of France

Commanding the Eighteenth German Army, he moved forces over bridges captured by airborne forces, and drove into the Netherlands. Along with the Sixth German Army, the Eighteenth German Army pressed toward the retreating Allied troops, but was ordered to stop on the Aa Canal and not push into the Dunkirk beachhead.[3] His army occupied Paris on 14 June 1940.[4]

Russia

Under Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb's Army Group North (Russian Front), he took the Eighteenth German Army into the initial invasion of Russia. In January 1942, he replaced Leeb. Adolf Hitler, on 23 August 1942, ordered him to link up with Finnish forces, than occupy and destroy Leningrad. Hitler then cut him out of command for the Leningrad operation, giving direct orders to Eric von Manstein. [5]

He suppressed partisans ruthlessly, especially under the Commissar Order. Von Kuechler, in turn, was relieved of Army Group command when he ordered a retreat, in January 1944, to the Luga River. Hitler replaced him with Walter Model. In reserve, he was approached, by Carl Goerdeler, to join the 1944 assassination attempt against Hitler but declined. [1]

Postwar

As a defendant in the High Command Case (NMT), he was sentenced to 20 years, principally for ruthless suppression of partisans.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Georg von Kuechler, Spartacus
  2. William Shirer (1960), Inside the Third Reich, Simon & Schuster, p. 660
  3. Shirer, p. 721-722, 731-733
  4. Shirer, p. 738
  5. Walter Warlimont (1962), Inside Hitler's Headquarters 1933-45, Presidio Press, p. 254