Monday, October 22, 2012
Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein (24 November 1887 – 9 June 1973) was one of the most prominent commanders of the Wehrmacht,Nazi Germany's armed forces during World War II. Attaining the rank of Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal), he was held in high esteem as one of Germany's best military strategists. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
Born into an aristocratic Prussian family with a long history of military service, Manstein joined the army at a young age and saw service on several fronts during World War I. He had risen to the rank of captain by the end of the war and was active in the inter-war period helping Germany rebuild her armed forces. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
During the invasion of Poland at the outbreak of World War II, he was serving as Chief of Staff to Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South. He was one of the planners of Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), an offensive through the Ardennes during the invasion of France in 1940. Attaining the rank of general at the end of the campaign, Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
he was active in the invasion of the Soviet Union and the Siege of Sevastopol and was promoted to Field Marshal in August 1942. Germany's fortunes in the war began to take an unfavourable turn after the disastrous Battle of Stalingrad, where Manstein commanded a failed relief effort. He was one of the primary commanders at the Battle of Kursk, Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
one of the last major battles of the war and one of the largest battles in history. His ongoing disagreements with Hitler over the conduct of the war led to his dismissal in March 1944. He never obtained another command and was taken prisoner by the British in August 1945, several months after Germany's defeat. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
Manstein gave testimony at the main Nuremberg Trials of war criminals in August 1946, and prepared a paper that, along with his later memoirs, helped contribute to the myth of a "clean Wehrmacht"—the myth that the German armed forces were not culpable for the atrocities of the Holocaust. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
In 1949 he was tried in Hamburg for war crimes and was convicted on nine of seventeen counts, including the poor treatment of prisoners of war and failing to protect civilian lives in his sphere of operations. His sentence of eighteen years in prison was later reduced to twelve. He served only four years before being released in 1953. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
As a military advisor to the West German government in the mid-1950s, he helped re-establish the armed forces. His successful memoir, Verlorene Siege (1955), translated into English as Lost Victories, was highly critical of Hitler's leadership, and focused strictly on the military aspects of the war, ignoring the political and ethical context. Manstein died in Munich in 1973. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
He was born Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Lewinski in Berlin, the tenth son of a Prussian aristocrat andartillery general, Eduard von Lewinski (1829–1906), and Helene von Sperling (1847–1910). His father's family had some Polish blood, and was entitled to use the Brochwicz coat of arms (Brochwicz III). Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
Hedwig von Sperling (1852–1925), Helene's younger sister, was married to Lieutenant General Georg von Manstein (1844–1913); the couple were unable to have children, so they adopted Erich. They had previously adopted Erich's cousin Martha, the daughter of Helene and Hedwig's deceased brother. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
Manstein's biological and adoptive fathers were both Prussian generals, as were his mother's brother and both his grandfathers (one of them, Albrecht Gustav von Manstein, had led a corps in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71). Sixteen relatives on each side of his family were military officers, many of whom rose to the rank of general. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Paul von Hindenburg, the future Generalfeldmarschall and President of Germany, was his uncle; Hindenburg's wife, Gertrud, was Hedwig and Helene's sister.
He attended the Imperial Lyzeum, a Catholic Gymnasium in Strasbourg (1894–99). After six years in the cadet corps (1900–1906) in Plön and Groß-Lichterfelde, Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
he joined the Third Foot Guards Regiment (Garde zu Fuß) in March 1906 as an ensign. He was promoted to lieutenant in January 1907 and entered the three-year officer's training programme at the Prussian War Academy in October 1913. Manstein only completed his first year of studies; all academy students were ordered to report for active duty when World War I began in August 1914.[ Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
He never completed the balance of his general staff officer's training.
During World War I, Manstein served on both the German Western and Eastern Fronts. He was promoted to lieutenant and stationed in Belgium with the 2nd Guard Reserve Infantry Regiment at the onset of the war. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
In August 1914 he took part in the capture of Namur, the site of a massive citadel surrounded by outlying forts. Manstein's unit was one of two transferred to East Prussia in September and attached to the Eighth Army, commanded by Hindenburg. After seeing action in the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
his unit was soon reassigned to the Ninth Army, which was in the process of advancing from Upper Silesia to Warsaw. Overstretched, the Ninth Army was forced to withdraw in the face of a Russian counterattack. Manstein was wounded during the retreat when he was among a detachment that stormed a Russian entrenchment on 16 November. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
He was shot in the left shoulder and the left knee; one bullet hit his sciatic nerve, causing the leg to be numb. Recovery took six months in hospital in Beuthen and Wiesbaden.[
After a period of home leave, Manstein was reassigned on 17 June 1915 as assistant general staff officer of operations for the Tenth Army, commanded by Max von Gallwitz. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
Soon promoted to captain, he learned first-hand how to plan and conduct offensive operations as the Tenth Army undertook successful attacks of Poland,Lithuania, Montenegro, and Albania. During offensive operations at Verdun in early 1916, Manstein was stationed with Gallwitz and his staff at a new headquarters near the action. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
He next served as a staff supply officer under General Fritz von Below and chief of staff Fritz von Lossberg at a command post near the River Somme; the area was the scene of several battles over the course of the war. British and French operations from July to November 1916 forced a German withdrawal over the winter to the Hindenburg Line, Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
a series of defensive positions between Verdun and Lens. Manstein continued to serve under Below until October 1917, when he was transferred as chief of staff to the 4th Cavalry Division, serving in Riga during the German occupation of the area. As a result of the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, Manstein's unit was no longer needed on the Eastern Front; Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
he was reassigned to the 213th Infantry Division near Reims. The German Army saw some minor successes in the area but were beginning to lose the war. The armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.
Manstein married Jutta Sibylle von Loesch, the daughter of a Silesian landowner, in 1920. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
He proposed marriage after having only known her for three days.She died in 1966. They had three children: a daughter Gisela (born 1921), and two sons, Gero (1922) and Rüdiger (1929). Gero died on the battlefield in the northern sector of the Eastern Front on 29 October 1942 while serving as a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
Gisela was married to Major Edel-Heinrich Zachariae-Lingenthal, a highly decorated soldier who served as commander of II. / Panzer-Regiment 15 during World War II.
Manstein remained in the armed forces after World War I. In 1918 he volunteered for a staff position with the Frontier Defence Force in Breslau (now Wroclaw) and served there until 1919. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
As part of Gruppenkommando II, he participated in the restructuring of the German Imperial Army of 500,000 men into theReichswehr, the army of the Weimar Republic (restricted to 100,000 men by the Versailles Treaty). Recognised from an early age as being a talented and intelligent commander, he was chosen as one of the only 4,000 officers permitted under the treaty. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
He was appointed company commander of the sixth company of the 5th Prussian Infantry Regiment in 1921 and served as a staff officer for Wehrkrieskommando II and IV through 1927, where he taught military history and tactics. In 1927 he was promoted to major and served with the General Staff at the Reichswehr Ministry in Berlin, Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
visiting other countries to learn about their military facilities and helping to draft mobilisation plans for the army. Promoted to lieutenant colonel, he was placed in charge of the light infantry battalion of the 4th Infantry Regiment, serving with that unit until 1934. In 1933 the Nazi Party seized power in Germany, thus ending the Weimar period. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
In violation of the Versailles treaty, the Reichswehr had been secretly re-arming since the 1920s; the new regime renounced the Treaty and proceeded with large scale rearmament and expansion of the military.