Monday, October 22, 2012

Manstein was moved back

Manstein was moved back to Berlin as full colonel in February 1934, serving as chief of staff of Wehrkrieskommando III.[ Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery

On 1 July 1935 he was appointed the Head of the Operations Branch of the Army General Staff (Generalstab des Heeres), part of the Army High Command (Oberkommando des Heeres – OKH).[22] During his tenure there, Manstein was one of the people responsible for the development of Fall Rot (Case Red), a defensive plan to protect Germany from attack by France. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery

During this period Manstein came into contact with Heinz Guderian and Oswald Lutz, who advocated drastic changes in warfare, emphasising the role of the Panzer. However, officers like Ludwig Beck, Chief of the Army General Staff, were against such drastic changes, and therefore Manstein proposed an alternative: Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery

the development of Sturmgeschütze (StuG), self-propelled assault guns that would provide heavy direct-fire support to infantry.[24] In World War II, the resulting StuG vehicles proved to be one of the most successful and cost-effective German weapons.[25]

He was promoted to major general in October 1936, becoming the Deputy Chief of Staff (Oberquartiermeister I) to General Beck. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery

On 4 February 1938 Manstein was transferred to the command of the 18th Infantry Division in Liegnitz, Silesia, with the rank of Generalleutnant.[27] The transfer meant that Manstein did not receive Beck's post as Chief of the Army General Staff that August (Beck had resigned, in spite of Manstein's urgings not to do so, as he felt Hitler's intended invasion of Czechoslovakia that October would be premature). Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery

The position was given to General Franz Halder, who had taken Manstein's former post as Deputy Chief of Staff. The incident created a lasting hatred between the two men.[28] On 20 April 1939 Manstein delivered a speech at the celebration of Hitler's 50th birthday, in which he praised Hitler as a leader sent by God to save Germany. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery

He warned the "hostile world" that if it kept erecting "ramparts around Germany to block the way of the German people towards their future", then he would be quite happy to see the world plunged into another world war.[29][30] Israeli historianOmer Bartov notes that the rise of officers such as Manstein was a part of a tendency for technocratic officers, usually ardent National Socialists, to come to the fore. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery

His opinion is that the Wehrmacht was fully integrated into the Third Reich, not a separate apolitical organisation independent of the Nazi regime.

On 18 August 1939, in preparation for Fall Weiss—the German invasion of Poland—Manstein was appointed Chief of Staff to Gerd von Rundstedt’s Army Group South. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery

Here he worked along with von Rundstedt's Chief of Operations, Colonel Günther Blumentritt, to develop the operational plan. Von Rundstedt accepted Manstein’s plan calling for the concentration of the majority of the army group’s armoured units into Walther von Reichenau's 10th Army, Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery

with the objective of a decisive breakthrough which would lead to the encirclement of Polish forces west of the Vistula River. In Manstein’s plan, two other armies comprising Army Group South,Wilhelm List’s 14th Army and Johannes Blaskowitz's 8th Army, would provide flank support for Reichenau's armoured thrust towards Warsaw, the Polish capital. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery

Privately, Manstein was lukewarm about the Polish campaign, thinking that it would be better to keep Poland as a buffer between Germany and the Soviet Union. He also worried about an Allied attack from the west once the Polish campaign was underway, thus drawing Germany into a two-front war.[32] Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery

Manstein took part in conference on 22 August 1939 where Hitler underlined to his commanders the need for the physical destruction of Poland as a nation. After the war, he would state in his memoirs that he did not recognise at the time of this meeting that Hitler was going to pursue a policy of extermination against the Poles. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery

He did become aware of the policy later on, as he and other Wehrmacht generals received reportson the activities of the Einsatzgruppen, the Schutzstaffel (SS) death squads tasked with following the army into Poland to kill intellectuals and other civilians.These squads were also assigned to round up Jews and others for relocation to ghettos and Nazi concentration camps. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery

Manstein later faced three charges of war crimes relating to Jewish and civilian deaths in the sectors under his control, and the mistreatment and deaths of prisoners of war.[37]

Launched on 1 September 1939, the invasion began successfully. In Army Group South's area of responsibility under von Rundstedt, the 8th, 10th, and 14th Armies pursued the retreating Poles. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery

The initial plan was for the 8th Army, the northernmost of the three, to advance towards Łódź. The 10th Army, with its motorised divisions, was to move quickly towards the Vistula, and the 14th Army was to advance and attempt to encircle the Polish troops in the Krakow area. These actions led to the encirclement and defeat of Polish forces in the Radom area on 8–14 September by six German corps. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery

Meanwhile the German Eighth Army was under attack from the north, so elements of the Fourth, Eighth, and Tenth Armies were quickly redeployed with air support in an improvised attempt to cut off any Polish break-out back towards Warsaw. The flexibility and agility of the German forces led to the defeat of nine Polish infantry divisions and other units in the resulting Battle of the Bzura (8–19 September), Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery

the largest engagement of the war thus far.[38] The conquest of Poland was quickly over, with the last Polish military units surrendering on 6 October.

Fall Gelb ("Case Yellow"), the initial plan for the invasion of France, was prepared by Commander-in-Chief of the ArmyColonel General (Generaloberst) Walther von Brauchitsch, Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery

Halder, and other members of the OKH in early October 1939.[40] Like the Schlieffen Plan of World War I, it called for an encirclement attack through the Netherlands and Belgium.[41] Hitler was not satisfied, so revisions of the plan continued throughout October. Manstein was not satisfied with the plan either, as it focused heavily on the northern wing; Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery

he felt an attack from this direction would lack the element of surprise and would expose the German forces to counter-attacks from the south. The terrain in Belgium was not well-suited as a base of operations for further attacks on France, so Manstein felt the operation would fail to wipe out the enemy—like it did in the First World War—leading to partial success and trench warfare. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery

By the end of October Manstein had prepared the outline of a different plan and submitted it to the OKH via his superior, von Rundstedt, for whom he was now serving as chief of staff ofArmy Group A.[42][43]

Manstein's plan, developed with the informal cooperation of Heinz Guderian, suggested that the Panzer divisions attack through the wooded hills of the Ardennes where no one would expect them, Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery

then establish bridgeheads on the Meuse River and rapidly drive to the English Channel. The Germans would thus cut off the French and Allied armies in Belgium and Flanders. This part of the plan later became known as the Sichelschnitt ("sickle cut"). Manstein's proposal also included a second thrust outflanking the Maginot Line, which would allow the Germans to force any future defensive line much further south. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery

The OKH originally rejected the proposal; Halder in particular said the plan was entirely without merit. However, on 11 November, Hitler ordered the reallocation of the forces needed to make a surprise thrust in Sedan, thus pushing the plan in the direction that Manstein had suggested. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery

When documents outlining details of Fall Gelb fell into the hands of the Belgians on 10 January 1940, Hitler became even more receptive to change. But Manstein's superiors, Generals Halder and von Brauchitsch, resented Manstein's repeated insistence that his plan be implemented in place of theirs. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery

Halder had Manstein removed from von Rundstedt's headquarters and sent to Stettin to command the XXXVIII Army Corps on 27 January.[46] Hitler, still looking for a more aggressive plan, approved a modified version of Manstein's ideas, today known as the Manstein Plan, after meeting with him on 17 February. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery

Manstein and his corps played a minor role during the operations in France, serving under Günther von Kluge's 4th Army. His corps helped achieve the first breakthrough east of Amiens during Fall Rot("Case Red" – the second phase of the invasion plan), and was the first to reach and cross the River Seine. The invasion of France was an outstanding military success; Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery

Manstein was promoted to full general and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Manstein was a proponent of the prospective German invasion of Great Britain, named Operation Seelöwe. He considered the operation risky but necessary. Early studies by various staff officers determined that air superiority was a prerequisite to the planned invasion. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery

His corps was to be shipped across the English Channel from Boulogne to Bexhill as one of four units assigned to the first wave. But as the Luftwaffe failed to decisively beat the Royal Air Force during theBattle of Britain, Operation Seelöwe was postponed indefinitely on 12 October. For the rest of the year, Manstein, with little to do, spent time in Paris and at home. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery

In early 1941 the German High Command commenced planning the invasion of the Soviet Union, codenamed Operation Barbarossa. On 15 March Manstein was appointed commander of the LVI Panzer Corps; he was one of 250 commanders to be briefed for the upcoming major offensive, first seeing detailed plans of the offensive in May. Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery

His corps was part of the Fourth Panzer Groupunder the command of General Erich Hoepner in Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb's Army Group North.[51] The Army Group was tasked with thrusting through the Baltic States and then advancing on Leningrad. Manstein arrived at the front only six days prior to the launch of the offensive. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery

Operation Barbarossa commenced on 22 June 1941 with a massive German attack along the whole front line. Manstein's corps was to advance with Georg-Hans Reinhardt's XLI Panzer Corps to the Dvina River to secure the bridges near the town of Daugavpils.The Soviets mounted a number of counterattacks, but those were aimed against Reinhardt's corps, leading to the Battle of Raseiniai. Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery

Manstein's corps advanced rapidly, reaching the Dvina River, 315 kilometres (196 mi) distant, in just 100 hours. Overextended and well ahead of the rest of the army group, he fended off a number of determined Soviet counterattacks. After Reinhardt's corps closed in, the two corps were tasked with encircling the Soviet formations around Luga in a pincer movement. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery

Again having penetrated deep into the Soviet lines with unprotected flanks, his corps was the target of a Soviet counteroffensive from 15 July at Soltsy by the Soviet 11th Army, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin. Manstein's 8th Panzer Division was cut off. Although it was able to fight its way free, it was badly mauled, and the Soviets succeeded in halting Manstein's advance at Luga. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery

The corps regrouped at Dno.[54][55] The 8th Panzers were sent on anti-partisan duties and Manstein was given the 4th SS Polizei Division. The attack on Luga was repeatedly delayed.[56]

The assault on Luga was still underway when Manstein received orders on 10 August that his next task would be to begin the advance toward Leningrad. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery

No sooner had he moved to his new headquarters at Lake Samro than he was told to send his men towards Staraya Russa to relieve the X Corps, which was in danger of being encircled. On 12 August the Soviets had launched an offensive with the 11th and 34th Armies against Army Group North, cutting off three divisions. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery

Frustrated with the loss of the 8th Panzer and the missed opportunity to advance on Leningrad, Manstein returned to Dno. His counteroffensive led to a major Soviet defeat when his unit encircled five Soviet divisions, receiving air support for the first time on that front. They captured 12,000 prisoners and 141 tanks. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery

His opponent, General Kuzma M. Kachanov of the 34th Army, was subsequently court martialed and executed for the defeat. Manstein tried to obtain rest days for his men, who had been constantly fighting in poor terrain and increasingly poor weather since the start of the campaign, but to no avail. They were ordered to advance to the east on Demyansk. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery

On 12 September, when he was near the city, he was informed that he would take over 11th Army of Army Group South inUkraine.

In September 1941 Manstein was appointed commander of the 11th Army after its previous commander, Colonel-General Eugen Ritter von Schobert, perished when his plane landed in a Russian minefield. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery

The 11th Army was tasked with invading the Crimea, capturing Sevastopol, and pursuing enemy forces on the flank of Army Group South during its advance into Russia.[58][59] Hitler's intention was to prevent the Russians from using airbases there, and to cut off the Russian supply of oil from the Caucasus. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery

Manstein's forces—mostly infantry—achieved a rapid breakthrough during the first days against heavy Soviet resistance. After most of the neck of the Perekop Isthmus had been taken, his forces were substantially reduced, leaving six German divisions and the Romanian Third Army. The rest of the Perekop Isthmus was captured slowly and with some difficulty; Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

Manstein complained of a lack of air support to contest Russian air superiority in the region. He next created a mobile reconnaissance unit to press down the peninsula, cutting the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol on 31 October. Simferopol was captured the next day. The 11th Army had captured all of the Crimean Peninsula—except for Sevastopol—by 16 November. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery

Meanwhile, the Red Army had evacuated 300,000 personnel out of the city by sea.[61][62]

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