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The 1st Army (German: 1. Armee) was a World War I and World War II field army.

First World War

The 1st Army during World War I, fought on the Western Front and took part in the Schlieffen Plan offensive against Francemarker and Belgiummarker in August 1914. Commanded by General Alexander von Kluck, the 1st Army's job was to command the extreme right of the German forces in attacking the left flank of the French Army and encircling Parismarker, bringing a rapid conclusion to the war. His army had the greatest striking power of the offensive, a density of about 18,000 men per mile of front (about 10 per meter). The First Army captured Brusselsmarker on August 20 and was almost successful in defeating Francemarker but was halted just 13 miles outside the French capital in the First Battle of the Marne that took place in early September. Von Kluck was replaced in 1915 after being seriously wounded in the leg.


Second World War

The 1st Army was activated on August 26, 1939 with General Erwin von Witzleben in command. Its primary mission was to guard the western defences of Germanymarker against Allied forces along the Maginot Line. The army participated in the final breach of the line's defences and spent until mid-1944 protecting the Atlanticmarker coast of France from a possible seaborne incursion. Following the Normandy invasion in 1944, the army reorganized in Lorrainemarker after a hasty retreat with the rest of the German forces across France in August 1944. During the battles along the German frontier, the First Army attempted to prevent the Third United States Army from crossing the Moselle Rivermarker and capturing Metzmarker while also attempting to hold the northern Vosges Mountainsmarker against the Seventh United States Army.

In November 1944, both defensive lines were broken and the First Army retreated to the German border and defended the Saarlandmarker of Germany, an important industrial region. With the Third U.S. Army engaged to the north against the German Ardennes Offensive, the 1st Army attacked the Seventh U.S. Army on New Year's Day 1945 in Operation Nordwind, causing the Americans to give ground and inflicting significant casualties where Seventh U.S. Army defensive lines were stretched taut by the length of frontage they had to cover. With the failure of Nordwind in late January, the 1st Army was first pushed back to the Siegfried Line and then forced to retreat across the Rhine Rivermarker when the Allies pierced the German fortifications. Thereafter, the First Army made an ordered withdrawal to the Danube River before surrendering near the Alps on May 6, 1945.



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