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Maximilian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lamoral Reichsfreiherr von Weichs zu Glon (12 November 188127 June 1954) was a Germanmarker Generalfeldmarschall during World War II.

Early Life and Career

Weichs was born into a noble family at Dessaumarker in Anhalt, a son of an Army colonel. He entered the Bavarian Cavalry in 1901 and fought with them in World War I. From 1915 until 1918 he served with the General Staff of the 3rd Bavarian Army Corps. After the war he remained in the newly created Reichswehr where he worked at a number of General Staff positions and later served as an instructor. In October 1937 he became the commander of the 13th Army Corps, that later served in the 1938 German occupation of the Sudetenland.

World War II

For the German invasion of Poland beginning World War II in 1939, Weichs was appointed head of his own Army Corps "Weichs". After the Polish surrender, and in preparation for the invasion of France, he was made Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Army, a part of Rundstedt’s Army Group A in the West. For his successes in the French campaign he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and promoted to colonel-general. Leading his corps, Weichs later took part in the Balkans Campaign, and in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was assigned to lead the 2nd Army as a part of Fedor von Bock’s Army Group Centre. He led the 2nd Army in 1941 through the Battle of Kiev, the Battle of Smolensk, and then on to Vyazmamarker and Bryanskmarker.

In 1942, for Fall Blau, Weichs was assigned to lead the newly created Army Group B. Army Group B was composed of Hans von Salmuth's 2nd Army, Hermann Hoth’s 4th Panzer Army, and Friedrich Paulus' 6th Army. In addition to the German armies, Army Group B included the 2nd Hungarian Army, 8th Italian Army, the Third and the Fourth Romanian Army. The 6th Army was assigned to take the city of Stalingradmarker and cover approximately 800 km of front.

Stalingrad

Weichs warned about his lines being stretched too thinly, but Adolf Hitler ignored his warnings. Weichs' fears materialized when Operation Uranus smashed the Romanian armies on his flanks, cutting off the 6th Army inside Stalingrad. Suggesting retreat, Weichs fell out of Hitler’s favor. Consequently, parts of Army Group B were taken away from Weichs' command and incorporated into a new Army Group Don, led by Erich von Manstein. Later in February the remaining part merged with the Don Group into a newly reinstated Army Group South, also led by Manstein. Weichs was put in leader reserve.

Weichs was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall on 1 February 1943. As the German situation was starting to become more dire, in August 1943 Weichs was appointed Commander of Army Group F in the Balkans defending against possible Allied invasion in what was seen as Germany’s weak underbelly and fighting off local partisan groups that were gaining strength. In late 1944, he oversaw the German retreat from Greece and most of Yugoslavia.

As Nazi Germany fell apart, Weichs was finally retired on March 25, 1945, and was arrested by American troops in May. During the Nuremberg Trialsmarker, Weichs was implicated in war crimes committed while suppressing the partisans, however, he was removed from the Hostages Trial due to medical reasons without having been judged or sentenced.

Weichs died at Burg Rösberg near Bonnmarker.

References

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Hürter, Johannes (2006). Hitlers Heerführer - Die deutschen Oberbefehlshaber im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion 1941/42.
  • Helden der Wehrmacht - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.


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