Army Group North


Army Group North

Army Group North ( _de. "Heeresgruppe Nord") was a strategic echelon formation commanding a grouping of Field Armies subordinated to the OKH during World War II. The army group coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics.

Formation

The Army Group North was created on the 2 September 1939 by reorganization of the 2nd Army Headquarters.
Commander in Chief 27 August 1939: GFM Fedor von Bock

Campaign and operation history

Invasion of Poland

The first employment of Army Group Nord was in the Invasion of Poland of 1939, where in September it controlled:
* 3rd Army
* 4th Army
* a reserve of four divisions
** 10th Panzer Division
** 73rd Infantry Division
** 206th Infantry Division
** 208th Infantry Division. The Army Group was commanded by Fedor von Bock for the operation.

After completion of the Poland Campaign it was transferred to the Western Theatre and on the 10 October 1939 was renamed as the Army Group B, and consisted of:
* 6. Armee
* 4. Armee

Operation Barbarossa

During Operation Barbarossa) Army Group North, commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb staged in East Prussia. Its strategic goal was Leningrad, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank of Army Group Centre in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils-Kholm Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's Baltic offensive operation the Army Group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia.

On the 20 June 1941 it was renamed again in preparation for the beginning of the Russia campaign into Army Group C. It served mainly in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944.

Commander in Chief 20 June 1941: GFM Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb

Its subordinate Armies were deployed with the following immediate objectives:

* 18th Army - from Koenigsberg to Ventspils - Jelgava
* 4th Panzer Army - Pskov
* 16th Army - Kaunas, Daugavpils
*Army Group troops
** Army-Group signals regiment 537
** Army-Group signals regiment 639 (2nd echelon)

The Baltic offensive operation

All operational objectives such as Tallinn were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensives such as the Battle of Raseiniai, and the Army Group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad. However, while the Baltic states were over-run, the Siege of Leningrad continued until 1944, when it was lifted as a result of the Red Army Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation.

In September 1941, the Spanish Blue Division was assigned to Army Group North.

Northern Russia offensive operation

Composition:
October 1941
* 16 Armee
* 18 Armee

Nevsky Pyatachok

Operation Nordlicht

Northern Russia defensive Campaign

Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler

Composition:
September 1942
* 11 Armee
* 16 Armee
* 18 Armee

December 1942
* 16 Armee
* 18 Armee

Demyansk Pocket
Soviet Toropets-Kholm Operation

Battle of Velikiye Luki

Battle of Krasny Bor

Wotan Line Campaign

Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: GFM Walter Model

Battle of Narva (1944)

Battle of Narva - Battle of the Tannenberg Line (1944)

Battle of Porkuni

The Baltic defensive Campaign

Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner
Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner

March 1944
* Armee-Abteilung Narwa
* 16 Armee
* 18 Armee

After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945 the Army Group was renamed into Courland Army Group. On the same day in East Prussia a new Army Group North was created by renaming Army Group Center. On the 2 April 1945 it was dissolved, and the Staff formed 12th Army headquarters of the Wehrmacht Heer.
Soviet Baltic Offensive

Battle of Vilnius (1944)

Battle of Memel

Campaign in East Prussia

Army Group North (old Army Group Centre), was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Königsberg in East Prussia. On April 9, 1945 Königsberg finally fell to the Red Army, although remnants of Army Group units continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil & Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe.

October 1944
* 16 Armee
* Armee-Abteilung Grasser
* 18 Armee

November 1944
* 16 Armee
* Armee-Abteilung Kleffel
* 18 Armee

December 1944
* 16 Armee
* 18 Armee

Soviet East Prussian Offensive

Battle of Königsberg

Heiligenbeil pocket

Campaign in West Prussia

Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic
Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss
Composition:
February 1945
* Armee-Abteilung Samland
* 4th Army

Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive

Battle of Kolberg

Courland Pocket
On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.

Surrender

Myths

Memorials

Popular culture

References

Footnotes

Bibliography

* Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg / hrsg. vom Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt ; Bd. 8; Die Ostfront : 1943/44 ; der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten / mit Beitr. von Karl-Heinz Frieser, Bernd Wegner u.a., 1.Auflage, München 2007.
* Hoth H., Panzer-Operationen. — Heidelberg, Kurt Vowinckel Verlag, 1956

See also

* German order of battle for Operation Fall Weiss
* List of German military units of World War II

Online resources

Further reading


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