Army Group E

Army Group E

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Army Group E was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Army Group
Army group
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area...

 active during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Army Group E was created on 1 January 1943 from the 12th Army. Units from this Army Group were distributed throughout the Eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 area, including Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

.

Composition


Its principal units were:
  • 11th Luftwaffe Field Division (Attica
    Attica
    Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

     garrison) - Generalleutnant Wilhelm Kohler
  • Rhodes Assault Division (amalgamated with the Brandenburg Panzergrenadier Division in 1944)
  • LXVIII Army Corps (eastern Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

     and Peloponnese
    Peloponnese
    The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

    )
    • 117th Jäger Division
      117th Jäger Division
      117th Jäger Division was a German Infantry Division of World War II. The division was formed in April 1943 by the reorganization and redesignation of the 717th Infantry Division. The 717th Division had been formed in April 1941...

       - General der Gebirgstruppe Karl von Le Suire
      Karl von Le Suire
      Karl Hans Maximilian von Le Suire was a highly decorated General der Gebirgstruppe in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded the XXXXIX. Gebirgs-Armeekorps. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

    • 1st Panzer Division (June-October 1943) - Generalmajor Walter Krüger
      Walter Krüger (Heer officer)
      Eugen Walter Krüger was a highly decorated General der Panzertruppe in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded the LVIII. Panzerkorps. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield...

  • XXII Mountain Army Corps (western Greece) - General der Gebirgstruppe Hubert Lanz
    Hubert Lanz
    Karl Hubert Lanz was a German Army officer who rose to the rank of General der Gebirgstruppe during the Second World War, in which he led units in the Eastern Front and in the Balkans. After the war, he was tried and convicted for several atrocities committed by units under his command in the...

    • 104th Jäger Division
      104th Jäger Division
      104th Jäger Division was a German Infantry Division of World War II. It was formed in April 1943, by the redesignation of the 704th Infantry Division, which was itself formed in April 1941. The division served in Yugoslavia in May 1941 where it took part in anti-partisan and security operations in...

       - General der Infanterie Hartwig von Ludwiger
      Hartwig von Ludwiger
      Gottlob Hartwig Alfred Michael von Ludwiger was a German high-ranking officer during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or...

    • 1st Mountain Division - Generalleutnant Walter Stettner
  • 41st Fortress Division
    41st Division (German Empire)
    The 41st Division was a unit of the Prussian/German Army. It was established on October 1, 1912 in Deutsch Eylau . The division was subordinated in peacetime to the XX Army Corps . The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I...

  • Fortress Crete
    Fortress Crete
    Fortress Crete was the term used during World War II by the German occupation forces to refer to the garrison and fortification of the Greek island of Crete, which they had captured after a fierce battle at the end of May 1941...

    • 22nd Division - General der Infanterie Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller
      Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller
      Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller was a General in the German army in World War II. He is notorious for having been the most brutal commander of occupied Crete, where he earned the nickname "The Butcher of Crete." After the war, he was tried by a Greek military court for war crimes, convicted and...

  • Also within the Army Group command were 22 penal "fortress battalions" of the "999" series.

Service history


The Army Group participated in anti-partisan operations in Greece and Yugoslavia. During the course of these operations, several atrocities were committed, including the massacres of Kalavryta
Massacre of Kalavryta
The Holocaust of Kalavryta , or the Massacre of Kalavryta , refers to the extermination of the male population and the subsequent total destruction of the town of Kalavryta, in Greece, by German occupying forces during World War II on 13 December 1943...

 and Distomo in Greece. Furthermore, during the disarmament of the Italian army in September 1943, German troops executed over 5,000 Italian prisoners of war in the Cephallonia Massacre. At the same time, the Army Group successfully repelled
Dodecanese Campaign
The Dodecanese Campaign of World War II was an attempt by Allied forces, mostly British, to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea following the surrender of Italy in September 1943, and use them as bases against the German-controlled Balkans...

 the British attempt to seize the Italian-occupied Dodecanese Islands.

In the spring of 1945, during the retreat of the Wehrmacht forces from the Balkans, this Army Group withdrew to Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, with some units moving to Austria and southern Germany. During the 1945 retreat the fortress units were amalgamated into the LXXXXI Army Corps.

Army Group E was joined with what was left of Maximilian von Weichs
Maximilian von Weichs
Maximilian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lamoral Reichsfreiherr von Weichs zu Glon was a German Generalfeldmarschall during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...

' Army Group F. That army group had been dissolved on 25 March 1945.

A member of Army Group E who later rose to prominence was Austrian president
President of Austria
The President of Austria is the federal head of state of Austria. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the constitution, in practice the President acts, for the most part, merely as a ceremonial figurehead...

 and United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Secretary Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...

, who served in the military administration of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki , historically also known as Thessalonica, Salonika or Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the region of Central Macedonia as well as the capital of the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace...

.

Sources

  • Hogg, Ian V., German Order of Battle 1944: The regiments, formations and units of the German ground forces, Arms and Armour Press, London, 1975
  • Thomas, Nigel, (Author), Andrew, Stephen, (Illustrator), The German Army 1939-45 (2) : North Africa & Balkans (Men-At-Arms Series, 316), Osprey Publishing, 1998 ISBN 978-1855326408