Army Group North

Army Group North

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Army Group North was a German strategic echelon formation
Echelon formation
An echelon formation is a military formation in which members are arranged diagonally. Each member is stationed behind and to the right , or behind and to the left , of the member ahead...

 commanding a grouping of Field Armies
Field army
A Field Army, or Area Army, usually referred to simply as an Army, is a term used by many national military forces for a military formation superior to a corps and beneath an army group....

 subordinated to the OKH 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...

. The 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...

 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
Generalfeldmarschall
Field Marshal or Generalfeldmarschall in German, was a rank in the armies of several German states and the Holy Roman Empire; in the Austrian Empire, the rank Feldmarschall was used...

 Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock was a German Generalfeldmarshall who served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. As a leader who lectured his soldiers about the honor of dying for the German Fatherland, he was nicknamed "Der Sterber"...


Invasion of Poland


The first employment of Army Group North was in the Invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

 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
Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock was a German Generalfeldmarshall who served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. As a leader who lectured his soldiers about the honor of dying for the German Fatherland, he was nicknamed "Der Sterber"...

 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
Army Group B
Army Group B was the name of three different German Army Groups that saw action during World War II.-Battle for France:The first was involved in the Western Campaign in 1940 in Belgium and the Netherlands which was to be aimed to conquer the Maas bridges after the German airborne actions in Rotterdam...

, and consisted of:
  • 6. Armee
  • 4. Armee

Operation Barbarossa


In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was reformed from Army Group C on 22 June 1941. Army Group North was commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb was a German Field Marshal during World War II. - Youth :...

 and staged in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

. Its strategic goal was Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

 of Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre was the name of two distinct German strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union...

 in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils
Daugavpils
Daugavpils is a city in southeastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. Daugavpils literally means "Daugava Castle". With a population of over 100,000, it is the second largest city in the country after the capital Riga, which is located some...

-Kholm
Kholm
Kholm is a town and the administrative center of Kholmsky District of Novgorod Oblast, Russia, situated at the confluence of the Lovat and Kunya Rivers, north of Toropets, southwest of Staraya Russa, and south of Veliky Novgorod. Population:...

 Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's Baltic offensive operation the Army Group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia.

It served mainly in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944.

Commander in Chief 22 June 1941: GFM Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb was a German Field Marshal during World War II. - Youth :...



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
Evacuation of Tallinn (1941)
The Soviet evacuation of Tallinn, also called Soviet Dunkerque or Tallinn disaster was a Soviet operation to evacuate parts of the Baltic Fleet and Red Army units from the encircled city of Tallinn in August 1941....

 were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensive
Counter-offensive
A counter-offensive is the term used by the military to describe large-scale, usually strategic offensive operations by forces that had successfully halted an enemy's offensive, while occupying defensive positions....

s such as the Battle of Raseiniai
Battle of Raseiniai
The Battle of Raseiniai was a tank battle fought between the elements of the 4th Panzer Group commanded by Gen. Erich Hoepner and the 3rd Mechanized Corps commanded by Major General Kurkin & 12th Mechanised Corps commanded by Major General Shestapolov in Lithuania 75 km northwest of Kaunas...

, and the Army Group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

. However, while the Baltic states were over-run, the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

 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
Blue Division
The Blue Division officially designated as División Española de Voluntarios by the Spanish Army and 250. Infanterie-Division in the German Army, was a unit of Spanish volunteers that served in the German Army on the Eastern Front of the Second World War.-Origins:Although Spanish leader Field...

 was assigned to Army Group North.

Northern Russia offensive operation


Composition:

October 1941
  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee


Nevsky Pyatachok
Nevsky Pyatachok
Nevsky Pyatachok is the name of the Neva Bridgehead 50 km east south-east of Leningrad and 15 km south of Shlisselburg. It was the site of one of the most critical and costly campaigns during the Siege of Leningrad from September 1941 until May 1943 to reopen land communications with the...



Operation Nordlicht

Northern Russia defensive campaign


Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler
Georg von Küchler
Georg Karl Friedrich Wilhelm von Küchler was a German Field Marshal during the Second World War. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...



Composition:

September 1942
  • 11 Armee
  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee


December 1942
  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee


Demyansk Pocket
Demyansk Pocket
The Demyansk Pocket was the name given for the encirclement of German troops by the Red Army around Demyansk , south of Leningrad, during World War II on the Eastern Front. The pocket existed mainly from 8 February-21 April 1942. A much smaller pocket was simultaneously surrounded in Kholm, about ...



Soviet Toropets-Kholm Operation
Toropets-Kholm Operation
The Toropets–Kholm Offensive was a military operation conducted south of Lake Ilmen by the Red Army during World War II, from 9 January-6 February 1942. The operation contributed to the formation of the Kholm Pocket, the encirclement of the Wehrmachts II...



Battle of Velikiye Luki
Battle of Velikiye Luki
The Velikiye Luki offensive operation was executed by the forces of the Red Army's Kalinin Front against the Wehrmacht's 3rd Panzer Army during the Winter Campaign of 1942-1943 with the objective of liberating the Russian city of Velikiye Luki as part of the northern pincer of the Rzhev-Sychevka...



Battle of Krasny Bor
Battle of Krasny Bor
The Battle of Krasny Bor was part of the Soviet offensive Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda. The Soviet offensive called for a pincer attack near Leningrad, to build up on the success of Operation Iskra and completely lift the Siege of Leningrad, encircling a substantial part of the German 18th Army. ...


Baltic defensive campaign


Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: GFM Walter Model
Walter Model
Otto Moritz Walter Model was a German general and later field marshal during World War II. He is noted for his defensive battles in the latter half of the war, mostly on the Eastern Front but also in the west, and for his close association with Adolf Hitler and Nazism...



Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Georg Lindemann
Georg Heinrich Lindemann was a German cavalry officer and field commander who served in the German army during World War I and World War II . He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...



Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner

Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner
Ferdinand Schörner
Ferdinand Schörner was a General and later Field Marshal in the German Army during World War II.-Early life:Schörner was born in Munich, Bavaria...



March 1944
  • Army detachment "Narwa"
  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee

Battle of Narva
Battle of Narva (1944)
The Battle of Narva was a military campaign between the German Army Detachment "Narwa" and the Soviet Leningrad Front fought for possession of the strategically important Narva Isthmus on 2 February – 10 August 1944 during World War II....

, consisting of:
  1. Battle for Narva Bridgehead and
  2. Battle of Tannenberg Line

Combat in South Estonia, 1944
Combat in South Estonia, 1944
The Tartu Offensive Operation , also known as the Battle of Tartu and the Battle of Emajõgi was a campaign fought over southeastern Estonia in 1944. It took place on the Eastern Front during World War II between the Soviet 3rd Baltic Front and parts of the German Army Group North.The Soviet...



Soviet Baltic Offensive

Battle of Porkuni
Battle of Porkuni
Battle of Porkuni was the largest engagement between Estonians serving in the Red Army and Estonian pro-independence and Waffen-SS units. It took place in 21 September 1944 between Lake Porkuni and the Sauvälja village about seven kilometres northeast of the town of Tamsalu during the Leningrad...



Battle of Vilnius (1944)
Battle of Vilnius (1944)
The Vilnius Offensive occurred as part of the third phase of Operation Bagration, the great summer offensive by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht in June and July, 1944...



Battle of Memel
Battle of Memel
The Battle of Memel or the Siege of Memel took place when the Soviets launched their Memel Offensive Operation in late 1944. The offensive led to a three-month siege against German forces in a small bridgehead in the town and its port....



After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945 the Army Group was renamed into Army Group Courland
Army Group Courland
Army Group Courland was a German Army Group on the Eastern Front which was created from remnants of the Army Group North, isolated in the Courland peninsula by the advancing Soviet Army forces during the 1944 Baltic Offensive of the Second World War. The army group remained isolated until the end...

. 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.

Campaign in East Prussia


Army Group North (old Army Group Centre), was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Königsberg
Battle of Königsberg
The Battle of Königsberg , was one of the last operations of the East Prussian Offensive during World War II. In four days of violent urban warfare, Soviet forces of the 1st Baltic Front and the 3rd Belorussian Front captured the city of Königsberg...

 in East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.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
Heiligenbeil
The term Heiligenbeil can refer to:*The German name of Mamonovo, Russia*Heiligenbeil concentration camp built near Mamonovo*Heiligenbeil Pocket, part of the Eastern Front of World War II...

 & Danzig
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 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
East Prussian Offensive
The East Prussian Offensive was a strategic offensive by the Red Army against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front . It lasted from 13 January to 25 April 1945, though some German units did not surrender until 9 May...



Battle of Königsberg
Battle of Königsberg
The Battle of Königsberg , was one of the last operations of the East Prussian Offensive during World War II. In four days of violent urban warfare, Soviet forces of the 1st Baltic Front and the 3rd Belorussian Front captured the city of Königsberg...



Heiligenbeil pocket
Heiligenbeil Pocket
The Heiligenbeil Pocket or Heiligenbeil Cauldron was the site of a major encirclement battle on the Eastern Front during the closing weeks of World War II, in which the Wehrmacht's 4th Army was almost entirely destroyed during the Soviet Braunsberg Offensive Operation...


Campaign in West Prussia


Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic
Lothar Rendulic
Generaloberst Lothar Rendulic was an Austro-Hungarian and Austrian Army officer of Croatian origin who served as a German general during World War II. He commanded the 14. Infanterie-Division, 52. Infanterie-Division, XXXV Armeekorps, 2. Panzer-Armee, 20...



Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss
Walter Weiß
General Walter-Otto Weiß was a Wehrmacht High Command officer in World War II. He became Commander in Chief of Army Group North on the Eastern Front in 1945. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...



Composition:

February 1945
  • Armee-Abteilung Samland
  • 4th Army


Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive
East Pomeranian Offensive
The East Pomeranian Strategic Offensive operation was an offensive by the Red Army in its fight against the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front...



Battle of Kolberg

Courland Pocket
Courland Pocket
The Courland Pocket referred to the Red Army's blockade or encirclement of Axis forces on the Courland peninsula during the closing months of World War II...



On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland
Army Group Courland
Army Group Courland was a German Army Group on the Eastern Front which was created from remnants of the Army Group North, isolated in the Courland peninsula by the advancing Soviet Army forces during the 1944 Baltic Offensive of the Second World War. The army group remained isolated until the end...

, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia; Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre was the name of two distinct German strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union...

 became Army Group North and Army Group A
Army Group A
Army Group A was the name of a number of German Army Groups during World War II.-Western Front, 1940:During the German invasion of the Low Countries and France Army Group A was under the command of General Gerd von Rundstedt, and was responsible for the break-out through the Ardennes...

 became Army Group Centre.

See also

  • German order of battle for Operation Fall Weiss
    German order of battle for Operation Fall Weiss
    This article details the order of battle of German army units invading Poland in 1939.The German forces for the invasion of Poland with the codename Fall Weiss were divided into Army Group North and Army Group South .-Army...

  • List of German military units of World War II