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Walther Model (24 January 1891-21 April 1945) was a Field Marshal of Nazi Germany during World War II. Walther Model was born on 24 January 1891 in Genthin in the Province of Saxony, German Empire (present-day Germany). In the first year of World War II (1939), he fought in the invasion of Poland and joined the German 16th Army during the Battle of France a year later. When the Soviets launched Operation Bagration on 13 June 1944, Model was in command of the German forces on the Eastern Front. On 17 August 1944, as the Allied Powers began to break through in Normandy in northern France, Hitler posted Model to command Army Group B. Towards the end of the war he went off to the Greater General Staff in Berlin, an unusual appointment as he had not attended the War Academy. Promotion.Walther moved slowly up the Army promotion ladder, making Lieutenant Colonel in November 1932, just before Adolf Hitler came to power. In the period between WW1 and WW2, he visited the Soviet Union to study all the technical requirements associated with their rearmament programme. He held chief of staff posts in both the Polish and French invasions, then as a Lieutenant General from May 1940 took the 3rd. He did well in the Russian campaign, spearheading the panzers at Kiev, when joining up with the 9th.
It was during this battle that Model had his first run in with Hitler, the general wanted a corps brought up at once to give him support, although Hitler agreed, there was a difference of opinion just where it might be employed, and it amounted to a 100 mile difference. Hitler wavered and Model got his way, the Russians attacked where Model predicted, and he defeated them.
Operation Citadel.Now Hitler's last main offensive in the east was aimed to cut off and destroy the big Soviet bulge at Kursk, and was originally slated for a May 3rd. Here Model wanted to delay its onset until all was ready, plus he wanted the promised new Ferdinand tanks, the start date went from May 3rd. The much vaunted Ferdinands did not perform well, by the third day, XLVII Panzer was a short 12 miles from their start line, here the total 9th. The Russians mounted some 108 divisions, the majority infantry ones, and only by his superior rear guard tactics was Model able to contain the break through, retreating slowly to the Hagen position, adopting a scorched earth policy. Model sent on leave by Hitler.In November 1943, Hitler sent Model off on leave, he left anticipating he would return to his command of Army Group South, but found himself cast as a trouble shooter in late November.
Model once again the trouble shooter.On the last day of January 1944, Hitler named Model, C- in- C Army Group North to replace Field Marshal Georg von Kuechler. This army had been badly mauled when theRussians broke the siege of Leningrad earlier in that month.
Model tried to hold the Russian forces at the Luga River, east of the Panther Line, at the same time demanding more divisions from Hitler. Although the Russians struck in strength, all their efforts were in vain, Model had brought stability to the northern segment of the Eastern Front.
Now Model rewrote his report to indicate that Army Group north could give up to five divisions, plus a Corps HQ, immediately, the next day he upped it to six divisions.
He now ordered Lieutenant General Eberhard Kinzel to start the transfer at once, but the Chief of the Army General Staff General Zeitzler, stopped that transfer from happening. Army Group South renamed Army Group North Ukraine.Within a week of Model taking over his new command it had a name change to Army Group North Ukraine.
Manstein had continually lobbied Hitler to appoint a C -in C of the Eastern Front, wanting that position for himself, this latest move by Hitler was the closest he ever came to doing just that.
The Model plan was to save the remnants of Army Group Centre by giving up territory quickly, he believed the Soviets would get far ahead of their supply train and their air cover, he was also waiting for reinforcements on their way from Germany. He had stopped the might of 143 infantry divisions, 12 cavalry divisions, and about 2,000 tanks covering a 400 mile front, and all achieved with but 45 somewhat depleted German divisions. However even though the Eastern Front was again stabilised, the Russians had pushed the invaders back 400 miles to be just 350 miles short of Berlin. Called to the Western Front.Model, on August 16, 1944 was given probably the most difficult and challenging appointment yet, C - in - C of Army Group West and OB West.
The next day he fronted at Kluge's HQ, relieved him, and ordered the evacuation of the Falaise pocket ( ironically an order that Kluge could not get Hitler to approve. He needed to get his mauled forces back behind the Seine, whilst the British and Americans were on his tail.
Paris taken by Allies.Hitler wanted Model to defend Paris, an impossible order to carry out with only 20,000 troops available there, so Hitler ordered the city to be destroyed, but the city commandant, General Dietrich von Choltitz spared that beautiful capital which fell to the Allies on August 25th. Across the Seine.The bare bones of Army Group B scrambled across the Seine, but of the 2,300 German tanks committed to the Battle of Normandy, perhaps only 120 crossed back over the Seine.


The Allies had German forces on the run, in good tank country, Model had only infantry to try and counter the advance, by August 26, the Brits were across the Seine in force, and Patton led his army over the Marne on August 28. Now two days later both Nice and Amiens fell, before Model could man up on the Somme River line, it was breached by the Allies, and the German 7th. Brussels was liberated on September 3rd, and at long last the very important port of Antwerp was taken by British tank forces the next day. Model loses command of OB West.Hitler decided that it was virtually impossible for Model to command both Army Group B, and OB West, and he recalled Field Marshal Rundstedt to take over command of OB West, leaving Model in command of Army Group B, he was called upon to defend the Ruhr against the onslought of the Allies, it looked an impossible assignment, but now the Allies, had to pause, they had outrun the ability to be supplied. The destruction of the French rail system by Allied aircraft meant that whilst the Allies now had control over the railways, they were virtually useless. The Fiasco of Market Garden at Arnhem.Montgomery hatched a plan to drive to the Ruhr, it included an ambitious airborne landing at Arnhem, together with a British land push across the Rhine at Arnhem. Much to Patton's chagrin, Eisenhower gave the OK to Montgomery and also for supply priority.
As the first paratroopers floated down from the sky on September 17th., FM Model was having his lunch, he quickly left for Arnhem to organise the local defenses, and get up reinforcements.
To stop the Allies rescuing their beleagured paratroops, Model attacked the Arnhem road with all the forces he could muster, and although the 2nd.
All attempts to rescue the trapped paratroopers failed, the combined strength of 4 battalions was cut down to 400 men by the mobile SS troops.
Model must be accorded the credit for the German victory at Arnhem, of the 10,000 paratroops dropped over Arnhem, but 600 ever reached the bridge. It should be noted that Arnhem proved to be Walter Model's last major victory in the field. The Battle of the Bulge.Model fought Hitler over the plan fior the Battle of the Bulge, he wanted to use all reserves to wipe out the Americans at Aachen, but his master could not be swayed.
Although Model had caused 76,000 casualties to the Americans, he lost about 103,000 men, plus some 600 tanks and assault guns, but above all, the morale of his command was smashed. Within a month US troops were over the Roer with little resistance, US casualties but 100 over four Divisions. Model ordered to hold theRuhr at all costs.Although Model still commanded 300,000 men, most were ill trained Hitler Youth, or older men only recently drafted into the Army.
But now even Model did not appear to have any stomach for fighting, perhaps he believed the cause was already lost.
He did not conduct the Battle for the Ruhr with his usual zeal, he placed his HQ on the edge of the right wing, so far away from the left wing, where the attack came from, that he was totally unable to direct his forces.
In the past Model had ignored Hitler's orders to STAND FAST, but not so this time, he asked Kesselring, C-in-C OB West, to withdraw the stand fast order, instead of going straight to Hitler, but Kesselring did not have the power to revoke the order, so Army Group B stayed put. The Americans were only a mile or two away, the two officers walked into the woods near Duisburg, and Model asked his aide to shoot him, but the Major refused.
He lay secretly buried there for years in an unmarked grave, near Duisberg until the Federal Republic of Germany came into being, then as his staff feared the victors would scatter Model's ashes to the winds as had happened to the convicted war criminals hanged at Nuremberg.
His son Major Hansgeorg Model had his father's body reintered in a Soldier's Cemetery in the Huertgen Forest, close to the final burial place of General George S.
Conclusion.Probably Model should be judged as one of the best amongst all of Hitler's Field Marshals, he fought in many campaigns, and was always sent to a command that was in dire straits. The Field Marshal lost his appetite for waging war in the end, no doubt he saw that it was all over and rather futile to keep on wasting lives. Model was the best defensive commander of Adolf Hitler, although he was also a hard-driving panzer commander early in World War II. In April 1940 he was promoted to Major-General and gained his first major command as the leader of the German 3rd Panzer Division. Model took command of Army Group North, Army Group Centre, and Army Group South at separate points and failed to prevent the destruction of the central army group, but he was able to halt the Soviets at Warsaw and crush a revolt in the city.
Army Group B was facing major problems in the Falaise Gap, and Model failed to defend the Dives River with the German 7th Panzer Army and the German 9th Panzer Army. He defeated the Allies in Operation Market Garden in September, forcing two British armies to surrender in their failed airborne invasion of the Netherlands.
Although his army reenacted the invasion of France in an Ardennes offensive, poor weather prevented the Germans from advancing farther and the British and Americans teamed up to throw back the German siege of Bastogne and pushed them clean out of Luxembourg and the Ardennes. In 1938 he was made a major general and designated to be Chief of Staff of the army lined up to invade Czechoslovakia, but that campaign became unneccesary.
Army sitting on the northern arm of Army Group Centre became under threat of encirclement in January 1942, its commander, Colonel General Adolf Strauss was relieved under the excuse of his health. Army was destined to conduct a rather hopeless defence around Rzhev, but not so, XXIII Corps was cut off west of Rzhev, Model counter attacked on January 22nd.


It is reported that Model looked rather coldly through his monocle at his boss, and asked " Who commands the 9th.
Model was set to resume the offensive, but the Russian Zhukov launched a huge attack against the 2nd. He burned crops ready to harvest, and drove 250,000 Russian civilians westward, no doubt he treated them harshly.
Model introduced his Sword and Shield policy, retreats were acceptable but only if they led to a counter offensive later. Russian forces had advanced to Kalvariya, but 15 miles from the East Prussian border, but they now ran out of steam, fulfilling Model's belief, they had simply advanced beyond both their supplies and air cover, the German Field Marshal also received some extra Panzer divisions plus infantry units. Parachute Battalion grabbed the northern end of the bridge, but the Germans hung on grimly to the southern end, and repulsed several British attempts to dislodge them.
1944, Model attacked, he had 20 divisions forward, and 5 more in reserve, something like 300,000 troops, 1,900 guns and 970 tanks and assault guns. Army changed direction with speed, broke through the southern end of the bulge, and by December 26th.
1945, the last German escape route was sealed off, and Hitler told Model to abandon the area west of the town.
He was posted among the German General Staff because he was a brilliant commander, and he therefore avoided the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and only fought in the early stages of the Battle of Verdun. He believed in combined arms training, involving infantry as well as armor moving together. He also inflicted heavy losses on American and Polish forces that assisted the British army. On 21 January 1945 Hitler took over command of Model's Army Group B, limiting Model's power. Somewhat suprisingly Model was given his job, he had commanded a division for but a brief time, now he is a C-in-C.
Panzer Army on Model's north only the day before, the Soviets broke through near Orel, and Operation Citadel was lost.
Previously Hitler had sacked commanders for merely suggesting a retreat, now we have Hitler accepting Model and his policy, an amazing turn about from the Fuehrer.
Then the Chief of the Army's Personnel Office called to tell Model in a few days time he was to replace Manstein as C-in-C of Army Group South. Hitler now sacked Busch, and urged Model to try and minimize the debacle, adding Army Group Centre to his other command. Model eventually lost Hitler's trust after the Battle of the Bulge turned out to be a large defeat for Germany, and he committed suicide when the Allies encircled him in the Ruhr Pocket in 1945. By 1917 he was a Hauptmann (captain), and at the end of the war he fought in the Spring Offensive.
In Operation Barbarossa - the June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union - he drove his men hard and they worked for a great victory against the Russian forces by December. Allied forces crossed the Rhine River at Remagen and Model was encircled at the Ruhr Pocket with his forces. Panzer in October 1941, and was part of the final drive to the Soviet capital of Moscow, and was rewarded by promotion to General of Panzer troops. His appointment seemed to galvanise his new command, he was everywhere, displaying energy, he has been likened to the famous US General Patton. Model was awarded The Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and made Colonel General, in three years he had been promoted 4 steps up the Army ladder. His success in holding his front against Soviet forces was rewarded when he was made the commander of the German 9th Army at the Rzhev Salient, leapfrogging 15 commanders in Army Group Centre for the position. Army under General Kurt von der Chevallerie, and was also threatening to isolate General Georg von Soderstern's 19th. Up-to-date intelligence, a continuous front line, tactical reserves, centralized artillery command and control, and multiple static lines of defense contributed to his victories on the Eastern Front, as he became known as Germany's best tactical defense commander. In September 1943 he was relieved of his command after the failures at the Battle of Kursk and Operation Kutuzov, but Hitler did so only because he wanted him to be available in case of another emergency. The advent of WW1 found him serving on the Western Front, he was wounded on several occasions, and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st. In 1944 he took command of German forces in Estonia and in March he became the youngest Field Marshal of Nazi Germany.



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