Ernst Busch (field marshal)

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Not to be confused with Ernst Busch (actor).
Ernst Busch
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-088-3724-06A, Russland, General Ernst Busch.jpg
Generalfeldmarschall Ernst Busch
Born 6 July 1885
Steele, near Essen, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 17 July 1945 (aged 60)
Camp Aldershot near London, England, United Kingdom
Buried at Cannock Chase German war cemetery
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1904–45
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held 16. Armee

World War I

World War II
Awards Pour le Mérite
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Signature Generalfeldmarschall Ernst Busch signature.svg

Ernst Bernhard Wilhelm Busch (6 July 1885 – 17 July 1945) was a German field marshal during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, awarded by Nazi Germany to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or outstanding military leadership.


Early life and career[edit]

He was born in Essen-Steele, Germany, and was educated at the Groß Lichterfelde Cadet Academy. Busch entered the Prussian Army in 1904 and served on the Western Front during World War I. He was awarded the Pour le Mérite in 1918. After the war, Busch remained in the army and was appointed Inspector of Transport Troops in 1925. He was promoted in 1930 to lieutenant-colonel and given command of the Infantry Regiment No. 9.

World War II[edit]

Busch served under Wilhelm List during the Invasion of Poland of 1939, and the following year he led the German Sixteenth Army during the Western Offensive. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by Hitler.

Busch took part in Operation Barbarossa and on 8 September 1941 his 16th Army took Demyansk before taking part in the siege of Leningrad. Despite a counter-attack by the Red Army, Busch's troops held the line from Staraya Russa to Ostashkov. Promoted to field marshal, Busch commanded Army Group Centre in 1943 and 1944 but after the disastrous defeat of June 1944, he was sacked by Hitler early in July 1944 and replaced by Field Marshal Walter Model.

His grave at Cannock Chase German war cemetery

Busch was recalled in March 1945 when he became head of Army Group Northwest. Along with Kurt Student and his 1st Parachute Army, Busch had the task of trying to halt the advance of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's forces into Germany. Busch surrendered to Montgomery on 3 May 1945, and died of heart failure in a prisoner of war camp in Aldershot, England, on 17 July 1945.

Busch was temporarily buried in the Aldershot Military Cemetery between the graves of two German privates. His funeral, which was performed with little ceremony, was attended by Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt and eight other captured German generals.[1] His body was exhumed in 1963 and reburied in Cannock Chase German war cemetery in Staffordshire.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Wehrmachtbericht references[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Wednesday, 6 August 1941 In kühnem Ansturm gelang es der unter Führung des Generalobersten Busch stehenden Armee und der in ihrem Abschnitt kämpfenden Panzergruppe des Generalobersten Höppner, die stark ausgebauten und zäh verteidigten Stellungen südlich des Peipus-Sees zu durchbrechen. Ostrow, Porchow und Pleskau fielen nach kurzem, hartem Kampfe.[7] In a bold assault, the army under the leadership of Colonel-General Busch, and the Panzer group fighting in their sector of Colonel General Hoeppner (sic), succeeded in breaching the strongly developed and stubbornly defended positions south of Lake Peipus. Ostrow, Porkhov and Pskov fell after a short, hard combat.
Tuesday, 21 October 1941 (Sondermeldung) Trotz andauernder starker Bedrohung ihrer Ostflanke drehte die Masse der Armee des Generaloberst Busch zusammen mit der Panzerarmee des Generaloberst Hoepner zunächst nach Norden ein.[8] (Extra) Despite the strong ongoing threat to its eastern flank the mass of the army of General Colonel Busch along with the Panzer Army Colonel-General Hoepner first turned to the north.



  1. ^ Busch's funeral described in 'Some of the Prisoners held at Special Camp 11'
  2. ^ a b c d e Thomas 1997, p. 94.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thomas & Wegmann 1993, p. 327.
  4. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 255.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 151.
  6. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 71.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 633.
  8. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 704.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kemp, Anthony (1990 reprint). German Commanders of World War II (#124 Men-At-Arms series). Osprey Pub., London. ISBN 0-85045-433-6.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Stahel, David (2015). The Battle for Moscow. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107087606. 
  • Thomas, Franz; Wegmann, Günter (1993). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Teil III: Infanterie Band 3: Br–Bu [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the German Wehrmacht 1939–1945 Part III: Infantry Volume 3: Br–Bu] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-1734-3. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 23. Infanterie-Division
October 1935 – February 1938
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Walter von
Preceded by
Commander of 16. Armee
January, 1940 – 12 October 1943
Succeeded by
General der Artillerie Christian Hansen
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Günther von Kluge
Commander of Heeresgruppe Mitte
12 October 1943 – 28 June 1944
Succeeded by
Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model
Preceded by
Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz
Commander of Heeresgruppe H
15 April 1945 – 3 May 1945
Succeeded by