1st Army (Wehrmacht)

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1. Armee
1st Army
Active1939–45
Country Germany
BranchArmy
TypeField army
EngagementsWorld War II

The 1st Army (German: 1. Armee) was a World War II field army.

Combat Chronicle[edit]

The 1st Army was activated on August 26, 1939, with General Erwin von Witzleben in command. Its primary mission was to guard the western defences of Germany against Allied forces along the Maginot Line, making it the principal adversary during the short-lived French Saar Offensive. During the battle of France, the army participated in the final breach of the line's defenses. After the French capitulation it spent until mid-1944 protecting the Atlantic coast of France from a possible seaborne incursion. Following the Normandy invasion in 1944, the army reorganized in Lorraine after a hasty retreat with the rest of the German forces across France in August 1944. During the battles along the German frontier, the First Army attempted to prevent the Third United States Army from crossing the Moselle River and capturing Metz while also attempting to hold the northern Vosges Mountains against the Seventh United States Army.

In November 1944, both defensive lines were broken and the First Army retreated to the German border and defended the Saarland of Germany, an important industrial region. With the Third U.S. Army engaged to the north against the German Ardennes Offensive, the 1st Army attacked the Seventh U.S. Army on New Year's Day 1945 in Operation Nordwind, causing the Americans to give ground and inflicting significant casualties where Seventh U.S. Army defensive lines were stretched taut by the length of frontage they had to cover. With the failure of Nordwind in late January, the 1st Army was first pushed back to the Siegfried Line and then forced to retreat across the Rhine River when the Allies pierced the German fortifications. Thereafter, the First Army made an ordered withdrawal to the Danube River before surrendering near the Alps on May 6, 1945.

Commanders[edit]

Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1
Erwin von Witzleben
Witzleben, ErwinGeneraloberst
Erwin von Witzleben
(1881–1944)
26 August 193923 October 19401 year, 58 days
2
Johannes Blaskowitz
Blaskowitz, JohannesGeneraloberst
Johannes Blaskowitz
(1883–1948)
24 October 19402 May 19443 years, 191 days
3
Joachim Lemelsen
Lemelsen, JoachimGeneral der Panzertruppe
Joachim Lemelsen
(1888–1954)
3 May 19443 June 194431 days
4
Kurt von der Chevallerie
Chevallerie, KurtGeneral der Infanterie
Kurt von der Chevallerie
(1891–1945)
4 June 19445 September 194493 days
5
Otto von Knobelsdorff
Knobelsdorff, OttoGeneral der Panzertruppe
Otto von Knobelsdorff
(1886–1966)
6 September 194429 November 194484 days
6
Hans von Obstfelder
Obstfelder, HansGeneral der Infanterie
Hans von Obstfelder
(1886–1976)
30 November 19442 February 194564 days
7
Hermann Foertsch
Foertsch, HermannGeneral der Infanterie
Hermann Foertsch
(1895–1961)
28 February 19454 May 194565 days
8
Rudolf Koch-Erpach
Koch, RudolfGeneral der Kavallerie
Rudolf Koch-Erpach
(1886–1971)
6 May 19458 May 19452 days

Chiefs of Staff[edit]

Assignment and Attachment to Higher Units[edit]

Order of battle[edit]

Subordinated units
1939
9 Sep IX Corps
XXIV Corps
XII Corps
1940
10 May XII Corps
XXIV Corps
XXX Corps
XXXVII Corps

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Tessin, Georg (1965). Die Landstreitkräfte 1–5 [Ground forces 1–5]. Die Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939—1945 (in German). Frankfurt/Main: E.S. Mittler. pp. 1–4.