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The 7th Army (German: 7. Armee Oberkommando) was a World War II field army of the German land forces.

7. Armee
7th Army
7. Armee Kennzeichen (Wehrmacht) 1944.svg
Ensign of the German 7th Army from 1944
Active1939–45
Country Nazi Germany
BranchArmy
TypeField army
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General Friedrich Dollmann
SS General Paul Hausser
General Heinrich Eberbach
General Erich Brandenberger
General Hans Felber
General Hans von Obstfelder

Contents

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

The 7th Army was activated in Stuttgart on August 25, 1939 with General Friedrich Dollmann in command. At the outbreak of the war, the 7th Army defended the French border and manned the Westwall in the Upper Rhine region. At the start of the Campaign in the West in 1940, the 7th Army was part of General Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb's Army Group C. On 14 June 1940, Army Group C attacked the Maginot Line after it had been cut off by armored units of the XXXXI Panzer Corps. Lead elements of the 7th Army reached the area in front of Colmar and later pursued parts of the French 2nd Army Group into Lorraine. At the conclusion of the campaign, the 7th Army was in eastern France. From July 1940 until April 1941, the 7th Army guarded a region of the coast in southwestern France. From 18 April 1941, the 7th Army was responsible for coastal defense in Brittany and Normandy. By mid-1944, the 7th Army was part of Erwin Rommel's Army Group B.

NormandyEdit

Because of uncertainty in the German high command regarding Allied intentions after the D-Day landings, the 7th Army did most of the initial fighting in Normandy although it was later reinforced by the Panzer Group West. The 15th Army was kept at the Pas de Calais, expecting another landing by the Allies. By 18 June, the 7th Army had lost 97,000 men, including five generals. On 28 June, the army's commander, General Dollmann, died of a heart attack.

Under unrelenting Allied pressure, the 7th Army was slowly forced back through the hedgerow country in Normandy. Finally, in Operation Cobra in late July 1944, the 7th Army's weakened left wing was flattened by a massive Allied aerial bombardment and then assaulted and broken by the US 1st Army. Armored exploitation of this rent in the front lines by US units forced a German retreat and then an unsuccessful counter-attack which culminated in the 7th Army being nearly wiped out in the Falaise Pocket.

Abandoning what remained of their heavy equipment, shattered remnants of the 7th Army escaped from the Falaise Pocket and retreated eastward to the German border. During the autumn of 1944, the 7th Army adopted a defensive posture in the Eifel region on the Belgian and Luxembourgian border while Hitler husbanded forces for a winter offensive on the Western Front.

Battle of the BulgeEdit

During the Battle of the Bulge it consisted of three infantry (212th, 256th, 352nd Volksgrenadier) divisions and one parachute (5th) division.[1] Its role was to protect the southern flank of the Fifth Panzer Army and the entire Ardennes Offensive. Like the other two German armies in the offensive, the 7th Army took substantial losses. The 7th Army defended against the northward attack of the US 3rd Army, but ultimately failed to halt General George S. Patton's drive to Bastogne and Houffalize. The 7th Army, however, managed to avoid encirclement and retreated again to the Westwall.

GermanyEdit

In January 1945, the U.S. 3rd Army attacked to the east, forcing the 7th Army to retreat from the area of Trier to the region of Koblenz. Under further U.S. pressure, the 7th Army was forced to retreat through the areas around Mainz and Mannheim. Unable to stop the U.S. advances in central Germany during March and April 1945, the 7th Army continued its retreat through the valleys of the Main and Lahn Rivers, through the Spessart hills, Fulda, Gotha, and then through the Thuringian Forest to the region between Leipzig and Hof.

SurrenderEdit

The 7th Army surrendered to U.S. 3rd Army in the area of the Bavarian Forest and western Bohemia on 8 May 1945.

CommandersEdit

Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1Dollmann, FriedrichGeneraloberst
Friedrich Dollmann
(1882–1944)
25 August 193928 June 1944 †4 years, 332 days
2Hausser, PaulSS-Obergruppenführer
Paul Hausser
(1880–1972)
29 June 194420 August 194452 days
3Eberbach, HeinrichGeneral der Panzertruppe
Heinrich Eberbach
(1895–1992)
21 August 194430 August 19449 days
4Brandenberger, ErichGeneral der Panzertruppe
Erich Brandenberger
(1892–1955)
3 September 194421 February 1945171 days
6Obstfelder, HansGeneral der Infanterie
Hans von Obstfelder
(1886–1976)
26 March 19458 May 194543 days

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elstob, page 44.

BibliographyEdit

  • Elstob, Peter. Hitler's Last Offensive, Pen & Sword Military Classics #15, Barnsley, 2003. ISBN 0-85052-984-0