German Seventh Army
Overview
 
The 7th Army was a World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and 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...

 field army
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....

 of the German land forces.
The 7th Army was activated in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 on August 25, 1939 with General Friedrich Dollmann
Friedrich Dollmann
Friedrich Dollmann was a German general during World War II, most notably serving during the early phases of the D-Day Invasion....

 in command. At the outbreak of the war, the 7th Army defended the German border and manned the Westwall in the Upper Rhine region. At the start of the Campaign in the West
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 in 1940, the 7th Army was part of General Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb was a German Field Marshal during World War II. - Youth :...

's Army Group C. On 14 June 1940, Army Group C attacked the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
The Maginot Line , named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I,...

 after it had been cut off by armored units of the XXXXI Panzer Corps.
Encyclopedia
The 7th Army was a World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and 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...

 field army
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....

 of the German land forces.

Origins

The 7th Army was activated in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 on August 25, 1939 with General Friedrich Dollmann
Friedrich Dollmann
Friedrich Dollmann was a German general during World War II, most notably serving during the early phases of the D-Day Invasion....

 in command. At the outbreak of the war, the 7th Army defended the German border and manned the Westwall in the Upper Rhine region. At the start of the Campaign in the West
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 in 1940, the 7th Army was part of General Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb was a German Field Marshal during World War II. - Youth :...

's Army Group C. On 14 June 1940, Army Group C attacked the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
The Maginot Line , named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I,...

 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
Colmar
Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....

 and later pursued parts of the French 2nd Army Group into Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

. 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
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 and Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

. By mid-1944, the 7th Army was part of Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

's Army Group B.

Normandy

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
Bocage
Bocage is a Norman word which has entered both the French and English languages. It may refer to a small forest, a decorative element of leaves, a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture, or a type of rubble-work, comparable with the English use of 'rustic' in relation to garden...

 in Normandy. Finally, in late July 1944, the 7th Army's weakened left wing was flattened by a massive Allied aerial bombardment and then assaulted and broken
Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra was the codename for an offensive launched by the First United States Army seven weeks after the D-Day landings, during the Normandy Campaign of World War II...

 by the U.S. 1st Army. Armored exploitation of the rent in the front lines by U.S. units forced first a German retreat and then an unsuccessful counter-attack
Operation Lüttich
Operation Lüttich was a codename given to a German counterattack during the Battle of Normandy, which took place around the American positions near Mortain from 7 August to 13 August 1944...

 which ultimately culminated in the 7th Army being nearly wiped out in the Falaise Pocket
Falaise pocket
The battle of the Falaise Pocket, fought during the Second World War from 12 to 21 August 1944, was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy...

.

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
Eifel
The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany and eastern Belgium. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium....

 region on the Belgian and Luxembourgian border while Hitler husbanded forces for a winter offensive on the Western Front.

Battle of the Bulge

During the Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive , launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, hence its French name , and France and...

 it consisted of three infantry (212th, 256th, 352nd Volksgrenadier) and one parachute (5th) divisions. Its role was to protect the southern flank of 5th 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 U.S. 3rd Army, but ultimately failed to halt General Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

's drive to Bastogne
Bastogne
Bastogne Luxembourgish: Baaschtnech) is a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in the province of Luxembourg in the Ardennes. The municipality of Bastogne includes the old communes of Longvilly, Noville, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, and Wardin...

 and Houffalize
Houffalize
Houffalize is a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in the province of Luxembourg.-History:On 1 January 2007 the municipality, which covers 166.58 km², had 4,802 inhabitants, giving a population density of 28.8 inhabitants per km²....

. The 7th Army, however, managed to avoid encirclement and retreated again to the Westwall.

Germany

In January 1945, the U.S. 3rd Army attacked to the east, forcing the 7th Army to retreat from the area of Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 to the region of Koblenz
Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

. Under further U.S. pressure, the 7th Army was forced to retreat through the areas around Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 and Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

. 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
Spessart
The Spessart is a low mountain range in northwestern Bavaria and southern Hesse, Germany. It is bordered on three sides by the Main River. The two most important towns located at the foot of the Spessart are Aschaffenburg and Würzburg....

 hills, Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

, Gotha
Gotha (town)
Gotha is a town in Thuringia, within the central core of Germany. It is the capital of the district of Gotha.- History :The town has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by Charlemagne as Villa Gotaha . Its importance derives from having been chosen in...

, and then through the Thuringian Forest
Thuringian Forest
The Thuringian Forest running northwest to southeast, forms a continuous stretch of ancient rounded mountains posing ample difficulties in transit routing save through a few navigable passes in the southern reaches of the German state of Thuringia. It is about long and wide...

 to the region between Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 and Hof.

Fate

The 7th Army surrendered to U.S. 3rd Army in the area of the Bavarian Forest
Bavarian Forest
thumb|The village of Zell in the Bavarian ForestThe Bavarian Forest is a wooded low-mountain region in Bavaria, Germany. It extends along the Czech border and is continued on the Czech side by the Šumava . Geographically the Bavarian Forest and Bohemian Forest are sections of the same mountain range...

 and western Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 on 8 May 1945.

Commanders

  • General Friedrich Dollmann
    Friedrich Dollmann
    Friedrich Dollmann was a German general during World War II, most notably serving during the early phases of the D-Day Invasion....

     (August 25, 1939–June 28, 1944)
  • Waffen SS General Paul Hausser
    Paul Hausser
    Paul "Papa" Hausser was an officer in the German Army, achieving the high rank of lieutenant-general in the inter-war Reichswehr. After retirement from the regular Army he became the "father" of the Waffen-SS and one of its most eminent leaders...

     (June 29, 1944–August 20, 1944)
  • General Heinrich Eberbach
    Heinrich Eberbach
    Heinrich Kurt Alfons Willy Eberbach was a German General der Panzertruppen in the German Army of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves...

     (August 21, 1944–August 30, 1944)
  • General Erich Brandenberger
    Erich Brandenberger
    Adolf Robert Erich Brandenberger was a German General der Panzertruppe. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves....

     (September 3, 1944–February 21, 1945)
  • General Hans Felber
    Hans Felber
    Hans Felber was a German infantry general and staff officer.Felber started his military career as Fahnenjunker on March 17, 1908. On August 17, 1909 he was elevated to Lieutenant of the 117th Infantry Regiment. On April 1, 1932 Felber became a Lieutenant Colonel. On July 1, 1935 he found himself...

     (February 22, 1945–March 25, 1945)
  • General Hans von Obstfelder
    Hans von Obstfelder
    Hans von Obstfelder was a German general of infantry, serving during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

    (March 26, 1945–May 8, 1945)

External links



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