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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Günther Adolf Ferdinand von Kluge

Günther Adolf Ferdinand von Kluge

Career:

Branch: Kaiserliche Heer / Reichswehr Heer / Wehrmacht Heer
Born: 30 October 1882 in Posen, Province of Posen, German Empire.
Died: 19 August 1944 in Metz, France.

Ranks:
Generalfeldmarschall 19 July 1940
Generaloberst 1 October 1939
General der Artillerie 1 August 1936
Generalleutnant 1 April 1934
Generalmajor 1 February 1933
Oberst 1 February 1930
Oberstleutnant 1 July 1927
Major 1 April 1923
Hauptmann 2 August 1914
Oberleutnant 16 June 1910
Leutnant 22 March 1901
Fähnrich

Decorations:
Iron Cross 1914
2nd Class
1st Class
House Order of Hohenzollern Knight's Cross with Swords
Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th class with Swords
Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross 2nd class
Verdienstmedaille für Rettung aus Gefahr
Order of the Iron Crown 3rd class with War Decoration
Austrian Military Merit Cross 3rd class with War Decoration
Wound Badge 1918 in Black
Cross of Honor
Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13 March 1938
Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1 October 1938
Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939
2nd class 5 September 1939
1st class 17 September 1939
Eastern Front Medal
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Knight's Cross 30 September 1939
Oak Leaves 18 January 1943
Swords 29 October 1943

Commands:

Personal Information:

Günther Adolf Ferdinand von Kluge was born on 30 October 1882 and became was a German military leader. Günther von Kluge was born in Posen into a Prussian military family. Günther von Kluge rose to the rank of Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht. During the First World War, Günther von Kluge was a staff officer and in 1916 was at the Battle of Verdun. By 1936 Günther von Kluge was a lieutenant-general, and in 1937 took command of the 6th Army Group.

Günther von Kluge was in command of the 6th Army Group, which later became the German 4th Army, Günther von Kluge led the 6th Army Group into battle in Poland in 1939. Although Günther von Kluge opposed the initial German plan to attack westwards into France, Günther von Kluge led the 4th Army in its attack through the Ardennes that attributed to the fall of France. Günther von Kluge was promoted to field marshal in July 1940.

On 29 June 1941, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge ordered, Women in uniform are to be shot.

In July 1941, Günther von Kluge commanded the 4th Army in Operation Barbarossa, where Günther von Kluge developed a awkward relationship with Heinz Guderian over tactical matters in the advance, accusing Heinz Guderian of frequent non-compliance of his orders.

Later on Fedor von Bock was relieved of his command of Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Centre) in late 1941, Günther von Kluge was promoted and led that Heeresgruppe until Günther von Kluge was wounded in October 1943. Günther von Kluge often flew in an aeroplane to inspect the divisions under his command and occasionally alleviated his boredom on the flights by hunting foxes from the air a definitely untraditional way. On 30 October 1942, Günther von Kluge was the beneficiary of an large bribe from Adolf Hitler who posted a letter of good wishes together with a huge cheque made out to him from the German Department of the Treasury and a promise that any improvements to his estate could be billed out to the German Department of the Treasury. Günther von Kluge accepted the money, but after experienced severe criticism from his Chief of Staff, Henning von Tresckow who reproached him for his corruption, agreed to meet Carl Friedrich Goerdeler in November 1942. Günther von Kluge assured Goerdeler that he would apprehend Adolf Hitler the next time he came to the Eastern Front, but then receiving another present from Adolf Hitler, changed his mind and resolved to stay loyal. Adolf Hitler, who appears to have discovered that Günther von Kluge was disgruntled with his leadership considered his presents as entitling him to Günther von Kluge's total allegiance. On 27 October 1943, Günther von Kluge was seriously hurt when his car turned over on the Minsk Smolensk road. Günther von Kluge was incapable to return to duty until July 1944. After his convalescence Günther von Kluge became commandant of the German forces in the West (Oberbefehlshaber West) as Gerd von Rundstedt's successor.

Between June and July 1944, whilst the invasion of Normandy was taking place by Allied forces, Rommel commanded Heeresgruppe B (Army Group B) under Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt. Rommel was charged with planning and preparing German counter strikes designed to drive the Allied forces back to the beaches. On 2 July, Günther von Kluge supplanted Gerd von Rundstedt, since Gerd von Rundstedt was recommending negotiation with the Allies forces. Two weeks later, Rommel was injured and Günther von Kluge took over as commandant of Heeresgruppe B (Army Group B) as well.

Günther von Kluge found that German forces proceeding towards Normandy were perpetually set upon by Allied fighters and bombers. The climax came with the encirclement of Günther von Kluge's forces around the town of Falaise by combined United States, Canadian, British and Polish armies. The oppositions air superiority is alarming and suffocates almost every one of our movements, phoned Field Marshal Günther von Kluge to General Warlimont, Adolf Hitler personal representative in the West. All movement of the enemy is prepared and protected by its air force. Losses in men and equipment are phenomenal. Günther von Kluge was not invulnerable to personal danger. USAAF Group Commander Col. Howard F. Nichols and a squadron of his 370th Fighter Group's P-38 Lightnings devastated Günther von Kluge's military headquarters, the Colonel skipped a bomb right through the front entrance of his military headquarters. The explosion killed numerous men, though Günther von Kluge wasn't present at the time.

In August, after the failed coup attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg, Günther von Kluge was recalled to the German capital Berlin and replaced by Walther Model.

A leading figure of the German military resistance, Henning von Tresckow, served as his Chief of Staff of Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Centre). Günther von Kluge was moderately involved in the military resistance. Günther von Kluge knew about Tresckow's plan to shoot Adolf Hitler during a visit to Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Centre), having been advised by his former subordinate, Georg von Boeselager, who was now serving under Tresckow. At the last minute, Günther von Kluge aborted Tresckow's plan. Boeselager later hypothesised that because Heinrich Himmler had decided not to accompany Adolf Hitler, Günther von Kluge feared that without eliminating Heinrich Himmler too, it could lead to a civil war between the Waffen SS and the Wehrmacht.

Whilst Claus von Stauffenberg set about to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 20 July, Günther von Kluge was West Supreme Field Commander West (Oberbefehlshaber) with his military headquarters in La Roche-Guyon. The commandant of the occupation troops of France, General Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, and his colleague Colonel Cäsar von Hofacker a cousin of Claus von Stauffenberg came to visit Günther von Kluge. Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel had just ordered the arrest of the Schutzstaffel units in Paris. Günther von Kluge had already ascertained that Adolf Hitler had survived the assassination attempt and declined to provide any support. Ja wenn das Schwein tot wäre! (Well if the pig were dead!) he said. On 17 August Günther von Kluge was supplanted by Walther Model and called back to Berlin for a meeting with Adolf Hitler after the takeover failed, believing that Adolf Hitler would punish him as a conspirator, Günther von Kluge committed suicide by taking cyanide near Metz that same day. Günther von Kluge left Adolf Hitler a letter in which Günther von Kluge advised Adolf Hitler to make peace and put an end to a hopeless struggle when necessary. Adolf Hitler reportedly handed the letter to Alfred Jodl and remarked that There are substantial reasons to suspect that hadn't hadn't Günther von Kluge committed suicide he would have been apprehended in any case.

Günther von Kluge's nickname among the troops and his fellow officers was der kluge Hans (Clever Hans). Hans was not part of his given name, but a nickname acquired early in his career in admiration of his cleverness (klug is German for clever). It's a reference to Clever Hans, a horse which became famous for its apparent ability to do arithmetic.

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