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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Hermann Hoth

Hermann Hoth

Career:

Branch: Kaiserliche Heer / Reichsheer / Heer
Born: 12 April 1885 in Neuruppin, Germany
Died: 25 January 1971 in Goslar, Germany

Ranks:
Generalfeldmarschall
Generaloberst
General der Infanterie
Generalleutnant
Generalmajor
Oberst
Oberstleutnant
Major
Hauptmann
Oberleutnant
Leutnant
Fähnrich

Decorations:
Iron Cross 1914
2nd Class 20 September 1914
1st Class 2 August 1915
Austrian Military Merit Cross
Bavarian Military Merit Cross
Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords 16 August 1918
Eiserner Halbmond
Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg
Cross of Honor
Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung
Iron Cross 1939
2nd Class 21 September 1939
1st Class 27 September 1939
Panzer Badge in Silver
Bulgarian War Merit Order
Order of Michael the Brave
3rd Class 6 November 1942
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Knight's Cross 27 October 1939
Oak Leaves 17 July 1941
Swords 15 September 1943

Commands:

Personal Information:

Hermann Hoth was born on 12 April 1885 and became a officer in the German armed forces from 1903 to 1945. Hermann Hoth achieved the rank of Generaloberst during Second World War. Hermann Hoth fought in France, but is most famous for his later exploits as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front. Hermann Hoth commanded the 4th Panzer Army during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, and later during the Wehrmacht's 1942 summertime offensive. Following the encirclement of the 6th Army in Stalingrad in November 1942, Hermann Hoth commanded the panzer army during Operation Wintergewitter. After Stalingrad, Hermann Hoth was embroiled in the Kursk counter offensive in the summer of 1943 and in the Battle of Kiev. The 4th Panzer Army under his command at Kursk was the biggest tank formation ever amassed. Hermann Hoth was sacked from command of 4th Panzer Army by Adolf Hitler in 1943, only to be restored for a short time during the last weeks of the war. After the war, Hermann Hoth served six years in prison for war crimes, and became a author on military history.

Hermann Hoth was born in Neuruppin, the son of a army medical officer. Hermann Hoth joined the regular army in 1903 and at the beginning of First World War was promoted to Captain and he won both classes of Iron Cross. Hermann Hoth stayed on in the Reichswehr in the interwar period. Following the reorganization of the German armed forces into the Wehrmacht in 1935, he was promoted to Major-General and appointed to command the 18th Infantry Division.

Hermann Hoth was promoted to Lieutenant-General and given command of the XV Motorised Corps from 10 November 1938, leading it in the invasion of Poland the following year. He was successful in the Western Offensive of spring 1940, and was promoted to full General on 19 July 1940.

In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hermann Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group which seized Minsk and Vitebsk. In October he superseded General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel as commander of the 17th Army in Ukraine. As its commander he called upon his men to realize the need for harsh punishment of Jewry. Hermann Hoth army was repulsed by the Russian offensives of early 1942.

In June 1942, Hermann Hoth assumed command from General Erich Höpner as commander of 4th Panzer Army. As part of Operation Blue, the German offensive in southern Soviet Union, the army reached the Don River at Voronezh. Hermann Hoth was then ordered to swing south to support the 1st Panzer Army's own crossing of the Don, and the 6th Army's endeavor to capture Stalingrad.

In November 1942, the Russian winter counteroffensive pushed through the German lines and trapped the 6th Army in Stalingrad. Hermann Hoth's panzer army was the centerpiece of Operation Winter Storm, the endeavor to relieve the 6th Army, under the overall command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Heeresgruppe Don (Army Group Don). The operation failed, as Russian reinforcements and deterioration in weather ground down the German advance. On 25 December, the Russians restarted their offensive, driving the Germans back and sealing the fate of 6th Army.

In July 1943, Hermann Hoth commanded the 4th Panzer Army in the Battle of Kursk. Hermann Hoth divisions, now reinforced by the II SS Panzer Corps, made a substantial incursion of the Russian lines, before being brought to a stop at Prokhorovka. Erich von Manstein advocated that the attack continue, but the slow progress of the German 9th Army to the north of Kursk, grievous losses and the Allied invasion of Sicily meant that the operation was cancelled.

In the aftermath of Kursk, the Russian ground forces mounted a series of successful offensives that crossed the Dnieper, recaptured Kiev and pushed the Germans out of eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding his distinguished record, Hermann Hoth, was now a Generaloberst, and was blamed by Adolf Hitler for part of the losses, and relieved of command. Hermann Hoth was transferred to the reserves in November.

In April 1945, Hermann Hoth was called back to active duty and assigned to command the defense of the Harz Mountains, a military position he held until the conclusion of the war.

After the conclusion of the war, Hermann Hoth was put on trial at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, found guilty of war crimes in the High Command Trial, and on 27 October 1948 sentenced to 15 years in prison. Hermann Hoth was released in 1954 and spent his retirement writing. He died at Goslar, where he is buried.

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