Branch: Kaiserliche Heer / Reichsheer / Heer
Born: 14 May 1880 in Oberkirchberg, Ulm, Württemberg, Germany.
Died: 16 August 1971 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Generalfeldmarschall 19 July 1940
Generaloberst 20 April 1939
General der Infanterie 1 October 1935
Generalleutnant 1 October 1932
Generalmajor 1 November 1930
Oberst 1 March 1927
Oberstleutnant 1 October 1923
Major 26 September 1919
Hauptmann 22 March 1913
Oberleutnant 9 March 1908
Leutnant 7 March 1900
Fähnrich 8 February 1899
Wound Badge 1918 in black
Iron Cross 1914
Iron Cross 1939
House Order of Hohenzollern
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 30 September 1939
Takes command on 1939
Ends command on 1941
Takes command on 1941
Ends command on February 1941
Takes command on February 1941
Ends command on July 1942
Takes command on July 1942
Ends command on September 1942
Siegmund Wilhelm Walther von List was born on 14 May 1880 and a German Generalfeldmarschall during the Second World War, and at the beginning of the war was stationed in Slovakia in command of the 14. Armee. Wilhelm von List was born in Oberkirchberg near Ulm, Württemberg, Germany in 1880 and joined the Bavarian regular army in 1898 as a cadet. In 1900, Wilhelm von List was promoted to Lieutenant and in 1913 he joined the general staff as a Hauptmann. Wilhelm von List served as a staff officer in the First World War.
When the First World War had finished, Wilhelm von List stayed in the Reichswehr and most of his duties were as an administrator. In 1927, Wilhelm von List was promoted to Oberst, and in 1930 Wilhelm von List was promoted to Generalmajor and in 1932 Wilhelm von List was promoted to Generalleutnant. In 1938, after the Anschluss of Austria, Wilhelm von List was made responsible for incorporating the Bundesheer (Austria's armed forces) and into the Wehrmacht.
During 1939, Wilhelm von List commanded the German 14. Armee in the invasion of Poland. During 1939 to 1941, Wilhelm von List commanded the German 12. Armee in France and Greece. In 1941, Wilhelm von List was Commander-in-Chief southeast. And in July 1942, Wilhelm von List was Commander-in-Chief of Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A) on the Eastern Front in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
It was Wilhelm von List's undertaking to advance his ground forces into southern Poland at once on the outbreak of hostilities, to form the outermost southern wing of an encircling manoeuver carried out by the German ground forces aimed at ensnaring the Polish field army in the general region of Warsaw. Wilhelm von List did not accomplish this mission, whilst he met the advance components of the German XIX Panzer Corps under General Heinz Guderian a short distance south of Brest-Litovsk, on 17 September 1939.
Succeeding the close of fighting in Poland, which was accelerated by the occupation of the eastern part of the country by Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ground forces as agreed to in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Wilhelm von List and his army remained posted as occupying forces on Polish territory. Wilhelm von List was promoted to Generalfeldmarshall on the close of the campaign. In early 1941, German military personnel were being steadily assembled on the Eastern frontier of the Nazi Germany, in preparedness for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. OKW considered that before Barbarossa could be set in motion it would be essential to eliminate the possibility of interference from Greece by militarily conquering this country, in an operation codenamed Operation Marita. Wilhelm von List was assigned to negotiate with the Bulgarian General Staff, and a clandestine agreement was signed providing the free passage of German military personnel through Bulgarian territory. On the night of 28-29 February 1941, German military personnel including Wilhelm von List, who now commanded the 12. Armee assumed positions in Bulgaria, which the next day joined the Tripartite Pact.
The invasion of Greece, and of Yugoslavia, started on 6 April 1941. Wilhelm von List's 12. Armee comprised of four armored divisions and 11 motorized infantry divisions, and totally outclassed the defending forces. Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia, was occupied by German ground forces on 13 April, and Athens, capital of Greece on 27 April. The Balkan interlude ended with the withdrawal of British forces on 28 April.
During July 1942, Wilhelm von List took command of Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A), a recently formed, from Heeresgruppe Süd during the Germans' summer offensive named Case Blue. Wilhelm von List orders were to take Rostov and then advance into the Caucasus as far as Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, to capture the oil-rich area. German ground forces made good progress for two months, advancing almost to Grozny, about 650 km from Rostov.
Nevertheless, by the end of August their advance had ground to halt, mainly due to vital shortfalls of fuel and ammunition as the army group outran its supply lines. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics resistance had also hardened substantially, and things were made tougher for the Germans by the removal in mid-August of most Luftwaffe aerial combat units to the north to support the 6. Armee drive on Stalingrad.
Adolf Hitler was enraged by the loss of momentum, and when Wilhelm von List advised moving some stalled spearhead units to some other, less advanced portion of the front to aid in destroying stubborn Union of Soviet Socialist Republics forces, Adolf Hitler sacked Wilhelm von List of command on 9 September and placed himself in charge of Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A). Wilhelm von List spent the rest of the Second World War at his home and was never brought back into service.
Wilhelm von List was apprehended by the Allied forces after the Second World War. In 1947, Wilhelm von List and 11 former subordinates were brought before a United States. military court, charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity principally the reprisal killing of hostages in retaliation for partisan activity. Wilhelm von List was convicted in this Hostages Trial. Wilhelm von List was sentenced to life in captivity in February 1948. Wilhelm von List was discharged from prison in December 1952, officially because of ill health. Nevertheless, Wilhelm von List lived for another 19 years, passing away on 17 August 1971.
For a complete list of sources