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The Info List - Oberkommando Des Heeres



The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the Supreme High Command of the German Army. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of Germany. From 1938 OKH was, together with OKL (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, High Command of the Air Force) and OKM (Oberkommando der Marine, High Command of the Navy), formally subordinated to the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Supreme High Command of all Armed Forces), with exception of the Waffen-SS. During the war, OKH had the responsibility of strategic planning of Armies and Army Groups, while the General Staff of the OKH managed operational matters. Each German Army also had an Armeeoberkommando, Army Command, or AOK. Until the German defeat at Moscow in December 1941, OKH and its staff was de facto the most important unit within the German war planning. OKW then took over this function for theatres other than the German-Soviet front. OKH commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Supreme High Commander of the Army). Following the Battle of Moscow, after OKH commander Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch was excused, Hitler appointed himself as Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

OKH vs OKW

Hitler had been the head of OKW since January 1938, using it to pass orders to the navy (OKM), air force (OKL), and army (OKH). After a major crisis developed in the Battle of Moscow, Walther von Brauchitsch was dismissed (partly because of his failing health), and Hitler appointed himself as head of the OKH while still retaining his position at the OKW. At the same time, he limited the OKH's authority to the Russian front, giving OKW direct authority over army units elsewhere. This enabled Hitler to declare that only he had complete awareness of Germany's strategic situation, should any general request a transfer of resources between the Russian front and another theater of operations.[1]

Overview

Commander-in-chief of the Army

The Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Commander-in-chief of the German Army) was

Supreme Commander of the Army Took office Left office Time in office
1
Werner von Fritsch
von Fritsch, WernerColonel General Werner von Fritsch
(1880–1939)
1 January 1934 4 February 1938 4 years, 34 days
2
Walther von Brauchitsch
von Brauchitsch, WaltherField Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch
(1881–1948)
4 February 1938 19 December 1941 3 years, 318 days
3
Adolf Hitler
Hitler, Adolf Führer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler
(1889–1945)
[a]
19 December 1941 30 April 1945 † 3 years, 132 days
4
Ferdinand Schörner
Schörner, FerdinandField Marshal Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
[b]
30 April 1945 8 May 1945 8 days

Chiefs of the OKH General Staff

Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office
1
Ludwig Beck
Beck, LudwigColonel General Ludwig Beck
(1880–1944)
1 October 1933 31 August 1938 4 years, 334 days
2
Franz Halder
Halder, FranzColonel General Franz Halder
(1884–1972)
1 September 1938 24 September 1942 4 years, 23 days
3
Kurt Zeitzler
Zeitzler, KurtColonel General Kurt Zeitzler
(1895–1963)
24 September 1942 10 June 1944 1 year, 260 days
4
Adolf Heusinger
Heusinger, AdolfGeneral Lieutenant Adolf Heusinger
(1897–1982)
[c]
10 June 1944 21 July 1944 41 days
5
Heinz Guderian
Guderian, HeinzColonel General Heinz Guderian
(1888–1954)
21 July 1944 28 March 1945 250 days
6
Hans Krebs
Krebs, HansGeneral of the Infantry  Wehrmacht general)">Hans Krebs
(1898–1945)
[d]
1 April 1945 1 May 1945 † 30 days
7
Wilhelm Keitel
Keitel, WilhelmField Marshal Wilhelm Keitel
(1882–1946)
1 May 1945 13 May 1945 12 days
8
Alfred Jodl
Jodl, AlfredColonel General Alfred Jodl
(1890–1946)
13 May 1945 23 May 1945 10 days

Although both OKW and OKH were headquartered in Zossen during the Third Reich, the functional and operational independence of both establishments were not lost on the respective staff during their tenure. Personnel at the sprawling Zossen compound remarked that even if Maybach 2 (the OKW complex) was completely destroyed, the OKH staff in Maybach 1 would scarcely notice. These camouflaged facilities, separated physically by a fence, also maintained structurally different mindsets towards their objectives.

On 28 April 1945 (two days before his suicide), Hitler formally subordinated OKH to OKW, giving the latter command of forces on the Eastern Front.[2]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Hitler assumed personal command of the OKH following Brauchitsch's dismissal in order to supervise Operation Barbarossa, the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union.
  2. ^ one of Hitler's favorite military commanders was named in Hitler's last will and testament, which the latter issued prior to his suicide on April 30, 1945 as the new commander of the OKH. Meanwhile, the OKH was subordinated to the OKW of the Wehrmacht, under Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.
  3. ^ Later served as the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (1957–1961) and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (1961–1964)
  4. ^ Commited suicide

References

  1. ^ Barnett, Correlli (1989). Hitler's Generals. Grove. p. 497. ISBN 978-1555841614. 
  2. ^ Grier, Howard D. Hitler, Dönitz, and the Baltic Sea, Naval Institute Press, 2007, ISBN 1-59114-345-4. p. 121

External links


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