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Encyclopedia > Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb in a photo from 1946
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb in a photo from 1946

Wilhelm Ritter[1] von Leeb (September 5, 1876 - April 29, 1956) was a German Field Marshal during World War II. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1876 Pick up Sticks(MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 119th day of the year (120th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...



Born in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria as Wilhelm Leeb, he joined the Bavarian Army in 1895 as an officer cadet. After being commissioned in the artillery, he served in China during the Boxer Rebellion. He later attended the Bavarian War Academy in Munich (1907 - 1909) and served on the General Staff in Berlin (1909 - 1911). Promoted to captain, he performed a tour of duty as a battery commander in the Bavarian 10th Field Artillery Regiment at Erlangen (1912 - 1913). Landsberg is the Prison within Bavaria where Adolf Hitler spent his sentance. ... For other uses, see Bavaria (disambiguation). ... The German Army (Deutsches Heer) was the name given the combined armed forces of the German Empire, also known as the Imperial Army (Reichsheer) or Imperial German Army. ... For other uses, see Artillery (disambiguation). ... Combatants Eight-Nation Alliance (ordered by contribution): Empire of Japan Russian Empire British Empire France United States German Empire Kingdom of Italy Austro-Hungarian Empire Righteous Harmony Society Qing Dynasty (China) Commanders Edward Seymour Alfred Graf von Waldersee Ci Xi Strength 20,000 initially 49,000 total 50,000-100... For other uses, see Munich (disambiguation). ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... Erlangen around 1915 Erlangen is a German city in Middle Franconia. ...

World War I and after

At the outbreak of World War I, Leeb was on the General Staff of the Bavarian I Corps. During the war, he served with the Bavarian 11th Infantry Division. Upon promotion to major, he was transferred to the Eastern Front in the summer of 1916. The following year, he was appointed to the staff of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. For his military achievements on May 2, 1915, on May 29, 1916 Leeb received the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph, the Bavarian equivalent of the Prussian Pour le Mérite. Receipt of this decoration elevated him to the ranks of nobility, and on June 21, 1916 Leeb received a patent of nobility changing his name by adding the title "Ritter (knight) von". “The Great War ” redirects here. ... A General Staff is a group of professional military officers who act in a staff or administrative role under the command of a general officer. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ... Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria or Crown Prince Rupert of Bavaria (German: Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern) (18 May 1869- 2 August 1955) Rupprecht was the son of Louis III, the last King of Bavaria. ... The Military Order of Max Joseph (German: Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden) was the highest purely military order of the Kingdom of Bavaria. ... The Order Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max (German: Blauer Max), was Prussias highest military order until the end of World War I. The award was a blue-enameled Maltese Cross with eagles between the arms, the Prussian royal cypher, and the French legend Pour... Ritter is the lowest-ranking title of lower nobility, in German-speaking areas, considered equal to the title Knight. ...

After the war, Ritter von Leeb remained in the Reichswehr, the 100,000-man army permitted to Germany under the Treaty of Versailles. In 1923, he was involved in putting down the Nazi Beer Hall Putsch. He then rose to command Wehrkreis (Military District) VII, which covered Bavaria, as a lieutenant-general, before the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. The Reichswehr (help· info) (literally National Defense or Imperial Defense) formed the military organization of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when the government rebranded it as the Wehrmacht (Defence Force). ... This article is about the Treaty of Versailles of June 28 1919, which ended World War I. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles (disambiguation) . The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed coup détat that occurred between the evening of Thursday, November 8 and the early afternoon of Friday, November 9, 1923, when the Nazi partys Führer Adolf Hitler, the popular World War I General Erich Ludendorff, and other leaders of the... Military districts are territorial entities used for the purposes of military planning and strategizing. ... Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Hitler redirects here. ... The Nazi Party (German: , or NSDAP, English: National Socialist German Workers Party), was a far-right, racist political party in Germany between 1920 and 1945. ...

World War II

Hitler was not fond of von Leeb due to his anti-Nazi attitudes and religious convictions, and retired him in 1938 after promoting him to the rank of colonel general. However von Leeb was reactivated in July of the same year, and made commander of the Twelfth Army which took part part in the occupation of the Sudetenland. Afterwards he was pensioned off again. National Socialism redirects here. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... The German Twelfth Army (German: ) was a World War II field army. ... The Munich Agreement and the first Vienna Award After the Austrian Anschluss, Czechoslovakia was to become Hitlers next target. ...

In summer 1939 however, von Leeb was yet again called back into service and given command of Army Group C. During the Battle of France, his troops broke through the Maginot Line. For his role in this victory, von Leeb was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal (generalfeldmarschall) in July 1940, and awarded the Knight's Cross. Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants  France  United Kingdom  Canada  Czechoslovakia  Poland  Belgium  Netherlands  Luxembourg Germany Italy Commanders Maurice Gamelin, Maxime Weygand (French) Lord Gort (British Expeditionary Force) Leopold III (Belgian) H.G. Winkelman (Dutch) Gerd von Rundstedt (Army Group A) Fedor von Bock (Army Group B) Wilhelm von Leeb (Army Group C) H.R... The Maginot Line (IPA: [maÊ’inoː], named after French minister of defence André Maginot) was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defences which France constructed along its borders with Germany and with Italy, in the light of experience from World War I, and... Note: This article is about the military usage of the word marshal. For other usages, see the end of this article. ... Replica of the marshals baton of Generalfeldmarschall von Richthofen (Third Reich) Generalfeldmarschall ( ) (general field marshal, usually translated simply as field marshal, and sometimes written only as Feldmarschall) was a rank in the armies of several German states, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Austrian Empire. ... The Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz) is a military decoration of Germany which was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and first awarded on 10 March 1813. ...

Now having Hitler's faith, von Leeb was given command of Army Group North and responsibility for the northern sector in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Von Leeb was to destroy the Soviet units in the Baltic region, and capture all Soviet Baltic Sea naval bases. When the invasion began on June 22, 1941, von Leeb's armies met with outstanding success against an overwhelmed Soviet force. By the end of September, his army had advanced 900 km into the Soviet Union and surrounded Leningrad, but he failed to capture the city. Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord in German) was a high level command grouping of military units operating for Germany during World War II. The army group coordinated the operations of attached army corps, reserve formations, and direct-reporting units. ... Combatants Germany, Romania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia  Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb Fedor von Bock Gerd von Rundstedt Heinz Guderian Günther von Kluge Franz Halder Maresal Ion Antonescu C.G.E. Mannerheim Giovanni Messe, CSIR Italo Gariboldi, ARMIR Joseph Stalin Kliment Voroshilov Semyon Timoshenko Fyodor... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Population density in the wider Baltic region. ... The Baltic Sea is located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ...

The Defeat at Tikhvin

The turning point in the defeat of the German attempt to capture Leningrad was the battle of Tikhvin in October-December 1941. At Tikhvin the Red Army, for the first time in World War II, inflicted a large-scale defeat on the Wehrmacht in ground warfare. Tikhvin (Russian: Тихвин) is a town in the northeast of Leningrad Oblast of Russia, 200 km East of St. ... Wehrmacht   (armed forces, literally defence force(s)) was the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. ...

Encouraged by easy victories over the disorganized and poorly led Red Army at the beginning of the war, von Leeb had rushed his armies to Tikhvin, a key city on the road to Leningrad in hopes of a quick conquest of Leningrad. A victory would allow the Germans to shift many of their troops from the north to Army Group Centre, for a decisive attack on Moscow. The Germans, having numerical superiority in tanks over the Russians, initially succeeded in occupying Tikhvin on November 8. However the newly-appointed commander of the Soviet 4th Army, Kirill Meretskov, bogged down the Germans by applying active defense and constant counterattacks. He then went on the offensive and on December 10 recaptured Tikhvin. Army Group Centre (Heeresgruppe Mitte in German) was created on 22 June 1941 when Army Group B was renamed Army Group Centre. ... Combatants Nazi Germany Soviet Union Commanders Fedor von Bock, Heinz Guderian Georgy Zhukov, Aleksandr Vasilevsky Strength As of October 1: 1,000,000 men, 1,700 tanks, 14,000 guns, 950 planes[1] As of October 1: 1,250,000 men, 1,000 tanks, 7,600 guns, 677 planes[2... Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov (Russian: Кирилл Афанасьевич Мерецков) (June 7, 1897 - December 30, 1968) was a Soviet military commander. ...

In the midst of the battle Stavka ordered Meretskov to organize a new Volkhov Front. By December 30 Meretzkov had forced von Leeb's troops back to positions from which they began their Tikhvin offense. According to one of the leading historians of the Eastern Front, David Glantz: "the concept of blitzkrieg failed for the first time in the Second World War... anticipating [the Soviet victory at Moscow]". Stavka (Ставка) was the General Headquarters of armed forces in late Imperial Russia and in the Soviet Union. ... The Volkhov Front was a Front (i. ...

The battle at Tikhvin was also significant in its direct assistance to the Red Army in the battle of Moscow. Instead of being able to send units from Army Group North to Army Group Centre, the Germans were compelled to move reinforcements in the opposite direction. Glantz again: "During this most critical period of the war, 32 percent of the Wehrmacht's forces, operating north of the Pripiat Marshes, including almost two full panzer groups, were tied down in combat along or adjacent to Tikhvin". The Wehrmacht lost 45,000 troops in the battle. Pinsk Marshes (Пинские болота) or Pripyat Marshes (Pripet Marshes, Припятские болота) is a vast territory of wetlands along the Pripyat River and its tributaries from Brest, Belarus (West) to Mahileu (Northeast) and Kiev (Southeast). ...

When von Leeb did not quickly capture Leningrad, Hitler impatiently commented: "Leeb is in a second childhood; he can't grasp and carry out my plan for the speedy capture of Leningrad. He fusses over his plan of assuming the defensive in the northwestern sector and wants a drive in the center on Moscow. He's obviously senile, he's lost his nerve, and like a true Catholic he wants to pray but not fight." For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ...

An old-school German general, von Leeb did not take well to having his command micro-managed by someone he considered an armchair general, namely Hitler. It is sometimes stated in works of popular history that Hitler fired Leeb, but this is incorrect: in January 1942, von Leeb asked Hitler to relieve him of his command, a request to which Hitler agreed. It was officially announced that he had voluntarily stepped down due to illness, not because of his defeat. Colonel-General Georg von Küchler assumed command of Army Group North, and von Leeb was never used again by Hitler. Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Colonel General is a senior military rank which is used in some of the world’s militaries. ... Field Marshal Georg von Küchler Georg Karl Friedrich Wilhelm von Küchler (May 30, 1881 - May 25, 1968) was a German field marshal during World War II. Born in Philippsruhe castle near Hanau, Küchler led the German German Eighteenth Army in 1940 in the invasion of neutral Holland...

Relations with Nazis

Von Leeb's attitude towards the Nazi regime is ambivalent: in spite of his open contempt for Hitler and his cronies, he did accept a present of 250,000 Reichsmarks for his 65th birthday in 1941. In 1944 he also allowed the Nazis to use his popularity for propaganda purposes, when he was presented with a great Bavarian estate worth 638,000 Reichsmarks. After the failed July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944, Leeb sent an affirmation of loyalty to the dictator. A 100 Reichsmark banknote from Germany of 1935 (http://www. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Claus von Stauffenberg The July 20 Plot was an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Germany, on July 20, 1944. ...

After the war, von Leeb was tried by a U.S. military tribunal in Nuremberg in the High Command Trial. Due to a confusion of documents he was found guilty on one of four charges and sentenced to three years imprisonment, but was released after the judgment because he had already spent more time in custody. He spent his last years in quiet existence with his family until his death in Füssen in 1956. Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Chief prosecutor Telford Taylor opens the prosecution case in the Krupp Trial The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials (or, more formally, the Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT)) were a series of twelve U.S. military trials for war crimes against surviving members of the military, political, and... Nuremberg (German: ) is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. ... The High Command Trial (or, officially, The United States of America vs. ... Füssen is a town in Bavaria, Germany, in the district Ostallgäu. ...


  1. ^ Note regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated as Knight, not a first or middle name.

Ritter is the lowest-ranking title of lower nobility, in German-speaking areas, considered equal to the title Knight. ... The silver Anglia knight, commissioned as a trophy in 1850, intended to represent the Black Prince. ...


  • David Glantz, "The Battle for Leningrad", 1941-1944, Lawrence, KS, 2002.
  • Pavlov, Dmitri V. Leningrad 1941: The Blockade. Translated by John Clinton Adams. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1965.

  Results from FactBites:
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb at AllExperts (618 words)
Hitler was not fond of von Leeb due to his anti-Nazi attitudes and religious convictions.
Von Leeb, now having Hitler's faith, was given responsibility for carrying out the attack on the Soviet Union in the northwestern sector and he was given command of Army Group North in Operation Barbarossa.
von Leeb was to destroy Soviet units in the Baltic area, capture all Soviet Baltic Sea naval bases, and Leningrad by July 21 1941.
  More results at FactBites »



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