Wilhelm Joseph Franz Freiherr von
- Leeb, Wilhelm Joseph Franz Freiherr von
Generalmarschall der Artillerie. OB Army Group Noord.
- 05-09-1872, Landsberg am Lech.
- 29-04-1956, age 73, Munich.
München, Waldfriedhof Zolln.
Wilhelm von Leeb, born on 05-09-1872 in Landsberg, Germany, joined the Imperial Army in 1895 as an officer cadet and after being commissioned in the artillery served in China (1901-02). He attended the Bavarian War Academy in Munich and on the General Staff in Berlin. Promoted to captain he did a tour of duty as a battery commander in the Bavarian 10th Field Artillery Regiment at Erlangen. On the outbreak of the First World War Leeb was on the General Staff of the Bavarian Army Corps. He was sent to the Western Front were he served with the Bavarian 11th Infantry Division. Promoted to major he was transferred to the Eastern Front in the summer of 1916. The following year he was appointed to the staff of Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. Rupprecht died, age 85, on 02-08-1955. After the war Leeb remained in the new Reichswehr and in 1919 was appointed chief of department in the Reich Defence Ministry. In 1920 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Oberst and the following year became Chief of Staff of Wehrkreis II. In February 1922 he returned to Munich as chief of staff of Wehrkreis VII and in 1923 he was involved in putting down the Beer Hall Putsch. Leeb was appointed commander of the 2nd Mountain Artillery Battalion of the 7th Artillery Regiment in 1924. Considered an authority on defensive warfare Leeb became the head of Wehrkries VII in 1930. A devout Roman Catholic, Leeb was opposed to the policies of the Nazi Party. Leeb with Generals Laegener and (von Rabenau). After hearing Adolf Hitler make a speech to Germany's senior army officers on 23-01-1933, Leeb commented: "A businessman whose wares are good does not need to boost them in the loudest tones of a market crier." Although the Gestapo were told to keep Leeb under surveillance, it did not stop him being promoted to General of the Artillery and in 1934 was given command of Army Group 2. In 1937 Leeb published Die Abwehr, where he argued that Germany could not defeat the Soviet Union in a two-front war. In 1938 Hitler (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know) decided to purge the German Army of anti-Nazis and Leeb was forced into retirement. However, he was recalled just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Despite his objections he took part in the invasion of Poland and commanded Army Group C during the Western Offensive. He was rewarded by being promoted to field marshal on 19-07-1940. During Operation Barbarossa he commanded Army Group North. He took part in the siege of Leningrad but on 13-01-1942 he asked to retire from active service and was replaced by General George von Küchler(see Küchler). Wilhelm von Leeb died on 29-04-1956, age 73 and is buried with his wife Maria, born Schrott, who died in a crash age 67 in 1959, on the Waldfriedhof of Zolln, in Munich. Only steps away the graves of SA Leader Franz Pfeffer von Salomon (see Pfeffer von Salomon)), General Dietrich von Saucken (see Saucken) and General der Flieger Johannes "Hannes" Trautloft (see Trautloft).