Heinrich Gottfried von
- Vietinghoff genannt Scheel, Heinrich Gottfried von
- General der Panzertruppe. Oberbefehlhaber Südwest.
- 06-12-1887, Mainz, Baden.
- 23-02-1952, age 64, Pfronten.
Vietinghoff genannt Scheel, Heinrich Gottfried von
Heinrich Vietinghoff, born 06-12-1887 in Mainz, Baden. His military career was strongly supported by his parents, Artillery Lieutenant General Heinrich Otto Konrad von Vietinghoff genannt Scheel (1857–1917) and Leona Gräfin von Vietinghoff genannt Scheel (born von Schmettow) (1861–1942). He joined the army at the age of 15, where he lied about his age in the first few years. On 24-11-1938, Vietinghoff was appointed commander of the 5th Panzer Division and took part in the invasion of Poland under Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb (Leeb). He was promoted to General in June 1940 after which he led the German XLVI Panzer Corps in the invasion of Yugoslavia. During Operation Barbarossa his corps was part of Army Group Centre under Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock (Bock). In this time, he had an accident after which he got his nickname "Panzerknacker" ("Tank breaker ) Von Vietinghoff also later served with General Heinz Guderian (see Guderian) in the German Second Panzer Army. From December 1941 to August 1943 he was Commander-in-Chief of the German Fifteenth Army in France, The HQ of the 15th Army is today a museum in Tourcoing, near Lille in northern France, Musée du 5 Juin 1944 . In Italy from August 1943 onwards he commanded German Tenth Army, which was responsible for the telling delaying actions through the successive defensive lines built across Italy. Notable in this context were the defenses on the Winter Line from November 1943 to May 1944 and the fighting in the autumn of 1944 on the Gothic Line. In October 1944 he was temporarily raised to overall command in Italy (Army Group C) when Field Marshall Albert Kesselring (Kesselring) was seriously injured in a car crash. In January 1945, on Kesselring's return, he left Italy to command Army Group Courland in East Prussia. When Kesselring was moved in March 1945 to command German Army Command West (OB West) in France, von Vietinghoff returned as the supreme German commander in Italy. In April 1945 his son Heinz Dieter was MIA, age 29. At the end of April 1945, he made contact with the Allied forces and on April 29, his representative General Karl Wolff (see Wolff) signed on his behalf at the Royal Palace in Caserta, that he agreed to surrender his troops on 02-05-1945 at noon. Afterwards he spent two and a half years in British captivity at Bridgend Island Farm (Special Camp XI) among numerous other German prisoners of war. He was released in September 1947. After the war Vietinghoff was a member of the expert group dealing with the question of German rearmament. In October 1950 he wrote the Himmeroder memorandum on behalf of the Adenauer (Adenauer) government, on West German contributions to European defense. He died on 23-02-1952, age 64, in Pfronten and is buried with his wife Elfride, born Wagner, who died at the very old age of 96, on 04-02-1989, on the Stadtfriedhof of Pfrontenried-Berg.