Blumentritt, Günther Alois Friedrich.

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Blumentritt, Günther Alois Friedrich.

Blumentritt, Günther Alois Friedrich, born 10-02-1892, in Munich, the son of Günther Blumentritt (born 23-06-1859), town planner and a Privy Councilor in Munich and Lina Rückart (born 24-03-1868). In 1920 he married Mathilde Schollmeyer, and subsequently had two children with her; they remained married 47 years, until her death in 1967

He joined the Prussian Army in 1911, in time to see action in the First World War, entering the 3rd Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 71. as a Fahnenjunker, age 18. In 1912, he attended the Danzig Kriegsakademie (War Academy) , and shortly afterward was promoted to Leutnant. During the war, he served mostly on the Eastern Front in Prussia, after a brief contact with the French and Belgians at Namur in August, 1914. In August 1918, he was wounded  in action and received the Wound Badge in black . By the end of the war he was an Oberleutnant. He was conferred the command of his first regiment on 20-02-1919.

Blumentritt′s experiences on the Eastern Front in the First World War  gave him a great deal of respect for the Russian soldiers. He maintained this respect throughout his career, and regretted that many of his fellow officers, with less experience in the East, did not share it. He said of the Russians, “… in defense the Imperial Russian Army  was stubborn and tenacious and they were masters at constructing defensive positions with great speed. The Russian soldier showed great skill in night operations and in forest fighting, and he preferred hand-to-hand combat. His physical needs were slight and his ability to stand up to punishment unshaken truly astounding.”

Blumentritt was described as the opposite in many ways of his long-time commander Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt:  Bavarian and Catholic, where von Rundstedt was Prussian and Protestant, swarthy and short whereas Rundstedt was tall and pale. Blumentritt was affable, friendly, and talkative, capable of great diplomacy, and in military terms, detail oriented—all of which made him an excellent staff officer, as well as a good complement to Rundstedt He was instrumental in planning the 1939 German invasion of Poland. He served throughout the war, mostly on the Western Front, and after the war was called as a witness at the Nuremberg Trials, though he never testified. Blumentritt served in the German Army in World War I on the Eastern Front in Prussia. Later, during the interwar period he served under Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb along with his friend Field Marshal Erich von Manstein .

In 1939, Blumentritt was a Oberst and Chief of Operations under General Gerd von Rundstedt at Army Group South in Silesia, while von Manstein was Rundstedt’s Chief of Staff. Together, Blumentritt and von Manstein developed an operational plan for the German invasion of Poland, designated Fall Weiss (Case White).

In 1940, Blumentritt took part in the invasion of France. The next year, under General Günther von Kluge  , he was made Chief of Staff of the Fourth Army and promoted to General. Here with von Rundstedt, Hans Speidel  and Erwin Rommel. 

In 1941, Blumentritt, despite his opposition to the plan, was involved with the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He returned to Germany in 1942 as chief of the Operations Department of OKH . Late in the year he recommended to his superiors that the Germans should withdraw from Stalingrad, but his recommendation was rejected.

During the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944, Blumentritt was Chief-of-Staff to von Rundstedt, overall commander of German forces in the west. After the Normandy landings, Blumentritt and his troops were driven back by General Brian Horrocks  and the 30th Corps . In June 1943 Horrocks was badly wounded when he was hit by a bullet from a German aircraft. He underwent several operations before resuming active duties in the summer of 1944. Brian Horrocks died on 04-01-1985, at the age of 89. Blumentritt was then implicated in the July 1944 conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler, the plot failed, resulting in the arrest of several German Army officers. Blumentritt was removed from his position, but survived the purge because Hitler did not believe him guilty, and in fact awarded him the Knight’s Cross for his services. Shortly thereafter he returned to action as a commander in the XII SS Corps.

After the end of Operation Blackcock Blumentritt was now sent to Holland and appointed commander of the Twenty-Fifth Army. In March 1945 Blumentritt briefly assumed command of the 1st Parachute Army for thirteen days and then commanded “Army Group Blumentritt”, an ad-hoc collection of depleted units, up to the end of the war. On 2 May, after the death of Hitler on 30 April, Blumentritt ordered his men to give no further resistance to the allies and to fall back gradually. In early May, Blumentritt acted as a first emissary to Field Marshal Montgomery   for the surrender of the German forces in the North-West. The surrender of German forces of the Northwest High Command to British 21st Army Group , including 25th Army, was signed on 04-05-1945 and took effect at 0800 on the following day.

Blumentritt’s capture by the British took place on 01-06-1945 in Schleswig-Holstein. He was placed in a British Prisoner-of-war camp at Trent Park by 01-12-1945 and was then moved to a U.S. POW camp where he remained from 06-11-1945 until 01-01-1948.

Death and burial ground of Blumentritt, Günther Alois Friedrich.


Retired Blumentritt wrote the book  “von Rundstedt – The Soldier and the Man”, 

He died, age 75, on 12-10-1967 in Munich and is buried on the Waldfriedhof in Munich, but his gravestone is removed a long time ago…

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