Busse, Theodor Ernst Hermann August, born on 15-12-1887 in Frankfurt an der Oder, joined the Imperial German Army as an officer cadet in 1915. During World War I he won the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern Order . After the armistice he was accepted as one of 2000 officers into the new 100.000 men Reichswehr, where he steadily rose in rank. Busse was a General Staff officer in April 1939 and between 1940 and 1942 he served as the Chief of Operations to then General der Infanterie, Erich von Manstein in the 11th Army on the Eastern Front.
Arguably the biggest break of Busse’s life came on 12-09-1941, when the airplane carrying Ritter Eugen von Schobert crashed, killing everyone aboard. His successor—and the man to whom Busse would be linked throughout the rest of the war—was Erich von Manstein. Busse served von Manstein as operations officer during the Eleventh Army’s conquest of the Crimea and held the same post at Army Group Don during the Stalingrad campaign. In March 1943 von Manstein chose Busse over Henning von Tresckow (another gifted staff officer who happened to be a ringleader in the Graf von Stauffenberg, anti-Hitler conspiracy within the army) to become Chief of Staff. While serving with von Manstein’s Army Group South Busse was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 30-01-1944. He spent a short time in the Führer Reserve and was then appointed General Officer Commanding German 121st Infantry Division , where he succeeded General der Infanterie Helmuth Prieß ,. Prieß was killed on 21-10-1944, age 48 in Hasenrode, East Prussia. In July 1944 Busse here with Joseph Goebbels commanded I Army C under Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff. During the last five months of the war, Busse commanded the 9th Army which was by then part of Army Group Vistula. The 9th Army was activated on 15-05-940 with Generaloberst der Infanterie, OB Heeresgruppe G, Schwertenträger, Johannes Blaskowitz in command as the Soviets continued to advance into Germany, Busse fought to protect the German capital city in the Battle of Berlin. Specifically, Busse commanded the 9th Army during the Battle of Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neis.
The last commander of 9th Army was Generalfeldmarschall, Ferdinand Schörner. On 22-04-1945, Busse became part of a poorly conceived and incredibly desperate plan that Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Wilhelm Keitel and Bodewin Keitel and Generaloberst der Wehtrmacht, Alfred Jodl and Ferdinand Jodl proposed to Adolf Hitler (did you know) (see Hitler parents) (see William Hitler). The plan was proposed to Hitler to mollify him; Hitler was in a rage earlier that day after he discovered that forces under SS Obergruppenführer, Kommandeur der SS-Panzer Grenadier Division “Wiking”, Felix Steiner and General der Panzertruppe, Commanded of the Twelfth Army Walter Wenck “the Boy General” would not be coming to his relief in Berlin. The XLI Panzer Corps commanded by the reliable Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Kommandeur der XXXXI Panzerkorps, Rudolf Holste an old regimental comrade of Busse, would be brought back across the Elbe. The Battle of Halbe, did allow a remnant of Busse’s army and some German civilians to escape to the West.
Busse here after the war visiting General Erich von Manstein and Walter Wenck has only been mentioned in a handful of parodies. As with fellow non-featured General Walter Wenck, his name sometimes fell victim to mondegreens in the likes of “pussy”, “busy” etc. He once asked Hitler for a vacation. Busse was Wilhelm Burgdorff’s brother-in-law in real life, and in one parody, Burgdorf admits he is very cool. When Helmuth Weidling advised unconditionally surrender of the city to the Soviets, Burgdorf shouted that Hitler had forbidden surrender. After midnight, in the early hours of 2 May 1945, following the earlier suicides of Hitler and Goebbels, Burgdorf, age 50 and his colleague Chief of staff Hans Krebs, age 47 committed suicide by gunshot to the head. Soviet personnel found the bodies of Krebs and Burgdorf in the bunker complex. Helmuth Weidling died on 17-11-1955, age 64 in the custody of the KGB in Vladimir. KGB records listed the cause of death as “arterial and cardiac sclerosis along with circulatory collapse.”
Death and burial ground of the small cemetery of Wallerstein.
Between 1945 and 1946, Busse was a prisoner of War and after he was released, he had before that traveled some 800 km on bicycle disguised as a civilian and traveling salesman to rejoin with his family in Bavaria. Busse was West Germany’s director of civil defense, and wrote and edited a number of works on the military history of World War II. Wilhelm Busse later lived in Wallerstein, where he at the very old age of 98, died on 21-10-1986. He is buried with his wife Camilla, born Hahn, who died age 68 on 06-10-1968, on the small cemetery of Wallerstein.