Hoth, Hermann, born in Neuruppin on 12-04-1885, the son of an army medical officer, joined the Army in 1903 and at the start of World War I was promoted to Captain and he won both classes of the Iron Cross
. He remained in the Reichswehr
the interwar period and rising steadily through the ranks. Following the reorganization of the German military into the Wehrmacht in 1935, he was promoted to Generalmajor
and appointed to command the 18th
. Succeeded by Generalleutnant Erich von Manstein
he was promoted to Generalleutnant with command of the XV Motorized Corps on 10-11-1938, which Corps he leaded in the invasion of Poland the following year. Hoth was rewarded with the Knight’s Cross for his part in this campaign (27 October 1939). Hoth was a successful leader in the Western Offensive and became a full General on 19-07-1940. In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hoth commanded the Third Panzer Group which captured Minsk and Vitebsk. In mid July, the 3rd
Panzer Group attempted to seize Velikie Luki, but was driven back on 20 July when Red Army forces broke through the German lines, prompting criticism from Field Marshal Günther von Kluge
commander of Army Group Center for unnecessarily striking out too far to the north east. In October he replaced Generalmajor der Infanterie, Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel
and Otto von Stülpnagel,
the butcher of Paris as commander of the Seventeenth Army in Ukraine. As its commander he called upon his men to understand the need for “harsh punishment of Jewry”. In support of the Commissar Order, in November 1941 he issued the following directive to troops under his command: Every sign of active or passive resistance or any sort of machinations on the part of Jewish-Bolshevik agitators are to be immediately and pitilessly exterminated … These circles are the intellectual supports of Bolshevism, the bearers of its murderous organisation, the helpmates of the partisans. It is the same Jewish class of beings who have done so much damage to our own Fatherland by virtue of their activities against the nation and civilization, and who promote anti-German tendencies throughout the world, and who will be the harbingers of revenge. Their extermination is a dictate of our own survival.
His army was driven back by the Russian offensives of early 1942, Second Battle of Kharkov. Succeeded by Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth
in June 1942, he took over from General Erich Hoepner as commander of Fourth Panzer Army. Hoepner was executed on 08-08-1944, age 57, as a participator in the July 1944 bomb attempt.
As part of Operation Blue, the German offensive in southern Russia, the army reached the Don River at Voronezh and Hoth here with Marchel Fedor Bock
was then ordered to swing south to support the First Panzer Army’s own crossing of the Don, and the Sixth Army’s under Generalfeldmarschall der Panzertruppe, Friedrich von Paulus “Der Lord”
attempt to capture Stalingrad. In November 1942, the Soviet winter counteroffensive smashed through the German lines and trapped the Sixth Army
in Stalingrad, Von Paulus had to surrender with his 90.000 soldiers. Hoth’s panzer army was the centerpiece of Operation Winter Storm, the attempt to relieve the Sixth Army, under the overall command of Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Erich von Manstein
Army Group Don. The operation failed, as Soviet reinforcements and worsening weather ground down the German advance. The 91.000 German POWs taken at Stalingrad, 27.000 died within weeks and only 5-6,000 returned to Germany by 1955. The remainder of the POWs died in Soviet captivity. On 02-02-1943, the organized resistance of Axis troops in Stalingrad ceased. Out of the 91.000 prisoners taken by the Soviets, 3.000 were Romanian. These were the survivors of the 20th
Cavalry Division and “Colonel Voicu” Detachment. According to archival figures, the Red Army suffered a total of 1.129.619 total casualties; 478.741 men killed or missing and 650.878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Don region; in the city itself 750.000 were killed, captured, or wounded. Anywhere from 25.000 to 40.000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing by Luftflotte 4 as the German 4th
Panzer and 6th
Armies approached the city; the total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown. In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7-2 million Axis and Soviet casualties. On 25-12-1943, the Soviets resumed their offensive, forcing the Germans back and sealing the fate of Sixth Army. Hoth here with Heinz Guderian
commanded the Fourth Panzer Army in the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. His divisions, now reinforced by the II SS Panzer Corps, made a significant penetration of the Soviet lines, before being brought to a halt at Prokhorovka. Manstein urged that the attack continue, but the slow progress of the German Ninth Army, under Generalfeldmarschall, Walter Model
to the north of Kursk, heavy losses and the Allied invasion of Sicily meant that the operation was called off. In the aftermath of Kursk, the Red Army mounted a series of successful offensives that crossed the Dnieper, retook Kiev and pushed the Germans out of eastern Ukraine. Despite his distinguished record, Hoth, here with Marshal Erwin Rommel
, who had proved himself in France in 1940, in the summer drive of 1941 in Russia, at Rostov and Kharkov, on the Don, the Dnieper, and the Donets, was made the scapegoat for Adolf Hitler‘s
(see Alois Hitler
) mistakes and pushed aside without thanks. ‘A bird of ill omen’, Hitler called him; ‘an instigator of defeatism of the worst sort.’ He was never again given a command. was blamed by for part of the losses, and relieved of command He was reassigned to the Führer Reserves in November. Total casualties among the Waffen-SS
will probably never be known, but one estimate indicates that they suffered 180.000 dead, 400.000 wounded, and 40.000 missing. World War II casualties indicates that the Waffen-SS suffered 314.000 killed and missing, or 34.9 per cent. By comparison, the United States Army suffered 318.274 killed and missing in all theaters of the war. In April 1945, he was recalled to active duty and assigned to command the defense of the Harz Mountains, a position he held until the end of the war. Following the end of the war, Hoth was put on trial at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, found guilty of war crimes in the High Command Trial, and on 27-10-1948 sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released in 1954 and spent his retirement writing.
Death and burial ground of Hoth, Hermann.
He died at the old age of 85, on 25-01-1971 in Goslar, where he is buried with his wife Lola, who died old age 91, on 05-11-1989, on the cemetery Feldstrasse in Goslar and close by the graves of WWII General der Infanterie, Kommandeur der XXXII Heeresgruppe
, Friedrich Schack
Generalmajor der Flieger, Chief of Office Group 1
, Leopold Heydenreich
and General der Flieger, Kommodore S.K.G. 2 “Immelmann”
, Walter Storp
Bill Sanstrom my friend from Arizona visited the graveside in October 2011 and found out that the gravestone alas was removed now.
Cemetery location of Hoth, Hermann.