Nehring, Walther Kurt Josef, born on 15-08-1892 in Stretzin, East Prussia, was a German General, known for his involvement with the Afrika Korps. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Nehring was the descendant of a Dutch family who had fled the Netherlands to escape religious persecution in the seventeenth century. His father, Emil Nehring, was a schoolteacher and officer of the Military Reserve and his mother was Martha Nehring (Weiss). While Nehring was still a child the family moved to Danzig. His father’s first wife Minna died early. Walther Nehring’s oldest brother Edwin Nehring resulted from this marriage. Emil Nehring married Martha Weiß in 1884, the daughter of Marie Alexandrine von Zitzewitz, who belonged to the old Pomeranian nobility. Walther Nehring and his seven year older sister Else were born from this marriage. Nehring joined the military service on 16-09-1911 in the 152nd Infanterie-Regiment. He became a commissioned Leutnant on 18-12-1913. During the invasion of Russia , Nehring served under Generaloberst der Panzertruppe, Heinz Wilhelm Guderian.
He later took command of the Afrika Korps in May 1942, succeeding General of the Panzertruppe, Generalleutnant Ludwig Crüwell and took part in the Battle of Alamein Halfa, from 31-08 until 07-09-1942, during which he was wounded in an air raid. Between November and December 1942, he commanded the German contingent in Tunisia. British Eighth Army , commanded by Field Marschal Bernhard Montgomery , bypassed the Axis defence on the Mareth Line in late March and First Army in central Tunisia launched their main offensive in mid-April to squeeze the Axis forces until their resistance in Africa collapsed.
The Axis forces surrendered on 13-05-1943 yielding over 275.000 prisoners of war. This huge loss of experienced troops greatly reduced the military capacity of the Axis powers, although the largest percentage of Axis troops escaped Tunisia. This defeat in Africa led to all Italian colonies in Africa being captured. Casualties of the Africa war, Free French: 16.000 killed, wounded or captured. British Empire: 53.000 killed, wounded, or captured. United States: 2.715 killed, 8.978 wounded, 6.528 missing. Germany: 12.808 killed, Unknown wounded 101.784 + captured, Total Axis: 950.000 total casualties, 8.000 aircraft destroyed or captured, 6.200 guns destroyed or captured 2.500 tanks destroyed or captured. After North Africa, Nehring was posted to the Eastern Front where he commanded the XXIV Panzer Corps, he succeeded Lieutenant General der Panzertruppe, Otto Heidkämper
, lost this command to Lieutenant General der Panzertruppe, Fritz Gräser and from July to August 1944 the Fourth Panzer Army, he succeeded Generaloberst der Panzertruppe, Josef Harpe and followed by General der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur Heeresgruppe Balck, Hermann Balck. In March 1945, just before the end of the war, he was made commander of the 1st Panzer Army.
Death and burial ground of Nehring, Walther Kurt Josef.
After the war Nehring lived in Düsseldorf were he died at the age of 20-04-1983, old age 90 and is buried on the Nordfriedhof of Düsseldorf. Close by are the graves of different “famous” WW II personalities, Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur der 271th Volkgrenadier Division, Martin Bieber, Hitler’s Press Chief SS Obergruppenführer, Otto Dietrich, Generalmajor der Flieger, Kommandeur 7th Flak Division, Alfred Erhard, the former commander of concentration camp Westerbork, in the Netherlands, SS Obersturmführer, Albert Gemmeker, Anne Frank and her family, father, mother and sister Margo, were integrated in this camp, before leaving to Bergen Belsen, where they died, except father Otto Frank, who survived, he died old age 91, on 19-08-1980,
remarried in Bazel, Switzerland. Hitler’s favourite architects Hermann Giesler and brother Paul Giesler and Arno Breker, Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Kommandeur der 526th Infanterie Division, Fritz Kühne, diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, who was killed in Paris by the Jewish boy Grynspan
, and SS Obergruppenführer, Höhere SS und Polizei Führer Nord, Fritz Weitzel.
Walther Nehring published a book, “Die Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe. 1916 bis 1945./The history of the German Panzer.