Weichs, Maximillian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lasmoral Freiherr von, born 12-11-1881, into a noble family at Dessau in Anhalt, a son of an Army Oberst. He entered the Bavarian Cavalry in 1900 and fought with them in World War I. From 1915 until 1918 he served with the General Staff of the 3rd Bavarian Army Corps. After the war he remained in the newly created Reichswehr where he worked at a number of General Staff positions and later served as an instructor. In October 1937 he became the commander of the 13th Army Corps, that later served in the 1938 German occupation of the Sudetenland. For the German invasion of Poland beginning World War II in 1939, Weichs was appointed head of his own Army Corps “Weichs”. After the Polish surrender, and in preparation for the invasion of France, he was made Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Army, a part of General Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt‘s
Army Group A in the West. For his successes in the French campaign he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and promoted to Generaloberst. Leading his corps, Weichs later took part in the Balkans Campaign, and in preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he was assigned to lead the 2nd Army as a part of General Field Marshal Fedor von Bock‘s Army Group Centre. 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 Infantry Division , under command of Generalmajor Georg Jauer 1st 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. Weichs led the 2nd Army in 1941 through the Battle of Kiev, the Battle of Smolensk, and then on to Vyazma and Bryansk. In 1942, for Fall Blau, Weichs was assigned to lead the newly created Army Group B. Army Group B was composed of Generaloberst der Infanterie, Hans Salmuth 2nd Army, Generaloberst der Waffen SS, Hermann Hoth‘s
4th Panzer Army, and General Field Marshal, Friedrich Paulus “Der Lord” 6th Army . In addition to the German armies, Army Group B included the 2nd Hungarian Army under command of Generaloberst Vitéz Gustáv Jány , 8th Italian Army under command of General Giovanni Messe , the Third and the Fourth Romanian Army under command of
Generalmajor Ioan Mihail Racoviță . General Jány after the war, was found guilty of war crimes and executed by firing squad, age 64 on 26-11-1947 in Budapest. He was posthumously exonerated in 1993. General Messi died 18-12-1968, age aged 85, in Rome. General Racovita died age 65 on 18-06-954 in Sighel. The 6th Army was assigned to take the city of Stalingrad and cover approximately 800 km of front. Weichs warned about his lines being stretched too thinly, but Adolf Hitler (see Hitler Paula) ignored his warnings. Weichs’ fears were realised when Operation Uranus smashed the Romanian armies on his flanks, cutting off the 6th Army inside Stalingrad.
Suggesting retreat, Weichs fell out of Hitler’s favor. Consequently, parts of Army Group B were taken away from Weichs’s command and incorporated into a new Army Group Don, led by General Field Marshal of the Infantry, Erich von Manstein
. Later in February the remaining part merged with the Don Group into a newly reinstated Army Group South, also led by Manstein. Weichs was put in leader reserve. Weichs was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall on 01-02- 1943. As the German situation was starting to become more dire, in August 1943 Weichs was appointed Commander of Army Group F in the Balkans defending against possible Allied invasion in what was seen as Germany’s weak underbelly and fighting off local partisan groups that were gaining strength. In late 1944, he oversaw the German retreat from Greece and most of Yugoslavia.
Death and burial ground of Weichs, Maximillian Maria Joseph Karl Gabriel Lasmoral Freiherr von
As Nazi Germany fell apart, Weichs was finally retired on 25-03-1945, and was arrested by American troops in May.
During the Nuremberg Trials, Weichs was implicated in war crimes committed while suppressing the partisans, however , he was removed from the Hostages Trial due to medical reasons without having been judged or sentenced. Weichs died at Burg Rösberg near Bonn, age 72, on 27-09-1954, after a long illness and is buried on the village cemetery of Gut Rössberg.