Heinz Guderian

Heinz Guderian

Heinz Guderian

Heinz Wilhelm Guderian (June 17,1888 in Kulm, West Prussia, † 14 May1954 in Schwangau near Füssen) was a German army officer (from 1940 Colonel General), commander of large armored formations and in the final stages of World War II temporary Chief of Staff of the Army.

Guderian applies toGermanyas the inventor of the Tank Corps as an independent branch of service and was instrumental in the development of modern concepts of “combined arms combat” and “leadership from the front” involved.

Jokingly, he was described as “faster Heinz” means, “Heinz blusterer” or “armor Admiral”.


Empire and World War I

Heinz Guderian was born in 1888 as the son of First Lieutenant in the Pomeranian Jaeger Battalion 2 Friedrich Guderian (1858-1914) and his wife Ottilie Irtha, Kirchhoff was born (1865-1931) in the Vistula River Culm. On 1 October 1913 he married Margaret Christine Goerne inGoslar. The pair were later born two sons, Heinz Günther Guderian (1914-2004), Major General in the last Bundeswehr and Kurt Bernhard Guderian (1918-1984), a captain D. Kaufmann and later.

Heinz Guderian took effect on 1 April 1901 joined the cadet corps in Karlsruheand later to the WarAcademyin Berlin. From February 1907, he served as an ensign in the Rifle Battalion 10th. After a brief visit to the military school atMetz, he was promoted in 1908 to lieutenant Bitsch. In October 1909, he returned toGoslar.

During World War I knew Guderian his service with the Signal Corps. He participated among others in theBattleof theMarneand the Battle of Verdun. In 1914 he was promoted to lieutenant in 1915 and to captain. A direct command troops he had not. Towards the end of the war he was on the General Staff of the High Command. Since he served some time under Duke Albrecht ofWurttemberg, he wore next to the two classes of the Iron Cross and the Knight’s Cross 2 Class with Swords of the Württemberg Friedrich Order of s

Weimar Republic

Before he was taken after the war in the Army, he was several months in the general staff of the so-called Iron Division, a Baltic fighting against Soviet troops Freikorps. In the army, he was initially employed as a company commander in the Rifle Battalion 10th. After being used in the meantime three years as instructor in tactics and military history at the military school inSzczecin, he moved to the transport troops.

In 1927, Guderian was promoted to Major and deployed as commander of the troops of Army Transport Office and as an instructor for tactical motorized transport associations inBerlin. In this role he was already working material for the tank tactics and tank units of other countries visited. Since the Treaty of Versailles banned the Reichswehr to maintain tanks, Guderian had to perform similar exercises with tractors, cars and tanks dummy.

1931 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1933 and finally to colonel.

Nazi era


Guderian wrote several treatises on motorized warfare and was instrumental in the development of German tanks. He woke Hitler’s interest in the armored force. For this reason he was on 15 October 1935 Hitler personally from the contract, in the newly build three Wehrmacht Panzer Division s. He was also in command of the 2nd Panzer Division transferred. On 1 August 1936, he was promoted to Major General. As early as 4 February 1938 he was promoted to Lieutenant General with concurrent appointment as Commanding General of the newly formed XVI Army Corps, which the previous three armored divisions were now regulated. With this association, he was involved in the invasion ofAustriaand theSudetenland.

On 20 November 1938 Guderian was promoted to General of the Armoured Corps, while the “boss of the fast troops” appointed in the Army High Command. He was responsible for the installation, training, equipment and tactics of the cavalry and mechanized units of the entire Wehrmacht.

World War II

During the Polish campaign he commanded it the XIX. Army Corps in the Army Group North. His corps came from Pomerania by the Polish Corridor toEast Prussia(see alsoBattleof the Tuchel Heath), and later fromEast Prussiato Brest-Litovsk, where it met with Russian troops. For its rapid advances he received on 27 October 1939 the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

During the campaign in the West s 1940 included his three armored divisions and corps belonged to Panzer Group Kleist. His corps pushed through the Ardennes, atSedan on theMeuse to the Channel coast (see also sickle cutting plan) and thus became a large part of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force. Because he acted contrary to an order of his superior, Ewald von Kleist and his long open edges in the advance persistently ignored, he was on the 16th of this May relieved of his command, but used by his superiors Gerd von Rundstedt again.

After the Battle of Dunkirk, his corps was expanded into a tank group. With her he came during the fall of Red northernFranceto the Swiss border, so that the French troops were trapped in the Maginot Line. He was at the end of the campaign on 19 July 1940 promoted to Colonel. Originally it was intended to lead the German victory parade inParis, but in late June 1940, he received a new command in the east. The “Guderian” was moved into the home, she initially was under the 18th Army inPoland, then directly to the OKH. Guderian was concerned from that point with operational plans against the Soviet Union, which included a march toKievandOdessa(see plan Otto).

During the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 commanded Guderian’s Panzer Group 2 within the Army Group Centre and contributed greatly by his quick and deep armored thrusts at the victories inBiałystokandMinsk,Smolensk,Kiev,OrelandBryansk. On 17 July and was given during theBattleofSmolensk, the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross.

In late 1941 he was removed because of conflicts with Field Marshal Günther von Kluge and Hitler of his post. This fate befell also Walther von Brauchitsch and other senior officers, as they – like Guderian – wanted Hitler persuaded, given the parlous state of the German army and the threat of Soviet counterattacks raise the siege of Moscow and take it easily defensible positions.

On 1 March 1943, after eighteen months, he was brought back by Hitler to active duty and appointed Inspector of Panzer Troops, who was responsible for the modernization of motorized troops. He developed a close partnership with Armaments Minister Albert Speer, to increase the tank production significantly.

Like other high Wehrmacht generals Guderian was berated by Hitler with an endowment. After prolonged back and forth with the competent authorities, which a clerk in the Chancellery described as “absolutely shameful”, he took over on 15 1943 October, the 974-acre estate Deipenhof (Pol. Głębokie) in the circle Hohensalza in Warthegau. About the fate of the Polish owner is not known. The estimated yield value was 1,230,011 Reichsmarks. For renovations and new buildings 43,000 Reichsmarks were provided.

After the failed assassination attempt of 20 July 1944 he was Chief of Staff of the Army. In this role he was a member of the Court of Honor, were ejected dishonorable by many in the assassination attempt involved officers from the armed forces, so that the Reich Court Martial was not for her sentencing jurisdiction and they could be the People’s Court sentenced in show trials, chaired by Roland Freisler. As an officer, he rejected the 20 Plot July strictly from what he stated in his memoirs.

In a command of 25 August 1944 “to all staff officers,” he wrote, “No one shall be fanatically believe in victory and exude more confidence than you. … There is no future of the kingdom without Nazism. Therefore introduce yourself unconditionally to the National Socialist Reich.”

After a dispute with Hitler on the situation at the fronts he was on 28 On leave in March 1945 and ran on 10 May of the year in American captivity.


  • 5th September 1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross
  • 13th September 1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross
  • 27th October 1939 Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross
  • 17th July 1941 Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross

And postwar Federal Republic of Germany

On 17 June 1948 he was released from captivity. According to British intelligence, he was in 1950 for the “Brotherhood”, an association of former Nazis to the former Hamburg Gauleiter Karl Kaufmann, who wanted to undermine the Federal Republic of Germany.

Until his death, he worked as a writer and consultant for the Office Blank. During this time he wrote his “Memoirs of a soldier.” This book contributed in no small way to the have the war fought popular image of the “clean Wehrmacht,” which had always been “decent” and “honorable” to make socially acceptable in many social circles.

The Tomb of the family Guderian is on the cemetery Hildesheimerstraße inGoslar.

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