SOME OF THE PRISONERS HELD AT
SPECIAL CAMP 11

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NAME: General der Panzertruppe Hasso Eccard von Manteuffel

PW NO:          A451660

RANK:            General der Panzertruppe

CAPTURED:   Hagenow, Germany

DATE:             3 May 1945

 

PERSONAL
DATE OF BIRTH:      14 January 1897

PLACE OF BIRTH:    Potsdam

DATE OF DEATH:     24 September 1978

PLACE OF DEATH:   Reith, Austria (buried at Diessen am Ammersee/Bayern)

NATIONALITY:         German

RELIGION:                

OCCUPATION:        Regular Soldier

HEIGHT:

WEIGHT:

NEXT OF KIN:

Parents: Hasso and Susanne von Manteuffel.

Wife: Married Armgard von Kleist (the niece of Generafeldmarschall Ewald von Kleist) on 23 June 1921 – two children.

Account

A highly respected tank leader of great ability, General der Panzertruppe Hasso von Manteuffel is best known for his role in the Battle of Bulge. In September 1944, he was summoned to Adolf Hitler’s military headquarters at Rastenburg where he received command of the depleted 5th Panzer Army then assigned to Army Group G on the Western Front. After seeing heavy combat around Lunéville and Arracourt in Lorraine against the U.S. 3rd Army commanded by Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., the 5th Panzer Army was withdrawn from Army Group G in October 1944. Transferred to control of Army Group B in the Eifel region of Germany, the 5th Panzer Army began refitting for Operation “Wacht am Rhein” (Watch on the Rhine) – the last major German offensive of the war.

On 16 December 1944, Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model’s Army Group B unleashed the offensive against the thinly held American front in the snow-covered Ardennes Forest. The overly ambitious plan called for the German forces to cross the Meuse River and capture Antwerp thus encircling those Allied armies north of the breakthrough. The 6th SS-Panzer Army, commanded by SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer und Panzer Generaloberst der Waffen-SS Josef “Sepp” Dietrich, would deliver the main effort in the north supported by the 5th Panzer Army in the center while the infantry of General der Panzertruppe Erich Brandenberger’s weak 7th Army would screen the southern flank.  

The German Ardennes Offensive proved a failure, as the 6th SS-Panzer Army, bogged down by congested roads and tenacious American resistance, could not exploit its initial breakthrough. Although tasked with a supporting role, von Manteuffel’s army made the deepest penetration of the offensive. The 2nd Panzer Division, commanded by Oberst Meinrad von Lauchert, managed to reach the town of Celles near the bank of the Meuse River before being smashed by the U.S. 2nd Armored Division with the British 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (29th Armored Brigade) in support. However, without the release of Dietrich’s armor reserves to von Manteuffel in a timely manner, the 5th Panzer Army soon lost its momentum as well. The failure to capture Bastogne from the stubborn “Screaming Eagles” of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division (thereby tying down substantial German forces) and the allocation of additional units to bolster the weak southern flank further sapped the 5th Panzer Army’s offensive strength.

With the Ardennes Offensive clearly at an end, Hitler allowed a limited German withdrawal on 8 January 1945. Eight days later, he ordered the redeployment of Dietrich’s 6th SS-Panzer Army to Hungary for offensive operations against the Russians. Remaining on the defensive in the Eifel, von Manteuffel’s army was forced back to the Rhine by the advance of the U.S. 1st and 3rd Armies in February-March 1945. Relinquishing command of the 5th Panzer Army to Generaloberst Josef Harpe, von Manteuffel returned to the Eastern Front for his final assignment of the war.     

For more in-depth reading on the Battle of the Bulge, refer to The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge (Center for Military History Publication 7-8) by Hugh M. Cole, a volume in the official history of the U.S. Army in World War II. An online edition may be found at this link.

Chronology

Promotions:

Commands & Assignments:

A young Hasso von Manteuffel - photographed in dress Hussar uniform in 1921
Hasso von Manteuffel directing operations from his command vehicle on the Russian Front.

[1] Commanded by Generalmajor (later Generalfeldmarschall) Erwin Rommel from February 1940-February 1941, the 7th Panzer Division played a key role in the invasion of France in May-June 1940. Under Rommel’s command, the 7th Panzer earned the sobriquet “Gespenster-Division” or the “Ghost Division” – the speed of its advance left the French uncertain when or where on the battlefield it would appear next. 

[2] Achieving the rank of Generalleutnant, Friedrich (Fritz) Freiherr von Broich commanded the 10th Panzer Division in Tunisia from 5 February 1943 until his capture on 12 May 1943. Among other prisoner of war camps, he was held at Island Farm Special Camp 11 during his captivity.

[3] On 10 March 1943, Oberst Walter Barenthin, the commander of Luftwaffe Regiment “Barenthin,” was wounded and evacuated from Tunisia. For Operation “Ochsenkopf,” Major Rudolf Witzig’s Fallschirmjäger Pioneer Battalion 11 joined with a company of anti-tank guns, an artillery battery and a 20mm anti-aircraft battery to form Group “Witzig.” Major Witzig had received the Knight’s Cross for his role in the daring glider-borne assault on the Belgian Fort Eben Emael on 10 May 1940.   

[4] On 9 March 1943, Generaloberst von Arnim was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Afrika upon Generalfeldmarschall Rommel’s return to Germany. General der Panzertruppe Gustav von Vaerst, in turn, took command of the 5th Panzer Army. Among other prisoner of war camps, General von Vaerst was held at Island Farm Special Camp 11 during his captivity.

[5] At the time of the actions around Zhitomir, Oberst Gottfried Frölich, the former commander of the 7th Panzer Division’s Panzer Artillery Regiment 78, led the 8th Panzer Division. Attaining the rank of Generalmajor, he was held as a prisoner of war at Island Farm Special Camp 11.

[6] One of the 27 recipients of the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds, Generalmajor Schulz had been a longtime member of the 7th Panzer Division’s Panzer Regiment 25. After serving as a company chief and a battalion commander, he assumed command of the regiment itself in March 1943. Eight days after taking command of the “Ghost Division,” he was killed in action at Shepetovka on 28 January 1944.

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