Army Group North

Army Group North (German: Heeresgruppe Nord) was a German strategic echelon formation, commanding a grouping of field armies during World War II. The German Army Group was subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the German army high command, and coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics, including the Army Group North Rear Area.

Army Group North
Heeresgruppe Nord
  • 2 September 1939 – 10 October 1939
  • 20 June 1941 – 25 January 1945
  • 25 January 1945 –8 May 1945
Country Nazi Germany

Operational history

The Army Group North was created on the 2 September 1939 by reorganization of the 2nd Army Headquarters. Commander in Chief as of 27 August 1939 was Field Marshal Fedor von Bock.

Invasion of Poland

The first employment of Army Group North was in the invasion of Poland of 1939, where in September it controlled:

The Army Group was commanded by Fedor von Bock for the operation.

After the end of the campaign, it was transferred to the Western Theatre and on the 10 October 1939 was renamed as the Army Group B, and consisted of:

Invasion of the Soviet Union

In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was reformed from Army Group C on 22 June 1941. Army Group North was commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb[1] and staged in East Prussia. Its strategic goal was Leningrad, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank of Army Group Centre in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils-Kholm Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's Baltic offensive operation the army group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia. It served mainly in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944. Commander in Chief 22 June 1941: Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb.

Its subordinate armies were deployed with the following immediate objectives:

  • 18th Army - from Koenigsberg to Ventspils - Jelgava
  • 4th Panzer Group - Pskov
  • 16th Army - Kaunas, Daugavpils
  • Army Group troops
    • Army-Group signals regiment 537
    • Army-Group signals regiment 639 (2nd echelon)

The Baltic offensive operation

All operational objectives such as Tallinn were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensives such as the Battle of Raseiniai, and the army group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad. However, while the Baltic states were overrun, the Siege of Leningrad continued until 1944, when it was lifted as a result of the Red Army Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation.

In September 1941, the Spanish Blue Division was assigned to Army Group North.

Northern Russia offensive operation

October 1941

  • 16th Army
  • 18th Army

Nevsky Pyatachok
Operation Nordlicht

Northern Russia defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler

September 1942

  • 11th Army
  • 16th Army
  • 18th Army

December 1942

  • 16th Army
  • 18th Army

Demyansk Pocket
Kholm Pocket
Soviet Toropets-Kholm Operation
Battle of Velikiye Luki
Battle of Krasny Bor

Baltic defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: Field marshal Walter Model
Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner
Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner

March 1944

Battle of Narva, consisting of:

  1. Battle for Narva Bridgehead and
  2. Battle of Tannenberg Line

Combat in South Estonia, 1944
Soviet Baltic Offensive
Battle of Porkuni
Battle of Vilnius (1944)
Battle of Memel

After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945, the Army Group was renamed Army Group Courland. On the same day, in East Prussia, a new Army Group North was created by renaming Army Group Center. On the 2 April 1945, the army group was dissolved, and the staff formed the 12th Army headquarters.

Campaign in East Prussia

Army Group North (old Army Group Centre), was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Königsberg in East Prussia. On April 9, 1945 Königsberg finally fell to the Red Army, although remnants of Army Group units continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil & Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe.

October 1944

  • 16th Army
  • Armee-Abteilung Grasser
  • 18th Army

November 1944

  • 16th Army
  • Armee-Abteilung Kleffel
  • 18 Armee

December 1944

  • 16th Army
  • 18th Army

Soviet East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Königsberg
Heiligenbeil pocket

Campaign in West Prussia

Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic
Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss
February 1945

Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive
Battle of Kolberg
Courland Pocket
On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.


No. CommanderTook officeLeft officeTime in office
Bock, FedorGeneralfeldmarschall
Fedor von Bock
27 August 193920 June 19411 year, 297 days
Leeb, WilhelmGeneralfeldmarschall
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
20 June 194117 January 1942211 days
Küchler, GeorgGeneralfeldmarschall
Georg von Küchler
17 January 19429 January 19441 year, 357 days
Model, WalterGeneralfeldmarschall
Walter Model
9 January 194431 March 194482 days
Lindemann, GeorgGeneraloberst
Georg Lindemann
31 March 19444 July 194495 days
Frießner, JohannesGeneraloberst
Johannes Frießner
4 July 194423 July 194419 days
Schörner, FerdinandGeneralfeldmarschall
Ferdinand Schörner
23 July 194427 January 1945188 days
Rendulic, LotharGeneraloberst
Lothar Rendulic
27 January 194512 March 194544 days
Weiß, WalterGeneraloberst
Walter Weiß
12 March 19452 April 194521 days

See also

Notes and references

  1. Kirchubel, Robert (2012). Operation Barbarossa 1941 (2): Army Group North. Osprey. p. 18.


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