Hermann Hoth

Hermann Hoth

Infobox Military Person
name=Hermann Hoth
lived=birth date|1885|4|12|df=ydeath date and age|1971|1|25|1885|4|12|df=y
placeofbirth=Neuruppin, Germany
placeofdeath=Goslar, Germany

caption=Generaloberst Hermann Hoth
nickname=“Papa Hoth” [ [http://www.theeasternfront.co.uk/Commanders/german/hoth.htm Hermann Hoth ] ]
serviceyears=1903 - 1945
commands=Third Panzer Group
Seventeenth Army
Fourth Panzer Army
battles=World War I
World War II
*Invasion of Poland (1939)
*Fall of France (1940)
*Operation Barbarossa (1941)
*Operation Typhoon (1941)
*Operation Blue (1942)
*Second Battle of Kharkov (1942)
*Battle of Stalingrad (1942)
*Operation Wintergewitter (1942)
*Battle of Kursk (1943)
*Battle of Kiev (1943)
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Hermann "Papa" Hoth (12 April 1885 - 25 January 1971) was an officer in the German military from 1903 to 1945, attaining the rank of "Generaloberst" during World War II. He fought in France, and is most noted for his later exploits as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front. Hoth commanded the 4th Panzer Army during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, and later during the Wehrmacht's 1942 summer offensive. Following the encirclement of the 6th Army in Stalingrad in November 1942, Hoth commanded the panzer army during Operation Wintergewitter. After Stalingrad, Hoth was involved in the Kursk counter offensive in the summer of 1943 and the Battle of Kiev. The Fourth Panzer Army under his command at Kursk was the largest tank formation ever assembled. Hoth was dismissed from command by Adolf Hitler in 1943, only to be reinstated for a short time during the last weeks of the war. After the war, he served six years in prison for war crimes, and became a writer on military history.

Before the war

He was born in Neuruppin, the son of an army medical officer. He joined the army in 1903 and served in World War I. He remained in the Reichswehr (the armed forces of the Weimar Republic) in the interwar period. Following the reorganization of the German military into the Wehrmacht in 1935, he was promoted to Major-General and appointed to command the 18th Infantry Division.

World War II

Hoth was promoted to Lieutenant-General and given command of the XV Motorised Corps from 10 November 1938, leading it in the invasion of Poland the following year. He was successful in the Western Offensive of spring 1940, and made a General on 19 July 1940.

In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hoth commanded the Third Panzer Group, capturing Minsk and Vitebsk. In October, he replaced General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel as commander of the Seventeenth Army in Ukraine. His army was driven back by the Russian offensives of early 1942 (see Second Battle of Kharkov).

In June 1942, he took over from General Erich Höpner as commander of Fourth Panzer Army. As part of Operation Blue, the German offensive in southern Russia, the army reached the Don River at Voronezh. Hoth was then ordered to swing south to support the First Panzer Army's own crossing of the Don, and the Sixth Army's attempt to capture Stalingrad.

In November 1942, the Soviet winter counteroffensive smashed through the German lines and trapped the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. Hoth's panzer army was the centerpiece of Operation Winter Storm, the attempt to relieve the Sixth Army, under the overall command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein's Army Group Don. The operation failed, as Soviet reinforcements and worsening weather ground down the German advance. On 25 December, the Soviets resumed their offensive, forcing the Germans back and sealing the fate of Sixth Army.

In July 1943, Hoth commanded the Fourth Panzer Army in the Battle of Kursk. His divisions, now reinforced by the II SS Panzer Corps, made a significant penetration of the Soviet lines, before being brought to a halt at Prokhorovka. Manstein urged that the attack continue, but the defeat of the German Ninth Army to the north of Kursk, heavy losses and the Allied invasion of Sicily meant that the operation was called off.

In the aftermath of Kursk, the Red Army mounted a series of successful offensives that crossed the Dnieper, retook Kiev and pushed the Germans out of eastern Ukraine. Despite his distinguished record, Hoth, now "Generaloberst", was blamed by Hitler for part of the losses, and relieved of command. He was reassigned to the reserves in November.

In April 1945, he was recalled to active duty and assigned to command the defense of the Harz Mountains, a position he held until the end of the war.

After the war

Following the end of the war, Hoth was put on trial at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, found guilty of war crimes in the High Command Trial, and on 27 October 1948 sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released in 1954 and spent his retirement writing. He died at Goslar, where he is buried.


* House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords
* Austrian Military Merit Cross (3. Class)
* Bavarian Military Merit Cross (2. Class)
* Panzer Badge in Silver
* Bulgarian War Merit Order (4. Class)
* Turkish War Merit Cross
* Wound Badge in Black
* Iron Cross 2. and 1. class
* Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
** Knight's Cross (27 October 1939)
** 25. Oak Leaves (17 July 1941)
** 35. Swords (15 September 1943)


* Berger, Florian, "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Selbstverlag Florian Berger, 2006. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
* "Panzer-Operationen: Die Panzergruppe 3 und der operative Gedanke der deutschen Führung, Sommer 1941" (Heidelberg: Kurt Vowinckel Verlag, 1956)

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