- Army Group South
Germany used two army groups to invade
Polandin 1939: Army Group Northand Army Group South. In this campaign Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedtand his chief of staff Erich von Manstein.
Army Group South was one of three army groups into which the Germans organised their forces for
Operation Barbarossa. Army Group South's principal objective was to capture Ukraineand its capital Kiev. The Ukraine was a major center of Soviet industry and mining and had the good farmland required for Hitler's plans for Lebensraum('living space').
Army Group South was then to advance up to the
Volga River, subsequently draining a portion of the Red Armyand thus clearing the way for the Army Group Northand the Army Group Center on their approach to Leningrad and Moscowrespectively.
To carry out these initial tasks its battle order included the First Panzer Group and the German Sixth, Seventeenth and Eleventh Armies, and the Romanian Third and Fourth Armies.
German Sixth Army, which fought in the destructive Battle of Stalingrad, was later made part of Army Group South.
In preparation for
Operation Blue, the 1942 campaign in southern Russia and the Caucasus, Army Group South was split into two armies: Army Group Aand Army Group B.
In February 1943,
Army Group Donand the existing Army Group Bwere combined and re-designated Army Group South. A new Army Group Bbecame a major formation elsewhere.
4 April 1944, Army Group South was re-designated Army Group North Ukraine. Army Group North Ukraine existed from 4 Aprilto 28 September.
In September 1944,
Army Group South Ukrainewas again re-designated Army Group South.
Order of Battle for Army Group South, October 1944
At the end of World War II in Europe, Army Group South was again re-named. As
Army Group Ostmark, the remnants of Army Group South ended the war fighting in and around Austriaand Czechoslovakia. Army Group Ostmark was one of the last major German military formations to surrender to the Allies.
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