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German Field Marshal Erich von
(1887 - 1973)
Kommandeur der Heeresgruppe Don
Original name ERICH VON
LEWINSKI Born Nov.
24, 1887, Berlin,Germany.
<>At the start of World
II, he served as chief of staff to General Gerd von
Rundstedt in the invasion of Poland (1939). Manstein
had in the meantime devised a daring plan to invade France by means of a
concentrated armoured thrust through the Ardennes Forest.
Died June 11, 1973, Irschenhausen, near Munich. German
Field Marshal who was perhaps the most talented
German field commander in World War II.
The son of an artillery general, he was adopted by General
Georg von Manstein after the untimely death of his
parents. Manstein began his active career as an
officer in 1906 and served in World War I on both the
Western and Russian fronts. Rising through the ranks,
he was promoted to major general in 1936 and to lieutenant general
Though this plan was rejected by the German High
Command, Manstein managed to bring it to the personal
attention of Adolf Hitler, who enthusiastically
After leading an infantry corps in the assault on France
1940, Manstein was promoted to field marshal and
general that month. He commanded the 56th Panzer
Corps in the invasion of the Soviet Union (1941), and
nearly captured Leningrad.
Promoted to command of the 11th Army on the southern
front (September 1941), Manstein managed to take
430,000 Soviet prisoners, after which he withstood the Soviet counteroffensive
that winter and went on to capture Sevastopol in July 1942.
He almost succeeded in relieving the beleaguered 6th Army in
Stalingrad in December 1942 - January 1943, and in February
1943 his forces succeeded in recapturing Kharkov,
in the most successful German counteroffensive of the
war. Thereafter he was driven into retreat, and
in March 1944 he was dismissed by Hitler.
Manstein spent the rest of the war on his estate and was captured by the
British in 1945. He was tried for war crimes,and, though acquitted
of the most serious charges, was imprisoned until his
release in 1953 because of ill health. He
subsequently advised theWest German government on the
organization of its army. His memoirs were published as
Verlorene Siege (1955; Lost Victories).