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Hermann Hoth

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Title: Hermann Hoth  
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Hermann Hoth

Hermann Hoth
Hermann Hoth, one day before Barbarossa
Born (1885-04-12)12 April 1885
Neuruppin, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 25 January 1971(1971-01-25) (aged 85)
Goslar, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Years of service 1903–45
Rank Generaloberst
Commands held
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron 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. He attained the rank of Generaloberst during World War II. He fought in France, but is most noted as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front. Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, and the 4th Panzer Army later during the Wehrmacht's 1942 summer offensive. Following the encirclement of the 6th Army in Stalingrad in November 1942, Hoth's panzer army unsuccessfully attempted to relieve it 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 1
  • World War II 2
  • After the war 3
  • Awards 4
    • Wehrmachtbericht references 4.1
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
    • Citations 6.1
    • Bibliography 6.2
  • External links 7

Before the war

Hoth was born in 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. During the invasion of France in May 1940, his panzer corps guarded Guderian's right flank during their dash through the Ardennes, and contained the 5th Panzer Division and Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer Division. Following the successful conclusion of the campaign Hoth was promoted to Generaloberst on 19 July 1940.

In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Hoth commanded the Third Panzer Group which captured Minsk and Vitebsk. In October he replaced General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel as commander of the Seventeenth Army in Ukraine. As its commander he called upon his men to understand the need for "harsh punishment of Jewry".[1] 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 crossing of the Don, a move which General Kleist found unhelpful, as the additional panzer army clogged the roads.[Note 1] It then advanced to the north in support of the Sixth Army's attempt to capture Stalingrad.

Fedor von Bock (left), Hermann Hoth (center), Walther von Hünersdorff (back turned), and Wolfram von Richthofen (right, back turned) discussing operations, 8 July 1941. This photo was taken during the battles of Smolensk.

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 the 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, initially penetrated Soviet lines, before being brought to a halt at Prokhorovka. Manstein urged that the attack continue, but the lack of further progress the next day meant that the attacks on Prokharovka were 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 record, Hitler blamed Hoth for part of the losses and relieved him of command.

In April 1945 he was recalled from the officer reserves 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 on 25 January 1971 in Goslar, where he is buried.


Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Thursday, 7 August 1941 Am Verlauf dieser gewaltigen Schlacht waren die Armeen des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kluge und der Generalobersten Strauß und Freiherr von Weichs, die Panzergruppen der Generalobersten Guderian und Hoth sowie die Luftwaffenverbände der Generale der Flieger Loerzer und Freiherr von Richthofen ruhmreich beteiligt.[8] During the course of this great battle, the armies of Field Marshal von Kluge and the Colonel General Strauß and Freiherr von Weichs, the Panzer groups of Colonel-General Guderian and Hoth, and the Luftwaffe detachments of the generals of the Air Loerzer and Freiherr von Richthofen were involved gloriously.
Saturday, 18 October 1941 (Sondermeldung) An der Durchführung dieser Operationen waren die Armeen des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kluge, der Generalobersten Freiherr von Weichs und Strauß sowie Panzerarmeen der Generalobersten Guderian, Hoth, Hoeppner und des Generals der Panzertruppen Reinhardt beteiligt.[9] (Special Bulletin) In the execution of these operations were involved, the armies of Field Marshal Reinhardt.
Sunday, 19 October 1941 An der Durchführung dieser Operationen waren die Armeen des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kluge, der Generalobersten Freiherr von Weichs und Strauß sowie Panzerarmeen der Generalobersten Guderian, Hoth, Hoeppner und des Generals der Panzertruppen Reinhardt beteiligt.[10] In the execution of these operations were involved, the armies of Field Marshal Reinhardt.


  1. ^ The 4th Panzer Army was advaincing on that line, on my left. It could have taken Stalingrad without a fight at the end of July, but was diverted south to help me in crossing the Don. I did not need its aid, and it merely congested the roads I was using.[2]



  1. ^ The rise of the Wehrmacht: the German armed forces and World War II, Volume 1 Samuel W. Mitcham page 537 Praeger 2008
  2. ^ Liddell Hart 1948, pp. 204–205.
  3. ^ a b c d Thomas 1997, p. 304.
  4. ^ a b c Scherzer 2007, p. 406.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 235.
  6. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 55.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 41.
  8. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 639.
  9. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, pp. 701–702.
  10. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 702.


  • Alman, Karl (2008). Panzer vor — Die dramatische Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe und ihre tapferen Soldaten. Würzburg, Germany: Flechsig Verlag. ISBN 978-3-88189-638-2.
  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger.  
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite.  
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag.  
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross, Oak-Leaves and Swords Recipients 1941–45. Oxford, UK:  
  • Panzer-Operationen: Die Panzergruppe 3 und der operative Gedanke der deutschen Führung, Sommer 1941 (Heidelberg: Kurt Vowinckel Verlag, 1956)
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985.  

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of Panzergruppe 3
16 November 1940 – 4 October 1941
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Georg-Hans Reinhardt
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel
Commander of 17. Armee
5 October 1941 – 19 April 1942
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth
Preceded by
Generaloberst Richard Ruoff
Commander of 4. Panzer-Armee
31 May 1942 – 26 November 1943
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Erhard Raus
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