Hasso Von Manteuffel

After Erwin Rommel was named in the July 20th plot against Hitler, and suicided by taking poison, Hasso Von Mannteuful was named Commander-in-Chief of the 5th Panzer Army, taking command on 1 September 1944. In December of 1944, he was the commander in charge of the Ardennes offensive and he won some significant victories during the Battle of the Bulge, almost succeeding in breaking the Allies defensive lines. This earned him the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (only the 24th man to receive this honour). The ultimate failure of the Ardennes Offensive, in March 2nd 1945 saw Von Manteuffel become the Commander-in-Chief of 3rd Panzer Army, responsible for trying to slow the Soviet advance on Berlin. On May 3rd 1945, he surrendered to the Western Allies.

Baron Hasso Von Manteuffel was born on January 14th 1897 in Postdam. His family were Prussian aristocracy, noted for their invovement in politics and military affairs. At the age of 11 in 1908, he joined 9th cadet prep corps at the Cadet School in Naumburg and in 1916 he graduated from the Cadet Academy Berlin-Lichterfelde and saw service in France as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Brandenburg Hussar Regiment, before transferring to the to the 6th (Prussian) Infantry Division.

Between the wars, Von Manteuffel served first in a Cavalry division, then with the Motorcycle Rifle brigade, before transferring to the Panzer division in 1935, and training troops between then and the outbreak of war, advancing through the ranks steadily. In 1939, Von Manteuffel was appointed to head the Panzer Troops School II in Berlin-Krampnitz, and in October 1941, he was promoted to Colonel, while serving on the Eastern Front.

He was involved in the North African campaign, commanding a division, and launched a very successful counterattack in the Tunis area cutting Allied communications lines. In May of 1943, Von Manteuffel was promoted to the rank of Major-General, and, in November, he took command of the 7th Panzer Division in the Ukraine, and swiftly afterward became the commander of the elite "Grossdeutschland" Panzer Division. He was a skilful military strategist and in May of 1944 he stopped Marshal Koniev's drive into Romania, a success which resulted in him replacing Rommel in France as the Allies advanced – but that was an advance he was unable to stop.

Unlike many of his fellow officers, such as Kesselring and Alfred Jodl, Von Mannteuful was not prosecuted at Nuremberg and he had some success in politics after the war, serving as a member of the Bundestag between 1953 and 1957 representing the Free Democratic Party.

In 1959, Von Manteuffel was charged with having had a 19-year-old shot for desertion in 1944, found guilty, and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, but served only 4 months of the sentence.

He died in September 1978 in Tyrol, Austria.

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