6th Army (Wehrmacht)

The 6th Army / Army High Command 6 (AOK 6) was a major unit of the Army of the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. She was supreme command each alternating Army Corps as well as many special forces. The 6th Army was particularly known for the Battle of Stalingrad. 6 units of Army were used in the war against the Soviet Union for crimes of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and SD, including the massacre at Babi Yar.


1939 to 1941

The AOK 6 was born on 10 October 1939 by the renaming of AOK 10, which was previously used in the Polish campaign, formed when laying in the West and was here the Army Group B. In May and June 1940 she took part in the campaign in the west, where they formed the left wing of the Army Group B that was going on over Holland and northern Belgium in Fall Gelb. In the second phase (red case) before they went on the Somme and the Oise to Paris and took Orléans. Then she remained until April 1941 at the West. The 6th Army was named after the western campaign “Conqueror of the capital cities.”

1941 to 1942

From the beginning of Operation Barbarossa was under the Army of Army Group South. They fought among others in September 1941 in the

Battle of Kiev in May 1942 in the Battle of Kharkov. Then they operated during Case Blue from Ukraine out towards Don, which early July 1942, has been exceeded. As a result, the army between the Don and Volga to Stalingrad fought before.

Battle of Stalingrad

End of August 1942 began the 6th Army attack on Stalingrad and was against the stubborn resistance of the Soviet 62nd Army bring large parts of the city under their control. In the ensuing months-long road and house fighting, it did not succeed in the Wehrmacht to conquer the rest of the city.

Front of some German officers predicted though, the beginning in November 1942 Operation Uranus major offensive of the Red Army for the Army High Command was still surprising, since we completely underestimated the concentration of Soviet troops and the resulting threat had misunderstood. Your result was the inclusion of 6 Army and other German and allied forces, totaling nearly 300,000 troops in Stalingrad.

Between 31 January and 2 February 1943 presented the 6th Army combat. Approximately 100,000 soldiers of the 6th Army had fallen by the end of the battle of encirclement.

After the war diaries of 6 Army and daily reports of the army corps was on the date 18 December 1942 a board thickness of 230,300 Germans and allies in the boiler, including 13,000 Romanians. Also report the messages 19,300 Soviet prisoners or Soviet auxiliary volunteers. To 24 January 1943 were 42,000 German wounded, sick and specialists flown. 16,800 Wehrmacht soldiers were according to Soviet reports of 10 to 29 Captured in January. With the destruction of the boiler in the end of January and beginning of February, there were 91,000 more soldiers and went into Soviet captivity and were then distributed to detention centers around Stalingrad. The Red Army was at first overwhelmed with the care and support of prisoners of war, since with the closure of the boiler to the 6th Army was only assumed total of around 90,000 troops. By poor nutrition in the boiler, the German “battle groups” were physically weakened so that could be spent by the 90,000 geratenen during the surrender prisoners of war in captivity, only about 33,000 in the labor camp. The majority had died after a few days in the camps, many of weakness, but also to wounds and disease. The journey from ordinary soldiers in the labor camps (the reconstruction of the Soviet Union) was in unheated rail cars. Food there was only every third day, so that the death rate was still high here. Only 18,000 prisoners, enlisted men – captured officers came in special storage – should have reached the labor camp information. Only 6,000 officers and men of the 6th Army survived the years of captivity and returned to their homeland.

On 3 February 1943 flew Lieutenant Herbert Kuntz as the last supply plane over Stalingrad and German troops could no longer watch. This date is considered the end of the 6th Army. However orteten pilots of the German Luftwaffe in the steppe of Stalingrad until mid-February to small groups of five men who were trying to reach the German lines.

According to recent reports, fought until the end of February 1943 some 10,000 German soldiers hiding in the underground, in the devastated city. Some had heard after the cleavage of the boiler towards the end of January, not the surrender took place, others still felt bound by the oath of allegiance paid.

After the reorganization in 1943

On 6 March 1943 was the 6th Army out of the fighting in southern Russia Army Division Hollidt realigned with the new Army Group South. They first stopped at the Mius lines and had to retire in the fall of 1943 from the Donets Basin to the Dnepr. Here she held until early 1944, a bridgehead at Nikopol, they had to leave in February. She drew back behind the Ingulez and later behind the bug in the Romanian occupation Transnistria, where in April from her and the Romanian 3rd Army, the army group was formed Dumitrescu. After further Soviet attacks followed the withdrawal behind the Dniester. In August 1944, the association suffered as part of Army Group South Ukraine during the Soviet Jassy-Kishinev operation heavy losses.

From the remnants in Transylvania then again placed, they were referred to in September 1944 by the Hungarian insinuation 2 Army as Army Group Fretter-Pico and January to March 1945 by the Hungarian insinuation 3 Army as Army Group Balck. The last commander, General of Panzer Troops Hermann Balck, surrendered in May 1945 in Styria against the Americans.

War crimes and propaganda

The 6th Army was involved in addition to its main role as a fighting force in the conquest and extermination policies of the Nazi regime in the Soviet Union and thus involved in the enforcement of this policy. Their defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad was charged by the Nazi propaganda myth of a heroic sacrifice s. In the post-war German literature, she became one of its leading unconscionable “betrayed army.”

In the period from 1941 to 1943 worked supreme command and units of 6 Army with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen of the SD together the mass murder of the Jews in the fight against partisans and alleged partisans and the starvation of the civilian population.

Officers of the XXIX Army Corps were involved in the planning of the massacre of Baby Yar, where in September 1941 within two days about 33,000 Jews were murdered. In Kharkov the SS Special Come Mando Sk 4a prepared in consultation with the General Staff and the Field command a “Jewish action” before: in December more than 20,000 Jewish men, women and children from Kharkov were in a camp outside the city “evacuated” and then from the SS shot or suffocated in a gas car.


•Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau: 10 October 1939 to 1 January 1942

•General Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus: 1 January 1942 to 31 January 1943

(Surrender – Restated)•Colonel Karl-Adolf Hollidt 5 March to 22 November 1943

•General of Artillery Maximilian de Angelis: 22 November to 19 December 1943

•Colonel Karl-Adolf Hollidt 19 December 1943 to 25 March 1944

•General of Panzer troops Sigfrid Henrici: 25 March to 8 April 1944

•General of Artillery Maximilian de Angelis: 8 April to 17 July 1944

•Artillery General Maximilian Fretter-Pico 17 July to 23 December 1944

•General of Panzer troops Hermann Balck: 23 December 1944 to 8 May 1945


•Bernd Boll, Hans Safrian: On the way to Stalingrad.The 6th Army. 1941/42, pp. 260ff. In: Hannes Heer, Klaus Naumann (eds.): War of Extermination.Crimes of the Wehrmacht 1941 to 1944. Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-930908-04-2.

Army of the Wehrmacht

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