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Southern Germany Campaign file photo [20139]

Southern Germany Campaign

28 Mar 1945 - 2 May 1945


ww2dbaseUS 6th Army Group under General Jacob Devers was tasked with moving into southern Germany to protect the right flank of operations further north and to prevent German troops in the Berlin area from moving southward into the Alps. The campaign began with US 7th Army, under Lieutenant General Alexander Patch, penetrating German lines south of Frankfurt, but meeting stiff resistance beyond. On 15 Apr, Dwight Eisenhower added George Patton's US 3rd Army to this campaign, ordering it to move southeast along the Danube River toward Austria.

ww2dbaseAs NĂĽrnberg (English: Nuremberg) became threatened, Nazi official Karl Holz was placed in command of the German defense at that city, which bore spiritual significance to the Nazi Party. Holz ordered the construction and deployment of additional anti-tank ditches, anti-aircraft batteries, and other defensive establishments mostly on the western side of the city, believing that, despite having only 7,000 troops, he could hold the city for an extended period of time. On 16 Apr, US 7th Army reached the northeastern outskirts of NĂĽrnberg, surprising the German defenders who had focused on the west. The Americans captured the Erlenstegen and Buch neighborhood very quickly, followed by the rail marshaling yard and the airport. The assault on NĂĽrnberg's old city began on 18 Apr; when the old city was taken two days later, the combination of fierce German resistance and the liberal use of US artillery resulted in the damage or destruction of many historical buildings, including the castle. Holz turned down four opportunities to surrender, and died in combat in a police station in the morning of 20 Apr; his deputy, Colonel Wolf, surrendered to the US 7th Army at 1100 hours.

ww2dbaseThe city of MĂĽnchen (English: Munich) was attacked by US 20th Armored Division, US 3rd Infantry Division, US 42nd Infantry Division, and US 45th Infantry Division. Although the German garrison at MĂĽnchen were also stubborn in its defense, the city would fall under US control by the next day.

ww2dbaseAfter the fall of these two major cities, and given the dire situation in Berlin, the morale in southern Germany crumbled. Many German units began to break up or surrender en masse.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Feb 2014

Southern Germany Campaign Interactive Map


Men of US 255th Infantry Regiment moved through Waldenburg, WĂĽrttemberg-Hohenzollern, Germany, mid-Apr 1945M18 Hellcat of US 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in support of 2nd Battalion of US 397th Infantry Regiment at Wiesloch, Germany, 1 Apr 1945
See all 8 photographs of Southern Germany Campaign

Southern Germany Campaign Timeline

3 Apr 1945 US 45th Infantry Division captured Aschaffenburg, Germany.
5 Apr 1945 French First Army captured Karlsruhe, Germany.
8 Apr 1945 US Seventh Army captured Pforzheim in southwestern Germany.
11 Apr 1945 US Third Army captured Weimar, Germany and US Seventh Army reached Schweinfurt.
12 Apr 1945 In southwestern Germany, French troops captured Baden-Baden and US troops captured Heilbronn.
14 Apr 1945 In Germany, US Third Army captured Bayreuth and Gera.
15 Apr 1945 French First Army captured Kehl and Offenburg, Germany. On the same day, Dwight Eisenhower ordered US 3rd Army under George Patton and US 6th Army Group under Jacob Devers to make a thrust toward Austria.
16 Apr 1945 US troops reached the outskirts of NĂĽrnberg, Germany.
17 Apr 1945 US troops captured the rail marshaling yard and airport of NĂĽrnberg, Germany.
18 Apr 1945 US troops began fighting in the old city section of NĂĽrnberg, Germany; meanwhile, US 3rd Army sent units across the Czechoslovakian border.
20 Apr 1945 US Seventh Army captured NĂĽrnberg, Germany.
21 Apr 1945 French First Army captured Stuttgart, Germany.
22 Apr 1945 US Seventh Army established a bridgehead across the Danuber River in southern Germany, while US Third Army began moving south through the Danube Valley. To the west, French First Army reached the Swiss-German border.
24 Apr 1945 US Seventh Army crossed the Danube River to capture Ulm, Germany. Also in southern Germany, US 3rd Army reached the Danube River.
29 Apr 1945 US troops arrived at the outskirts of MĂĽnchen, Germay. To the west, French First Army captured Freidrichshafen.
30 Apr 1945 US troops captured MĂĽnchen, Germany. 50 kilometers to the northeast, at Moosburg, US Third Army freed over 100,000 prisoners of war.
3 May 1945 US Third Army crossed the Inn River in Germany.
4 May 1945 US Seventh Army occupied Innsbruck, Berchtesgaden, Germany and Salzburg, Austria.
5 May 1945 US Third Army captured Karlsbad and Pilsen in occupied Czechoslovakia.
5 May 1945 After a night of probing raids, 100 to 150 German Waffen-SS troops under Georg Bochmann attacked Itter Castle in western Austria, which was recently captured by a small American force, with its full force. The castle was a prison for high-value French prisoners including Édouard Daladier, Paul Reynaud, Maxime Weygand, Maurice Gamelin, Charles de Gaulle's elder sister Marie-Agnès Cailliau, and others. The Americans were able to hold off the German attacks until 1600 hours when reinforcements arrived, surprising the Germans and resulting in about 100 Germans being captured. The sole defender to die in the engagement was Josef Gangl, a German Army officer at the rank of major who had recently joined the Austrian resistance.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Phil wiland says:
28 May 2018 09:23:08 PM

My father, Paul Wiland, was in the 3rd Army during WW2. He told many stories but didn’t know how to describe exact locations. At Dad’s funeral an older man told me my Dad was the first soldier in the 3rd army to enter Germany, but had sworn his friends to keep it secret because he wanted no honors. He told me Dad said “If anyone should be honored it should be the guys in front of me who didn’t make it.” Can you help me learn more about Dad, and whether this is true?
2. Peter charter says:
21 Nov 2018 07:53:06 AM

Hi, I am an English guy living in a village south of Stuttgart..having been cycling through the forests here I visit a village called Dettenhausen...This village has a number of bunkers and the locals tell me that the American army was engaged in a battle for the village..How can I find out more about the involvement of the army in this area south of Stuttgart?
3. David Miles says:
4 Aug 2020 07:43:48 AM

My father, Pfc. Ralph Jacob Miles, Half-track unit, Radio Section, Hq and Hq Company, 12th Infantry Regt,4th ID. Wrote a two-volume album memoir of his ETO experience, 22 Aug 1944 - 3 July 1945. He road with 12th Regt Col R.H. Chance as his personal radio operator as part of Task Force Rodwell that drove from Schnelldorf through Lauingen, where the Task Force rejoined the main body of the Division and crossed the Danube. His Regt and Division drove southeastward through Weisingen, Welden, Agawang, Strassberg, Windl, Turkenfeld, Ober Pfaffenhofen, Percha, Bairawies, Finsterwald and finally to Schonegg, where the Division was relieved. In the course of this drive, the division, he wrote, "fought through the southwestern outskirts of Munich." The regiment also liberated the slave labor camp southeast of Munich at Haunstetten April 29. I was disappointed that the efforts of the 4th ID in fighting for the liberation of Munich and the slave laborers at this Dachau satellite camp omitted from this account. I am glad to fill in this omission.
4. Alan McCreary says:
14 Aug 2021 12:40:29 AM

I am trying to trace my fathers movements as a British POW released by the US Army in or around Schweinfurt May 1945 after capture May 1940 near Arras, France. Army no.4 446 954, Durham Light Infantry.
5. Bill Hambley says:
22 Mar 2022 11:58:12 AM

i will have a few days in Munich in late May 2022. My wife's uncle was in the 45th Inf Div from Sicily through the end of the war and i'd like to visit some battle sites in Southern Germany. Ive been to Dachau 2x already so don't need to go there. Other suggestions

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Southern Germany Campaign Photo Gallery
Men of US 255th Infantry Regiment moved through Waldenburg, WĂĽrttemberg-Hohenzollern, Germany, mid-Apr 1945M18 Hellcat of US 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion in support of 2nd Battalion of US 397th Infantry Regiment at Wiesloch, Germany, 1 Apr 1945
See all 8 photographs of Southern Germany Campaign

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