Southern Germany Campaign
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
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.
Last Major Update: Feb 2014
Southern Germany Campaign Interactive Map
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 Ă‰douard Daladier, Paul Reynaud, Maxime Weygand, Maurice Gamelin, Charles de Gaulle's elder sister Marie-AgnĂ¨s 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.|
Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
Visitor Submitted Comments
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
» Devers, Jacob
» Patton, George
- » 1,136 biographies
- » 336 events
- » 43,320 timeline entries
- » 1,235 ships
- » 349 aircraft models
- » 207 vehicle models
- » 372 weapon models
- » 123 historical documents
- » 258 facilities
- » 469 book reviews
- » 28,325 photos
- » 430 maps
Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937