Ewald von Kleist
BiographyBorn in an aristocratic family, von Kleist attends a German military academy and is useful as a lieutenant of the hussards, it is also in load of a regiment during the First World War. After the war, he becomes commander of a division of cavalry of 1932 to 1935. In August 1939, then in semi retirement, he is recalled to the active service at the 58 years age.
During the invasion of Poland, it orders the 22e body of Panzer. At the time of the Battle of France, it orders Panzergruppe von Kleist, composed of the 51e and 109e body of Panzer (under the orders of Guderian), the two army corps more in the south towards the English Channel. During this period, it tries to raise Guderian of its command after him and its subordinate, Erwin Rommel, had disobeyed orders aiming at stopping their projection towards the English Channel; the chief of staff of the Wehrmacht, von Rundstedt, refuses to ratify these orders and the armies Franco-British end up being taken with the trap.
In April 1941, von Kleist orders the 1st Panzer army, made up of the 58e and 150e body of Panzer, it carries out the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in the style of the blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg). It also takes part, with this formation, with the Opération Barbarossa, its army being integrated into the Groupe of Southern armies.
In 1942, von Kleist must order the troops of the Caucasus in order to seize important oil wells in the area. November 22nd, 1942, it receives the command of the Groupe of armies has. It is promoted under field-marshal in 1943. One raises it of his functions in March 1944, after it had ordered with the 8th army to be folded up whereas she was threatened of destruction by the Soviets, in direct violation of the orders of Hitler.
Von Kleist is captured by the American troops in 1945. It is sent in communist Yugoslavia to face allegations of War crimes in 1946. In 1948, he is extradited in Soviet Union where one condemns it to 10 years of prison, in 1952, for war crimes. He dies in captivity in the Vladimir prison in 1954. It was highest graded German to die in captivity in Soviet Union.
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