Army Group North

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Army Group North (German: Heeresgruppe Nord) was a German strategic echelon formation, commanding a grouping of field armies during World War II. The army group was subordinated to the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the German army high command, and coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics.


The Army Group North was created on the 2 September 1939 by reorganization of the 2nd Army Headquarters.
Commander in Chief 27 August 1939: GFM Fedor von Bock

Campaign and operation history

Invasion of Poland

The first employment of Army Group North was in the Invasion of Poland of 1939, where in September it controlled:

The Army Group was commanded by Fedor von Bock for the operation.

After completion of the Poland Campaign it was transferred to the Western Theatre and on the 10 October 1939 was renamed as the Army Group B, and consisted of:

Operation Barbarossa

In preparation for Operation Barbarossa, Army Group North was reformed from Army Group C on 22 June 1941. Army Group North was commanded by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb[1] and staged in East Prussia. Its strategic goal was Leningrad, with operational objectives being the territories of the Baltic republics and securing the northern flank of Army Group Centre in Northern Russia between Western Dvina River and Daugavpils-Kholm Army Group boundary. On commencement of the Wehrmacht's (the German armed forces) Baltic offensive operation the Army Group deployed into Lithuania and northern Belorussia.

It served mainly in Baltic territories and north Russia until 1944.

Commander in Chief 22 June 1941: GFM Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb

Its subordinate Armies were deployed with the following immediate objectives:

  • 18th Army - from Koenigsberg to Ventspils - Jelgava
  • 4th Panzer Army - Pskov
  • 16th Army - Kaunas, Daugavpils
  • Army Group troops
    • Army-Group signals regiment 537
    • Army-Group signals regiment 639 (2nd echelon)

The Baltic offensive operation

All operational objectives such as Tallinn were achieved despite stubborn Red Army resistance and several unsuccessful counter-offensives such as the Battle of Raseiniai, and the Army Group approached Leningrad, commencing the Siege of Leningrad. However, while the Baltic states were overrun, the Siege of Leningrad continued until 1944, when it was lifted as a result of the Red Army Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation.

In September 1941, the Spanish Blue Division was assigned to Army Group North.

Northern Russia offensive operation

October 1941

  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee

Nevsky Pyatachok
Operation Nordlicht

Northern Russia defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 17 January 1942: GFM Georg von Küchler

September 1942

  • 11 Armee
  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee

December 1942

  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee

Demyansk Pocket
Kholm Pocket
Soviet Toropets-Kholm Operation
Battle of Velikiye Luki
Battle of Krasny Bor

Baltic defensive campaign

Commander in Chief 9 January 1944: GFM Walter Model
Commander in Chief 31 March 1944: Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Commander in Chief 4 July 1944: Generaloberst Johannes Frießner
Commander in Chief 23 July 1944: GFM Ferdinand Schörner

March 1944

Battle of Narva, consisting of:

  1. Battle for Narva Bridgehead and
  2. Battle of Tannenberg Line

Combat in South Estonia, 1944
Soviet Baltic Offensive
Battle of Porkuni
Battle of Vilnius (1944)
Battle of Memel

After becoming trapped in the Courland Cauldron after 25 January 1945, the Army Group was renamed Army Group Courland. On the same day, in East Prussia, a new Army Group North was created by renaming Army Group Center. On the 2 April 1945, the army group was dissolved, and the staff formed the 12th Army headquarters.

Campaign in East Prussia

Army Group North (old Army Group Centre), was driven into an ever smaller pocket around Königsberg in East Prussia. On April 9, 1945 Königsberg finally fell to the Red Army, although remnants of Army Group units continued to resist on the Heiligenbeil & Danzig beachheads until the end of the war in Europe.

October 1944

November 1944

December 1944

  • 16 Armee
  • 18 Armee

Soviet East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Königsberg
Heiligenbeil pocket

Campaign in West Prussia

Commander in Chief 27 January 1945: Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic
Commander in Chief 12 March 1945: Walter Weiss
February 1945

Soviet East Pomeranian Offensive
Battle of Kolberg
Courland Pocket
On the 25 January 1945 Hitler renamed three army groups. Army Group North became Army Group Courland, more appropriate as it had been isolated from Army Group Centre and was trapped in Courland, Latvia; Army Group Centre became Army Group North and Army Group A became Army Group Centre.



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See also

Notes and references

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  • Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, vol. 8. Die Ostfront: 1943/44; der Krieg im Osten und an den Nebenfronten. Mit Beiträge von Karl-Heinz Frieser, Bernd Wegner u.a. 2007: Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt.
  • Hoth, Hermann. Panzer-Operationen 1956: Heidelberg, Kurt Vowinckel Verlag,

Further reading

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External links