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Vietinghoff gen. Scheel, von, Heinrich-Gottfried

    Date of birth:
    December 6th, 1887 (Mainz/Rhinehesse, Germany)
    Date of death:
    February 23rd, 1952 (Pfronten-Ried/Bavaria, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, Third Reich)

    Biography

    Generalleutnant Von Vietinghoff gen. Scheel became commanding officer of the 5.Pz.Div. in Poland on November 24th 1939. He was appointed as Commander of the XIII Armee Korps on October 26th 1940. The corps was in Western Europe as a part of the 16.Armee. It was to be in one of the first waves of attack for the Operation "Seelöwe" (The Invasion of Great-Britain). From November 1940 until June 10th 1942, he was General der Panzertruppe as commander of the XXXXVI Panzer Korps, that was send to the Eastern Front on June 22nd 1941. From September 1st till December 1st 1942 he commanded the 9.Armee in Russia. He went back to the west and became Commander in Chief of the 15.Armee from December 1st 1942 until August 15th 1943, after which he went to Italy to become Commander of the 10.Armee on October 26th 1943.
    Bestween October 26th 1944 and January 15th 1945 he replaced Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, who was wounded after a car accident. With that he became Commander in Chief of the whole South-Western front. After this Generaloberst Von Vietinghoff gen. Scheel was commander of Heeresgruppe Kurland between January 29th 1945 and March 9th 1945. From March 10th 1945 until May 2nd 1945 he was once again in Italy, as commander of Heeresgruppe C. He was captured by the Allies on May 23rd 1945 in Bozen, Italy.

    Promotions:
    6th March 1906: Fähnrich;
    27th January 1907: Leutnant;
    24th June 1915: Hauptmann;
    1st March 1926: Major;
    1st February 1931: Oberstleutnant;
    1st April 1933: Oberst;
    1st April 1936: Generalmajor;
    1st March 1938: Generalleutnant;
    1st June 1940: General der Panzertruppe;
    1st September 1943: Generaloberst.

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    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    September 13th, 1914
    Eisernes Kreuz 2.Klasse (1914)
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    April 23rd, 1915
    Eisernes Kreuz 1.Klasse (1914)
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)
    Awarded on:
    April 18th, 1918

    With swords
    Ritter des Königlicher Preussischer Hausordens von Hohenzollern
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)

    With swords
    Ritterkreuz II. Klasse des Königlich Sächsischer Albrechtsordens
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)

    With war decoration
    Ritter III. Klasse zum Kaiserlicher Orden der Eisernen Krone
    Period:
    First World War (1914-1918)

    With war decoration
    Militärverdienstkreuz III. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    5.Panzer-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    September 21st, 1939
    Awarded for:
    Operation Fall Weiss

    Had already received the Iron Cross 2nd Class on September 13th 1914.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    5.Panzer-Division, Heer
    Awarded on:
    September 28th, 1939
    Awarded for:
    Operation Fall Weiss

    Had already received the Iron Cross 1st Class on April 23rd 1915.
    1939 Spange zum Eisernes Kreuz 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Panzertruppen (Lieutenant-General of Armoured Forces)
    Unit:
    XIII.Armeekorps, 12.Armee, Heeresgruppe A, Heer
    Awarded on:
    June 24th, 1940
    Awarded for:
    Operation Fall Gelb
    The following wartime excerpt (dated 30.08.1940) describes why Vietinghoff received the Knight’s Cross…

    “General von Vietinghoff, gen. von Scheel’s skillful and swift leadership was a key factor that helped his Armeekorps to create and hold a major bridgehead south of the Ardennes Canal in a timely fashion. During this combat General von Vietinghoff hurried between each of his subordinate units in order to provide them with their necessary instruction and to ensure their proper coordination both with each other and the Panzer-Divisionen. His clear commands to his subordinated Divisionen and Korps artillery enabled the expansion of this important bridgehead on the afternoon of the very first day of battle. This in turn meant that, following the completion of the heavy bridges, this was (initially) the only bridgehead which permitted the employment of multiple Panzer and motorized Divisionen for a decisive breakthrough of the enemy’s Aisne Position (made strong via both nature and man-made efforts).

    3 Panzer/motorized Divisionen were committed through the bridgehead on this first day due to the actions of Vietinghoff and his men.

    85th Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Panzertruppen (Lieutenant-General of Armoured Forces)
    Unit:
    XXXXVI. Panzerkorps, 9. Armee, Heeresgruppe Mitte, Heer
    Awarded on:
    April 22nd, 1942
    Deutsches Kreuz in Gold

    Award 111/1.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    10. Armee, Heeresgruppe C, Heer
    Awarded on:
    April 16th, 1944
    Vietinghoff's award justification for the Oakleaves reads as follows...

    "Generaloberst von Vietinghoff, commander-in-chief of an army on the southern Italian front, directed the withdrawal movements of his forces in southern Italy and their multiple defensive battles against successive Allied offensive operations. The army's successful defense of its positions for six months against overwhelming Allied superiority in land, naval and air forces can be largely credited to the leadership of the commander-in-chief."

    456th Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)

    Silver version
    Panzerkampfabzeichen (ohne Zahl)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Panzertruppen (Lieutenant-General of Armoured Forces)
    Unit:
    XXXXVI. Panzerkorps, 9. Armee, Heeresgruppe Mitte, Heer
    Awarded for:
    Operation Barbarossa
    Medaille

    Sources