Rundstedt, Karl Rudolf Gerd von

Rundstedt, Karl Rudolf Gerd von

(kärl ro͞o`dôlf gĕrt fən ro͝ont`shtĕt), 1875–1953, German field marshal. He proved his exceptional abilities in World War I. In World War II he commanded in the Polish campaign (1939), in the French campaign (1940), and in Russia (June–Dec., 1941). From Mar., 1942, to Mar., 1945, except for a brief period in 1944, he was supreme commander in the West. He launched a deadly counteroffensive on Dec. 16, 1944 (see Battle of the BulgeBattle of the Bulge,
popular name in World War II for the German counterattack in the Ardennes, Dec., 1944–Jan., 1945. More than a million men fought in what is also known as the Battle of the Ardennes. On Dec.
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). After the war he was held by the British for possible prosecution as a war criminal. In 1949 he was released because of ill health.

Rundstedt, Karl Rudolf Gerd Von

 

Born Dec. 12, 1875, in Aschersleben, now in Halle District, German Democratic Republic; died Feb. 24, 1953, in Hannover, Federal Republic of Germany. Fascist German field marshal (1940). Son of a Prussian aristocrat.

Rundstedt entered military service in 1892 and graduated from the Military Academy in 1907. He fought in World War I and served as chief of staff of a corps. In 1919, Rundstedt joined the Reichswehr and held the positions of chief of staff of an army group, commander of a division, commander of a military district, and commander of an army group. He was in retirement from 1938 to 1939. In the attack on Poland in 1939 he commanded Army Group South, and in 1940 during the attack on France he commanded Army Group A, whose breakthrough to the English Channel was crucially important. From June to November 1941, Rundstedt commanded Army Group South on the Soviet-German front. For the defeat at Rostov-on-Don on Nov. 30, 1941, he was relieved of his command and sent into the reserves.

From March 1942 until early July 1944 and from September 1944 until March 1945, Rundstedt was commander in chief of German forces in the West. He was chairman of the tribunal that tried the participants in the anti-Hitler conspiracy of July 20, 1944. Rundstedt was one of the organizers of the attempt to crush the Anglo-American forces in the Ardennes Operation of 1944–45. He went into retirement on Mar. 10, 1945. He was in a British prison until 1949.

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