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Friedrich von Paulus

Discussion in 'Who Was Who Of Germany In WWII' started by Jim, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    Friedrich von Paulus was born in Breitenau, Melsungen District, on 23 September 1890. His family was not aristocratic and the title 'von' was only given to him by Allied propaganda. A career soldier, he served in World War I as adjutant of an infantry battalion. In 1915 he was assigned to the staff of the 2nd Prussian Regiment and two years later to the operations staff of the Alpine Corps. During the war he served on both the Eastern Front and the Western Front. Paulus remained in the army after the war and was appointed adjutant to the 14th Infantry Regiment at Konstanz. In 1922, he was given general staff training and the following year joined Army Group 2 at Kassel. From 1924 to 1927, he was a General Staff officer with Wehrkreis V at Stuttgart. One senior officer commented that Paulus was 'A typical Staff officer of the old school. Tall, and in outward appearance painstakingly well-groomed. Modest, perhaps too modest, amiable, with extremely courteous manners, and a good comrade, anxious not to offend anyone. Exceptionally talented and interested in military matters, and a meticulous desk worker, with a passion for war-games and formulating plans on the map-board or sand-table. At this he displays considerable talent, considering every decision at length and with careful deliberation before giving the appropriate orders.' Paulus had a strange fixation for a soldier. He despised dirt, bathing and changing uniforms several times a day, even on the rare occasions he ventured into the field.

    Field Marshal Paulus is one of the classic examples of a man promoted beyond his ability. An able and diligent staff officer he lacked the confidence to disobey Hitler and save the Sixth Army from destruction in November 1942.


    He continued to be promoted and in 1930 he became a tactics instructor with the 5th Infantry Division. In 1934, Paulus was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed commander of Motor Transport Section 3. In September 1935, he succeeded Heinz Guderian as chief of staff to the commander of Germany's Mechanized Forces. Considered to be an expert on motorized warfare, Paulus was promoted to major-general and became director of training for Germany's four light divisions in 1939. This included two motorized infantry regiments, a reconnaissance regiment and a motorized artillery regiment. Just before the outbreak of World War II, Paulus became chief of staff of the Tenth Army. Serving under General Walther von Reichenau, Paulus took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. This was followed by the Western Offensive in Belgium and France. He was given command of the Sixth Army in 1942 and tasked with the capture of Stalingrad.

    After the Sixth Army had been encircled he was promoted to field marshal on 31 January 1943 but surrendered with the remnants of the Sixth Army in February. On the night of 12/13 June 1943 at Krasnoyarsk near Moscow the Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland (National Committee for a Free Germany), an anti-Nazi group composed of captured senior officers headed by Paulus, was set up under the control of the GRU, the Soviet Military Intelligence Service. It included German Communists like Walter Ulbricht who would playa major part in the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (DDR; Communist East Germany) after the war. The League of German Officers (BOO) contained many veterans of the Sixth Army and along with the Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland worked to foment disaffection in front-line troops and officers. Paulus never saw his wife, a woman of the Romanian nobility, Elena Rosetti-Solescu, again. She was imprisoned by the Nazis and released by US forces at the end of the war. Paulus was released in 1953 and died in Dresden in East Germany after a long illness in 1957.

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