Notes

[1] Dispositions of the opposing forces on 31 August 1939 with the German order of battle overlayed in pink.

[2] Deployment of German, Polish, and Slovak divisions immediately before the German invasion.

[3] Disposition of all troops following the Soviet invasion.

[4] German and Soviet troops shaking hands following the invasion

[5] Franz Halder (30 June 1884 – 2 April 1972) was a German General and the chief of the OKH General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. His diary during his time as chief of OKH General Staff has been a very good source for authors that have written about such subjects as Adolf Hitler, the Second World War and the NSDAP (The Nazi party). In William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Halder's diary is cited hundreds of times. Halder was born in Würzburg, the son of General Max Halder. In 1902, he joined the 3rd Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment in Munich. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1904, upon graduation from War School in Munich, then he attended Artillery School (1906–07) and the Bavarian Staff College (War Academy) (1911–1914), both in Munich. During the 1950s, Halder worked as a war historian advisor to the U.S. Army Historical Division, for which he was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1961. During the early 1950s Halder advised on the redevelopment of the post-World War II German army (see: Searle's "Wehrmacht Generals"). He died in 1972 in Aschau im Chiemgau, Bavaria

[6] Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (12 December 1875 – 24 February 1953) was a German Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) during World War II. Born into a Prussian family with a long military tradition, Rundstedt entered the Imperial German Army in 1892 and rose through the ranks until World War I, in which he served mainly as a staff officer. In the inter-war years, he continued his military career, reaching the rank of Colonel General (Generaloberst) before retiring in 1938.He was recalled at the beginning of World War II as Commander of Army Group South in the Polish campaign. He commanded Army Group A during the German invasion of France, and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on 19 July 1940. In the Russian Campaign, he commanded Army Group South, responsible for the largest encirclement in history, the Battle of Kiev. He was dismissed by Adolf Hitler in December 1941, following the German retreat from Rostov, but was recalled in 1942 and appointed Commander in Chief in the West. He was dismissed again after the German defeat in Normandy in July 1944, but was again recalled as Commander in Chief in the West in September, holding this post until his final dismissal by Hitler in March 1945. Rundstedt was aware of the various plots to depose Hitler, but refused to support them. After the war, he was charged with war crimes, but did not face trial due to his age and poor health. He was released in 1949, and died in Hanover in 1953.

[7] Erich von Manstein (24 November 1887 – 9 June 1973) was one of the most prominent commanders of the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces during World War II. Attaining the rank of Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal), he was held in high esteem as one of Germany's best military strategists and field commanders. Born into an aristocratic Prussian family with a long history of military service, Manstein joined the army at a young age and saw service on several fronts during World War I. He had risen to the rank of captain by the end of the war and was active in the inter-war period helping Germany rebuild her armed forces. During the invasion of Poland at the outbreak of World War II, he was serving as Chief of Staff to Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South. He was one of the planners of Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), an offensive through the Ardennes during the invasion of France in 1940. Attaining the rank of general at the end of the campaign, he was active in the invasion of the Soviet Union and the Siege of Sevastopol and was promoted to Field Marshal in August 1942. Germany's fortunes in the war began to take an unfavourable turn after the disastrous Battle of Stalingrad, where Manstein commanded a failed relief effort. He was one of the primary commanders at the Battle of Kursk, one of the last major battles of the war and one of the largest battles in history. His ongoing disagreements with Hitler over the conduct of the war led to his dismissal in March 1944. He never obtained another command and was taken prisoner by the British in August 1945, several months after Germany's defeat. Manstein gave testimony at the main Nuremberg Trials of war criminals in August 1946, and prepared a paper that, along with his later memoirs, helped contribute to the myth of a "clean Wehrmacht"—the myth that the German armed forces were not culpable for the atrocities of the Holocaust. In 1949 he was tried in Hamburg for war crimes and was convicted on nine of seventeen counts, including the poor treatment of prisoners of war and failing to protect civilian lives in his sphere of operations. His sentence of eighteen years in prison was later reduced to twelve, and he served only four years before being released in 1953. As a military advisor to the West German government in the mid-1950s, he helped re-establish the armed forces. His successful memoir, Verlorene Siege (1955), translated into English as Lost Victories, was highly critical of Hitler's leadership, and focused strictly on the military aspects of the war, ignoring the political and ethical context. Manstein died in Munich in 1973.

[8] Junkers Ju 87 Stuka (dive bomber)

[9] Heinz Wilhelm Guderian (German: [guˈdeʀi̯an]; 17 June 1888 – 14 May 1954) was a German general during World War II. He was a pioneer in the development of armoured warfare, and was the leading proponent of tanks and mechanization in the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces). Germany's panzer (armoured) forces were raised and organized under his direction as Chief of Mobile Forces. During the war, he was a highly successful commander of panzer forces in several campaigns. He had major conflicts with Adolf Hitler over Hitler's interference in the management of the campaigns. This culminated in the German defeat before Moscow. He was placed in reserve until significant losses in the panzerwaffe made it imperative that he be brought back to rebuild it. A special position was created for him, and in February 1943 he became Inspector General of Armoured Troops and promoted to the rank of Generaloberst. His efforts at rebuilding met with considerable resistance from Hitler himself. He was ultimately promoted to the highest rank in the army, Chief of the Oberkommando des Heeres, or Chief of the General Staff of the Army. By this point, however, Hitler had undermined the authority of the position, and Guderian was compelled to play the part of a figurehead for the last year of the war. Guderian and his staff surrendered to U.S. forces on 10 May 1945. He remained as a prisoner of war in U.S. custody until his release on 17 June 1948. His conduct was investigated and no charges were brought. After the war he was often invited to attend meetings of British veterans' groups, where he analyzed past battles with his old foes. During the early 1950s he advised on the reestablishment of military forces (the Bundeswehr) in West Germany.

Guderian died on 14 May 1954 at the age of 65, in Schwangau near Füssen in (Southern Bavaria) and is buried at the Friedhof Hildesheimer Strasse in Goslar. Notes written by Erwin Rommel during the course of the war offered the following insights into the development of armoured warfare in Germany: In Germany, thanks largely to the efforts of Guderian, the first traces of modern leadership in tank warfare began to crystallise in theory before the war. This resulted in the training and organization of tank units on modern lines. The British Army, however, remained conservative and its responsible authorities rejected the principles of mechanised warfare which had been so eminently developed and taught by Englishmen, in particular Fuller and Liddell Hart. A documentary about his life aired on French television in 2000. Titled Guderian, it was directed by Anton Vassil and featured Guderian's son Heinz-Günther, Field Marshal Lord Carver and historians Kenneth Macksey and Heinz Wilhelm. The Enigma machine used by Guderian is on display at the Intelligence Corps museum in Chicksands, Bedfordshire, England.

[10] Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944), popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He earned the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought.

Rommel was a highly decorated officer in World War I and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his exploits on the Italian front. In World War II, he further distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France. His leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign established him as one of the most able commanders of the war, and earned him the appellation of the Desert Fox. He is regarded as one of the most skilled commanders of desert warfare in the conflict. He later commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion in Normandy. His assignments never took him to the Eastern Front. Rommel is regarded as having been a humane and professional officer. His Afrika Korps was never accused of war crimes, and soldiers captured during his Africa campaign were reported to have been treated humanely.Orders to kill Jewish soldiers, civilians and captured commandos were ignored. Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Because Rommel was a national hero, Hitler desired to eliminate him quietly. He forced Rommel to commit suicide with a cyanide pill, in return for assurances that Rommel's family would not be persecuted following his death. He was given a state funeral, and his cause of death announced as old battle wounds.

[11] Johannes Friedrich "Hans" von Seeckt (22 April 1866 – 27 December 1936) was a German military officer noted for his organization of the German Army (Reichswehr) during the Weimar Republic.Seeckt was born in Schleswig on April 22, 1866 to an old Pomeranian family, which had been ennobled in the eighteenth century. Though the family had lost its estates, Seeckt was "a thorough-going aristocrat" and his father was an important general within the German Army, finishing his career as military governor of Posen. Seeckt followed his father into military service, joining the Army in 1885 at the age of 18. He served in the elite Kaiser Alexander Guard Grenadiers, then joined the Prussian General Staff in 1897.In 1913, Seeckt became the Chief of Staff of the III Corps based in Berlin.Von Seeckt died in Berlin on December 27, 1936 and was buried at Invalidenfriedhof. The American historian David Bongard wrote that Seeckt was "A haughty, cold, distant and intellectually calculating soldier, Seeckt was a talented staff officer and planner; as effective chief of staff, he made no effort to reconcile either himself or the officer corps to the Weimar Republic..."

[12] Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Russian: Михаи́л Никола́евич Тухаче́вский; February 16 [O.S. February 4] 1893 – June 12, 1937) was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, commander in chief of the Red Army (1925–1928), and one of the most prominent victims of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.Tukhachevsky was born at Alexandrovskoye, Safonovsky District, into a family of impoverished hereditary nobles. His great-grandfather was Alexander Tukhachevsky, a Colonel of Imperial Russian Army. He was of Russian ethnicity. After attending the Moscow Military School in 1912 he moved on to the Aleksandrovskoye Military School whence he graduated in 1914. At the outset of the First World War, he joined the Semyenovsky Guards Regiment as a Second Lieutenant declaring,

"I am convinced that all that is needed in order to achieve what I want is bravery and self-confidence. I certainly have enough self-confidence... I told myself that I shall either be a general at thirty, or that I shall not be alive by then."

After being taken prisoner by the Imperial German Army in February 1915, Tukhachevsky escaped four times from POW camps and was finally held as an incorrigible escapee in Ingolstadt fortress.

His fifth escape was successful, and after crossing the Swiss-German border, he returned to Russia in September 1917. After the October Revolution, Tukhachevsky joined the Bolshevik Party and went on to play a key role in the Red Army in spite of his noble ancestry. On June 11, 1937, the Soviet Supreme Court convened a special military tribunal to try Tukhachevsky and eight Generals for treason. The trial was dubbed the Case of Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization. Upon hearing the accusations, Tukhachevsky was heard to say, "I feel I'm dreaming." Most of the judges were also terrified. One was heard to comment, "Tomorrow I'll be put in the same place." After his trial, five of the officers serving as judges in that court martial were executed. It was explained to the accused that the trial was being conducted according to the law of 1 December 1934, meaning that defense attorneys were barred from the courtroom and that appeals of the verdict were forbiddenAt 11:35 that night, all of the defendants were declared guilty and sentenced to death. Stalin, who was awaiting the verdict with Molotov, Kaganovich, and Yezhov, did not even examine the transcripts. He simply said, "Agreed." Within the hour, Tukhachevsky was summoned from his cell by NKVD captain Vasili Blokhin. As Yezhov watched, the former Marshal was shot once, in the back of the head. Immediately afterward, Yezhov was summoned into Stalin's presence. Stalin asked, "What were Tukhachevsky's last words?" Yezhov responded, "The snake said he was dedicated to the Motherland and Comrade Stalin. He asked for clemency. But it was obvious that he was not being straight, he hadn't laid down his arms."

[13] Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.D, 5.Panzer-Division, France 1940

This panzer was part of either Panzer-Regiment 15 or 31, each of which contained 12 of these panzers, Note the "open" nature of the oalkenkreuz and the yellow Tac numbers on a black panzer rhomboid, painted directly on the superstructure side. If the 6,Kompanie was organized per the "Gliederung"for a "mittlere Panzerkompanie" (medium tank company) issued on February 21,1940, it would have contained a total of eight Pz.Kpfw.IVs, six Pz.Kpfw.lls and a single kl.Pz.Bef.Wg. The company contained a company HQ platoon, a single light platoon and two medium platoons. Colors: dunkelgrau Nr.46 (2/3 coverage) with dunkelbraun Nr.45 blotch pattern (1/3 coverage). From Panzer Vor

[14] A small field kitchen (Feldkuche) moves forward with the troops. The Landser knew it as a goulash cannon (Gulaschkanone) or as a fodder cannon (Futterkanone) owing to its stovepipe, which is hidden behind the driver. On the driver's seat is an insulated ration container. One man could operate the field kitchen and it could continue to operate on their move. Every attempt was made to provide two hot meals a day.

[15] 'If the harness was not available, the assault kit was fastened to the back of the belt.

[16] Throughout the war, the trusty two-horse light army vehicle 1 (HF 1) and the four-horse heavy army vehicle 2 (HF 2) were used as supply or field wagons.

[17] Since the composition and strength of the trains were similar in other units too, they will not be described in depth again, for the sake of saving space.

[18] Activities, work and achievements of the supply trains could only be outlined in brief - as is true of all other units too - for reasons of space.

[19] Abandoned Belgian tank is inspected by three German soldiers

[20] French tank

[21] Operation in France

[22] Pz.Kpfw.ll (Ausf.A, B or C), 7.Panzer-Division, France, June 1940

The Tac number, "141", is painted in white outline form on the turret. This designates the panzer as belonging to the Panzer-Regiment's I .Abteilung, 1. Kompanie, first panzer of 4.Zug, The superstructure side has a black Balkenkreuz, outlined in white, as well as the divisional sign for the 7,Panzer-Division (an inverted "Y" followed by three dots) painted in yellow; the insignia was also often seen on the driver's plate, next to his visor. Curiously, ~his panzer has lost the protective trough for its rod antenna. Colors are a base of Dunkelgrau Nr.46 (later the code was changed to RAL 7021), over-sprayed with Dunkelbraun Nr.45 (later RAL 7017) in patches, so it covered roughly 1 /3 of the item being painted.

[23] Maurice Gustave Gamelin (20 September 1872 – 18 April 1958) was a French general. Gamelin is remembered for his unsuccessful command of the French military in 1940 during the Battle of France and his steadfast defense of republican values. The Commander-in-chief of the French armed forces in World War II, Gamelin was viewed as a man with significant intellectual ability. He was respected, even in Germany, for his intelligence and "subtle mind", though he was viewed by some German generals as stiff and predictable. Despite this, and his competent service in World War I, his command of the French armies during the critical days of May 1940 proved to be disastrous. Historian and journalist William L. Shirer presented the view that Gamelin used World War I methods to fight World War II, but with less vigor and slower response.

Gamelin served with distinction under Joseph Joffre in World War I. He is often credited with being responsible for devising the outline of the French counter-attack in 1914 which led to victory during the First Battle of the Marne. In 1933 Gamelin rose to command the French Army and oversaw a modernization and mechanization program, including the completion of the Maginot Line defenses. Édouard Daladier supported Gamelin throughout his career due to his refusal to allow politics to play a part in military planning and promotion, and his commitment to the republican model of government—not a trivial concern at a time when Communists on the left and Royalists and Fascists on the right were openly advocating regime change in France.Gamelin was both preceded and succeeded as generalissimo by Maxime Weygand. During the Vichy regime, Gamelin was arrested and unsuccessfully tried for treason along with other important political and military figures of the Third Republic (Édouard Daladier, Guy La Chambre, Léon Blum, and Robert Jacomet) during the Riom Trial. At this trial, Gamelin refused to answer the charges against him, instead maintaining a dignified silence. Imprisoned by the Vichy regime in Fort du Portalet in the Pyrenees, he was later deported by Germans to the Itter Castle in North Tyrol with a few other French high officials. He was freed from the castle after the Battle for Castle Itter. After the war, he published his memoirs, titled Servir.... Gamelin died in Paris in April 1958 at the age of 86.

[24] Maxime Weygand (21 January 1867 – 28 January 1965; was a French military commander in World War I and World War II. Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.Weygand was born in Brussels of unknown parents. He was long suspected of being the illegitimate son of either Empress Carlota of Mexico (by General Alfred Van der Smissen); or of her brother Leopold II, King of the Belgians, and Leopold's Polish mistress. Van der Smissen always seemed a likely candidate for Weygand's father because of the striking resemblance between the two men. In 2003, the French journalist Dominique Paoli claimed to have found evidence that Weygand's father was indeed van der Smissen, but the mother was Mélanie Zichy-Metternich, lady-in-waiting to Carlota (and daughter of Prince Metternich, Austrian Chancellor). Paoli further claimed that Weygand had been born in mid-1865, not January 1867 as is generally claimed.

[25] Günther Adolf Ferdinand “Hans” von Kluge (30 October 1882 – 17 August 1944) was a German military leader who served in World War I and World War II. Born into a Prussian military family in Posen (now Poznań, Poland) in 1882, Kluge was a staff officer with the rank of captain by 1916 at the Battle of Verdun. He ultimately rose to the rank of Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht by 1940. Generalleutnant Wolfgang von Kluge was his younger brother, and another German officer, Oberstleutnant Karl Ernst Rahtgens, was his nephew.

Kluge campaigned on the Eastern and Western fronts, and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwerten). Although Kluge was not an active conspirator in the 20 July plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, his nephew was, and Kluge himself was previously involved with the German military resistance. He committed suicide on 17 August 1944, after having been replaced by Walter Model and recalled to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler in the aftermath of the failed coup. A leading figure of the German military resistance, Henning von Tresckow, served as his Chief of Staff of Army Group Centre. Kluge was somewhat involved in the military resistance. He knew about Tresckow’s plan to shoot Hitler during a visit to Army Group Centre, having been informed by his former subordinate, Georg von Boeselager, who was now serving under Tresckow. At the last moment, Kluge aborted Tresckow's plan. Boeselager later speculated that because Heinrich Himmler had decided not to accompany Hitler, Kluge feared that without eliminating Himmler too, it could lead to a civil war between the SS and the Wehrmacht.

When Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler on July 20, Kluge was Oberbefehlshaber West ("Supreme Field Commander West") with his headquarters in La Roche-Guyon. The commander of the occupation troops of France, General Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, and his colleague Colonel Cäsar von Hofacker – a cousin of Stauffenberg – came to visit Kluge. Stülpnagel had just ordered the arrest of the SS units in Paris. Kluge had already learned that Hitler had survived the assassination attempt and refused to provide any support. "Ja – wenn das Schwein tot wäre!" ("Yes – if the pig were dead!)" he said. On August 17, he was replaced by Walter Model and recalled to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler after the coup failed; thinking that Hitler would punish him as a conspirator, he committed suicide by taking cyanide near Metz that same day. He left Hitler a letter in which he advised Hitler to make peace and “put an end to a hopeless struggle when necessary...” Hitler reportedly handed the letter to Alfred Jodl and commented that “There are strong reasons to suspect that had not Kluge committed suicide he would have been arrested anyway.”

Günther von Kluge’s nickname among the troops and his fellow officers was der kluge Hans (“Clever Hans”). Hans was not part of his given name, but a nickname acquired early in his career in admiration of his cleverness (klug is German for "clever"). It is a reference to "Clever Hans", a horse which became famous for its apparent ability to do arithmetic.

[26] The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members. The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. However, the Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. When, during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out." After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy, Spain and others. The onset of World War II showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 27 years. The United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the war and inherited a number of agencies and organizations founded by the League.

[27] Molotov signs the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact. Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.

[28] "The Prussian Tribute in Moscow", satirical newspaper "Mucha", September 8, 1939, Warsaw

[29] Planned division of Central Europe according Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

[30] "Second Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact" of 28 September 1939. Map of Poland signed by Stalin and Ribbentrop adjusting the German–Soviet border in the aftermath of German and Soviet invasion of Poland.

[31] Soviet expansion, change of Central European borders and creation of the Eastern bloc after World War II

[32] Commemoration of Nazi-Soviet Pact, Alytus, 23 Aug 2013

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at admin@erenow.org. Thank you!