Kurt von Tippelskirch

Kurt von Tippelskirch : Nazi Germany

Kurt von Tippelskirch was born in Germany. He joined the German Army and on the outbreak of the Second World War was director of army intelligence.

In the summer of 1941 he took part in Operation Barbarossa where he commanded the 30th Infantry Division. Promoted to head of the 12th Corps and in May 1943 moved to the 4th Army.

In July 1944, Tippelskirch was badly injured in a plane crash and was invalided back to Germany. After recovering he was sent to Italy where he took command of the 14th Army. On 26th December 1944, Tippelskirch launched Operation Winter Thunderstorm. It was a great success and helped to halt the Allied offensive until spring 1945.

Replaced by Joachim Lemelsen in February 1945, Tippelskirch returned to lead the 21st Army in the defence of northern Germany against the Red Army. Tippelskirch surrendered to the US Army on 2nd May 1945. After the war Tippelskirch wrote several books on military history.

Primary Sources

(1) Wilhelm von Tippelskirch was interviewed by Basil Liddell Hart after the war for his book The Other Side of the Hill (1948)

Frontal defence was much stronger in this war even than in 1914-18. The Russians always failed to break our front, and although they pushed far round our flanks, they had not yet the skill nor sufficient supplies to drive home their advantage. We concentrated on holding the towns that were rail and road centres, rolling up round them like 'hedgehogs' - that was Hitler's idea - and succeeded in holding them firmly. The situation was saved. It was his one great achievement. At that critical moment the troops were remembering what they had heard about Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, and living under the shadow of it. If they had once begun a retreat, it might have turned into a panic flight.