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Hasso von Manteuffel
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1976-143-21, Hasso von Manteuffel.jpg
Manteuffel in May 1944
Born(1897-01-14)14 January 1897
Potsdam, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died24 September 1978(1978-09-24) (aged 81)
Reith, Austria
Allegiance German Empire (1908-1918)
 Weimar Republic (1918-1933)
 Nazi Germany (1933-1945)
Service/branch Imperial German Army
 German Army
Years of service1916–1945
WMacht H OF8 GenWaGtg h 1935-1945.svg
General der Panzertruppe
Commands held5th Panzer Army
Panzer Division Großdeutschland
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Other workPolitician

Freiherr Hasso Eccard von Manteuffel (14 January 1897 – 24 September 1978) was a German baron born to the Prussian noble von Manteuffel family and was a general during World War II who commanded the 5th Panzer Army. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds of Nazi Germany.

After the war, he was elected to the Bundestag (West German legislature) and was the spokesman for defense of the Free Democratic Party. A proponent of rearmament, he was responsible for coining the new name for the post-World War II German armed forces, the Bundeswehr.

Early career

Hasso von Manteuffel began his military career during the First World War. In 1919, he joined the Freikorps and then the newly created Reichswehr. In February 1937 he joined the Panzer Troop Command of the OKH, and in February 1939 became a senior professor at Panzer Troop School II in Berlin.

World War II

During Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, Manteuffel commanded a battalion in the 7th Panzer Division, in the Army Group Centre.

In early 1943, Manteuffel was sent to Africa, where on 5 February he became the commander of the Division von Broich/von Manteuffel, serving in 5th Panzer Army. Here Manteuffel took part in the Battle of Tunisia. Manteuffel assumed command of the 7th Panzer Division on 22 August 1943 and was posted to the Eastern Front, which had by then collapsed following the Battle of Kursk and the resulting Soviet counteroffensive. The division retreated during the resulting Battle of the Dnieper.

Manteuffel was appointed commander of the Grossdeutschland Division on 1 February 1944. The division engaged the Red Army west of Kirovograd, then retreated across Ukraine. In late July Großdeutschland was ordered to East Prussia, following the collapse of Army Group Centre in Soviet Operation Bagration. The division failed to break through to the Army Group North in the Courland Pocket.

On 1 September 1944, Manteuffel was promoted to General of Panzer Troops and given command of the 5th Panzer Army on the Western Front, which took part in the Ardennes Offensive. Manteuffel's 5th Panzer Army achieved the deepest penetration of Allied lines during the offensive, almost reaching the Meuse River, and engaging the U.S. forces at the Battle of Bastogne. On 10 March 1945 Manteuffel was made the commander of the 3rd Panzer Army on the Eastern Front, attached to Army Group Vistula. His army was assigned to defend the banks of the Oder River north of the Seelow Heights. On 25 April the Soviet 2nd Belorussian Front broke through Third Panzer Army's line, forcing a German retreat. On 3 May 1945 Manteuffel surrendered his troops to the British Army at Hagenow, Germany.


Manteuffel (right) discussing the Battle of St. Vith with US Army General Bruce C. Clarke in 1965.
Manteuffel (right) discussing the Battle of St. Vith with US Army General Bruce C. Clarke in 1965.

At first Manteuffel was interned at the British-administered Island Farm Special Camp 11 for high-ranking Wehrmacht officers. In 1946 he was handed over to the Americans and took part in the U.S. Army Historical Division project, for which he produced a monograph on the mobile warfare aspect of the Ardennes Offensive.

After his release in December 1946, he entered politics and was a representative of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) in the German Bundestag from 1953 to 1957. In 1957 he joined the German Party. In the early 1950s Manteuffel advised on the redevelopment of the Bundeswehr.

Manteuffel was charged in 1959 for having a deserter shot in 1944 (he reversed the court martial's original verdict of imprisonment and decided for a death sentence, using the Führer Order No.7 as a basis). He was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Alaric Searle comments that Manteuffel exceeded his powers as a divisional commander, but at the same time, "Manteuffel's purely military arguments—that signs of disintegration had appeared on other sectors of the front, that the night before the incident a case of desertion had occurred, and that his division's task, in a precarious situation, was to help protect a critical evacuation point—would probably have been accepted in most other Western countries as justifying his action". Searle agrees with Hermann Balck's comment that such a trial would be "unthinkable" for a French or British officer.[1]

He spoke eloquent English; in 1968 he lectured at the United States Military Academy at West Point, speaking about combat in deep snow conditions and worked as a technical adviser on war films. He was interviewed in The World At War Episode 19 - Pincers (August 1944 – March 1945) in 1973. Manteuffel died in 1978.




  1. ^ Searle, Alaric (2003). Wehrmacht Generals, West German Society, and the Debate on Rearmament, 1949-1959. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 260–261. ISBN 9780275979683. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  2. ^ Rangliste des Deutschen Reichsheeres, p. 182.
  3. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 57.
  4. ^ a b c Berger 1999, p. 205.
  5. ^ a b c d Scherzer 2007, p. 526.


  • Berger, Florian (1999). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges [With Oak Leaves and Swords. The Highest Decorated Soldiers of the Second World War] (in German). Vienna, Austria: Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 978-3-9501307-0-6.
  • Reichswehrministerium, ed. (1924). Rangliste des Deutschen Reichsheeres (in German). Berlin, Germany: Mittler & Sohn Verlag. OCLC 10573418.
  • Searle, Alaric (2003). Wehrmacht Generals, West German Society, and the Debate on Rearmament, 1949–1959. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 978-0-275-97968-3.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
Military offices Preceded byGeneralmajor Friedrich Freiherr von Broich Commander of Division von Manteuffel 7 February 1943 – 31 March 1943 Succeeded byGeneralleutnant Karl Bülowius Preceded byOberst Wolfgang Gläsemer Commander of 7th Panzer Division 20 August 1943 – January 1944 Succeeded byGeneralmajor Adelbert Schulz Preceded byGeneralleutnant Walter Hörnlein Commander of Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland 27 January 1944 – 1 September 1944 Succeeded byOberst Karl Lorenz Preceded bySS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich Commander of 5th Panzer Army 9 September 1944 – 8 March 1945 Succeeded byGeneraloberst Josef Harpe Preceded byGeneraloberst Erhard Raus Commander of 3rd Panzer Army 10 March 1945 – 8 May 1945 Succeeded by(none)