Field Marshal Ritter von Leeb
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Original WW2 postcard of Knights Cross with Oakleaves and Swords winner “Field Marshal Ritter von Leeb”. The postcard is in very good condition. It is approx. 5 and 1/2 inches high by 3 and 1/2 inches across.
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb (5 September 1876 – 29 April 1956) was a German Field Marshal during World War II.
Hitler was not fond of von Leeb because of the general’s anti-Nazi attitudes, and retired von Leeb in 1938 after promoting him to the rank of colonel general. But von Leeb was recalled to duty in July of the same year and made commander of the Twelfth Army, which took part in the occupation of the Sudetenland. Afterwards, he was pensioned off again.
In the summer of 1939, von Leeb was again called back into service and given command of Army Group C. Before the Battle of France, von Leeb was the only German general to oppose the offensive through the (neutral) low countries, especially Belgium, on moral grounds. He wrote: “The whole world will turn against Germany, which for the second time within 25 years, assaults neutral Belgium! Germany, whose government solemnly vouched for and promised the preservation of and respect for this neutrality only a few weeks ago.” During that battle, his troops broke through the Maginot Line. For his role in this victory, von Leeb was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) in July 1940 and awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.
Now having Hitler’s confidence, von Leeb was given command of Army Group North and responsibility for the northern sector in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Von Leeb was to destroy the Soviet units in the Baltic region and capture all Soviet naval bases on the Baltic Sea. When the invasion began on June 22, 1941, von Leeb’s armies met with outstanding success against an overwhelmed Soviet force. By the end of September, his army had advanced 900 kilometers into the Soviet Union and surrounded Leningrad, though he failed to capture the city.
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