First World WarEdit
The 1st Army during World War I, fought on the Western Front and took part in the Schlieffen Plan offensive against France and Belgium in August 1914. Commanded by General Alexander von Kluck, the 1st Army's job was to command the extreme right of the German forces in attacking the left flank of the French Army and encircling Paris, bringing a rapid conclusion to the war. His army had the greatest striking power of the offensive, a density of about 18,000 men per mile of front (about 10 per meter). The First Army captured Brussels on August 20 and was almost successful in defeating France but was halted just 13 miles outside the French capital in the First Battle of the Marne that took place in early September. Von Kluck was replaced in 1915 after getting seriously wounded in the leg.
- General Alexander von Kluck (1914–1915)
- General Max von Fabeck (1915–1916)
- General Fritz von Below (1916–1918)
Second World WarEdit
The 1st Army was activated on August 26, 1939 with General Erwin von Witzleben in command. Its primary mission was to guard the western defences of Germany against Allied forces along the Maginot Line. The army participated in the final breach of the line's defences and spent until mid-1944 protecting the Atlantic coast of France from a possible seaborne incursion. Following the Normandy invasion in 1944, the army reorganized in Lorraine after a hasty retreat with the rest of the German forces across France in August 1944. During the battles along the German frontier, the First Army attempted to prevent the Third United States Army from crossing the Moselle River and capturing Metz while also attempting to hold the northern Vosges Mountains against the Seventh United States Army.
In November 1944, both defensive lines were broken and the First Army retreated to the German border and defended the Saarland of Germany, an important industrial region. With the Third U.S. Army engaged to the north against the German Ardennes Offensive, the 1st Army attacked the Seventh U.S. Army on New Year's Day 1945 in Operation Nordwind, causing the Americans to give ground and inflicting significant casualties where Seventh U.S. Army defensive lines were stretched taut by the length of frontage they had to cover. With the failure of Nordwind in late January, the 1st Army was first pushed back to the Siegfried Line and then forced to retreat across the Rhine River when the Allies pierced the German fortifications. Thereafter, the First Army made an ordered withdrawal to the Danube River before surrendering near the Alps on May 6, 1945.
- General Erwin von Witzleben (August 26 1939–October 23 1940)
- General Johannes Blaskowitz (October 24 1940–May 2 1944)
- General Joachim Lemelsen (May 3 1944–June 3 1944)
- General Kurt von der Chevallerie (June 4 1944–September 5 1944)
- General Otto von Knobelsdorff (September 6 1944–November 29 1944)
- General Hans von Obstfelder (November 30 1944–February 27 1945)
- General Hermann Förtsch (February 28 1945–May 4, 1945)
- General der Kavallerie Rudolf Koch-Erpach (May 6 1945–May 8, 1945)
- Tuchman, Barbara W. The Guns of August Ballantine Books- New York 1962 ISBN 0-345-38623-Xde:Deutsche 1. Armee