(1883 - 1982)
Hermann Balck, the son of a general, was born in
on December 7, 1893. Balck entered the Hanover Military College in February
1914 and during the First World War served in the German Army on the
He remained in the army and became one of Germany's
leading advocates of motorized warfare. On the outbreak of the Second
World War, Balck was placed in charge of the Rifle Regiment in the
1st Panzer Division. Balck served under Heinz
Guderian in France and
was awarded the Knight's Cross for seizing and holding a bridge north
of Sedan on May 13, 1940.
Promoted to colonel he was sent to Greece on March 5, 1942, and his 3rd Panzer Unit took Salonika on April 9.
Given command of the 11th Panzer Division, he fought in the Soviet Union
and on December 20, 1942, received the Oakleaves for action in the Caucasus
and. in November 1943, was promoted to head of the 48th Panzer Corps.
Moved to the Western Front, Balck fought General George
Patton in France before
being sent to command the 6th Army in Hungary in December 1944. Balck failed in his attempt to recapture Budapest and was forced to retreat to Austria where he surrendered on May 8, 1945.
After being released from captivity in 1947, Balck
retired to Stuttgart. Hermann Balck, described by one military historian,
as Germany's greatest field commander, died in 1982.