(1899 - 1970)
Fritz Bayerlein was born in Wuerzburg, Germany
on January 14, 1899. He joined the German Army at the age of eighten
and as a member 9th Bavarian Infantry Regiment fought on the Western
Front during the First World War
Bayerlein remained in the army and by the outbreak
of the Second World War had reached the rank of major. In the invasion of Poland he served under General Heinz
Guderian as his First General Staff Officer.
Bayerlein also served under Guderian during the Western Offensive. The crossed the Meuse near Sedan on May
14. However, General Paul von
Kliest ordered Guderian to halt until the arrival of General Siegmund
List and his 12th Army. This major mistake allowed the British Expeditionary
Force to escape to England.
In October 1941, Bayerlein was sent to North Africa.
When General Walther Nehring was wounded at Alam Halfa on August 30,
1942, he briefly became commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps. He
then served under General Erwin
Rommel and General Wilhelm von Thoma. When Thoma was captured at
El Alamein on November 4, Bayerlein once again resumed control during
Bayerlein developed muscular rheumatism and hepititis
and was sent to Italy just before
the German Army was forced to surrender in Tunisia on May 13, 1943.
In October 1943, Bayerlein was sent to the Soviet
Union as head of the 3rd Panzer Division. Three months later he
became commander of the elite Panzer Lehr Division. They moved to Hungary before moving to France after
the Normandy landings where
he fought at Caen. Bayerlein also took part in the Ardennes Offensive
under General Hasso Manteuffel. He got to within 10 miles of the Meuse
before being forced to retreat.
Bayerlein was commander of the 53rd Corps until surrendering
to the United States Army in the Ruhr on April 15, 1945. Fritz Bayerlein,
who wrote a great deal about military matters after the war, died in