Top 10 Best WWII German Field Marshals

Choose your favorite World War Two German Field Marshal.
The Top Ten
1 Erich von Manstein Fritz Erich Georg Eduard von Manstein (24 November 1887 – 9 June 1973) was a German commander of the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces during the Second World War. He attained the rank of field marshal.

Amazing General with great strategic plans , he is master of dynamic war , he had proven this in Spring 1943 when he had regained the whole southern front in USSR. He was not given the credit for the France offensive cause Hitler wanted this victory to be attributed to him . Hitler said he is my most visionary generals but I don't trust him!

Feldmarschall Von Manstein was clearly the best line officer in the German Army. Although Germany did field the best trained army the World has ever seen. Officers, NCO's and Schutze were cross trained to such a high degree, that when their leaders fell in battle, each could step in an lead. Hitler reduced the size of Panzer and Infantry Divisions by adding more Divisions but with less brigades and regiments. Therefore, the prior effective force was lost. Von Manstein and his peers fought this change without success. So as the war moved forward, officers had to improvise in order to save their troopers.

Allowed to continue as the Generals did in 1939 & 1940, the Germans would have crushed the Russians. Had the Germans produced the "Ural" six engine heavy bomber, then they could have massed bombed the Russian factories behind the "Ural" mountains, bomb Britain more effectively plus bombing the U.S. east Coast. Thanks to Hitler, it was cancelled and the war lost.

Clearly better than Rommel. If it wasn't for Hitler, Manstein would have save the encircled 6th Army. After the Stalingrad disaster he was able to stabilize the front in the south and launched a counter offensive recapturing charkov. The "Unternehmen Zitadelle" (battle of Kursk) was also his idea, but Hitler ordered them to wait until Summer 1943. So the Red army had enough time to fortify their defense lines. Also important for his status as the best german Feldmarschall is the fact, that von Manstein never gave a order to execute civilians, jews or any other ethnic group. He was no racist or member of the Nazi party.

The best General that has ever existed. He came up with the Manstein Plan, which led to the greatest military maneuver in history, how the "great and almighty" France was conquered in 6 weeks. People like Patton and Monty can't keep up. Only Eisenhower and Zhukov are even close to his genius. He also breached the world's most fortified city during the Siege of Sevastopol. Finally, he encircled a much greater army at the Third Battle of Kharkov. He also won at the Battle of the Kerch Peninsula. Also, if it hadn't been for Hitler's stupidity, the Third Reich would have won at Kursk and even Stalingrad. Von Manstein's books are a must read for people who want to study WWII generals.

2 Erwin Rommel Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel, popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a German field marshal of World War II. He worked under Adolf Hitler's Third Reich as a leading general and gained fame from his battles in North Africa.

The desert fox was brilliant. He embodied the quote "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission". His troops loved him, his enemy respected him, and even after the war when the atrocities of the Nazis was known, Rommel remained respected.

He was a brilliant strategist. Many say that he lost in North Africa eventually but we must remember the circumstances. He had neither air or naval superiority and the allies, had lots of compromised intel about his troops and their positions. He was very short on supplies and fought with inferior equipment. Not only that the allies had vastly superior numbers (They had around 3-4 times more), they also had equipment better suited to desert warfare which Rommel simply didn't have access to. Yet, many of his battles led to the Germans inflicting much greater losses on the enemy. Truly a great military tactician. If he had the amount of supplies and troops the allies had, he would be totally untouchable.

Erwin Rommel was even more popular within the the enemy lines than he was within his troops... So frightened by his popularity and tactics were Allies that FieldMarshall Auchinelek Commander of the British Eighth Army Had to issue the orders of zero tolerance for soldiers found indulged in his praise... Perfect soldier... Ordered to present such food and water to prisoners as would be used by his field commanders... Exceptional behaviour with the enemy prisoners... If he would have commanded Normandy... operation Overlord would have been a great failure!

He was the soldier in its genuine meaning. He always tried to minimize the casualties from both sides, never ill treated the POW, and never participated in or looked on the murdering of the innocent people. His plan was always based on the mind game with his enemy, and he won the battle mostly from psychological war that didn't require much blood shed. He knew the fate of the war is already determined when he was in Africa, and tried to end the meaningless war since his return to Europe. I'm sorry I can't read his memory of WW2 written by himself.

3 Heinz Guderian

Guderian was brilliant and confident. His confidence and courage was his undoing as he frequently opposed Hitler and wasn't shy about voicing his objections. Hitler was unable to take criticism(s) and thus removed Guderian. To me Guderian was one of the few German Generals who had balls like Patton and Churchill.

The rest of the Generals were running their show constantly looking over their shoulder to not offend the High Command. A Top General has his mind on the battlefield and the victory. He isn't making decisions based on what would please the Fuhrer

Simply the best. Hurry Up Heinz devised tank warfare, and all other Generals with half a brain followed his doctrine. He understood Blitzkrieg best because he wrote the book on Blitzkrieg. Von Manstein was behind the plan for the Battle of France, and it was a good plan, but after consulting with Guderian, it became a great plan. Hitler sacking him was lucky for us, and he was probably never made a Field Marshall due to his courage in telling the truth.

Heinz Wilhelm Guderian, also known as "Schneller Heinz" (Fast Heinz) was perhaps the best general Hitler had. Unfortunately, because of Hitler's incompetence, the brilliant General was unable to fullfill his role of defeating the Soviets in Moscow. Perhaps if Germany was run by people like Guderian, Rommel, Manstein, Model, Bock, Leeb, Runstedt, and Kesselring, instead of clowns like Hitler, Goering, Heydrich, Himmler, and Goebbels, Germany would rule the world.
Guderian was the father of modern tank warfare and if he never expressed his ideas we would still be using infantry over tanks. Truly a mastermind, admirable, and best of all: not a nazi.

Guderian was removed by Hitler because he protested against his army group center being constantly diverted to support army group South against Russia. He would have clearly made it into and taken Moscow had he been allowed to advance as per the original plan. Instead the southerly diversions gave the Russians precious time to prepare tank defenses and then the coldest winter did the rest.

4 Gerd von Rundstedt

Rundstedt was considered the best of the German Field Commanders by both Ike and Monty. Also, according to comments in various post war publications in interviews with German military officials, Von Rundstedt was the most respected officer in all of the German military including the Navy and Luftwaffe, that is why Hitler rehired him several times after firing him.

He was intelligent field marshal and his war tactics were different from all. He was a feared general and most respected in nazi hierarchy. He used clever tactics and bet that it worked by his side.

The best, he guided Rommal and many others. Under rated and his record speaks for its self. if Hitler listened to him the way may have been very different.

He was a brilliant strategist also he was the last of Germany's "Black Knights".

5 Albert Kesselring

I don't even know why Kesselring is so low is on the list. Sure, Manstein succeeded in fighting the Russians, but he only fought one battle, you know. Kesselring fought a million and won most of them. With ease! Brilliant execution of "make yourself invincible before seeking victory against the enemy". He should have been second only to Rommel.

A Luftwaffe field marshal whom was also adept at handling his ground troops, he was a cutting-edge strategist for his time. He once said that he thought generals in the future would have to be adept at managing all aspects of combat on land, sea, and air. His steady defense of central and northern Italy have been dubbed "flawless," by several historians.

He had the most thorough grasp of both people and technology. He never stopped learning- learned to fly at 48. He had the creativity, optimism, honesty, and strength of character to accomplish anything and earned the honor and admiration of his Allied enemies, who dubbed him "Smiling Albert."

He saved the city of Rome from allied destruction. Without his actions, Rome would have been another Dresden. A shame that Rome has not erected a monument in his honour.

6 Walter Model

Model was an exceptionally good field commander but he was a brutal field commander. He sometimes took loses that he could not sustain in order to reach his objective.
Model was like Heinricci known as a master of defense.
One flaw in his character was that he, when the war was lost, left his troops and committed suicide.

Brilliant in defense, through good intelligence, a continuous frontline, and retreating through prepared defenses. The man knew how to use his tanks to slaughter enemies, in spite of the loss of air supremacy.

Stopping the allied forces at Arnhem. Holding the Americans at Hurtgenwald. Responsible for the longest battle the Americans ever did fight. He is not a wel known fieldmarshal in history, maybe because he gave the allied forces a few bleeding noses. Since the Germans did retreat he made it tough for all allied forces, depending on where he was placed.

The youngest Field Marshall was also a brilliant commander for crises. Excelled in the art of orderly retreat while at the same time giving a bloody nose to the attackers.

7 Wilhelm Keitel

"The Führer has ordered that the enemy employs in partisan warfare Communist-trained fanatics who do not hesitate to commit any atrocity. It is more than ever a question of life and death. This fight has nothing to do with soldierly gallantry or principles of the Geneva Convention. If the fight against the partisans in the East, as well as in the Balkans, is not waged with the most brutal means, we will shortly reach the point where the available forces are insufficient to control the area. It is therefore not only justified, but it is the duty of the troops to use all means without restriction, even against women and children, so long as it ensures success. Any consideration for the partisans is a crime against the German people." - Keitel

"Why did the generals who have been so ready to term me a complaisant and incompetent yes-man fail to secure my removal? Was that all that difficult? No, that wasn't it; the truth was that nobody would have been ready to replace me, because each one knew that he would end up just as much a wreck as I." - Keitel

"It is tragic to have to realize that the best I had to give as a soldier, obedience, and loyalty, was exploited for purposes which could not be recognized at the time, and that I did not see that there is a limit set even for a soldier's performance to his duty. That is my fate." - Keitel

"It isn't right to be obedient only when things go well; it is much harder to be a good, obedient soldier when things go badly and times are hard. Obedience and faith at such time is a virtue." - Keitel

8 Fedor von Bock

A Prussian's Prussian. He did well in Poland in 1939. He should have not been replaced by von Rundstedt as the commander of the Army Group that would be the deciding force in the Fall Gelb operation in 1940. He was the most aggressive of the three army group commanders. He was constantly on the move driving his subordinate commanders forward. He would not have hesitated to wipe out the surrounded Dunkirk enemies. He was also highly aggressive against the Russians and should have been allowed to drive on Moscow. Had Moscow fallen in the Fall of 1941. It would have been the greatest catastrophe. Moscow was the greatest political prize, it was the road and railroad center of the country. It also had great industrial value as well and the electric grid was centered there too. Gfm. von Bock burned himself out in this campaign. He could possibly have been rated higher than von Manstein had he been allowed to do what he wanted in 1940 and 1941.

9 Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German politician, military leader, and leading member of the Nazi Party.

Most dangerous of the German Field Marshals by far he simply never had the resources necessary to accomplish what was promised by Hitler. He was not for the Barbarossa Plan but without his Air Force the German Army wouldn't have penetrated more than a hundred miles into Southern Russia. As it was they were a thousand miles away before the Army finally outran their Air Support then were crushed at Stalingrad for having done so.

Poor in retreat he had no answer for American Airpower since the United States was running much more durable air cooled radial engines.

The theory that Germany and Japan "ran out of pilots not aircraft" is simply false.

By 1945 neither had any of either planes or pilots giving the soon to be named "United States Air Force" complete Air Supremacy over Ally and Enemy both.

Only Goring understood the importance of this.

Goring wasn't brilliant in any way. Most of the early Luftwaffe success were due to them basically unopposed in the air. Once they faced some resistance (during the battle of Britain), he was indecisive and made the wrong decisions.

Goring was a drug addicted toad of a man but in the early years the Luftwaffa if I'm spelling it correctly was nearly unstoppable and he was a ace fighter pilot in ww1.

Goring was a muppet. How could that idiot be on this list. A useless pompous thieving druggie.

10 Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb

He was a man who was very familiar with war tactics and defense so much so that he wrote books about it and was regarded as an authority on defense... And in the use of tactics to wear down the enemy rather than stage a full frontal attack. Hitler's impatience, misguided alterations to field strategy, and arm chair tactics to take Leningrad led to his failure to take leningrad and ultimately cost him the war.

Grossly underrated and one of the most brilliant if not moral of the German senior officers.

The Contenders
11 Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Himmler was a German dictator, and a leading member of the Nazi party. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust.

Should not be on here. Had no military experience or knowledge of tactics and strategy.

He command the SS sturm brigades that were responsible for discipline and acted as a special unit

12 Gotthard Heinrici

Did the best he could with limited resources and maximized his potential assets to inflict incredible losses on an opponent with overwhelming resources. Unlike other German generals he paid strict attention to logistics and intelligence resulting in superior defensive tactics.

Gen. Heinrici put morals before orders and saved thousands of his men's lives because of his brilliant tactics in a fighting retreat from the Oder river to Berlin. Would have been a Field Marshal but angered Hitler with his religious beliefs. I believe he should be number one on the list.

It is not clear if he had great strategic vision, he was not really given the opportunity to show it. But other than (possibly) Manstein, nobody could do more with less.

The best along with Model and Brilliant Hube who never gets the credit he deserves. Brilliant in defense who cared about his men and like Hube and Model was respected and liked by his men.

13 Eduard Dietl

I'm surprised no one else commented on this guy. While Rommel was the "savour in the desert, Dietle was the savour in the snow. Though Narvik fell mostly due to Allied withdraw, Generaloberst Dietl managed to hold the are around with inferior forces in a difficult position and set up a perfect position to take the city. If it wasn't for him Narvik might have stayed in allied hands and that would have significant effect on this war in ways I can not imaging.

Later his role in Finland front was quite great. Despite Silver Fox failing at its goals, he can not be blamed for poor troop makeup, frigid temperatures and it being given second status. Later on this could have easily become an untenable position that the Soviets could have broken through, but from November 1941 until his death in 1944 stabilizing a front in terrible conditions that could have collapsed easily.

14 Alfred Jodl
15 Gunther von Kluge

Hans von Kluge was born in Poznan, Germany. He was a veteran of WW1, participating in major battles such as the Battle of Verdun in 1918 as a field artillery specialist. He achieved the rank of major general in 1933, then lieutenant general in 1936.

He was a good general

16 Friedrich Paulus

A traitor, a coward, and liar. Maybe he was a great general --- for the Soviets, that is. Ever wonder why he was released before any of his men? Then he told their wives and families that he could personally vouch that they were all well, and in good hands with the Russians. He surrendered with 100,000 of his troops. Only 6000 returned (They were really well treated!? X!, weren't they?
Another noteworthy item to consider --- even though his family lived in West Germany, Paulus chose to live in East Germany until he died. The majority of the 6000 men who finally were released made it back to West Germany. Could it be possible that Paulus worked for the Russians? He certainly was turned after his surrender.
Kesselring and Rommel never had anything good to say about Paulus - hmmm?

Paulus #19?! People know nothing of WWII German Generals! Hitler knowing absolutely nothing of war tactics, and put his Generals in impossible situations every day. Then asked for suicide when his impossible orders couldn't be carried out - Hitler was not a military tactician of any kind - Bohemian Corporal people, remember that.

Paulus was Catholic, and didn't believe in Bohemian Corporal Hitler's suicide ideas. He stated " He wouldn't kill himself for some Bohemian Corporal who knew nothing of was"! Paulus live the longest after the war. Who's the brilliant General?!

Paulus was not qualified to command 6th Army. He was a staff officer, and not the greatest. He also proved to be a traitor. Nice.

17 Rudolf Hess

He tried to end the war, and was sentenced to life in prison.

18 Karl Doenitz

He led Germany after Hitler died, was head of the Navy and Wolfpack. And was an amazing admiral, his skills shown very clear in the Atlantic. Although he isn't the best german general of Ww2, he is up there. And definitely should be MUCH higher than what he is now on this list. Afterall, he was head of the navy...

This guy tormented the Atlantic for years... let's get him up higher guys!

When hitler died, who did he pick to leave in charge...

I'm surprised the head of the navy and if the Wolfpack isn't higher on the list.

19 Walter von Brauchitsch

Playing a key role in the Blitzkrieg on the western front and even making improvements on Erich von Mansteins original invasion of France he definitely deserves a spot on this list.

20 Ewald von Kleist

Best all rounder most stable and reliable German field marshal of the war .

He os very good man

21 Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen

A clear thinking aristocrat, he showed with simple math that the trapped 6th army at Stalingrad could not be sufficiently supplied from the air.

A master of tactical air support. Should be around #4-6 on the list.

22 Hermann Balck

Absolute genius. He defeated an enemy force of over ten time of his and still virtually annihilated them. His 11th Panzer Division almost destroyed the Soviet Fifth Tank Army in just three weeks. How is that not genius?

Too bad he was never promoted to Field Marshal, or else his name would probably be as high as Guderian and Manstein.

Never heard of this Lieutenant General? He wasn't a Field Marshal, but his brilliance was supreme just the same - He was never part off Hitler's inner ass kissing circle! Hitler should have just stayed to running the government, and left the winless war to his "REAL GENERALS"

Brilliant. I believe him to be the finest divisional commander of the war. Imagine what he could have done if he had the equipment and supplies provided to Allied commanders. He would have been unstoppable.

A great commander, shame he was on the wrong side, during the surrounding of Stalingrad, he led a sole division on the flank of Manstein's main thrust to help the trapped 6th army under Paulus. In this engagement he defeated a much larger soviet army ten times bigger than his own division.
In the final closes of the war he was sent to command the army of Hungary and stayed in this post until his surrender to the allies on the 8th may 1945 following the surrender of the German government

23 Erwin von Witzleben

He was a Prussian, to the end.
His lasting remark addressed to the Nazi judge, at the end of the farcical trial that condemned him to death... " You better hurry up and hang me, because it wont be long before they hang the lot of you "... Depicts the courage of the man...haggard, abused, tortured in the Gestapo interrogations, he stood in front of the judge, with no belt to hold up his trousers, with no false teeth to force him to slur his words...they hanged by a piano wire around his throat... The wire attached to a meat hook...and slowly raised him to a slow death...filmed for Hitlers entertainment...

Gen. Witzleben was right person to save in German and remove insane Nazis group. He knew they went too far that cause to destroy in German, and he knew German will fall hand or won't last for long era. If he win in operated Valkyrie then the history will change a lot different in a storied.

Probably not one of the best military minds like Manstein (although competent), but he had the merit of being the only firld marshall to resist Hitler at least from 1938 and support the german resistance unwaveringly since then.

24 Sepp Dietrich

Always with his men, and from May 1940 onwards his LAH fought in every new theatre.

25 Walter von Reichenau

Was in command of 6th Army. Had he not died, Paulus would not have succeeded him as commander of this Army. The debacle at Stalingrad would not have to occurred.

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