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.

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.

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.

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.

Field Marshall Manstein was a brillant tactician who understood how the warfare had to be conducted. It is indeed sad that he was not allowed to do what he had planned and this led to the reversal of the German army.
As said earlier by others if Hitler had allowed his Field Marshalls / Generals to conduct their battles, the history what we see today and what would have been would be different. Manstein counter offensives were brillant and today many of his battle plans are case studies in the military academy worl wide.

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.

WIthout air superiority or naval superiority managed to struck the allies hard with his great tactics and military strategy.
Respected among the Allies and was considered replacement fuhrer in 1944 was forced to commit suicide due to Operaton Valkyrie after suffering injuries after surviving an attack from the Allies aircraft was forced to suicide.

Rommel was a brilliant strategist, he was very flexible. Sometimes I wonder why he was gifted such limited power, troops, and supplies. Even when he was retreating, he remained undefeated and managed a sly retreat. If Hitler has let him defend Nomandy, Operation Overlord would not succeed, the Axis powers would then have a good chance to win the war. (I think that thought is scary, if the Axis had won the war, I wouldn't be sitting at my computer typing this right now., I'd be in captivity and imprisoned by Italian, Japanese, or German soldiers.)

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!

3 Heinz Guderian

Heinz Wilhelm Guderian known as Schnell Heinz (Fast Heinz) due to employing a fast mechanized attack commonly known as Blitzkrieg or Bewungungskrieg was in charge of Capturing Moscow and after his failure was dismissed, Heinz spend allot of time in Shouting contests with Hitler over military strategies and complained that no one wanted to challenge Hitlers military plans.
He was Appointed back in 1944 to try and save the situation but was dismissed again after the Soviets kept winning their battles.

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

Being the father of modern armored warfare, Guderian will automatically rank high on any list of German generals.
He fully understood the problems, the Germans ran into when they first encountered the KV-1 tanks and especially the T-34. His own opinion was actually that if the Sovjet built enough of the T-34, Germany would surely lose the war and that was only the first type T-34 with the 75 mm gun. When they upgraded the T-34 with the 85 mm gun, that tank could also take on the German Tiger I & II plus the Panther.
In reality, Germany lost the war the minute they entered The Sovjet Union and most if not all the German field commanders knew that.
The Germans never even reached the Ural, which is merely a third into The Sovjet Union at the time. The logistics alone would eventually have broken the German forces no matter how strong they were.
Germany also made a series of serious errors.
They did not put the ME-262 into production as a fighter from the beginning.
They ...more

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.

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.

If he didn't halt the offensive in France, evacuation of Dunkirk was stop. Total destruction to BEF was at hand or even the whole of English empire.

5 Albert Kesselring

I am very fascinated with the Italian campaign, this man was a genius and should be higher up, gustav line was also kinda hot tho.

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."

6 Walter Model

Model was the best defensive commander and a great offensive commander. A decent commander in poland and the west he began to be amazing in 1941, reaching the dniper early. During 1942 his amazing preformance at Rzhev destroyed the soviet pockett before it really beacame a major meatgrinder. In 1944 he beacame an amazing defensive commander stabilizing a caulamitous situatoin in the northern sector of the eastern front, while inflicting major losses on the soviets. Then in the west he won the great victory in Market Garden, the way he handled arnhem was fantastic (although some credit is bittrich's). But the real test was Hurgten forest, where his tacitcal command managed to create a killing ground for the Allies. In the end even Model wasnt emough to prevent a collapse.

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.

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.

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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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

The Contenders
11 Wilhelm Keitel

He masterly managed a huge military force
I '' derr wehrmacht'' at the time.
If illegally created monkey court ''IMT of Nuremberg'' or any other else consider him a war criminal, then all the allied and Soviet political and military high command and military personnel in millions should be hanged at once.
He was a victim of ''VICTOR, S JUSTICE"
If Keitlel would be in " Soviet Union"
He would be awarded as "Hero Of The Soviet Union".
If Keitlel would be in "UK" he would be awarded as "Victoria Cross".
If Keitlel would be in "USA"he would be awarded by their highest " Military
Awarde".
As all these treacherous " Great Powers" awarded their brutal war criminal Military persons and Political persons with their "HIGHEST AWARDES".

"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

12 Eduard Dietl

I'm suprised 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 positoin and set up a perfect positioin to take the city. If it wasnt for him Narvik might have stayed in allied hands and that would have signifcant 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, fridgid tempatures and it bieng given second status. Later on this could have easly beacume an untenable positoin that the soviets could have broken through, but frorm November 1941 until his death in 1944 stabilizing a front in terrible conditoins that could have collapsed easily.

13 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.

Gotthard Heinricci was the soldiers general. He was very popular with his troops although he had personal charisma like a boiled potato. He was a short man who stood out by wearing mostly WW1 type boots and an old worn out jacket.
He commanded respect from his peers and a person like Rommel was actually once one of his officers.
He regarded the German high command with extreme mistrust and on one occasion called the German high command in Berlin a bunch of morons.
He refused to have his men slaughtered in the defense of Berlin and actually directed them around Berlin instead. There he was dismissed by Field Marshal Keitel and when Keitel asked Hasso Von Manteufel, who was with Heinricci at the time, to assume command, Manteufel refused stating the treatment of Heinricci was unfair.
Heinricci was ordered to report to the High Command in Berlin, where he would probably been shot. One of his adjutants just told him to travel west slowly. Within a few days, Berlin ...more

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.

14 Rudolf Hess

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

15 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.

16 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

17 Ewald von Kleist

A very brilliant commander and should be ranked amoung the top 5.
He did not bother to hide his hatred of the Nazi regime. He showed brilliant tactics wherever he was sent and was promoted to Fieldmarshall in 1943.
He has been described as warmhearted and caring and thought first and foremost og his men.He despited the activities of SS behind the fronline. He tried to make friendship with the people in the occupied contries and even helped starving people in the occupied terretories as good as he could.
He was arrested by the Americans in 1945 and sent to Yugoslavia where he was going to be tried but he led the forces which took Belgrad and Yugoslavia in just three weeks which was a masterpiec. However the Yugoslavians sent him to U.S.S.R so he could be tried there for war crimes but he had led the forces which were supposed to take Caucasus. No war crimes or ill treatment of the enemy could be proven but he was still sentenced into 20 years imprisoment. He died in prison in ...more

He os very good man

18 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.

19 Hermann Balck

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

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.

20 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...

Field Marshall von Witzlebem should be known for more than his heroric resistance to evil. His military command of the 1st army, he succsesfully broke through stiff defenses of the maginot line during fall rot despite supperior french defesnes and numbers.

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.

21 Sepp Dietrich

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

22 Reinhard Heydrich

One of Himmler's Most Loyal men, if I remember correctly he had some knowledge of Tactics but they were not great.

The most feared man in Europe. Organized record keeping and intelligence.

23 Felix Steiner

The rare SS general with moral integrity. He ignored the infamous commissar order. He led an international unit of Dutch, Norwegian and Danish volunteers whose welfare he put before obedience to Hitler's mad orders during His last week in Berlin.

The rare Waffen SS general with moral integrity. He ignored the infamous commissar order. He commanded an international unit of Dutch, Norwegian, and Danish volunteers and placed their welfare ahead of obedience to Hitlers mad orders during his last week in Berlin.

The Fireman of Berlin. Saved many thousands of civilians from the Red Army

A good officer

24 Joachim Peiper

Wasn't a field Marshall but did some great things in the Ardennes offensive where he commanded the most effective spearhead of the offensive.

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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