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Walter Nehring
Walther Nehring
Born (1892-08-15)15 August 1892
Died 20 April 1983(1983-04-20) (aged 90)
Place of birth Stretzin, Schlochau
Place of death Düsseldorf
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Reichswehr
Heer (Wehrmacht)
Years of service 1911–1945
Rank General der Panzertruppe
Commands held 18. Panzer Division, Afrika Korps, XXIV Panzer Corps, Fourth Panzer Army, 1st Panzer Army

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Walther Kurt Josef Nehring (15 August 1892 – 20 April 1983), was a German general of World War II, known for his involvement with the Afrika Korps. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life

Walther Nehring was born on 15 August 1892 in Stretzin district of West Prussia. Nehring was the descendant of a Dutch family who had fled the Netherlands to escape religious persecution in the seventeenth century. His father, Emil Nehring, was a schoolteacher and officer of the Military Reserve. While Nehring was still a child the family moved to Danzig.[1]

His father's first wife Minna died early. Walther Nehring's oldest brother Edwin Nehring resulted from this marriage. Emil Nehring married Martha Weiß in 1884, the daughter of Marie Alexandrine von Zitzewitz, who belonged to the old Pomeranian nobility. Walther Nehring and his seven year older sister Else were born from this marriage.[2]

World War I

Nehring joined the military service on 16 September 1911 in the Infanterie-Regiment 152. He became a commissioned Leutnant on 18 December 1913.[3]

World War II

Nehring was the Chief of Staff of the XIX Corps during the German invasion of Poland and the Panzer Group Guderian during the Battle of France.

Walther Nehring (right), Fritz Bayerlein (left) and Erwin Rommel at a meeting before the attack on Tobruk, April 1942

He later took command of the Afrika Korps in May 1942 and took part in the last major Axis offensive (Operation Brandung) of the Western Desert campaign and the subsequent Battle of Alam Halfa (August 31 - September 7, 1942), during which he was wounded in an air raid. Between November and December 1942, he commanded the German contingent in Tunisia.

After North Africa, Nehring was posted to the Eastern Front where he commanded first the XXIV Panzer Corps, and then from July to August 1944 the Fourth Panzer Army. Nehring then returned to the XXIV in August 1944 and led the Corps until in March 1945 when he was made commander of the 1st Panzer Army. During 1944 he was also the commanding officer of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps.[4]

Following the end of the war, General Nehring wrote a comprehensive history of the German panzer forces from 1916 to 1945, Die Geschichte der deutschen Panzerwaffe 1916 bis 1945. He also wrote the foreword to Len Deighton's Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk.



  1. Mitcham 2007, p. 81.
  2. Paul 2002, p. 11.
  3. Williamson and Bujeiro 2005, p. 16.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Berger 2000, p. 241.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Thomas 1998, p. 113.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Paul 2002, p. 85.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Scherzer 2007, p. 563.
  • Berger, Florian (2000). Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges (in German). Selbstverlag Florian Berger. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). Rommel's Desert Commanders — The Men Who Served the Desert Fox, North Africa, 1941–42. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3510-9.
  • Paul, Wolfgang (2002). Panzer-General Walther K. Nehring — Eine Biographie (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02208-7.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2300-3.
  • Williamson, Gordon & Bujeiro, Ramiro (2005). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1941-45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-642-9.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 18. Panzer-Division
26 October 1940 – 26 January 1942
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Karl Freiherr von Thüngen
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppen Ludwig Crüwell
Commander of Afrika Korps
9 March 1942 – 18 March 1942
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Ludwig Crüwell
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppen Ludwig Crüwell
Commander of Afrika Korps
29 May 1942 – 30 August 1942
Succeeded by
Oberst Fritz Bayerlein
Preceded by
Generaloberst Josef Harpe
Commander of 4. Panzer-Armee
28 June 1944 – 5 August 1944
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck
Preceded by
General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck
Commander of XLVIII Panzer Corps
August 4, 1944 – August 19, 1944
Succeeded by
General der Panzertruppen Fritz-Hubert Gräser
Preceded by
Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici
Commander of 1. Panzer-Armee
19 March 1945 – 3 April 1945
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Wilhelm Hasse

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