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Gerd von Rundstedt (1875 – 1953)


Generalfeldmarschall of the German Army during World War II He held some of the highest field commands in all phases of the war.
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Gerd von Rundstedt
The morale of the troops taking part was astonishingly high at the start of the offensive. They really believed victory was possible - unlike the higher commanders, who knew the facts.
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Von Rundstedt was a soldier through and through, always keeping himself clear of politics.
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Moreover, Gerd von Rundstedt was a gentleman to the core. His natural dignity and good manners inspired the respect even of those who differed widely from him in views.




Rundstedt Gerd von quotes
We are in no position to withstand a prolonged static war. Wherever the allies concentrate their forces they will break through. For us there can be no question of military victory or of winning the war. Our only hope is to hold on long enough to allow some development on the political front to save Germany from complete collapse.
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Just as the defending force has gathered valuable experience from...Dieppe, so has the assaulting force...He will not do it like this a second time.
Gerd von Rundstedt quotes
Nothing would have been changed for the German people, but my name would have gone down in history as that of the greatest traitor.
Gerd von Rundstedt
This war with Russia is an absurd idea that will have a disastrous outcome for sure. But if for political reasons the conflict is unavoidable, then we must be convinced that we will not gain victory in one simple summary campaign. Thoughts on the distances to cover. We cannot absolutely defeat the enemy and occupy entire western Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the Black, in mere months. We would have to prepare ourselves for one long war and to proceed with shrewdness. First of all, a strong army group towards the North would have to conquer Leningrad and its surrounding territories. This would allow us to join the Finnish, in order to eliminate the red fleet from the Baltic Sea and to increase our infuence on Scandinavia. For the moment the armys of the center-south would have to only be left over until a line that connects Odessa-Kiev-Orsa-Lago Ilmen. Then, if sufficient time remains, the Armed North group could be left over for south-east from Leningrad towards Moscow, while the army group Center moves to the east. All the upcoming operations would have to be held back until 1942, when we would have to elaborate new plans based on the situation which will arise from that moment.
Rundstedt Gerd von quotes
Rundstedt was a brilliant military leader, quick to grasp the significance of any particular operation, to analyze the obstacles, and then in turn successfully and oftentimes brilliantly to overcome these barriers.
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It is a pity that this faithful youth is sacrificed in a hopeless situation.
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Three factors defeated us in the West where I was in command. First, the unheard-of superiority of your air force, which made all movement in daytime impossible. Second, the lack of motor fuel - oil and gas - so that the Panzers and even the Luftwaffe were unable to move. Third, the systematic destruction of all railway communications so that it was impossible to bring one single railroad train across the Rhine.
Gerd von Rundstedt
Von Rundstedt was a francophile, "extravagantly polite to women" and smoked too much. To those he disdained (and there were many) he was haughty, reserved and curt.




Gerd von Rundstedt quotes
Make peace, you fools!
Gerd von Rundstedt
It is madness to attempt to hold. In the first place the troops cannot do it and in the second place if they do not retreat they will be destroyed. I repeat that this order be rescinded or that you find someone else.
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The vast-ness of Russia devours us.
Rundstedt Gerd von
If I had had my way the English would not have got off so lightly at Dunkirk. But my hands were tied by direct orders from Hitler himself. While the English were clambering into the ships off the beaches, I was kept uselessly outside the port unable to move. I recommended to the Supreme Command that my five Panzer divisions be immediately sent into the town and thereby completely destroy the retreating English. But I received definite orders from the Führer that under no circumstances was I to attack, and I was expressly forbidden to send any of my troops closer than ten kilometres from Dunkirk. At this distance I sat outside the town watching the English escape, while my tanks and infantry were prohibited from moving. This incredible blunder was due to Hitler's personal idea of generalship.
Rundstedt Gerd von quotes
I strongly object to the fact that this stupid operation in the Ardennes is sometimes called the 'Rundstedt Offensive'. This is a complete misnomer. I had nothing to do with it. It came to me as an order complete to the last detail. Hitler had even written on the plan in his own handwriting "not to be altered."
Gerd von Rundstedt
It was now just a question of time - and lives.
Gerd von Rundstedt quotes
We should have known better after the first war.
Gerd von Rundstedt
Long before winter came the chances had been diminished owing to the repeated delays in the advance that were caused by bad roads, and mud. The 'black earth' of the Ukraine could be turned into mud by ten minutes rain - stopping all movement until it dried. That was a heavy handicap in a race with time. It was, increased by a lack of railways in Russia - for bringing up supplies to our advancing troops. Another adverse factor was the way the Russians received continual reinforcements from their back areas, as they fell back. It seemed to us that as soon as one force was wiped out, the path was blocked by the arrival of a fresh force.
Rundstedt Gerd von
In appearance, Rundstedt was a man of more than average height. His head was large and well formed; his nose was of the classic Prussian boldness, which gave him a distinguished look. His thinning hair was gray and cut close to his head. His aloof air gave the impression that he was impervious to ordinary matters, men or problems. He moved with a certain mechanical precision. A puritanical Prussian.
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