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General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg, 1886-1974

General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg, 1886-1974

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General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg, 1886-1974

General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg (1886-1974) was an acknowledged expect in armoured warfare who had a successful career on the eastern front before being posted to the west, where he clashed with Rommel over the correct tactics to use against the expected Allied invasion.

Geyr's father was master of the horse to the King of Württemberg. Geyr himself served in the cavalry, before becoming a military attaché, serving in Brussels, the Hague and London between 1933 and 1937. He was in London at the time of the Rhineland crisis, from where he sent messages back to Berlin warning the German government not to underestimate the British. He was also bold enough to warn about the dangers of Hitler's adventurous foreign policy, earning an official rebuke and Hitler's long-term distrust.

This distrust had no impact on Geyr's immediate career, for on 1 December 1937 he was appointed to command the 3rd Panzer Division, leaded it until October 1939. His performance in Poland won him a personal commendation from Hitler, and promotion to command the 24th Corps on 15 February 1940. After leading this corps through the campaign in the west in 1940, Geyr moved on to command the 3rd Panzer Corps (April –July 1942), taking part in the fighting around Kharkov, then the 40th Panzer Corps (July-September 1942), taking part in the fighting in the Caucasus.

At the start of 1943 Geyr was moved west with orders to form and train new units to face the expected Allied invasion of France, starting with the 76th Army Corps.

Geyr's position in France was typical of the over-complicated command structure that had evolved in the Third Reich. In the spring of 1943 von Rundstedt ordered Geyr to prepare a force of 10 Panzer and motorised infantry divisions for use in the west, but Hitler forbade him from holding a front line command, so his divisions were to be commanded either by von Rundstedt or by the local army group commanders. On 19 November 1943 Geyr's command was formalised as Panzer Group West, which had responsibility for the training and formation of all armoured units in the west, but once again lacked operational control. Von Rundstedt retained overall control of all armoured units at this point, with Geyr as his advisor. Geyr was also to cooperate with the army group commander in any particular area (Rommel in the crucial invasion areas).

The situation got worse in March 1944. At a meeting with Hitler Rommel asked to be given command of all armoured, motorized and artillery units in the west, and to be given some authority over the German armies on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France. At this first meeting Hitler ignored von Rundstedt's protests and approved Rommel's plans, but he soon changed his mind. Command of the ten Panzer divisions that had been under von Rundstedt was split. Rommel gained direct command of the 2nd, 21st and 116th Panzers, while the 1st and 12th SS Panzer, 17th Panzer Grenadier and Panzer Lehr was formed into a central reserve, officially under the command of OKW, but actually under Hitler's personal control. Geyr, as commander of Panzer Group West, still retained control of the organisation and training of these units. The end result of these changes was to ensure that none of the reserve units played any part in the fighting on D-Day.

In the months before D-Day Geyr became Rommel's most important critic in France. The two men disagreed almost totally on the correct way to use the armoured divisions. Rommel believed that overwhelming Allied air power would prevent any reserves from moving quickly to the invasion area. As a result the panzers would have to be posted just behind the coast, close enough to use their artillery at the moment the Allies landed, and to allow their tanks to reach the fighting in force on D-Day. He believed that one division on the beaches on D-Day would be more valuable than three divisions on D-Day+3.

In contract Geyr believed that the armoured reserves should be kept away from the beaches, out of range of the Allied naval gunnery. The coastal defences would be used to delay the Allies and inflict as many casualties as possible, but no counterattack would come until the Allies had begun to advance into the interior. At that point the massed Panzer divisions would be used to launch a massive counterattack, taking advantage of German expertise in mobile warfare.

The events of D-Day and beyond suggest that neither Rommel nor Geyr was entirely correct. There was one Panzer division in the right place on D-Day – the 21st Panzer – but it was largely ineffective, while those divisions that had to make the sort of journeys that Geyr had suggested suffered heavy losses and delays – the 2nd Panzer Division took nine days to reach the front line from Abbeville, and lost one third of its tanks on the way. Allied air power and naval gunnery was so overpowering in Normandy that neither German plan had much chance of success.

Geyr was one of the few senior German commanders to be at his post when the Allies landing on 6 June, but he had no authority to take any action. On 7 June, after Hitler finally gave von Rundstedt command of the panzer reserves, Geyr and Panzer Group West were attached to General Dollman's 7th Army, but Allied airpower meant that Geyr's divisions suffered serious disruption on the way to the beaches, and the Germans were only able to mount small scale counterattacks. On 9 June, after it because clear that attacks with his current forces couldn't succeed, Rommel decided to go on the defensive until the 2nd Parachute Corps (Meindl) arrived from Brittany. Geyr was given the task of organising a full scale counterattack to be mounted once these reinforcements arrived.

On the same day Allied intelligence discovered the location of Geyr's headquarters, in an orchard at Le Caine, twelve miles to the south of Caen. Geyr still didn't fully appreciate the danger from Allied aircraft, and his HQ wasn't camouflaged. On 10 June the RAF launched a devastating attack on Geyr's HQ, killing his Chief of Staff and at least 17 other staff officers. Geyr was wounded, but was one of the few survivors. All of his wireless trucks and transport was destroyed, and the survivors were so totally isolated that the Seventh Army didn't learn of the disaster for twelve hours. The planned counterattack was eventually launched by Sepp Dietrich, but the delay meant that it was never as powerful as intended, and it ended in total failure.

The air attack knocked Geyr out of the fighting until late June, but once his headquarters had been rebuilt Geyr began to plan for a bigger counterattack, to be carried out by the remains of four Panzer corps. On 28 June Rommel, for unknown reasons, cancelled this attack. This effectively ended Geyr's military career. Hitler now believed him to be a defeatist, and on 2 July he was replaced by General Eberbach.



The family, originally from the Paderborn patriciate , appears for the first time with Andreas Gyr as mayor of Paderborn. It is mentioned in a document between 1239 and 1270. The Giersstraße , the Gierswall and the Giersmauer in Paderborn are named after the family.

Spread and lines

Gyr from Warburg to light

1288 was Johann Gyr in a Lehnbrief about at Scherfede location Good light of the monastery Hardehausen called. He was a gographer for Warburg . In 1385 another Johann Gyre was mentioned as Gograf von Warburg. 1452-1455 the family built a new residence on a large piece of land in the Warburger Neustadt, Kalandstraße 5 , which still exists today. In 1481 Dethmar Gyr was councilor in Warburg. The family also owned an estate in Menne and other lands.

Geyr to Roden

In 1490 Dethmar Gyr's son Johann Geyr von Warburg zu Leuchten († 1510) was enfeoffed with the Roden near the Leuchtenberg , which at that time still belonged to the Paderborn Monastery . Conrad Geyr zu Roden († 1598), great-grandson of Johann Geyr von Warburg zu Leuchten and son of Peter Geyr and Gertrud, née Drost von Vuchte, sold the lamp estate to the von Spiegel noble family . Herbold von Geyr zu Roden († 1643) was probably the last Gograf from the family in Warburg. His son Peter von Geyr zu Roden († 1683) became general collector in the archbishopric of Cologne . Around 1670 he settled the family permanently in the Rhineland .

From Geyr to Schweppenburg and Müddersheim

Rudolf Adolf von Geyr (1672–1752) was electoral Cologne court councilor , general collector and senior bailiff to heir and Brauweiler . In 1707 he acquired Müddersheim Castle , from 1714 he had the destroyed Schallmauer Castle rebuilt as a mansion, and in 1716 he bought Schweppenburg Castle . He was married to Maria von Groote († 1754). Her son Ferdinand Joseph Balthasar Freiherr von Geyr (1709–1784) zu Schweppenburg and Müddersheim, zu Andrimont , Winterburg, Ursfeld and Schallmauer , was an electoral councilor and bailiff for Erp . After his death, the family split into the Müddersheim and Schweppenburg lines.

Baron Rudolf Adolf von Geyr († 1795), Lord of Schweppenburg, Andrimont, Ursfeld, electoral Palatinate privy councilor and Voigt major (supreme judge) of Aachen founded the older line to Schweppenburg . From his marriage to Isabella von Backum zu Lathum came Joseph Emanuel von Geyr (1774-1814), designated Voigt major of Aachen and associate mayor of Cologne .

The younger line at Müddersheim Castle was founded by Freiherr Cornelius Joseph Geyr († 1832), Lord of Müddersheim, zum Busch and Niederaussem , electoral Cologne privy councilor and general collector.

From 1803 to 2015 Arff Castle near Cologne was also owned by the family, in the middle of the 19th century also Rath House in Cologne-Merheim , the Gray Castle near Sechtem and Arenfels Castle from 1951 to 2006 . In the 1840s, the farm belonged Lengsberg and Käsbacher court , both in Odenthal located the family. Haus Vlassrath has been owned by a family member since 2006 .


Leo came from the old Westphalian noble family Geyr von Schweppenburg . He was the son of Württemberg Upper stall champion and Colonel a. D. Karl Geyr von Schweppenburg (1840–1913).

Military career

Geyr occurred on 29 June 1904 as a cadet in the Dragoon Regiment "King" (the second of Württemberg) no. 26 in Stuttgart one. After his assignment to the Potsdam War School , he was promoted to lieutenant on October 19, 1905 . After attending the War Academy in Berlin from 1911 to 1914, he took part in various campaigns in Poland, France, Russia and the Balkans during the First World War as a cavalry officer ( Rittmeister ) until he was transferred to the General Staff in 1917 . In addition to the two classes of the Iron Cross and the Friedrich August Cross , he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Württemberg Military Merit Order , the Austrian Military Merit Cross III. Class with the war decoration, the knight's cross IV. Class, II. Level of the Bulgarian military order for bravery and the wound badge in black awarded.

Geyr remained in the army even after the peace agreement and was accepted into the Reichswehr . Among other things, he was a teacher at the infantry school in Munich and rose steadily as commander of various cavalry units and in general staff assignments In 1932 he became a colonel . From 1933 to 1937 he was a military attaché , since July 1, 1935 also an air attaché , in Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands with headquarters in London and was appointed major general during this time (September 1, 1935). During the Rhineland Crisis in 1936, Geyr sent reports to Berlin warning against underestimating the British and pointing out the dangers of Hitler's political adventurism. This earned him a reprimand from War Minister Werner von Blomberg and was probably the reason for Hitler's distrust of Geyr. After his recall from London he took over on October 1, 1937 - appointed lieutenant general - as commander of the 1935 established 3rd Panzer Division in Berlin, which he was part of the XIX. Army Corps ( General of the Panzer Troop Heinz Guderian ) until October 6, 1939 during the attack on Poland . For a victory at Kulm he was commended by Hitler on the battlefield.

After a lengthy absence due to illness, Geyr was promoted to commanding general of the XXIV Army Corps on the Western Front on February 15, 1940, and to general of the cavalry on April 1 ( renamed General of the Armored Force in 1941 ). With his army corps he first took part in the western campaign and then at the beginning of the campaign against the Soviet Union - later as the commanding general of III. , later of XXXX. Army Corps - as part of Panzer Group (later Panzer Army) 2 (Guderian) took part in the war against the Soviet Union . He fought near Minsk , Smolensk , Kiev and Brjansk , closed the ring around Kiev with his armored forces coming from the south, and with his corps formed the lead of the 2nd Army in the failed advance on Moscow and was involved in the Battle of Kharkov (May 1942) . On July 9, 1941, he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross .

In 1943 Geyr became the commanding general of the LXXVI. Army corps transferred to France. When Guderian became inspector general of the armored forces in March, he commissioned Geyr to set up ten motorized infantry and armored divisions. Geyr also took over LVIII in the summer of 1943. Reserve tank corps. In January 1944, the 5th Panzer Army , which was disbanded in Africa in 1943, was reorganized from the staff of the General of the Armored Troops West (Geyr) (January 1). It was shortly thereafter in Panzer Group West renamed (January 24) and as OKW - Reserve First the OB West , Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt , then directly to the High Command of the Armed Forces , that is subordinate to Hitler.

After the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 , Panzer Group West fought under the command of Army Group B in the Battle of Caen . Geyr was about to launch a massed counterattack to throw the landed troops back into the sea when his headquarters were destroyed by an Allied air strike on June 10th. Geyr himself was wounded, and many of his officers were also wounded or killed. SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer Josef Dietrich took over the leadership of the tank units with the staff of his I. SS-Panzer Corps , while Geyr reorganized his headquarters. Geyr was replaced on July 2nd - like Rundstedt, who was replaced by General Field Marshal Günther von Kluge as OB West - by the General of the Panzer Troop Heinrich Eberbach and transferred to the Führer Reserve . In August 1944 he was appointed inspector of the armored troops in the reserve army, and in May 1945 he was taken prisoner by the US in Bavaria , where he remained until July 1947.

Civil life

After his release, he wrote his memoirs and several military writings. In 1950 he was - along with other former generals of the Wehrmacht who had distanced themselves from National Socialism, such as B. Hans Speidel and Adolf Heusinger , who later became the first General Inspector of the Bundeswehr , - member of the “Study Committee for German Security Issues”, which was supposed to help prepare the Bundeswehr.


Geyr married Anais Krausse on July 22, 1911. The daughter Blanche (1918–2003) emerged from the marriage and married Curt-Christoph von Pfuel in 1941 .

Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg

Leo Dietrich Franz Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg (2. marts 1886 – 27. januar 1974) var en tysk kavaleriofficer under 1. Verdenskrig og general under 2. Verdenskrig. Han var især kendt for sin ekspertise indenfor panserkrigsførsel og hans ledelse af Panzergruppe West under invasionen i Normandiet

Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg
2. marts 1886 - 27. januar 1974
Født 2. marts 1886
Potsdam, Tyskland
Død 27. januar 1974 (87 år)
Irschenhausen ved München, Tyskland
Troskab Nazi-Tyskland
Tjenestetid 1904-1945
Rang General af pansertropperne
Enhed Wehrmacht
Chef for Panzergruppe West
Militære slag og krige 1. Verdenskrig
2. Verdenskrig
Udmærkelser Jerkorsets ridderkors

Geyr blev født i Potsdam og gik ind i hæren i 1904. Fra 1933 til 1937 var han militærattaché i Storbritannien, Belgien og Holland med residens i London.

Den 10. juni 1944 blev Geyr såret da fly fra Royal Air Force angreb hans hovedkvarter ved La Caine i Normandiet. [1]

Mellem 1945 og 1947 var Geyr krigsfange hos amerikanerne. Han døde i Irschenhausen ved München.

Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg

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Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg

Foi um cadete na cavalaria em 1905. Combateu na cavalaria na Primeira Guerra Mundial (1914-1918) em diferentes general staffs, chegando a patente de Rittmeister em 1915. Promovido a Oberst em 1 de Outubro de 1932, se tornou Generalmajor em 1 de Setembro de 1935 e Generalleutnant em 1 de Outubro de 1937. [ 1 ]

No mês de Setembro de 1939, ele comandou a 3ª Divisão Panzer que participou da Invasão da Polônia (vide Batalha de Wizna). Mais tarde ele esteve no comando do XXIV Corpo de Exército, que foi reformado num Corpo Motorizado em (15 de Fevereiro de 1940). Ele subiu para a patente de General der Kavallerie em 20 de Abril de 1940, foi nomeado General der Panzertruppe em (4 de Junho de 1941), sendo condecorado com a Cruz de Cavaleiro da Cruz de Ferro (9 de Julho de 1941). Em seguida comandou o XXXX Corpo Panzer, a partir de 9 de Julho de 1942. [ 1 ]

Comandante Oficial da Fortaleza Stablack (1 de Fevereiro de 1943), assumiu o comando do LXXXVI Corpo de Exército (21 de Fevereiro de 1943,) antes de assumir o comando oficial das tropas Panzer como commander-in-chief no Ocidente (20 de Maio de 1943) e Comandante do LVIII Corpo de Reserva Panzer (5 de Agosto de 1943). No Dia-D, em Junho de 1944, ele foi o comandante do Panzergruppe West. [ 1 ]

Ele se tornou um inspetor de tropas panzer com a Ersatzheer (7 de Agosto de 1944). [ 1 ]

Foi feito prisioneiro pelos americanos e libertado em 1947. Ele faleceu em Irschenhausen no dia 27 de Janeiro de 1974. Condecorado com a Cruz de Cavaleiro da Cruz de Ferro (9 de Julho de 1941). [ 1 ]


Geyr was born in Potsdam and joined the German Army in 1904. In World War I he fought on several fronts and rose to the rank of captain. Already known as a very competent officer, he was even praised by Erich Ludendorff for possessing a razor sharp mind. After the war, he remained in the army, becoming an Oberst in 1932, and a Generalmajor in 1935. From 1933 to 1937, he was a military attaché to the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands, residing in London. Returning from London, he was promoted to Generalleutnant upon taking command of the 3rd Panzer (armoured) Division in 1937.

From 1 September – 7 October 1939 Geyr commanded the 3rd Panzer Division in the Polish campaign, where it was the most numerically powerful Panzer Division, with 391 tanks. His performance in Poland won him a personal commendation from Hitler, and promotion to General der Kavallerie of the XXIV Panzer Corps on 15 February 1940. In 1940 he commanded the XXIV Panzer Corps in the Invasion of France. In 1941, in the invasion of the Soviet Union, Geyr’s XXIV Panzer Corps was part of General Heinz Guderian’s Second Panzer Army, which spearheaded the advance of Army Group Centre in the drive toward Moscow. On 9 July 1941, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross as General der Panzertruppe. From 9 July – 1 October 1942 he was commanding General of the XL Panzer Corps, taking part in the fighting in the Caucasus.

Geyr remained in service on the Eastern Front, and in early 1943 was moved west with orders to form and train new units to face the expected Allied invasion of France, starting with the LXXVI Army Corps. In the spring of 1943 Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt ordered Geyr to prepare a force of 10 Panzer and motorised infantry divisions. On 19 November 1943 Geyr's command was formalised as Panzer Group West, which had responsibility for the training and formation of all armoured units in the west. This group of armoured divisions near Paris constituted the Germans’ main force of tanks in France. In the event of an Allied landing on the northern French coast, Panzer Group West was expected to counterattack northward and halt the invasion force. The commander of army forces in northern France, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, wanted to station Geyr’s tank divisions as close to the coast as possible, in order to defeat the Allies before they could move inland from the landing beaches. Geyr and Rommel’s own commander, Gerd von Rundstedt, disagreed with this strategy: they wanted to station Panzer Group West well inland, where it could outmaneuver and encircle the Allied army as it advanced eastward toward Paris. Von Rundstedt retained overall control of all armoured units at this point, with Geyr as his advisor. Anticipating an Allied bombing raid against German tank forces in France, prior to their landings, he dispersed the tanks stationed at Mailly-le-Camp, thereby ensuring minimal losses in the ensuing bombing raid that followed on May 3/4.

The Allied invasion of Normandy took place on June 6, 1944. By June 8, Geyr had been able to rush three panzer divisions northward to defend Caen against British and Canadian forces advancing on that city from their beachheads. Geyr planned to launch these divisions in a full-scale counterattack that would drive the British and Canadians back into the sea. On 10 June 1944, Geyr was wounded when Royal Air Force aircraft attacked his newly established headquarters at La Caine in Normandy. [1] Geyr was wounded and many of his staff officers were killed, forcing the cancellation of the counterattack. Geyr’s reinforced tank units managed to prevent the British advance for another month, but he was nevertheless relieved of his command on July 2, after seconding Rundstedt’s request that Adolf Hitler authorize a strategic withdrawal from Caen. Geyr was succeeded by Heinrich Eberbach and then served as Inspector General of Armoured Troops until the closing phase of the war.

Between 1945 and 1947, Geyr was in American captivity. After his release Geyr wrote a memoir of his years in London as a military attaché, Erinnerungen eines Militärattachés, London 1933–1937 (1949), which was translated and published along with additional material covering his life through World War II as The Critical Years (1952).

During the early 1950s Geyr was instrumental in advising how to restructure the newly built German Army (Bundeswehr) of West Germany. [See: Searle's "Wehrmacht Generals."]

He died in Irschenhausen near Munich. His daughter Blanche Freiin Geyr von Schweppenburg (* 24 March 1918 † 21 May 2003) was married to Curt-Christoph von Pfuel (* 2. September 1907, Berlin † 5. August 2000, Bonn), Prussian assessor, member of the Council of Europe, last Fideikommiss, Lord of Jahnsfelde.

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How Hitler Doomed His Master Plan to Invade the Soviet Union (And Lost World War II)

Key point: Hitler was overconfident and ignored the warnings of his generals. Nazi Germany's attacks went well at first, but over time the tide would turn.

The smell of victory was in the air as the forces of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock’s Army Group Center continued to drive deep into the Ukraine during the final week of June 1941. To most of the young soldiers of the army group it seemed that this would be another unstoppable blitzkrieg. Their commander, however, saw things differently.

Von Bock was one of several higher commanders who were against the entire notion of invading the Soviet Union. His contemporaries described him as vain, irritating, cold, and humorless. On the occasion of his 60th birthday in December 1940, von Bock had a personal visit from Hitler. He bluntly told the Führer that he was concerned about the Russian undertaking, citing the lack of knowledge about the strength of the Red Army and the vast area that the Wehrmacht would have to fight in. Hitler met the comment with silence. Nevertheless, von Bock became commander of the most powerful of the three army groups poised to invade the Soviet Union.

At 0315 on June 22, 1941, the early morning silence was shattered by a thunderous barrage. The western sky lit up as thousands of German shells streaked overhead to hit identified Soviet targets. Operation Barbarossa had begun.

The German attack caused unbelievable panic at General Dmitrii Grigorevich Pavlov’s soon to be Western Front headquarters. Overhead, the Luftwaffe decimated the Red Air Force in Pavlov’s sector of the front on the first day, and the communications between Pavlov and his subordinate units were utterly disrupted, resulting in an almost complete lapse in command and control.

Soviet counterattacks during the first two days of the invasion were easily brushed aside. On June 24, Pavlov ordered his deputy, Lt. Gen. Ivan Vasilevich Boldin, to counterattack with the 6th and 11th Mechanized Corps, supported by the 6th Cavalry Corps, to stop the growing threat of a German encirclement of Soviet forces around Bialystok.

The attack was doomed from the start. Mechanical breakdowns plagued the Soviet tanks, and the Luftwaffe’s total control of the air proved disastrous for the Russian columns trying to move to their assembly areas. General Wolfram von Richtofen’s VIII Air Corps caused massive casualties even before the counterattack got started.

Among von Richtofen’s units was Lt. Col. Günther Freiherr von Maltzahn’s Jagdgeschwa-der (Fighter Wing) 53. Hermann Neuhoff, a pilot in Captain Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke’s III Group, described the scene: “We found the main roads in the area congested with Russian vehicles of all kinds, but no fighter opposition and very little flak. We made one firing pass after another and caused terrible destruction on the ground. Literally everything was ablaze by the time we turned for home.”

The commander of the 6th Mechanized, Maj. Gen. Mikhail Gregorevich Khatskilevich, was killed on the 24th. Of the more than 1,200 tanks in his command, approximately 200 made it to their assembly area. Low on fuel, the survivors were easy marks for the Germans.

June 25 saw more disaster for the Russians. A mere 243 tanks from Maj. Gen. Dmitrii Karpovich Mostovenko’s 11th Mechanized Corps made it to the front. Most of those were destroyed the same day while making piecemeal attacks on German forces. The accompanying 6th Cavalry Corps suffered more than 50 percent casualties, and its commander, Maj. Gen. Ivan Semeiotic Nikitin, was captured and later executed by the Germans.

On June 27, the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups linked up near Minsk, trapping the Soviet 3rd and 10th Armies in the Bialystock area. Most of the 13th Army and part of the 4th Army were also inside the pocket. While German armored and infantry units fought to destroy the encircled Russians, other panzer forces continued to drive east. Bobruysk fell to General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg’s XXIV (motorized) Army Corps on June 30, securing a crossing over the Berezina River. The battle for the frontier was basically over by July 3 with the elimination of the Russians inside the Bialystock pocket.

In Moscow, Premier Josef Stalin was furious. He had Pavlov relieved and arrested. The unlucky front commander was executed on July 22. Lt. Gen. Andrei Ivanovich Eremenko took over command of the Western Front until the new commander, Marshal Semen Konstantinovich Timoshenko, arrived in Smolensk on July 2.

Timoshenko’s main objective was to stop the German panzers at the Dnieper River. The odds of that happening looked pretty slim. Upon his arrival in Smolensk, Timoshenko found the front command in total disarray. His armored forces had been decimated, leaving him with about 200 tanks. About 400 aircraft were still operational, but they were being hunted down by the Luftwaffe and were largely ineffective.

Nevertheless, Timoshenko ordered his subordinates to make an orderly withdrawal to the river while using combat groups to strike at enemy spearheads. On July 5, the XXIV Panzer Corps reached the western bank of the Dneiper. Von Schweppenburg met heavy opposition from the remnants of Lt. Gen. Fedor Nikitich Rezmezov’s 13th Army that had escaped the Bialystock pocket. General Adolf Kuntzen’s XXXIX (motorized) Corps ran into the same thing as it confronted Lt. Gen. Pavel Alekseevich Kurochkin’s retreating 20th Army. Throughout the next few days, the Germans continued their advance at a moderate rate despite several intense counterattacks from the Russians.

By July 9, another major battle of encirclement ended as the Minsk pocket was crushed. The defeat cost the Western Front 290,000 prisoners and as many as 100,000 dead. Timoshenko was able to make good some of those losses as Stavka (the Soviet High Command) continued to pump reinforcements into the area.

The next week saw more German advances. Von Schweppenburg’s corps gained a bridgehead across the Dneiper on July 10. More German units expanded the bridgehead the next day, forcing the 13th Army to retreat once again. As the Soviets retreated the inexperienced conscripts that were arriving made fruitless counterattacks to try and stem the German advance.

Another great battle of encirclement ensued, this time around Smolensk. General Heinz Guderian’s Panzer Group 2 struck across the Dneiper, and by July 13 his 29th (motorized) Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Walter von Boltenstern, was within 18 kilometers of the city. Meanwhile, General Hermann Hoth’s Panzer Group 3 attacked on a parallel course. By July 18, the two panzer groups were within 18 kilometers of each other, but strong Soviet counterattacks kept a gap open, allowing some Russian forces to escape.

At the head of Guderian’s spearhead was Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Schaal’s 10th Panzer Division. Guderian order Schaal to head toward Yelnya, a town of about 15,000 located on the banks of the Desna River 82 kilometers southeast of Smolensk. With an eye toward the future, Guderian saw the heights surrounding the town as the perfect spot for the continuation of the drive toward Moscow after the Smolensk pocket was eliminated.

Schaal moved out during the early hours of July 18. Upon reaching the Khmara River his lead elements found that the bridge crossing the river had been damaged by the Russians. At 0545 a single panzer from Lt. Col. Theodor Keyser’s 7th Panzer Regiment tried to cross the bridge but ended up crashing through it. Schaal was forced to postpone his advance until the following day so that the bridge and another one a few kilometers away could be repaired.

Yelnya, which means spruce grove, was defended by Maj. Gen. Iakov Georgievich Kotelnikov’s 19th Rifle Division of Maj. Gen. Konstantin Ivanovich Rakutin’s 24th Army. Upon hearing of the enemy’s approach, Kotelnikov used the time lost by 10th Panzer to good purpose. An antitank ditch that engineers had dug across the road to Yelnya was fortified, and some heavy artillery was allotted to bombard the road once the Germans attacked.

The Duna River, which began on the Smolensk Heights northest of the town, was about 60 meters wide and three meters deep in the area. Kotelnikov ordered that the eastern bank be fortified and had service troops and civilians begin digging trenches and creating strongpoints on the heights east of the town.

To Schall’s left, SS Maj. Gen. Paul Hausser’s 2nd SS (motorized) Division “Reich” was ordered to advance to Dorogobuzh, some 40 kilometers north of Yelnya, and capture the heights in that area. SS Major Otto Kumm, commander of the division’s “Der Führer” (DF) Regiment, was to lead the assault. Kumm had his doubts about the mission. An overcast sky with intermittent showers prevented him from having hard air reconnaissance on enemy dispositions. Nevertheless, Kumm started out on his 100-kilometer march with SS Captain Johannes Mühlenkamp’s reconnaissance battalion in the lead.

“The road conditions were very bad,” Mühlenkamp recalled. “Bridges that crossed small streams in the area were worthless. The Ivans were dug in west of Dorogobuzh, and we launched an attack in the area to drive them out. However, [enemy] reinforcements arrived and counterattacked, forcing us to retreat. The fighting continued throughout the day [July 19].”

Herkunft Bearbeiten

Das ursprünglich aus dem Paderborner Patriziat stammende Geschlecht erscheint erstmals mit Andreas Gyr als Bürgermeister zu Paderborn. Er wird zwischen 1239 und 1270 urkundlich erwähnt [1] . Die Giersstraße, der Gierswall und die Giersmauer in Paderborn sind nach der Familie benannt.

Ausbreitung und Linien Bearbeiten

Gyr von Warburg zu Leuchte Bearbeiten

1288 wurde Johann Gyr in einem Lehnbrief über das bei Scherfede gelegene Gut Leuchte des Klosters Hardehausen genannt. [2] Er war Gograf zu Warburg. 1385 wurde wieder ein Johann Gyre als Gograf von Warburg erwähnt [3] . 1452–1455 errichtete sich die Familie einen neuen Wohnsitz auf einem großen Grundstück in der Warburger Neustadt, Kalandstraße 5, der noch heute besteht. 1481 war Dethmar Gyr Ratsherr in Warburg [4] . Ferner besaß die Familie ein Landgut in Menne [5] und andere Ländereien.

Geyr zu Roden Bearbeiten

1490 wurde Dethmar Gyrs Sohn Johann Geyr von Warburg zu Leuchte († 1510) mit dem in der Nähe des Leuchtebergs liegenden Roden, das damals noch zum Hochstift Paderborn gehörte, belehnt. Conrad Geyr zu Roden († 1598), Urenkel Johann Geyrs von Warburg zu Leuchte und Sohn von Peter Geyr und Gertrud, geborene Drost von Vüchte, verkaufte das Gut Leuchte an die Adelsfamilie von Spiegel. Herbold von Geyr zu Roden († 1643) war wohl der letzte Gograf in Warburg aus der Familie. Sein Sohn Peter von Geyr zu Roden († 1683) wurde General-Einnehmer im Erzstift Köln. Er siedelte um 1670 die Familie dauerhaft im Rheinland an.

Der 1452–55 errichtete Adelshof der Familie von Geyr in Warburg

Leuchteberg bei Warburg-Scherfede (1679)

Von Geyr zu Schweppenburg und Müddersheim Bearbeiten

Rudolf Adolf von Geyr (1672–1752) wurde kurkölnischer Hofrat, General-Einnehmer und Oberamtmann zu Erb- und Brauweiler. 1707 erwarb er die Burg Müddersheim, ab 1714 ließ er die zerstörte Burg Schallmauer als Herrenhaus wieder aufbauen, 1716 kaufte er Schloss Schweppenburg. Er war mit Maria von Groote († 1754) verheiratet. Ihr Sohn Ferdinand Joseph Balthasar Freiherr von Geyr (1709–1784) zu Schweppenburg und Müddersheim, zu Andrimont, Winterburg, Ursfeld und Schallmauer, war kurkölnischer Geheimrat und Amtmann zu Erp. Nach dessen Tod teilte sich die Familie in die Müddersheimer und die Schweppenburger Linie.

Die ältere Linie zu Schweppenburg begründete Freiherr Rudolf Adolf von Geyr († 1795), Herr zu Schweppenburg, Andrimont, Ursfeld, kurpfälzischer Geheimrat und Voigt-Major (oberster Richter) zu Aachen. Aus seiner Ehe mit Isabella von Backum zu Lathum entstammte Joseph Emanuel von Geyr (1774–1814), designierter Voigt-Major zu Aachen und beigeordneter Bürgermeister zu Köln.

Die jüngere Linie auf Burg Müddersheim wurde von Freiherr Cornelius Joseph Geyr († 1832), Herr auf Müddersheim, zum Busch und Niederaußem, kurkölnischer Geheimrat und General-Einnehmer, begründet.

Von 1803 bis 2015 war auch Schloss Arff bei Köln im Besitz der Familie, Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts ferner Haus Rath in Köln-Merheim, die Graue Burg bei Sechtem und von 1951 bis 2006 Schloss Arenfels. In den 1840er Jahren gehörte der Hof Lengsberg und der Käsbacher Hof, beide in Odenthal gelegen, der Familie. [6] Seit 2006 ist Haus Vlassrath im Besitz eines Familienmitglieds ebenfalls seit 2006 Schloss Mespelbrunn im Spessart.

Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg

Leo Dietrich Franz Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg (2. maaliskuuta 1886 Potsdam – 27. tammikuuta 1974 Irschenhausen lähellä Müncheniä) oli saksalainen maavoimien panssarikenraali toisessa maailmansodassa.

Geyr liittyi Saksan armeijaan 1904. Ensimmäisessä maailmansodassa hän palveli rintamayksiköissä komentajana sekä esikuntatehtävissä. Saksan kansallissosialistisen työväenpuolueen noustua valtaan Geyr siirrettiin sotaministeriöön ja hän toimi sotilasasiamiehenä Lontoon ja Brysselin lähetystöissä 1933–1937.

Saksa hyökkäsi Puolaan 1. syyskuuta 1939 ja aloitti toisen maailmansodan. Geyr oli mukana offensiivissa komentaen 3. panssaridivisioonaa. Ranskan valtauksen aikana hän komensi XXIV armeijakuntaa. Hän oli mukana itärintaman taisteluissa operaatio Barbarossan alusta vuoteen 1943, jolloin hänet siirrettiin Ranskaan. Geyr osallistui Normandian maihinnousun taisteluihin ja haavoittui itsekin kun Yhdistyneen kuningaskunnan ilmavoimien hävittäjäkoneita hyökkäsi hänen esikuntaansa. Toivuttuaan elokuussa 1944 hänet siirrettiin reservin panssarijoukkojen tarkastajaksi. Liittoutuneet vangitsivat hänet 9. toukokuuta 1945 ja hän pysyi sotavankeudessa kaksi vuotta. Hän kuoli Baijerissa 1974.