World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Ruhr Pocket

Ruhr Pocket
Part of World War II

An American soldier guards German prisoners captured in the Ruhr Pocket.
Date March 7 to April 21, 1945
Location Ruhr Area, Germany
Result Decisive Allied victory
Belligerents
United States
United Kingdom
German resistance
Germany
Commanders and leaders
Omar Bradley
Courtney H. Hodges
William Hood Simpson
Leonard Gerow
Bernard Montgomery
Karl August Wiedenhofen
Walter Model 
Gustav-Adolf von Zangen
Josef Harpe
Strength
c.300,000
Aktion Rheinland: civilian and police forces
~400,000
Casualties and losses
U.S.:
4,131 casualties
(928 killed, 3,314 wounded)
German resistance: 5
Total casualties unknown
300,000+ taken prisoner.


The Ruhr Pocket was a Nazi Germany's Western Front, as more than 300,000 troops were taken prisoner.

Background

In March 1945, Allied Forces crossed the Rhine river. South of the Ruhr, General Omar Bradley's U.S. 12th Army Group's pursuit of the disintegrating German army resulted in the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine at Remagen by the U.S. First Army. Bradley and his subordinates quickly exploited the crossing made on March 7, 1945, and expanded the bridge head until the bridge collapsed 10 days later.

North of the Ruhr on March 23, 1945, Field Marshal Montgomery's British 21st Army Group launched Operation Plunder and crossed the Rhine at Rees and Wesel.

Battle

Having crossed the Rhine, both Army Groups fanned out into the German hinterland. In the south, while Third Army headed east, the First Army headed northeast and formed the southern pincer of the Ruhr envelopment. In the north, the U.S. Ninth Army, which since the Battle of the Bulge had been assigned to Montgomery's British 21st Army Group, headed southeast forming the northern pincer, while the rest of 21st Army Group went east and northeast.

Facing the Allied armies were the remnants of a shattered Wehrmacht, a few SS training units, and large numbers of Volkssturm (militia units for aging men, including some World War I veterans) and Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) units, composed of boys as young as 12.

Lead elements of the two Allied pincers met on April 1, 1945, near Lippstadt. By April 4, the encirclement was completed and the Ninth Army reverted to the command of Bradley's 12th Army Group. Within the Ruhr Pocket about 430,000 German soldiers of Army Group B, which comprised 21 divisions of the Wehrmacht, and millions of civilians were trapped in cities heavily damaged by numerous bombings.

While the main operations headed further toward central and northern Germany, American forces concentrated on the pocket, taking it section by section. On April 12, 1945, the U.S. 1st and 9th Armies divided the area coming from the south; the smaller, eastern part surrendered the next day. The western part continued a weak resistance until April 18 and April 21, 1945. Rather than surrender and violate his personal oath to Adolf Hitler that he would fight to the death, the commander, Field Marshal Walter Model, committed suicide in a forest south of the city of Duisburg, in Ratingen.

German anti-Nazi resistance groups in Düsseldorf attempted to surrender the city to the Allied armies in the so-called "Aktion Rheinland" in order to spare Düsseldorf from further destruction. However, SS units were able to crush the resistance, and executed a number of those involved. Executions of foreign labourers, political prisoners, etc. by the Gestapo had already been occurring since February. The act of resistance did accomplish a cancellation of further bombings on the city by another 800 bombers, through contact with the Americans. Düsseldorf was captured by Americans on 17 April without any notable fighting.

The surviving 325,000 German soldiers from the Ruhr Pocket, and some civilians, were imprisoned in the Rheinwiesenlager (in English, "Rhine meadow camp") near Remagen, a temporary prison enclosure.

External links

  • Ruhr Pocket End of war in Rhineland and Westphalia in April 1945.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.