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Fedor von Bock

Commanded Army Group B during the Invasion of France in 1940, and later served as the commander of Army Group Center during the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941; his final command was that of Army Group South in 1942. In 1945 died of injures after his car was strafed by a British fighter plane

Fedor von Bock

Commanded Army Group B during the Invasion of France in 1940, and later served as the commander of Army Group Center during the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941; his final command was that of Army Group South in 1942. In 1945 died of injures after his car was strafed by a British fighter plane

Drove to Berlin.

The Führer expressed his thanks to the army group and army commanders. He declared that if the war could not be ended by diplomatic means, he must and would force a decision. A compromise is out of the question.

Brauchitsch [Commander-in-Chief of the Army] and Halder [Chief of the General Staff) spoke to me briefly about my new assignment. I am to relinquish command in the east as soon as possible and go to Berlin. My staff is coming with me. Good, for it is, with a few exceptions, outstanding.

Drove to the Brand Group [78th Inf.Div.] in Lötzen; many colds among the "old gentlemen," morale good. I warned against too close contact with the Russians! No fraternization, contact by officers only.

Impression of the Russians according to available reports: officers mostly reserved, political commissars overbearing, in some cases hostile; enlisted men poor in dress and deportment; equipment mediocre.

Tomorrow I am to go to Berlin with the army commanders to see the Führer.

The representative of the defenders of Warsaw, the Polish General Rommel, arrived today at Headquarters, I Corps [Petzel] - thus once again with 3rd Army - to offer the unconditional surrender of the city. All firing ceased; leaflets were dropped urging Modlin to surrender. See more

Letter to Strauss [II Army Corps], who is to direct the attack on Modlin. In it I described the state of the field forces in front of Praga, the inadequate concentration of effect of the heavy artillery firing on Warsaw, and gave suggestions for the conduct of the attack and the employment of the artillery.

After weeks of driving and fighting, the panzer divisions and their tanks are worn out and require a thorough overhaul and rest. In a conversation with Halder, I described to him my impression of our infantry, but pointed out that the constant forest fighting had played on the nerves of my troops and that my assessment might not apply generally.

Now 60 Russians are to be let out of Warsaw. I am curious to see what happens tomorrow!

The commander of Warsaw [J. Rommel] is leading us around by the nose; through these tricks he obtains several hours each day in which he can move forces, stock up on ammunition and do whatever else he wants.

The daily activities of the emissaries, together with orders which declare the campaign in Poland over, have depressed the offensive spirit of the forces in the field. See more

Discussed with Salmuth directives for the 4th Army which are to prepare a more rapid withdrawal across the demarcation line and avoid collisions with the Russians.

In the meantime the order arrives that Praga is not to be attacked! No more German blood is to flow east of the Vistula! How do they think that? The Poles are making forays and counterattacks from Praga! Are we supposed to withdraw? I had Stuka dive-bombers attack Warsaw's main waterworks. 3rd Army [Küchler] was instructed to intensify its artillery fire.

Continued back and forth with emissaries and now also with the departure of the neutral diplomats from Warsaw. Salmuth attempted to talk the Army Command into a slower evacuation, because the one previously ordered is scarcely feasible, and inevitably the booty as well as much of our own supplies will have to be left behind in this hasty withdrawal.



After determining the position of the Warsaw Waterworks, the Luftwaffe was sent against the main waterworks; two smaller waterworks lie within range of our artillery.

A definitive demarcation line between us and the Russians, west of the first line and running roughly along the San-Vistula-Narew river line, has been declared. Asked Army Command not to evacuate the areas east of this line too quickly, because there are large quantities of supplies and booty there and a great deal of bridge equipment.

23rd Division [Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt] is to be transferred to the west; I offered a motorized and later a panzer division as well. In the evening I discussed the attack on Praga in detail with Böckmann.



When I returned home in the evening the order for the attack on Warsaw here! The 3rd Army wishes to regroup and proposes the 21st [September] as the attack date. I asked that they reconsider the deadline, for I have the impression that the planned regrouping cannot be carried out by the 21st. 4th Army [Kluge] will send the 3rd Army [Küchler] heavy artillery, engineers and tanks, which will help and be of some use to it.

A demarcation line has been established between the Russians and us. Beginning tomorrow 4th Army will pull back behind this line.

12:15

The citadel at Brest has been taken by the XIX Motorized Army Corps [Guderian].

The Russians are moving into Poland. By way of greeting a Russian bomber bombed our 23rd Division [Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt].

New operations began in the morning. Army stood guard at Wyszogrod and Modlin, took the east bank of the Vistula near Warsaw, turned left wing and sent it to Lulow-Miedzyrzec. XIX Motorized Corps [Guderian] advancing on Kowel with one armored and one motorized division, standing guard toward Wlodawa. The corps' other two divisions, one motorized and one armored, are later to be placed under the command of the 4th Army [Kluge], which today assumes command of the northern wing. The next objective of the 4th Army is Pruzana-Wolkowysk-Grodno.

I informed Brauchitsch that I had ordered this, he is in full agreement. See more

Drove to Headquarters, I Army Corps [Petzel] (east of Warsaw) and to Headquarters, 3rd Army [Küchler) in Ostrow. Dreadful trip; 16 hours on hair-raising roads. Refugees, enemy stragglers who fire at our people from the woods. The car became stuck in one lonely forest nest; peasants pulled it out with horses. Two hours later we were stuck in a ford, and so on.

I Army Corps is not tackling Warsaw sharply enough, it is tired. I lit a fire under them! The army was reminded that there are many Polish soldiers - entirely or partly dressed in civilian clothes - mixed in with the refugee columns and elsewhere in the rear. The countermeasures are simple if they are applied quickly by barring the few bridges over the Bug and the Narew. See more

The history of the war will not forget that during its advance, made unbelievably hard by the enemy and the terrain, the army group has so far voluntarily released to the Army Command: the 73rd [Rabenau], 50th [Sorsche], 208th [Andreas, appears as 108th in the original] and 218th Divisions, [Battle] Group Netze (Gablenz], Headquarters, III Army Corps [Haase] and several battalions of heavy artillery!

Drove to Headquarters, 3rd Army in Prasznycz. I ordered I Army Corps [Petzel] to take possession of the Warsaw bridges as fast as possible and remove the explosive charges, but not to allow itself to become involved in house fighting in Warsaw west of the Vistula. If all goes smoothly, then it is planned to later split off the Ist Army Corps to the south again while keeping a firm hold on the bridges.

In the evening a distress call from the Army Command. Things look serious near Kutno; the enemy is counterattacking and attacking west from Warsaw. We wanted to keep an eye our right flank near Warsaw and seal it off there. I confirmed with Halder that this was alright and told him that I had ordered the 3rd Army to clear the area between the Narew and the Vistula and bar the Warsaw crossings and initially not to advance beyond the line Garwolin-Siedlce in order to prevent the army from becoming strung out. This also means a halt to the 3rd Army's advance to the southeast. The motorized corps is carrying on toward Brest. The left wing of the army is wheeling toward Bialystok. Halder is in full agreement. See more

Things finally began to break loose at Nowogrod and Wizna. Armored fortifications had to be taken at both crossings. Guderian bravely led the 10th Panzer Division forward. Now, finally, I have freedom of movement for my motorized forces. Seeing this thing through was a test of nerve - but not with the enemy!

The situation facing the Polish Command is difficult. I assume that they will try to halt the remains of their army in the general line Brest-bug to Kamionka-lake sector west of Lemberg (Lvov)-upper course of the Dniestr. Therefore my intended drive on Brest is correct! The Poles will leave screening forces in the line Slonim-Brest to guard the Brest-Baranowicze rail line.

The Lötzen Reserve Brigade received orders to take Bialystok so that the motorized corps need not worry about its left flank while advancing on Brest.

I learned that members of the SS artillery have rounded up and murdered Jews; the 3rd Army [Küchler] has convened a court martial.

There finally appears to be some progress at Nowogrod, also at wil Probing at Lomza. In the evening an order arrived from Army Command finally giving the left wing of the Army Group freedom to advance east of the Bug as well. Quite incredible that they're only now seeing things my way.

Chaos has been avoided, because tomorrow I will have freedom to act at Nowogrod and Wizna.

I ordered Guderian to attack across the Wizna with the 10th Panzer Division [Schaal] and the 20th Motorized Division (Wiktorin) - under the direct command of the Army Group - on the left of the 3rd Army and advance across the Bug. He was happy to receive this choice assignment.