|Born||18 Sep 1900|
|Died||1 May 1982|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseWalther Wenck was born in Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany to army officer Maximilian Wenck. He joined the military as a cadet in the Prussian Army in 1911, fought in WW1, and during the post-WW1 years joined a para-military Freicorps. When the European War of WW2 began, he was the Chief of Operations of the 1st Panzer Division and served in France. In 1942, he served briefly as an instructor at the War Academy. Transferred to the Russian Front, he served as the chief of staff to the 3rd Romanian Army and the Army Detachmen Hollidt in 1942, the 6th Army in 1943, and the 1st Panzer Army and Army Group South in 1944.
ww2dbaseDuring the Battle of Berlin Wenck was the commanding officer of the German 12th Army located to the west of Berlin. While his army attempted to hold off the American advance eastwards (though rather unsuccessfully), he also worked hard to provide food and shelter for the half million refugees who fled into the territory his troops held. When the Russians nearly surrounded Berlin, Wenck became Hitler's last hope in breaking the Russian near-envelopment. On 26 Apr 1945, he launched an initially successful counterstrike against the Russian forces, but was eventually stopped by the Russian forces near Potsdam. That was the last chance that Adolf Hitler had a chance to escape, for on the next day, 27 Apr, the Russian closed the corridor held open by Wenck and completed the envelopment of the city. He continued to order attacks eastward toward the city. By 30 Apr, his troops were bogged down south of Schwielow Lake, but he persistently fought and drew attention of the Russian forces, creating small gaps in the Russian offensive so that Berlin citizens could escape; "It's not about Berlin any more, it's not about the Reich any more", Wenck said to his lieutenants as he fought to save as many Germans as possible. It was estimated that, through the brief openings caused by Wenck's attacks, as many as 250,000 refugees might had been able to flee to American-occupied zones.
ww2dbaseWenck was a prisoner of war between 1945 and 1947. He died in 1982 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Bad Rothenfelde, Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, Germany.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2007
Walther Wenck Timeline
|18 Sep 1900||Walther Wenck was born.|
|10 Apr 1945||General Walther Wenck was named the commanding officer of the German 12th Army.|
|1 May 1982||Walther Wenck passed away.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939