Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt Gerd von Rundstedt was born on 12 December 1875 in Aschersleben, and was the son of a career Army officer. He served in the Imperial German Army, reaching the rank of major by the end of World War I. He remained in military service after the war. and in 1932 was given command of 3.Infanterie-Division. Rundstedt was very much anti-Hitler, and tried to prevent Nazi-sympathising officers from being awarded positions of power. Frustrated at their growing influence within the German military, he resigned his commission in October 1938. On the outbreak of war in September 1939, at the age of 64, von Rundstedt found himself recalled for service with the rank of Generaloberst: he was given command of Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord) during the attack on Poland. Von Rundstedt was another of the top-level commanders and senior officers decorated for his part in the Polish campaign, receiving the Knight's Cross on 30 September 1939. Subsequently, he was appointed Supreme Commander of German Forces in the East, but did not take well to the activities of the security and SS troops in the occupied areas, and was transferred to the West at his own request. Von Rundstedt, being a soldier of the 'old school', was far from convinced by the blitzkrieg concept of fast mobile warfare espoused by men like Guderian. He was in fact instrumental in persuading Hitler to halt the rapid advance of the Panzer Divisions so that the infantry following could catch up with them. Had von Rundstedt not insisted on a conventional assault on the British enclave at Dunkirk, with the Panzers supported by infantry, the great escape of the BEF might never have taken place. Despite this lost opportunity, von Rundstedt was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall on 19 July 1940 in the aftermath of the overall success of the Western campaign. Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt shown just after the award of the Knight's Cross for his command of Army Group South during the campaign in Poland. It is interesting to note that this 'old-school' soldier wears the patches of his honorary status as colonel in chief of Infanterie-Regiment 18, as opposed to the collar patches of a Wehrmacht general. Yon Rundstedt was given command of Army Group South during the attack on the Soviet Union, and was involved in the capture of the city of Kiev and along with it over 650,000 enemy prisoners. During the advance, he suffered a heart attack but refused to be evacuated and continued his march into Russia. He reached Rostov in late-November but here the enemy counter-attacked and his troops were forced back. He infuriated Hitler by demanding permission to retreat and was sacked. Von Rundstedt was recalled once again in March 1942 and given command of troops defending the Atlantic Wall. He was still in this post when the Allies landed in Normandy in June 1944, and once again infuriated Hitler by insisting that a peace settlement be negotiated. Hitler sacked him once again. He was, however, further decorated with the award of Oak-Leaves to his Knight's Cross in July 1944. and Swords in February 1945. Despite his disagreements with Hitler, his qualities as a senior commander were clearly respected. Yon Rundstedt was captured in May 1945 and suffered a second heart attack. He wan released from prison in July 1948 and lived in Hannover until his death in 1953.