Eberhard von Mackensen

Eberhard von Mackensen
Born (1889-09-24)24 September 1889
Bromberg, German Empire
Died 19 May 1969(1969-05-19) (aged 79)
Neumünster, West Germany[1]
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1908–44
Rank Generaloberst
Commands held III Army Corps (mot.)
III Panzer Corps
1st Panzer Army
14th Army

World War I

World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Relations August von Mackensen (father)

Friedrich August Eberhard von Mackensen (24 September 1889 – 19 May 1969) was a German general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II, who commanded the 1st Panzer Army and the 14th Army. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Following the war, Mackensen was tried for war crimes by a British military tribunal in Italy. He was convicted and sentenced to death, with the sentence later commuted. Mackensen was released in 1952 and died in 1969.


Eberhard was born in 1889, the son of August von Mackensen. He joined the army in 1908 and served in World War I. After being wounded in 1915, Mackensen was given a staff job. In 1919 he joined the Freikorps and fought in Balticum.[2] After the armistice, Mackensen remained in the German Army and by 1934 had risen to the rank of colonel. In 1935, Mackensen was appointed chief of staff to the X Army Corps and in 1937 he was given command of a cavalry brigade. In May 1939 Mackensen was made chief of staff to Wilhelm List.

Mackensen (2nd from right)

At the beginning of World War II, Mackensen served as the chief of staff of the German 14th Army in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. Later, he was made chief of staff of the 12th Army and fought in France. On 1 January 1940 he was promoted to lieutenant general and eight months later to General der Kavallerie. On 15 January 1941 he was made commanding general of III Army Corps under 1st Panzer Army in Army Group South, and Mackensen's forces were the first to reach Kiev during the Battle of Kiev (1941).[3] When in November 1942 General Paul Ewald von Kleist was given the command of Army Group A, Mackensen took up command of the First Panzer Army, which he led in the Third Battle of Kharkov in March 1943.

Promoted to colonel general in 1943, Mackensen was sent to Italy as commander of the 14th Army, which he led until June 1944. In March of that year, Mackensen was the first senior officer to be informed by Kurt Mälzer of a partisan attack in Rome against the SS Police Regiment Bozen. Mälzer had requested the immediate round-up and summary execution of Italian residents of the Via Rasella, where the attack had occurred, which Mackensen deemed "excessive". The matter was then referred to Albert Kesselring, who discussed the issue with Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. The resulting orders called for the execution of ten Italians for every German soldier killed, eventually leading to the Ardeatine massacre. Army units under Mackensen's command, along with members of the Bozen Police Regiment themselves, reportedly refused to participate in the execution; in the end, the job fell to the SS Security services in Rome, under the command of Herbert Kappler.

Mackensen retired from active service in the summer of 1944. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to which the Oak Leaf device was later added.

Post war

After the German capitulation in 1945, Mackensen became a prisoner of war. On 30 November 1946 he was convicted of war crimes by a British military court in Rome and sentenced to death. In 1947 the sentence was commuted to 21 years imprisonment, but he was released in 1952. He died in 1969.




  1. Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelige Häuser B Vol. XXI, Vol. 108 in the series, Limburg (Lahn): C. A. Starke 1995, ISBN 3-7980-0700-4, p. 320.
  2. Theo Schwarzmüller: Zwischen Kaiser und „Führer“ Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen. Eine politische Biographie. dtv, München 2001, (181.page) ISBN 3-423-30823-0.
  3. Glantz & House 2009, p. 26.
  4. 1 2 Thomas 1998, p. 50.
  5. 1 2 Scherzer 2007, p. 522.


  • Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan (2009). To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1630-5. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
  • Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan (2009). To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 9780700616305. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Kurt von Greiff
Commander of III Corps
15 January 1941 – 31 March 1942
Succeeded by
Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg
Preceded by
Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg
Commander of III Corps
20 July 1942 – 2 January 1943
Succeeded by
Hermann Breith
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist
Commander of 1. Panzerarmee
21 November 1942 – 29 October 1943
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube
Preceded by
Wilhelm List
Commander of 14th Army
5 November 1943 – 4 June 1944
Succeeded by
Joachim Lemelsen
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