Erich von Manstein
Commander of Tank Operations
available in Strategic and Deluxe Editions
Erich von Manstein, one of the Wehrmacht’s most gifted strategists, often relied on scorched earth tactics and, according to his contemporaries, successfully “combined an understanding of modern mobility with a classical sense of combat manoeuvres.”
Manstein was from a long line of officers – 16 of his direct ancestors were generals in the Prussian-German or Russian militaries. Moreover, many of his mother’s ancestors had been generals, as well. He continued in the family military tradition in 1900, when he enlisted in the cadet corps. He studied at military school and then at the Prussian War Academy, just before the start of World War I. During the war, he advanced from battalion adjutant to his division’s Chief of Operations.
It was Manstein who suggested that German tanks attack through the Ardennes in the Invasion of France. The plan was rejected by military command but was ultimately enacted anyway at Hitler’s orders.
In the war on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union, Manstein began as a corps commander. He participated in the invasion of the Baltic, commanded the army that captured most of Crimea, and was promoted to General Field Marshal for the capture of Sevastopol.
Afterwards, he took part in the assault of Leningrad and led Army Group Don, whose 6th Army fought in the Battle of Stalingrad. Manstein effectively sacrificed Paulus’s 6th Army, since he believed its withdrawal would jeopardize the southern edge of the front, leaving the army without vehicles or the ability to fight. He considered the destruction of the 6th Army to be the fault of Hitler and Paulus. He later suffered a serious defeat during the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive, where a powerful German army group found themselves surrounded. For the rest of his life, Manstein considered the rescue of the 1st Panzer Army (whose retreat he ordered at the cost of his own dismissal, saving 40,000 men) to be a worthy end to his military career.
Erich von Manstein always tried to maintain his image as that of a soldier, but some sources tell of interesting events close to home that hurt that image. For instance, Bruno Winzer, who served under Manstein, recalls that the then-Oberstleutnant once wore a steel helmet during field manoeuvres – a helmet which Winzer happened to later discover was actually made of papier-mache.
EFFECTIVENESS ON THE BATTLEFIELD
This commander is careful to provide his tank destroyers, heavy tanks, and medium tanks with additional armour. He equips his snipers, trains his AA gunners, and hides his AT rifle gunners well. When attacking, he uses scouts, engineers, and tank reserves.
BomberCall in a heavy bomber to launch a heavy bomb strike at the target area.Bomber: Supply Points required: less by 1
Large Smoke ScreenPrevents attacks within a certain range.Large Smoke Screen: Supply Points required: less by 1
All Put to Good UseManstein orders his tank and tank destroyer crews to weld scraps from disabled vehicles onto their vehicles, to provide them with extra armour.Medium Tank, Heavy Tank, Light Tank, Tank Destroyer: +30% Construction Quality (Vehicles) / Endurance (Infantry)
Fast ShooterWell-calibrated scopes allow you to spot and destroy enemy personnel more effectively and increase your snipers' rate of fire.Infantry: +15 Sight range; +10 Shot range; -40% Reload time
Motivation GeniusA war is not lost until you consider it lost." Highly motivated crews of heavy tanks are able to fire at enemies more often, and tank destroyers can throw off the aim of enemy vehicles.Heavy Tank: -40% Reload timeTank Destroyer: +20% Chance to jam weapon
Military TraditionManstein forms anti-tank rifle crews from the most experienced soldiers. They know how to properly place and camouflage a gun, which increases their stealth and survivability.Anti-Tank Rifle: -20 Tracking range; +30% Construction Quality (Vehicles) / Endurance (Infantry)
Fire PressureUsing a new unitary shell increases the howitzer's rate of fire and its chance of stunning enemies.Howitzer: +20% Chance to stun; -40% Reload time
Over the HorizonManstein's personal visit to the manufacturing plant results in the improved processing of AA gun barrels, increasing their effective shooting range.Anti-Aircraft Gun: +12 Shot range