Joachim Lemelsen born 28 September 1888 (Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia) died 30 March 1954 (Gottingen, Lower Saxony, West Germany) was a Panzer General (General der Panzertruppe) in the Wehrmacht during World War II.
The son of a career German officer, he entered military service in 1907. During the First World War Lemelsen served as an artillery officer until 1917 when he was transferred to the staff of Josias von Heeringen (officer commanding the German sea coast) Lemelsen wasa given command of a battalion and sent to the staff of VI Reserve Corps. At the end of the Great War, Lemelsen had reached the rank of captain with Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class and Order of Hohenzollern.
After the armistice, Lemelsen returned to the artillery and served as commandant of the artillery school during 1934 and commandant of the infantry school in 1935. In March 1938 he was given command of the 29th Infantry Division which was later transformed into a motorized division when the division took part in the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The 29th took part in the Polish campaign and the early stages of the Battle of France. Lemelsen was then given command of the 5th Panzer Division which took part in the encirclement of Dunkirk.
On 25 November 1940 Lemelsen was given command of the new XLVII Motorised Corps which he led during Operation Barbarossa and in the capture of Smolensk and the Battles of Kiev and Bryansk. The Corps became a Panzer Corps in June 1942 and took part in anti-partisan operations and the Battle of Kursk.
Heinz Guderian (Oberbefehlshaber Panzergruppe 2), Generalleutnant Hans-Jürgen von Arnim (Kommandeur 17.Panzer-Division) and General der Panzertruppe Joachim Lemelsen poring over their maps trying to decide if they will move towards Moscow or Gomel [Via]
Lemelsen knew of the shooting of unarmed Russian prisoners during the early phases of Operation Barbarossa and protested to Wehrmacht High Command knowing that this would incite partisan activity.
After command of XLVII Panzer Corps in Russia, Lemelsen was transferred to Army Leadership Reserve where he briefly commanded Tenth Army in Italy for two months until the end of December 1943.
As commander of the 47th Motorized Corps Wehrmacht (XXXXVII. Armeekorps (mot.) General armored forces Lemelzen Joachim (Joachim Lemelsen) awards Knight's Cross of the commander of the 29th Infantry Division (29.Infanterie-Division) Major-General Walter von Boltenshterna (Walter von Boltenstern ) [Via]
Lemelsen was then given command of 1st Army stationed near the Atlantic coast in France in May 1944. On the outbreak of Operation Overlord (the Allied landings in France) Lemelsen was transferred to Italy and took command of 14th Army to stabilise the Italian theatre as Mackensen (commander of the 14th Army) had been dismissed by Kesselring supreme commander of the Italian theatre.
Lemelsen commanded the army during the Italian Campaign from June until October 1944 when he was given command of the 10th Army in Italy. In February 1945 he returned to command 14th Army until the end of hostilities in Italy in early May. Imprisoned by the British he testified on behalf of his former commander, Kesselring at his war crimes trial. Kesselring received a death sentence which was immedeately commuted to life imprisonment (Kesselring was later released after five years on health grounds).
Lemelsen was awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oakleaves for his long and distinguished career as a notable commander of the Wehrmacht may he be remembered for his service to his country and to the men he commanded.