By R. Jeff Chrisman He was seemingly everywhere—Poland, France, Holland, Italy, and the western front during the last days of the Third Reich. Yet his name is less well known than that of other German military figures such as Rommel, Rundstedt, Manstein, Guderian, Jodl, and Dönitz. Albert Konrad Kesselring began his military career as a staff officer in the Bavarian Army during the Great War. He was an architect of the new German armed forces between the wars, and then a field marshal in the Luftwaffe and a ground-forces commander with unique command authority in World War II. But it was his service in Italy during the last half of World War II that made Kesselring famous, and infamous, to the rest of the world. His command of the months-long German withdrawal up the Italian boot made him a defensive specialist of wide renown. Unfortunately, atrocities committed by subordinates in Italy were, rightly or wrongly, blamed on him and brought post-war charges of war crimes and murder. Albert Kesselring was born at Marktsteft, near Würzburg in Bavaria on November 30, 1885. His father was a schoolteacher, but Albert knew from a young age that he wanted to be a soldier. Kesselring volunteered for the Royal Bavarian Army in July 1904 as a Fahnenjunker (cadet) and was commissioned a Leutnant (lieutenant) on March 8, 1906, serving in pre-war engineering and artillery units. His first taste of air service was in 1912, when he trained as a balloon observer with the Bavarian Airshi


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