Military Officer, Military Person
1881 – 1967
Who was Walter Krueger?
Walter Krueger was an American soldier and general officer in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his command of the Sixth United States Army in the South West Pacific Area during World War II. He rose from the rank of private to general in the United States Army.
Born in Flatow, West Prussia, Krueger migrated to the United States as a boy. He enlisted for service in the Spanish-American War and served in Cuba, and then re-enlisted for service in the Philippine-American War. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1901. In 1914 he was posted to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His regiment was mobilized on 23 June 1916 and served along the Mexican border. After the United States commenced hostilities with Germany in April 1917, Krueger was assigned to the 84th Infantry Division as its Assistant Chief of Staff G-3, and then its chief of staff. In February 1918, he was sent to Langres to attend the American Expeditionary Force General Staff School, and in October 1918, he became Chief of Staff of the Tank Corps.
Between the wars, Krueger served in a number of command and staff positions, and attended the Naval War College at his own request. In 1941, he assumed command of the Third Army, which he led in the Louisiana Maneuvers. He expected, in view of his age, to spend the war at home training troops, but in 1943 he was sent to General Douglas MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area as commander of the Sixth Army and Alamo Force, which he led in a series of victorious campaigns against the Japanese. As an army commander, Krueger had to grapple with the problems imposed by vast distances, inhospitable terrain, unfavorable climate, and an indefatigable and dangerous enemy. He had to balance MacArthur's need to speed up the tempo of operations in order to win campaigns with the more cautious approach of subordinates who often found themselves confronted by unexpectedly large numbers of Japanese troops. In the Battle of Luzon in 1945, his largest, longest and last battle, he was finally able to maneuver his army as he had in 1941 against a Japanese army under Tomoyuki Yamashita.
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