114th Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)
114th Jäger Division was a light infantry division of the German Army in World War II. It was formed in April 1943, following the reorganization and redesignation of the 714th Infantry Division; the 714th Division had been formed in May 1941, transferred to Yugoslavia to conduct anti-partisan and Internal security operations. It was involved in Operation Delphin, an anti-partisan operation in Croatia that took place between 15 November and 1 December 1943; the objective of the mission was to destroy the Partisan elements on the Dalmatian islands off central Dalmatia. The division was transferred to Italy in January 1944, it was destroyed in combat in that theater in April 1945. The main purpose of the German jäger divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated formations were more facilely combat capable than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions; the jäger divisions were more equipped than mountain division, but not as well armed as a larger infantry formation.
In the early stages of the war, they were the interface divisions fighting in rough terrain and foothills as well as urban areas, between the mountains and the plains. The jägers, relied on a high degree of training and superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support. In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were downsized, the Jäger structure of divisions with two infantry regiments, became the standard table of organization; the 114th Jäger Division was implicated in a war crime in the village of Filetto di Camarda, when seventeen men were shot in retaliation for the killing of four German soldiers on 7 June 1944 and parts of the village were burned down. The officer in command at the time was Matthias Defregger, who became a bishop in Munich after the war and was forced to resign when investigations of the killing were reopened in 1969; the division has been implicated in the Madonna dell'Albero massacre, Emilia-Romagna, on 27 November 1944, when 56 civilians were executed.
The division took part in the shooting of forty civilians in Gubbio on 22 June 1944, in reprisal for a partisan attack. This formation was one of those singled out in exhibit UK-66, the British report on German reprisals for Partisan activities in Italy at the International Military Tribunal war crimes trial in Nuremberg: Evidence has been found to show that a large number of the atrocities in Italy were committed by the Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring, 1st Parachute Division, 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division and the 114th Jäger Division. Generalleutnant Friedrich Stahl Generalleutnant Josef Reichert General der Gebirgstruppe Karl Eglseer Generalleutnant Alexander Bourquin Generalleutnant Dr. Hans Boelsen Generalmajor Hans-Joachim Ehlert Generalmajor Martin Strahammer Germany Serbia and Independent State of Croatia Yugoslavia Italy Jäger Regiment 721 Jäger Regiment 741 Reconnaissance Battalion 114 Artillery Regiment 661 Pionier Battalion 114 Panzerjäger Battalion 114 Signals Battalion 114 Reserve Battalion 114 Supply detachment 114 Hoyt, Edwin Palmer.
Backwater War: the Allied Campaign in Italy, 1943–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-97478-7. Günther, Matthias. "Die 114. Jäger-Division. Partisanenbekämpfung und Geiselerschießungen der Wehrmacht auf dem Balkan und in Italien." Quellen und Forschungen in italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, 85, 2005, pp. 395–424 Shepherd, Ben. Terror in the Balkans: German Armies and Partisan Warfare. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04891-1
25th Panzergrenadier Division (Wehrmacht)
The 25th Panzergrenadier Division fought in the central sector of the Eastern front from June 1943 to July 1944. It was destroyed in the encirclement east of Minsk and reformed in October 1944, it fought in Western Europe between October 1944 and January 1945 and in eastern Germany January to May 1945. Most of the survivors of the division surrendered to the western Allies; the 25th started as an infantry division formed from Bavarians. It participated in the Battle of France. In late 1940, it was reorganized as a motorized infantry division and took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, in June 1941, it was attached to Army Group Center and fought in the Soviet Union for two years before being reorganized as the 25th Panzergrenadier Division in June, 1943. After another year of heavy fighting, the division was destroyed near Minsk during the Soviet Operation Bagration in the summer of 1944. In September 1944, 107th Panzer Brigade participated in Operation Market Garden as part of LXXXVI Corps of the 1st Parachute Army.
The Brigade had been re-routed from Aachen to Holland and went immediately into combat at Nuenen against the American 506th PIR of the 101st Airborne Division and the British 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars of the 11th Armoured Division. In November 1944, the brigade was upgraded back to divisional status at the Baumholder training area and re-numbered back as the 25th Panzergrenadier Division; the new division moved to France in the area of the German / Luxembourg / French border at Sierck-les-Bains, where it fought a delaying action against the US Third Army, until December. It was moved to Bitche. There it fought on the Maginot line fortifications at Forts Ouvrage Simserhof and Ouvrage Schiesseck, under the command of the XIII SS Corps and Obergruppenführer Max Simon. After the US Seventh Army's offensive operations were halted in December as a result of the German Ardennes Offensive, the 25th was pulled out of the line and re-organized near Zweibrücken, it took part in Operation Nordwind, along with the 21st Panzer Division.
Together, these divisions were to exploit the penetrations made by either the XIII SS Corps in the west, or the LXXXIX and XC Corps in the east, with the intention of cutting the US Seventh Army off from the 1st French Army. It was sent back to the eastern front to defend against the Soviet attack on the Oder north of Berlin, most of the survivors managed to escape to the west and surrendered to the British or Americans. General der Infanterie, Anton Graßer Generalleutnant Dr. Fritz Benicke Generalleutnant Paul Schürmann Generalleutnant Paul Schürmann Generalleutnant Arnold Burmeister Division Staff 25. Mapping Detachment 35. Panzergrenadier Regiment Staff Company Panzerjäger Platoon Motorcycle Platoon Signals Platoon Pioneer Platoon 3 x Battalions Battalion Staff 3 x Companies Machine Gun Company Infantry Gun Company 119. Panzergrenadier Regiment Staff Company Panzerjäger Platoon Motorcycle Platoon Signals Platoon Pioneer Platoon 3 x Battalions Battalion Staff 3 x Companies Machine Gun Company Infantry Gun Company 25.
Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion Battalion Staff Light Armored Car Company 3 x Motorcycle Companies Heavy Company Pioneer Platoon 2 x Panzerjäger Platoons Light Infantry Gun Section 125. Panzerjäger Battalion 3 x Panzerjäger Companies Flak Company 8. Panzer Battalion Staff Company Flak Platoon 3 x Sturmgeschütz Batteries Panzer Maintenance Platoon 25. Artillery Regiment Staff Battery 3 x Battalions Staff Battery 3 x Batteries 25. Pioneer Battalion Battalion Staff 3 x Companies Light Pioneer Column 25. Signals Battalion Battalion Staff Telephone Company Radio Company Signals Column Supply and Support Units The action at Nuenen by the 107th Panzer Brigade during Operation Market Garden is dramatized in episode 4 "Replacements" of the television series Band of Brothers. Comment: The 107th Pz Brigade was an independent unit, not associated in any way with the 25th Panzergrenadier Division, which arrived in the West in October of 1944, weeks after the Market Garden operation concluded. Mitchum, Samuel W. German Order of Battle: Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, Waffen SS divisions in World War II.
Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3438-2. Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand, Das Heer 1933-1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues, Vol. III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende, Frankfurt am Main: Mittler, p. 286 Georg Tessin, Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 - 1945, Vol. IV: Die Landstreitkräfte 15 -30, Frankfurt am Main: Mittler
90th Light Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 90th Light Infantry Division was a light infantry division of the German Army during World War II that served in North Africa as well as Sardinia and Italy. The division played a major role in most of the actions against the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign and surrendered to the Allies in the final stages of the Tunisia Campaign in May 1943, it was re-constituted in 1943 and deployed to Sardinia and when the expected Allied invasion of Sardinia failed to materialise, the division was moved to Italy. It was engaged in actions against the Allies in Italy from 1943 to September 1944 when the division was listed as "destroyed" south of Bologna. On 26 June 1941, the OKH ordered the creation of a Division HQ staff for Kommando zbV Afrika in Germany; the planned division was intended for deployment to Africa to re-balance, add infantry troops to the DAK deployed in the Western Desert. The formation headquarters was sent to Africa between late August and mid-September 1941 and deployed to command the Sollum area with the first units being attached on 15 October 1941.
On 20 October more units were attached and the division troops were expanded to full strength with the division becoming known as Division z.b. V. AfrikaThe subordinated 288th Special Service Unit known as Sonderverband 288 was a regimental sized, special operations unit consisting of sub-units with various combat specialties including mountain and desert warfare, night operations and infiltration; this unit was formed in Potsdam in 1941 from specialist soldiers with previous experience in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa. Two battalions from Sonderverbande 288 and one locally recruited Arab battalion were amalgamated to form the 155th Rifle Regiment within the division; the 361st Regiment contained 300 legionnaires, selected by the Germans from the French Foreign Legion. Training was completed in the Bardia area and the division was earmarked by Rommel to lead the attack on Tobruk. On 28 November 1941, the formation was renamed 90.leichte Afrika Division. Through its five-year existence, it was re-designated several times, although always known colloquially as the Africa Division, being the only German combat division to have been raised in Africa itself.
It fought for the remainder of the North African Campaign surrendering to the Allies in the end of the Tunisia Campaign in May 1943. It was regarded by the 2nd New Zealand Division, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard C. Freyberg VC, as their special foe, as the two formations faced each other on several occasions. General Graf von Sponecks 90th Light Division insisted on giving up to the New Zealanders, their doughty adversaries of two years standing; as with the other units of the Afrika Korps, replacement units were raised from available troops stationed in Western Europe. As such, the Africa Division was reconstituted as the 90th Panzergrenadier Division in Sardinia during July 1943. Evacuated from Corsica with the Sturmbrigade Reichsführer SS to the Italian mainland in October 1943, the division appeared opposite both the Americans and British as they pushed north, it was very nearly wiped out in the bitter fighting with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division during the Moro River Campaign in late November 1943 and the Battle of Ortona in December.
A short time it was withdrawn into reserve at Frosinone and redesignated 90th Grenadier Division. While still rebuilding, it was deployed piecemeal along the front in response to the Allies spring offensive in 1944 to serve as a rearguard while the balance of the German units in southern Italy fell back to the Winter Line. Shifted southeast from the Franco-Italian border in September 1944, 90th Grenadier was listed as destroyed in the fighting south of Bologna; the remainder of its personnel surrendered to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy in April 1945. The division has been implicated in a number of war crimes in Italy between August 1944 and April 1945, with up to five civilians executed in each incident; the division formed part of the Afrika Korps during its deployment to North Africa. Western Desert Campaign List of German divisions in World War II Battistelli, Pier Paulo. Rommel's Africa Korps. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 9781841769011. Littlejohn, David. Foreign Legions of the Third Reich: Volume 1: Norway and France.
San Jose: R. James Bender. ISBN 0912138173. Mehner, Kurt. Die Deutsche Wehrmacht 1939–1945. Norderstedt, Germany: Militair-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall
1st Mountain Division (Wehrmacht)
The 1st Mountain Division was an elite formation of the German Wehrmacht during World War II, is remembered for its involvement in multiple large-scale war crimes. It was created on 9 April 1938 in Garmisch Partenkirchen from the Mountain Brigade, itself formed on 1 June 1935; the division consisted of Bavarians and some Austrians. The 1st Mountain Division fought in the Invasion of Poland as a part of Army Group South and distinguished itself during fighting in the Carpathians and at Lwów, it subsequently took part in the Battle of France and was selected to take part in the planned operations against the United Kingdom and Gibraltar but both operations were cancelled. With Felix cancelled, the division took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 as part of the 2nd Army; the 1st Mountain Division participated in Operation Barbarossa. On 30 June, the division captured Lvov. There, the Germans discovered several thousand bodies of prisoners, executed by the NKVD, as they could not be evacuated.
The 1st Mountain Division continued its advance into the Soviet Union, participating in the breakthrough of the Stalin Line and the advance to the Dniepr and Mius rivers. In May 1942, the division fought in the Second Battle of Kharkov and participated in the offensive through southern Russia and into the Caucasus. In a symbolic propaganda move, the division sent a detachment to raise the German flag on Mount Elbrus on 21 August. Although the feat was publicized by Goebbels, Hitler was furious over what he called "these crazy mountain climbers," his rage lasting for hours. After the Caucasus campaign the division was posted to Yugoslavia, where it participated in the anti-Partisan offensive named Case Black, Greece where it took part in anti- partisan operations. In November 1943, the division returned to Yugoslavia, where it took part in operations Operation Kugelblitz and Waldrausch. In March 1944, the division was engaged in the Operation Margarethe. After Operation Rübezahl in Yugoslavia in August 1944, the division took part in defensive fighting against the Red Army in the Belgrade Offensive, suffered severe losses.
During the operation, the division commander, General Stettner, was killed in the battle on 17 October on Avala mountain near Belgrade. In late November, it was transferred to the most endangered spot of the German defense, it was renamed 1. Volks-Gebirgs-Division in March 1945, its final major operations were near Lake Balaton against the 3rd Ukrainian Front. Two months the division surrendered to the Americans in Austria. During the Invasion of Poland, soldiers from the division assisted in the round-up of Jewish civilians from Przemyśl for forced labour, photos of this were printed in newspapers. Photos 7 and 8 During the Case Black operation in Yugoslavia, the division and other units committed crimes against prisoners of war and civilians. In the after-battle report on 10 July, the division reported that it took 498 prisoners, 411 of whom were shot. On 6 July 1943 a unit from the division attacked the village of Borovë in Albania. All of the houses and buildings were burned or otherwise destroyed.
Among the 107 inhabitants killed were five entire families. The youngest victim was aged four months, the oldest 73. On 25 July 1943, soldiers from the division attacked the village of Mousiotitsa in Greece after a cache of weapons was found nearby, killing 153 civilians. On 16 August 1943, the village of Kommeno was attacked on the orders of Oberstleutnant Josef Salminger, the commander of GebirgsJäger Regiment 98. A total of 317 civilians were killed. Divisional soldiers took part in the murder of thousands of Italians from the 33 Acqui Infantry Division in September 1943 on the Greek island of Cefalonia after the Italian surrender. Divisional soldiers killed 32 officers and an estimated 100 soldiers from the Italian 151st Perugia Infantry Division in Albania after the Italian surrender. After the killing of Oberstleutnant Josef Salminger by Greek partisans, the commander of XXII Gebirgs-Armeekorps General der Gebirgstruppe Hubert Lanz ordered, on 1 October 1943, a “ruthless retaliatory action” in a 20 km area around the place where Salminger had been attacked.
In the village of Lyngiades, 92 of its 96 residents were executed. The Division's war crimes are described in H. F. Meyer's book Bloodstained Edelweiss: The 1st Mountain Division in the Second World War. General der Gebirgstruppen Ludwig Kübler General der Gebirgstruppen Hubert Lanz Generalleutnant Walter Stettner Ritter von Grabenhofen Generalmajor August Wittmann Generalleutnant Josef Kübler Generalleutnant August Wittmann 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 99. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 100. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 4. Panzerabwehr Battalion 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment 4 Battalions 54. Signals Battalion 54. Pioneer Battalion 54. Supply Troops Service Troops 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 99. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 54. Field Medical Battalion 44. Panzerabwehr Battalion 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment 4 Battalions 54. Signals Battalion 54. Pioneer Battalion 54. Supply Troops Service Troops 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 99.
Mountain Infantry Regiment 3 Battalions 44. Panzerjäger Battalion 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment 4 Battalions 54. Mountain Jäger Battalion 54. Reconnaissance Battalion 54. Mountain Signals Battalion 79
118th Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)
The 118th Jäger Division was a light infantry division of the German Army in World War II. It was formed in April 1943, by the redesignation of the 718th Infantry Division which had itself been formed in April 1941, it was transferred to Yugoslavia in May 1941, to conduct anti partisan and Internal security operations. It took part in the Battle of the Sutjeska in June 1943, fought partisans in Bosnia before being sent to the Dalmatian coast to guard against Allied landings in the summer of 1944, it fought on the Eastern Front in the Vienna offensive during the final months of the war before surrendering to the British in Austria in May 1945. The main purpose of the German jäger divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated formations were more facilely combat capable than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions; the jäger divisions were more equipped than mountain division, but not as well armed as a larger infantry formation. In the early stages of the war, they were the interface divisions fighting in rough terrain and foothills as well as urban areas, between the mountains and the plains.
The jägers, relied on a high degree of training and superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support. In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were downsized, the Jäger structure of divisions with two infantry regiments, became the standard table of organization Austria Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia and the Independent State of Croatia Balkans Dalmatia Yugoslavia Balkans and Yugoslavia Generalleutnant Johann Fortner Generalleutnant Josef Kübler Generalmajor Hubertus Lamey Jäger Regiment 738 Jäger Regiment 750 Artillerie Regiment 668 Aufklärungs Bataillon 118 Panzerjäger Bataillon 118 Pionier Bataillon 118 Funk Bataillon 118 Shepherd, Ben. Terror in the Balkans: German Armies and Partisan Warfare. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04891-1
97th Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)
The 97th Jäger Division was a light infantry Division of the German Army during World War II. It can trace its origins to the 97th Light Infantry Division, formed in December 1940, it was redesignated the 97th Jäger Division in July 1942. It suffered heavy losses, it was transferred to the lower Dnieper river area and fought well during the retreat through Ukraine. It was transferred to Slovakia in October 1944 and surrendered to the Red Army near Deutschbrod in May 1945; the main purpose of the German Jäger Divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated units were more facilely combat-capable than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions. The Jäger divisions were more equipped than mountain divisions, but not as well armed as a larger infantry division. In the early stages of the war, they were the interface divisions fighting in rough terrain and foothills as well as urban areas, between the mountains and plains; the Jägers, relied on a high degree of training and superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support.
In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were downsized, the Jäger structure of divisions with two infantry regiments became the standard table of organization. In 1943, Adolf Hitler declared that all infantry divisions were now Grenadier Divisions except for his elite Jäger and Mountain Jäger divisions. Generaloberst Walter Weiß General der Infanterie Sigismund von Förster General der Artillerie Maximilian Fretter-Pico Generalleutnant Ernst Rupp Generalmajor Friedrich-Wilhelm Otte General der Infanterie Ludwig Müller Generalleutnant Friedrich-Carl Rabe von Pappenheim Generalmajor Robert Bader As 97th Light DivisionGermany Eastern front, southern sector As 97th Jäger DivisionEastern front, southern sector Slovakia see: Battle of the Dukla Pass Jäger Regiment 204 Jäger Regiment 207 Reconnaissance Battalion 97 Artillerie Regiment 81 Pionier Battalion 97 Panzerjäger Battalion 97 Signals Battalion 97 Feldersatz Battalion 81 Versorgungseinheiten 97 Schlächterei-Kompanie 97 Ernst Ludwig Ott – Die Spielhahnjäger 1940–1945: Bilddokumentation der 97.
Jäger Division Ernst Ott – Jäger am Feind: Geschichte und Opfergang der 97. Jäger Division 1940–1945 Ernst Ludwig Ott – Spielhahnjäger tapfer und Pflichtbewußt bis zum Ende: Fortsetzung bzw. Ergänzung der Div. Geschichte der 97. Jäger Division Photographs from personnel of Schlächterei-Kompanie 97 on the Eastern Front
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e