163rd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

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163. Infanterie-Division
German 163rd Infantry Division
163rd Infanterie-Division Logo.svg
Active 1939–1945
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements World War II

The 163rd Infantry Division (German: 163. Infanterie-Division) was a German Army infantry division in World War II. Formed in November 1939, it was engaged in the invasion of Norway the following year. It fought alongside the Finnish Army during Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union. During this time, the division's transit through neutral Sweden caused the Midsummer Crisis of 1941. The division spent most of the war in Finland, before being returned to Germany. It was destroyed in March 1945 in Pomerania by the Soviet Army.

History[edit]

The 163rd Infantry Division was raised in November 1939. In April 1940 it was employed in the invasion of Norway, landing at Oslo, Kristiansand, Arendal, and Stavanger. Thereafter it remained on occupation duty in Norway until June 1941, when it was subordinated to the Finnish army to support operations along the River Svir during Operation Barbarossa.

In the early stages of Operation Barbarossa and the Continuation War the 163rd Division was to be transferred from Norway to Finland, and Sweden decided to allow safe transit of the division by railway through Swedish territory. The decision was in conflict with the Swedish neutrality-policy causing a political crisis (the "Midsummer Crisis" of 1941), and it raised many challenging questions about Sweden's neutrality during World War II. This is still to this very day a highly debated subject in Sweden and in the Nordic countries. The division was transferred June 25 to July 12. In Swedish literature the division is better known as "Division Engelbrecht", after its commander at the time.

In February 1942 it joined the German XXXVI Mountain Corps near Kandalaksha, and remained there until the Germans withdrew from Finland back into Norway in the fall of 1944. In early 1945 it was transferred back to Germany, standing in reserve for a time at Berlin, then destroyed by the Soviets in Pomerania in March.

Commanding officers[edit]

  • General der Artillerie Erwin Engelbrecht, 25 October 1939 – 15 June 1942
  • General der Infanterie Anton Dostler, 15 June 1942 – 28 December 1942
  • Generalleutnant Karl Rübel, 29 December 1942 – 8 March 1945

See also[edit]

References[edit]