65th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

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65. Infanterie-Division
German 65th Infantry Division
<65. Infanterie Division.png
Late war 65. Infanterie Division Vehicle Insignia
Active July 1942 – 22 April 1945
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size Division

World War II

Gustav Heistermann von Ziehlberg
Hellmuth Pfeifer

The 65th Infantry Division (German: 65. Infanterie-Division) was a German division in World War II. It was formed in July 1942.


The division was formed in the summer of 1942 at the training ground at Bitche. The 65th was used for occupation duty in the Netherlands, spending 8 months occupying Coastal Defence Sector A1 (Walcheren Island, North Beveland, and South Beveland). The division sent drafts to rebuild the shattered 44th Infantry Division (Hoch-und-Deutschmeister) and in return received large numbers of Silesians (ethnic Germans from Poland). The division moved briefly to Austria for two weeks before heading south into Italy just as the fascist government was being overthrown and Italy changed sides.

The 65th manned positions on the Winter Line and was effectively wiped out in a few days of fighting in December 1943.

The division was rebuilt and saw further action at Anzio and the Futa Pass. The remnants of the division surrendered in late April 1945.

Orders of Battle[edit]

65. Infanterie-Division 1942[edit]

  • Infanterie-Regiment 145
  • Infanterie-Regiment 146
  • Panzerjäger- und Aufklärungs-Abteilung 165
  • Artillerie-Regiment 165
  • Pionier-Battalion 165
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Abteilung 165
  • Divisions-Nachschubführer 165

65. Infanterie-Division 1944[edit]

  • Grenadier-Regiment 145
  • Grenadier-Regiment 146
  • Grenadier-Regiment 147
  • Divisions-Füsilier-Battalion 65
  • Panzerjäger-Abteilung 165
  • Artillerie-Regiment 165
  • Feldersatz-Battalion 165
  • Pionier-Battalion 165
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Abteilung 165
  • Divisions-Nachschubführer 165

Commanding officers[edit]

  • Generalleutnant Hans Bömers, 10 July 1942 – 1 January 1943
  • Generalleutnant Wilhelm Rupprecht, 1 January 1943 – 31 May 1943
  • Generalleutnant Gustav Heistermann von Ziehlberg, 31 May 1943 – 1 December 1943
  • Generalleutnant Hellmuth Pfeifer, 1 December 1943 – 22 April 1945

Divisional insignia[edit]

The division adopted a kugelbaum (Ball Tree) insignia for use on vehicles, road signs, etc. When General von Ziehlberg took command in mid-1943, he changed the divisional insignia to the letter 'Z' (the first letter of his own last name). After von Ziehlberg was seriously wounded during the fighting on the Sangro River, the division adopted a hand grenade as its divisional emblem.

Wehrmachtbericht reference[edit]

The daily Wehrmachtbericht (Wehrmacht propaganda report) noted the following[1]:

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
2 June 1944 In diesem Frontabschnitt haben sich die 65. Infanteriedivison unter Generalleutnant Pfeiffer, die durch Teile der 4. Fallschirmjägerdivision verstärkte 3. Panzergrenadierdivision unter Generalmajor Hecker und eine aus Einheiten des Heeres und der Fallschirmtruppe zusammengestellte Kampfgruppe unter Generalleutnant Greiner, hervorragend unterstützt durch Artillerie und durch Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe, besonders ausgezeichnet. In this section of the front have the 65th Infantry Division under Lieutenant General Pfeiffer, augmented by parts of the 4th Airborne Division which reinforced the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division under Major General Hecker and units from the Army and the parachute troops assembled combat group under Lieutenant General Greiner, well supported by artillery and anti-aircraft artillery of the Luftwaffe, particularly distinguished themselves.


  1. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 116.