18th Artillery Division (Wehrmacht)

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18th Artillery Division
18. Artillerie-Division
Active October 1943 - July 1944
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Allegiance Wehrmacht
Branch Heer
Type Artillery
Size Division
Part of XXXVIII. Armeekorps
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
Generalleutnant Karl Thoholte
A battery of Hummel 15 cm self-propelled howitzers of the Artillerie-Regiment 88 (mot) ready for firing in 1943

The 18th Artillery Division (German: 18.Artillerie-Division) was a German artillery division formed during World War II in 1943. Being the first independent mobile artillery force it never raised to its planned strength. The division fought at the Eastern Front, suffered heavy losses and was disbanded in 1944.

Operational history[edit]

The 18th Artillery Division was formed by combining the staff and some of the remaining corps troops from the 18th Panzer Division, being disbanded on October 1, with other stray units. This division was the first unit planned as an independent and mobile artillery force; and the planned strength for the division was never achieved. A special element of this division was that it had its own (heavy) infantry element, the Schützen-Abteilung 88 (tmot) (also known as Art.-Kampf-Btln. 88 and Art.-Alarm-Abteilung 18). Having the mission of defending the artillery in all dangerous situations this battalion, thoroughly trained in rear guard actions, saved the division from total destruction no less than three times.

The division was part of the XXXVIII Army Corps in the 1st Panzer Army. It was in action until late March 1944, when it was encircled in the Kamenets-Podolsky Pocket. Though it managed to break through it lost all of its heavy equipment. Until November 4, 1944, it was engaged in mostly infantry battles; and due to heavy casualties the division nearly ceased to exist. It was listed as an integral unit for the last time in April 1944 as Kampfgruppe 18. Art.Div.; and was formally disbanded on July 27, 1944. During it months of existence the division sported 8 holders of the German Cross in Gold.

The remaining officers and men from staff and corps troops were used to form the Generalkommando Panzerkorps Großdeutschland and the artillery regiments were reformed into several independent artillery brigades (Heeres-Artillerie-Brigade 88, 288 and 388).

Commanders[edit]

  • Generalmajor Karl Thoholte (October 20, 1943 - February 28, 1944)
  • Generalmajor Gerhard Müller (February 28, 1944 - April 1944)
  • Generalleutnant Karl Thoholte (April 1944 - July 1944)

Order of battle (December 1943)[edit]

  • Artillerie-Division-Stab 18
  • Artillerie-Regiment 88 (mot)
  • Artillerie-Regiment 288 (mot)
  • Artillerie-Regiment 388 (mot)
  • Sturmgeschütz-Batterie 741
  • Heeres-Flakartillerie-Abteilung 280
  • Beobachtungs-Abteilung 4
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Abteilung 88
  • Artillerie-Feldersatz-Abteilung 88
  • Schützen-Abteilung 88 (tmot)
  • Kommandeur der Div.Nachschubtruppen 88
  • Verwaltungseinheiten 88
  • Sanitätseinheiten 88

References[edit]

  • Paul, Wolfang Die Truppengeschichte der 18. Panzer-Division 1940-1943. (Mit 18. Art. Div. 1943-44 und HArtBrig 88 1944-45). Reutlingen. Preußischer Militärverlag. 1989. ISBN 2-9503-7950-8.