1st Luftwaffe Field Division

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1st Luftwaffe Field Division
Active 1942 – 1944
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Balkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements

World War II

The 1st Luftwaffe Field Division (German: 1. Luftwaffen-Feld-Division) was an infantry division of the Luftwaffe branch of the Wehrmacht that fought in World War II. It was formed using surplus ground crew of the Luftwaffe and served on the Eastern Front from late 1942 to early 1944 at which time it was disbanded.

Operational history[edit]

The 1st Luftwaffe Field Division, the first of several such divisions, was formed in mid-1942 in Königsberg in Eastern Prussia, under the command of Oberst[Note 1] Gustav Wilke. Intended to serve as infantry, its personnel were largely drawn from surplus Luftwaffe (German Air Force) ground crew. The division included four battalions of infantry, as well as artillery, engineer and signal units although it lacked a regimental staff. After training was completed in December 1942 it was sent to Army Group North as part of the 18th Army although still under Luftwaffe command. Stationed near Novgorod, it was transferred to the Army in December 1943. The division saw little fighting until the withdrawal from Leningrad in January 1944 during which it was involved in heavy defensive battles north of Novgorod.[1]

The division's personnel were inadequately trained for its role as infantry and due to the heavy losses incurred in the Soviet attacks of the 1943/1944 winter, the division itself was disbanded shortly afterwards. Its surviving personnel were absorbed by the 28th Jager Division.[1]

Commanders[edit]

  • Oberst Gustav Wilke (30 September 1942 – 16 January 1943; 14 April – 14 June 1943; 23 July — 30 September 1943);
  • Generalmajor[Note 2] Werner Zech (17 January – 13 April 1943);
  • Oberst Anton Longin (15 June – 22 July 1943);
  • Generalmajor Rudolf Petrauschke (1 October 1943 – February 1944).[1][Note 3]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ The rank of oberst is equivalent to that of colonel in the United States Army.[2]
  2. ^ The rank of generalmajor is equivalent to that of brigadier general in the United States Army.[2]
  3. ^ Ranks stated are those at the time of taking command.[1]
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d e Mitcham 2007a, pp. 299–300.
  2. ^ a b Mitcham 2007b, p. 197.

References[edit]

  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007a). German Order of Battle, Volume Two: 291st–999th Infantry Divisions, Named Infantry Divisions, and Special Divisions in WWII. Mechanicsburg, PA, United States: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3437-0. 
  • Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007b). German Order of Battle, Volume Three: Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and Waffen SS Divisions in WWII. Mechanicsburg, PA, United States: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3438-7.