278th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
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German 278th Volksgrenadier Division
|Active||Feb 1943 – 1945|
|Lt General Harry Hoppe|
Formed in 1940 from older personnel, the first 278th never saw combat and was dissolved after the fall to France. The second 278th was formed in mid 1942 in Belgium and was sent to Army Group C Italy in late 1943.
Serving on coastal defense duties and taking part in anti-partisan operations in Istria while continuing its training. In mid-May 1944, the 278th division received orders to move to the battle area on the Adriatic for operational assignment to the 10th German Army. Facing Lieutenant General Wladyslaw Anders’ Polish II Corps, Hoppe’s division fought a ferocious defensive battle for the port city of Ancona from mid-June until early July 1944. After halting the Polish attack early in July the 278th Infantry Division faced a renewed attack by General Anders’ corps on July 17. Pushing the Germans beyond the Esino River, Ancona fell to the Poles on the 18th.
It was then assigned to LXXVI Panzer Corps defending the Gothic Line. After heavy losses the 278th was formed into a Volksgrenadier Division in early 1945. Later it was transferred to the 1st Parachute Corps defending the Brenner Pass where most of the division was encircled, the remainder later surrendered on the May 2, 1945
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