281st Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
|281st Infantry Division|
|Active||March 1941 – May 1945|
|Garrison/HQ||Deutsch Krone (now Wałcz, Poland)|
The German 281st Infantry Division, (281. Infanterie-Division) was originally formed in March 1941 as the 281st Security Division (281. Sicherungs-Division). It was converted to an infantry division in 1945, while stationed in Courland.
Formed in March 1941 under the command of Generalleutnant Friedrich Bayer, the 281st Security Division initially served behind the frontlines in Russia. In early 1942, now commanded by Generalmajor Theodor Scherer, the division became encircled by attacking Russian forces at Kholm but held out in what became known as the Kholm Pocket for four months until it was relieved. Scherer was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership during this battle. For most of the next two years, it remained on the lines in the northern sector, initially as a lines-of communication formation. It was destroyed in mid-1944.
It was reconstituted in Courland in January 1945 as the 281st Infantry Division. It participated in a fighting withdrawal to the Oder River, where in May it surrendered with the rest of the 3rd Panzer Army.
Order of Battle
- Grenadier-Regiment 322, I and II Battalions
- Grenadier-Regiment 368, I and II Battalions
- Grenadier-Regiment 418, I and II Battalions
- Divisions-Füsilier-Kompanie 281 (later expanded to Füsilier-Bataillon 281)
- Panzerjäger-Kompanie 281
- Artillerie-Regiment 281, I to IV Battalions
- Nachrichten-Abteilung 822
- Pionier-Bataillon 281
- Divisions-Versorgungs-Regiment 281
- Mitcham, pp. 332–333
- Kholm Shield (German) www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de, accessed: 16 December 2011
- Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr (2007). German Order of Battle. Volume One: 1st – 290th Infantry Divisions in WWII. PA; United States of America: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3416-5.