302nd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

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302nd Infantry Division
Active November 1940 – August 1944
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Neustrelitz, Germany
Nickname(s) "Dieppe Division"
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
15 Nov 1940 – 26 Nov 1942 Lieutenant General Konrad Haase
26 Nov 1942 – 12 Nov 1943 Lieutenant General Otto Elfeldt
12 Nov 1943 – 25 Jan 1944 Lieutenant General Karl Rüdiger
25 Jan – Jul 1944 Lieutenant General Erich von Bogen
Jul - 25 Aug 1944 Colonel Wilhelm Fischer

The 302nd Infantry Division (German: 302. Infanteriedivision), initially formed as the 302nd Static Infantry Division, was a German Army infantry division in World War II.

History[edit]

The 302nd Infantry Division was raised in November 1940 from men in Military District 3 as the 302nd Static Infantry Division (German: 302. (Bodenständige) Infanterie Division) and was initially used as a French-occupying force, with some elements remaining in Germany. According to Hauptmann Joachim Lindner: 'Day after day nothing.'

Dieppe raid[edit]

An Allied amphibious raid, to determine if a large landing could be attempted, was made at Dieppe, France on 19 August 1942. The Allies suffered heavy losses with men and tanks strewn over the beach along with landing craft. The operation painted a grim picture for any future Allied incursion. A German major observed, 'I have not witnessed images more terrible. In one landing craft the entire crew of about forty men had been wiped out by a direct hit. On the water we could see bits of wrecks, ships in ruins, corpses floating and soldiers wrestling with death. In Paris there was jubilation. The enemy's operation was smashed in just over nine hours!'

Over 6,000 troops landed at Dieppe (mainly Canadians) and less than 2,500 of them succeeded in returning to Britain afterwards. The Germans suffered a coastal battery damaged, 48 Luftwaffe planes destroyed, and approximately 600 casualties.

This first combat led to the division being nicknamed the "Dieppe division".[1] In October 1942 the division was reorganized as the 302nd Infantry Division (with improved mobility and offensive capabilities), and after a few additional months serving as a reserve in France and was transferred to the Russian Front in early 1943 to help shore up the line after the German defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Actions in the Eastern front[edit]

In January 1943, the division was sent to the Eastern Front to aid in the Kharkov offensive, where it fought in Luhansk (then known as Voroshilovgrad). Between April and September the division switched to defensive tactics along the Mius-Front. It defended the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia between October and December before withdrawing to the Nikopol bridgehead, where Lieutenant General Rüdiger was wounded-in-action. The division retreated west to the Dnieper in April. Rüdiger's replacement, Lieutenant General Bogen was captured by Soviet troops in July. Colonel Fischer, the 302nd Artillery Regiment's commander, took his place. The division met its end on August 25 when the Soviets succeeded in encircling it during its withdrawal from the Dnieper. During the encirclement Fischer was wounded and soon after captured.

Aftermath[edit]

Decimated during the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, the division was disbanded and those few survivors were transferred to the 15th and 75th Infantry Divisions.[1]

Elements[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). German Order of Battle: 291st-999th Infantry divisions in World War II. Stoddart. 

Bibliography[edit]