71st Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
|German 71st Infantry Division|
|Active||26 August 1939 – May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 71st Infantry Division Kleeblatt ("Cloverleaf", "Happy One") (German: 71. Infanterie-Division) was an infantry division of the German Army, raised in August 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. It served garrison duty on the West Wall until May 1940, and then joined in the invasion of France. The division had captured Fort Vaux and Fort Douaumont in the Western Campaign.
Thereafter it served in the occupations of France and Luxembourg until September. From October 1940 through January 1941 the division served as a demonstration unit (German: Lehr) for Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. It then transferred to Przemyśl, and joined Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, in June 1941. In the fall it withdrew to Belgium for rest, and then once more served as a demonstration unit from November 1941 through to April 1942.
The division was reconstituted over the summer and then served on the Italian Front from the fall of 1943 through the end of 1944, almost ground to destruction at the Battle of Monte Cassino. The remnants then spent time in northern Italy where they opposed the 1st Canadian Infantry Division north of the Metauro River and on the Gothic Line with very heavy losses. Following this, 71st Division fought in Hungary, finally surrendering to the British near St. Veith in Austria.
The following officers commanded the 71st Infantry Division:
- (26 August 1939 - 15 October 1939) Generalmajor Wolfgang Ziegler
- (15 October 1939 - 15 February 1941) General der Infanterie Karl Weisenberger
- (15 February 1941 - 28 March 1941) General der Infanterie Friedrich Herrlein
- (28 March 1941 - 25 January 1943) General der Infanterie Alexander von Hartmann
- (25 January 1943 - 14 March 1943) Generalmajor Fritz Roske
- (14 March 1943 - 1 January 1945) Generalleutnant Wilhelm Raapke
- (1 January 1945 - 8 May 1945) Generalmajor Eberhard von Schuckmann