The German 71st Infantry Division Kleeblatt ("Cloverleaf") was raised in August 1939. It served garrison duty on the West Wall until May 1940, and then joined in the invasion of France. 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 OKH. It then transferred to Przemyśl, and joined Operation Barbarossa 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 April 1942.
Thereafter it was committed back to the Russian Front, where it served under the Sixth Army and was lost at Stalingrad in early 1943. The division was reconstituted over the summer and then served in Italy 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 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.