71st Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

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German 71st Infantry Division
71st Infanterie Division Logo.svg
Active26 August 1939 – May 1945
Country Nazi Germany
BranchArmy
TypeInfantry
RoleInfantry
SizeDivision
EngagementsWorld 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.[1]

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.

Thereafter it was committed back to the Eastern Front, where it served under the German 6th Army and was lost during the Battle of Stalingrad in early 1943.[1]

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.

War crimes[edit]

The division has been implicated in Tićan massacre (Višnjan, now in Croatia), on 11 September 1943, when 84 civilians were executed.[2][3]

Organization[edit]

Structure of the division:[4]

  • Headquarters
  • 191st Infantry Regiment
  • 194th Infantry Regiment
  • 211th Infantry Regiment
  • 171st Artillery Regiment
  • 171st Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 171st Anti-Tank Battalion
  • 171st Engineer Battalion
  • 171st Signal Battalion
  • 171st Divisional Supply Group

Commanders[edit]

The following officers commanded the 71st Infantry Division:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Adam, Wilhelm; Ruhle, Otto (2015). With Paulus at Stalingrad. Translated by Tony Le Tissier. Pen and Sword Books Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 9781473833869.
  2. ^ "Tićan (Bivio di Tissano), Višnjan (Visignano), 11.09.1943" (in Italian). Atlas of Nazi and Fascist Massacres in Italy. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  3. ^ "71. Infanterie-Division" (in Italian). Atlas of Nazi and Fascist Massacres in Italy. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  4. ^ German Order of Battle, 1st-290th Infantry Divisions in WWII. p. 80.