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  Infanterie Division 70

  Infanterie Division 84
  Infanterie Division 361

  Infanterie Division 346
Commanders

►►Wilhelm Mohnke

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1955-1991

Infanterie Division 84

Infanterie Division 84 was a German formation which saw battle with First Canadian Army during the Battle of the Rhineland.

Organization

The division was organized as an infantry division, with the following major subunits under command in early 1945.

  • Grenadier Regiment 1051 - two battalions

  • Grenadier Regiment 1052 - two battalions

  • Artillerie Regiment 184

History

The division was formed in early 1944, and served on the Channel coast with the 15th Army. It fought in Normandy where it suffered heavily, then moved to the Cleve area in the autumn of 1944. The division fought in the Rhineland and was largely destroyed in the Wesel area during March 1945.

The division is described by Jeffery Williams at the start of the Rhineland fighting as

...a second-rate formation recently re-organized after being decimated in Normandy. The green troops who held the line at least had the virtue of being young and healthy. Behind them, one of the two units in immediate reserve was the 276th Magen (stomach) Battalion, formed of men with digestive complaints. Major General Heinz Fiebig, the divisional commander, said that he had chosen them in preference to an Ohren (ear) battalion 'who couldn't hear even the opening barrage of an attack.' 1

At the opening of the Rhineland fighting, the division comprised some 8,000 - 10,000 men, under the command of Generalmajor Heinz Fiebig. The division was the sole guardian of the Reichswald, and had its headquarters in Cleve. Also attached to the division were "Mogen" (stomach) and "Ohren" (ear) battalions, one of each, consisting of soldiers with stomach problems who had to have special rations, and soldiers with hearing difficulties. Also under Fiebig's command were Volkssturm units made up of conscripted local citizenry aged 16 to 60. "Untrained, often without uniforms and armed only with short-range anti-tank and infantry weapons, these units were expected to provide the last-ditch defence of the homeland."2

The division was mauled in the fighting west of the Rhine, and then when assigned to defend against Operation VARSITY - the large airborne assault east of the river - the divisional commander "admitted that his division was practically completely destroyed, for its forward troops received the full impact of the 12 Corps attack and thousands of paratroopers landed right in his rear area. So sweeping was the Allied success that only a few signals, engineer and anti-tank units survived."3

Commanders


Generalmajor Heinz Fiebig. Bundesarchiv photo

The division was commanded by Generalmajor Heinz Fiebig at the time of the Rhineland fighting, and was described as "striking and usually debonair."4 Postwar Allied interrogators of Fiebig, however, described him as "a charming fellow to have at a party; the last man to lead a division in the field".5

Fiebig was captured on 2 May 1945 near Wismar.

Fiebig had been born on 23 Mar 1897 in Hindenburg. He stood 6 foot tall, with dark brown hair and grey-blue eyes. He was a veteran of the First World War, enlisted in Aug 1914, commissioned in early 1915 into Infanterie Regiment 156, where he was appointed temporary company commander in May 1916, later platoon leader in Jun, temporary company commander again in Jul, deputy adjutant in Aug, then adjutant of the II Bataillon in Sep 1916 as well as a company commander, followed by time in hospital after being wounded. He served in the regular German military between the wars as an infantry officer, staff officer, and instructor holding the rank of Oberstleutnant in Mar 1939. He commanded I Bataillon of Infanterie Regiment 192 (of Infantry Division 56) in Poland, the Low Countries and France. From Nov 1940 he commanded I./I.R. 575 (I.D. 304) and from Mar 1941 commanded Infanterie Regiment 448 (I.D. 137). Promotion to Oberst came on 1 Feb 1942. In Jun 1943 he transferred to command of the Army Weapons School of the German 4th Army in the Soviet Union. In Aug 1943 he briefly commanded Infanterie Division 36, and then Infanterie Division 246, going back to the Army Weapons School in Oct 1943. In the spring of 1944 he transferred to "Führer Reserve" in the Army High Command and was detached to the 11th Division Leader Course. On 3 Jul 1944 he was attached to the headquarters of Army Group D in France and on 15 Aug 1944 took command of Infanterie Division 712. He transferred to command Infanterie Division 84 on 26 Sep, and was promoted to Generalmajor on 1 Dec 1944.

Fiebig was held as a prisoner of war in England from 8 May 1945 to 1947 in both England and the US. He died on 30 Mar 1964 in Seesen/Harz.

His decorations and awards included:

  • Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross: 8 May 1945, Generalmajor, Commander of the 84th Infantry Division.

  • German Cross in Gold: 28 Feb 1942, Oberstleutnant, Commander of Infanterie Regiment 448.

  • Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 14 Aug 1917.

  • Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 27 Jan 1916.

  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 10 Jul 1941.

  • 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 25 Jun 1941.

  • War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords

  • Medal for the Winter Campaign in Russia 1941/1942 (Ostmedaille): 16 Jul 1942.

  • Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918

  • Silesian Eagle, 1st Class

  • Silesian Eagle, 2nd Class

  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)

  • Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)

  • Commemorative Medal of 1 Oct 1938

  • Infantry Assault Badge in Silver: 18 Mar 1942.

  • Wound Badge in Black – World War I award: 17 May 1926.

Knight's Cross Holders

  1. Generalmajor Heinz Fiebig, Divisional Commander, 8 May 1945

  2. Oberst Siegfried Kossack, Commander, Grenadier Regiment 1051, 18 Nov 1944

Notes

  1. Williams, Jeffery The Long Left Flank: The Hard Fought Way to the Reich, 1944-45 (Stoddart Publishing Company, Ltd., Toronto, ON, 1988) ISBN 0773721940

  2. Whitaker, Denis & Shelagh Rhineland: The Battle to End the War (Stoddart Publishing Company, Ltd., Toronto, ON, 1989) ISBN 0773753907 pp.50-51

  3. Report No. 19, Historical Section, Canadian Army Headquarters (5 Nov 1948) Operation "PLUNDER": The Canadian Participation in the Assault Across the Rhine and the Expansion of the Bridgehead by 2 Cdn Corps 23/24 Mar - 1 Apr 45

  4. Whitaker, Ibid, p.69

  5. Report No. 19, Ibid.

 


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