712. Infanteriedivision

Berlin

712. Infanteriedivision

XI SS-Panzerkorps, 9. Armee, Heeresgruppe Vistula 

712. Infanteriedivision was formed on 5 May 1941. It was transferred to France in June 1941 where it served on occupation and security duties. In June 1942 it was moved to assume the defence of parts of the Belgian and Dutch coasts. Following the Allied breakout from Normandy, it defended the Scheldt River estuary, the Gent-Terneuzen Canal, and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Refitted after suffering heavy losses in the Netherlands, the division was transferred to Poland in January 1945 where it was destroyed on the Warta River.

The heavily decimated remnants were distributed to 45. Infanteriedivision and 68. Infanteriedivision. The staff was transferred to Heeresgruppe Weichsel as a Stab "zur Verfügung" (Available). It was then used from early February 1945 to command a variety of unattached formations, mainly consisting of Fahnenjunker (Officer Cadet) Grenadier Regiments on the Oder Front.

The division was finally reformed on 26 March 1945 in the area Küstrin from regiments which had been attached to the Panzergrenadierdivision Kurmark, including Grenadier-Regiment 1239 and Grenadier-Regiment 1241. These were used to rebuild Grenadier-Regiment 732 and Grenadier-Regiment 745. It became part of the Ninth Army's XI. SS-Panzerkorps under SS-General Matthias Kleinheisterkamp. 

In mid-April, the division took part in opening stages of the Battle of the Seelow Heights. The army was able to hold off the Soviet advance for only about three days before being forced to retreat to a pocket around the towns of Frankfurt and Fürstenwalde along the Spreewald, which became the Halbe Pocket. During the Soviet advance towards Fürstenwalde, 712. ID was surrounded and received fire on its front and rear. The 32. SS-Grenadierdivision was moved to Fürstenwalde to support the division. 

Encircled by the Soviets, the Ninth Army attempted to break out on 24 April through the village of Halbe. On the morning of 26 April, 712. ID and von Luck’s Kampfgruppe of 21. Panzerdivision launched an attack into the gap between the First Ukrainian Front's 28th Army and 3rd Guards Tank Army. Due to lack of support from the rest of the Ninth Army the breakout attempt failed and von Luck’s Kampfgruppe was virtually destroyed. 

Berlin Offensive
First Halbe Breakout attempt 25 to 27 April 1945

The division was destroyed as the Soviets constricted the Halbe Pocket. A later breakout succeed in getting some of the troops of the Ninth Army to the Elbe River and the safety of American captivity.

Commanders

Generalmajor George von Döhren (3 May 1941 - 15 Apr 1942) 

Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Neumann (16 Apr 1942 - 25 Feb 1945) 

Generalmajor Joachim von Siegroth (25 Feb 1945 - 2 Apr 1945) 

Area of operations

Germany (May 1941 - June 1941) 

France (June 1941 - June 1942) 

Belgium (June 1942 - Sep 1944) 

Netherlands & Western Germany (Sep 1944 - Jan 1945) 

Eastern Front, central sector (Jan 1945 - Apr 1945) 

Order of battle (1945)

Grenadier-Regiment 732 (2 battalions)

Grenadier-Regiment 745 (2 battalions)

Grenadier-Regiment 764 (2 battalions)

Füsilier-Bataillon 712

Artillerie-Regiment 1712

Pionier-Bataillon 712

Panzerjäger-Abteilung 712

Berlin


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Last Updated On Thursday, August 20, 2015 by George at Battlefront