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The German Grenadier

Discussion in 'German WWII Uniforms and Equipment' started by Jim, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    There were seven so called static divisions of German infantry manning coastal defences in Normandy. They were the 243rd, 265th, 266th, 326th, 346th, 708th and 711th and they were a mixed bag of limited combat value and often without a full complement of troops.

    The average age of troops in these divisions varied considerably from one unit to another but was somewhere between 18 and 36 years. Similarly, the number of experienced officers also varied.

    This infantry private is a perfect example of how German soldiers appeared in 1944. He wears the late model green uniform, made out of poor quality cloth, which makes his uniform baggy. This is accentuated by the puttees which are far less martial than the traditional boots usually worn.


    Most of these units knew only too well that they were there to plug the gap and their inadequate training, their inability to obtain adequate transportation and their inexperience all went towards creating poor morale. In just a few cases (the 265th and 266th for example) divisional commanders scraped together more mobile elements to create a Kampfgruppe.
    The 243rd Division was sent to Normandy in the fall of 1943 and was posted to the north-west of the Cotentin peninsula around Portbail. It was gradually built up into a semi-mobile division reaching, in May 1944, standards applied to non-static divisions. Although up to strength it suffered very heavily in the fighting and, by the end of July, had ceased to exist as a fighting formation. The remaining troops found themselves encircled in Cherbourg. The 265th Division was stationed in Brittany but sent a Kampfgruppe into Normandy in response to D-day. It reached the front around Saint-Lo on June 11th. Throughout Operation Cobra it fought alongside the 91st Division. It was eventually broken up and shared out among surviving units. The 266th also supplied a Kampfgruppe but this only reached the frontlines on June 23 and its relics were absorbed by the 352nd Division in early August.

    In military history and military slang, the German term Kampfgruppe (pl. Kampfgruppen; abbrev. KG) can refer to a flexible combat formation of any kind, but most usually to that employed by the German army and its allies during World War II and, to a lesser extent, in World War I.

    The 326th was initially based in the Pas-de-Calais but was engaged piecemeal in Normandy from the end of July. By August it had been pushed back eastwards. The 346th had been based around Le Havre from the end of January 1944.
    It lurched into life on June 6, attacking British positions around Bavent-Breville on the next day before switching to containing the bridgehead over the Orne.

    A cover for the Linneman shovel as issued late on in the war. This tool was issued to all German soldiers.


    From June 19 to mid-July its sector was relatively calm. During Operation Goodwood it managed to hold on to Troarn despite losing most of its infantry and 70% of its artillery. From August 9th, it was pushed back steadily towards Falaise, managed to extricate itself from the pocket and crossed the Seine near Lisieux. The 708th had been brought up from the Bay of Biscay, arriving at the front on July 4th and establishing itself between Laval and Angers. Elements of the division which fought at Le Mans were destroyed.
    The 711th was deploying to the east of the Orne when the Allies landed. Its sector was largely defended by the 346th Division and so the 711th played a marginal role in the defence.

    A 1930 model German gas mask. Poison gas was not actually used during the war but this piece of equipment was carried just in case.

  2. Gecko

    Gecko New Member

    Nov 16, 2007
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    great info on the grenadiers. I guess the training of the soldiers became s huge problem, I mean veterans from the Eastern Front would put up one hell of a fight, but sub trained soldiers would have difficulties with handling the attack of allied troops.

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