The 167th Infantry Division was formed in the Bavarian capital of Munich in November 1939, absorbing the 7th; 27th and 34th Field-Replacement Battalions from their respective divisions in January. It was also at this point that its commanding officer, Colonel Gilbert, was promoted to Major General, shortly before his replacement by Lieutenant General Oskar Vogl.
The division took part in the initial 1940 invasion of France with Army Group C, capturing Ouvrage Kerfent and Ouvrage Bambesch – two components of the Maginot Line – between 20–21 June. The division remained in occupied France until February 1941, when it returned to its garrison in Bavaria. In August 1940, Major General Hans Schönhärl took over as commanding officer, being promoted to Lieutenant General in December.
Barbarossa and the Soviet Union:
In June 1941, the division was transferred to the occupied Polish capital of Warsaw as the Axis forces began their assault on the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. In August, Schönhärl was replaced as commanding officer by Major General Verner Schartow, himself replaced by Major General Wolf Trierenberg.
The Ardennes Offensive:
The re-created division, now designated “167. Voksgrenadierdivision”, took part in the Ardennes Offensive. On December 29, it and the 1st SS-Panzer Division were support divisions under General of the Panzer Troops Hasso von Manteuffel‘s Fifth Panzer Army as the remnants of his army attempted to re-encircle Bastogne. During the initial assault divisional morale was high, and a non-commissioned officer was confident that the army would reach the English Channel shortly.
On New Years Day, the 167th Volksgrenadier and 5th Parachute Divisions aided the panzers in defending the area around the Belgian town of Lutrebois in Luxembourg. While the three were able to hold off the approaching Americans and dealt heavy casualties to their enemies, the situation elsewhere in the Ardennes was different and the 167th was ordered to fall back.
- 315th Infantry Regiment
- 331st Infantry Regiment
- 339th Infantry Regiment
- 328th Artillery Regiment
- 167th Fusilier Battalion
- 238th Tank-destroyer Battalion
- 238th Engineer Battalion
- 238th Signal Battalion
- 238th Divisional Supply Troops
- Major General Martin Gilbert (1 December 1939 – 10 January 1940)
- Major General Oskar Vogl (10 January – 2 August 1940)
- Lieutenant General Hans Schönhärl (2 August 1940 – 11 August 1941)
- Major General Verner Schartow (11 August 1941)
- Lieutenant General Wolf Trierenberg (11 August 1941 – 25 November 1943)
- Colonel Hans Hüttner (25 November 1943 – October 1944)
- Lieutenant Colonel Hanskurt Höcker (October 1944)
- Major General Harald Schultz (3 September 1944 – 8 May 1945)
17 Luftwaffe Field Division History
Luftwaffen-Feld-Division 17 was formed at the end of 1942 and was originally located in Luftgau VII (Munich) in Germany. The division was allocated 2 jager line regiments of 3 battalion’s each – Luftwaffen-Jager-Regiment 33 and Luftwaffen-Jager Regiment 34. and artillery regiment of 3 battalions, Luftwaffen-Artillery-Regiment 17 was also assigned. The rest of the division contained a engineer battalion, an antitank battalion, plus smaller units like a signals company, reconnaissance company, administration company, a butcher company, etc…… 17 Luftwaffe Feld Division was transferred to Army command and control. Upon transfer to the Army’s command and control, all Luftwaffe field divisions retained the (Luftwaffe) or (L) suffix behind their name as recognition of their heritage. It should be noted perhaps that only the field divisions transferred to direct Army command and control, the airborne units (Fallschirmjäger) remained under the command of the Air Force (die Luftwaffe). At the time of reforming under Army command, the 17. Field Division (L) had the following units: The 17.Field Division (L) remained in France to man the Atlantic Wall defences, along with four other field divisions (L). 17. Field Division (L), commanded by Generalleutnant Hans Hocker of the German Army (das Heer), was tasked with defending the French coastline from Dieppe to Le Havre – but was not responsible for either town. In May 1944, Jäger-Regiment (L) 34 gained a 3rd battalion when Bataillon 835 of the Nordkaukasische Legion (Battalion 835 of the North Caucasian Legion – White Russians allied with Germany) was transferred to it. 17.Field Division (L) was put on alert in the early hours of 6 June 1944 as the Allied invasion of Normandy began. It was immediately suspected that Le Havre was an Allied target and 17.Field Division (L) moved into their battle positions. However, it was actually 16.Field Division (L) who were the first Field Division troops to go into battle against the Allies.
During the first week of August 1944, 17. Field Division (L) was moved from Le Havre to provide reinforcements against the British breakthrough attempt further west (‘Operation Goodwood’). The division was forced to leave a number of its units behind at Le Havre however, as it didn’t possess enough vehicles to transport all its men and equipment. Nonetheless, the division pressed and took up positions along the Eure River near Dreux – where they received some WW1-era French 150mm field artillery pieces to bolster their capabilities. Unfortunately, the men had received no training on these guns and they had no spare time or ammunition with which to practice, so their effectiveness was severely limited and the division was soon forced to withdraw.
The division continued to conduct a fighting retreat across France for the rest of the summer. The majority of its units were crushed into oblivion by September, and the division was officially disbanded on 28 September 1944. Some elements of the division survived as a Kampfgruppe and managed to reach Holland with the 15 Army. There they formed the basis of the newly constituted 167 Volksgrenadier Division under Generalleutnant Hocker again, and were sent to Slovakia.
The members of the 167 Volksgrenadier Division strive to accurately reproduce the uniforms, faithfully portray the tactics and first person histories of the soldaten of World War II German Volksgrenadier Divisions. We demand accuracy in the uniforms, field tactics and impressions from our membership as well as aggressiveness in fighting. We do this in order to make the history of World War II come alive!
If you are already a member of another reenacting group and are looking to make a change, great! Take a look at the Uniform Requirements page and figure out which impression you’d like to portray: Heer or Luftwaffe. We also have specialty impressions, within both them, it’s all up to you.
Contact the Division Commander, for more information or join and he will help you get uniformed and equipped to the Division’s standards.
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