253rd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
|253rd Infantry Division|
|Active||August 1939–May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
- Infantry Regiment 453 drew its first and third battalions from Infantry Regiment 39 Wesel, and its second battalion from Infantry Regiment 77 Cologne,
- Infantry Regiment 464 drew first, second, and third battalions, in that order, from Infantry Regiment 77 Cologne, Infantry Regiment 78 Eschweiler, and Infantry Regiment 64 Soest.
- Infantry Regiment 473 drew its first two battalions from Infantry Regiment 60 Arnsberg and its third battalion from Infantry Regiment 78 Aachen.
On 28 January 1940, the division passed several formations to the newly assembled 298th Infantry Division of the eighth Aufstellungswelle.
In spring and summer of 1940, the 253rd Infantry Division participated in the Battle for Belgium and France. After the German victory in the west, the 253rd Infantry Division remained in northern France until early 1941.
On 30 September 1940, the division transferred about a third of its strength to the newly assembled 126th Infantry Division of the eleventh Aufstellungswelle.
During the German attack on the Soviet Union, the 253rd Infantry Division attacked through Lithuania and fought at the Battle for Velikiye Luki and the Battles of Rzhev. It also fought defensive actions against the Soviet Winter campaign of 1941–42.
In January 1942, the 253rd Infantry Division was encircled at Lake Volgo, but managed to break out and return to German lines with heavy casualties.
Throughout the year 1942, the 253rd Infantry Division remained in the Rzhev salient.
On 18 January 1943, Carl Becker replaced Schellert as divisional commander.
On 17 April 1943, the former Infantry Regiment 473, now renamed Grenadier Regiment 473, was dissolved. Two of the battalions were integrated into the Regiment 426 and 453. The rest of Regiment 473 became Divisional Battalion 473, resulting in a 253rd Infantry Division with two ternary regiments and one additional battalion, for a total of seven battalions.
On 1 October 1944, Grenadier Regiment 473 was reassembled, using the third battalions of Regiments 453 and 464, resulting in a ternary division with three binary battalions as well as an additional battalion, for a continued total of seven battalions.
On 8 December 1944, Emmanuel von Kiliani temporarily took command of the division, before Carl Becker returned for a third and final tenure on 30 December.
The 253rd Infantry Division was forced from Upper Silesia to Moravia in April 1945.
The division was captured in the pocket at Deutsch-Brod in May 1945. The final commander of the division was Joachim Schwatlo-Gesterding, who had assumed command within days of surrender, on 5 May 1945.
|Year||Month||Army Corps||Army||Army Group||Area|
|1939||September||Army reserves||5th Army||Army Group C||Eifel|
|October||XXVII||4th Army||Army Group B|
|December||XXVI||6th Army||Lower Rhine|
|June||Army Group reserves||Army Group A||Lille|
|July – December||XXIX||9th Army||Northern France|
|1941||January – February|
|March – April||Army reserves|
|May||XXVIII||16th Army||Army Group C||East Prussia|
|June – July||Army reserves||Army Group North||Lithuania|
|August||L||9th Army||Army Group Center||Velikiye Luki|
|October||II||16th Army||Army Group North||Kalinin|
|November – December||XXIII||9th Army||Army Group Center||Rzhev|
|1942||January – July|
|August – December||XXIII|
|1943||January – March|
|May – June||XXXIX|
|August||XXXXI||2nd Panzer Army||Orel|
|October – December||XXIII||Babruysk|
|1944||January – March||XXXXI|
|April – May||LVI||2nd Army||Kovel|
|June||4th Panzer Army||Army Group North Ukraine|
|August – September||LVI||Vistula|
|October||XXIV||1st Panzer Army||Army Group A||Beskids|
|November – December||XI|
|February – March||LIX||Army Group Center||Upper Silesia|
- Fritz Kühne, commanding general of the 253rd Infantry Division (26 August 1939 – 7 March 1941).
- Otto Schellert, commanding general of the 253rd Infantry Division (7 March 1941 – 18 January 1943).
- Carl Becker, commanding general of the 253rd Infantry Division (18 January 1943 – 17 June 1944, 28 June 1944 – 8 December 1944, 30 December 1944 – 5 May 1945)
- Hans Junck, commanding general of the 253rd Infantry Division (17 June 1944 – 28 June 1944).
- Emmanuel von Kiliani, commanding colonel of the 253rd Infantry Division (8 December 1944 – 30 December 1944).
- Joachim von Schwatlo-Gesterding, commanding general of the 253rd Infantry Division (5 May 1945 – 8 May 1945).
- Tessin, Georg (1973). "253". Die Landstreitkräfte 201–280. Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945 (in German). 8. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. pp. 223–228. ISBN 3764808721.
- Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). "253rd Infantry Division". German Order of Battle. Volume One. 1st-290th Infantry Divisions in World War II. Stackpole Books. pp. 299–301. ISBN 9780811734165.