254th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
|254th Infantry Division|
|Active||26 August 1939–8 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 254th Infantry Division was created on 26 August 1939, the day of German mobilization, as part of the fourth Aufstellungswelle. It was raised in Detmold and Düsseldorf in Wehrkreis VI, using Replacement Battalions from Infantry Regiment 18 (Detmold), Infantry Regiment 37 (Lingen / Osnabrück), Infantry Regiment 58 (Herford), and Infantry Regiment 79 (Münster / Wahn). These various battalions from various regiments were formed into the Infantry Regiments 454, 474, and 484, which made up the initial structure of the 254th Infantry Division along with Artillery Regiment 254. The initial commander of the division was Fritz Koch, appointed on 26 August 1939.
On 1 February 1940, the 254th Infantry Division passed one infantry battalion and one artillery battery to the 292nd Infantry Division of the eighth Aufstellungswelle. On 9 June 1940, the motorized fourth detachment of Artillery Regiment 254 was replaced with a horse-drawn one. On 17 November 1940, the division passed a third of its strength to the 320th Infantry Division of the eleventh Aufstellungswelle. On 30 April 1940, Walter Behschnitt had replaced Koch as divisional commander.
During Operation Barbarossa, which started in June 1941, the 254th Infantry Division participated in the initial drive of Army Group North over Riga and Tallinn towards the Siege of Leningrad. The division was briefly commanded by Gerhard von Schwerin between 20 July 1941 and August 1941, before Behschnitt returned to command.
In February 1942, the 254th Infantry Division fought in the Demyansk Pocket. On 10 April 1942, Friedrich Köchling took command of the division. He was in turn briefly replaced by Hellmuth Reymann on 5 September 1942, before returning to his post on 19 November 1942.
In 1943, three of the division's battalions were dissolved and a Division Fusilier Battalion formed from the Reconnaissance Detachment. Alfred Thielmann assumed command of the division on 16 August 1943.
On 10 May 1944, Grenadier Regiment 474 was dissolved, along with the third detachment of Artillery Regiment 254. Additionally, the 254th Infantry Division was strengthened by the Division Group 82, the remnants of the 82nd Infantry Division. On 4 July 1944, Division Group 82 was renamed Grenadier Regiment 474, thus reassembling the regiment that had been dissolved on 10 May. On 31 December 1944, Richard Schmidt took command of the division from Thielmann. Schmidt would hold the command post until the end of the war.
The 254th Infantry Division was trapped in the Deutsch-Brod pocket and subsequently taken prisoner by Soviet forces on 8 May 1945.
|Year||Month||Army Corps||Army||Army Group||Area|
|1939||September||Assembly||5th Army||Army Group C||Eifel|
|October||XXII||4th Army||Army Group B||Lower Rhine|
|July||VII||16th Army||Army Group A||Lille|
|September – December||XXXVIII||9th Army||Rouen|
|1941||January – April|
|May||I||18th Army||Army Group C||East Prussia|
|June||XXXVIII||Army Group North||Lithuania|
|1942||January – October|
|November – December||XXXVIII|
|April – September||LIV||Leningrad|
|October – December||XXVI|
|February – March||XXXXVI||1st Panzer Army||Army Group South||Vinnytsia|
|April||Absent from Wehrmacht records (possibly refreshment)|
|May – June||LIX||1st Panzer Army||Army Group North Ukraine||Ternopil|
|August – September||XI|
|October||Army Group A|
|November – December||Kaschau|
|February||XVII||17th Army||Army Group Center||Silesia|
|April||XXIV||1st Panzer Army||Upper Silesia|
- Fritz Koch, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (26 August 1939 – 30 April 1940).
- Walter Behschnitt, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (30 April 1940 – 20 July 1941, August 1941 – 10 April 1942).
- Gerhard von Schwerin, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (20 July 1941 – August 1941).
- Friedrich Köchling, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (10 April 1942 – 5 September 1942, 19 November 1942 – 16 August 1943).
- Hellmuth Reymann, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (5 September 1942 – 19 November 1942).
- Alfred Thielmann, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (16 August 1943 – 31 December 1944).
- Richard Schmidt, commanding general of the 254th Infantry Division (31 December 1944 – 8 May 1945).
- Tessin, Georg (1973). "254". 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. 229–233. ISBN 3764808721.
- Mitcham, Samuel W. (2007). "254th Infantry Division". German Order of Battle. Volume One. 1st-290th Infantry Divisions in World War II. Stackpole Books. pp. 301–303. ISBN 9780811734165.