German Ground Forces in Italy




In the first half of 1943, the German strategic situation had changed dramatically from that of a year previous. In the summer of 1942, German forces had secured the vital Don Basin in the Soviet Union and had advanced into the Caucasus. In North Africa, armoured forces were advancing on Cairo and threatening to push the British entirely off the continent, securing the Suez Canal in the process. In the space of twelve months, a number of catastrophes dramatically altered the war situation:

  • British victory at El Alamein in October 1942 reversed the tide of the war in North Africa, and British forces began a long pursuit of Axis forces, driving them back into Tunisia

  • German offensive operations in southern Russia ground to a halt at Stalingrad, where Soviet forces stubbornly resisted, including a counter-offensive in November 1942 that cut Axis forces in the city off

  • Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 took control of Morocco and Algeria, surrounding Axis forces in Tunisia

  • US heavy bomber forces began operating in earnest over the continent in the last half of 1942

  • The German 6th Army was forced to surrender at Stalingrad in February 1943

  • Another German army group was forced to surrender at Tunis in May 1943

German refusal to reinforce Africa because of the reluctance to deploy five or six extra divisions ultimately resulted in a protracted campaign in Italy in which two dozen German divisions were required.1


The Italian Campaign began in earnest on 10 July 1943 when US, British and Canadian forces landed on Sicily. German forces on Sicily consisted of the XIV Panzer Corps, whose three divisions stiffened the defence of the Italian 6th Army (the Italians refused to let the German formations fight together as an independent national corps), fighting an effective delaying action and withdrawal to Messina where the bulk of German forces were able to retreat to the mainland by 17 August 1943.


The Italian Campaign


As the Battle of Sicily progressed, the Italian government re-assessed its strategic position. Losses in Africa and Sicily had been high, and an Italian expeditionary corps in the Soviet Union had also suffered high casualties. Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, was arrested and Marshal Pietro Badoglio was placed in charge of a government that had already entered into secret armistice negotiations with the Allies.


On 15 August, anticipating Italy's defection, Hitler formed the 10th Army, with two corps and component divisions.


10th ARMY


LVI Corps

15th Panzergrenadier Division

29th Panzergrenadier Division

16th Panzer Division

26th Panzer Division

1st Parachute Division


XIV Panzer Corps

3rd Panzergrenadier Division

90th Panzergrenadier Division

2nd Parachute Division

16th Waffen-SS Assault Brigade "Reichsführer SS"


Allied landings in southern Italy (in Calabria on 3 September and Taranto and Salerno on 9 September) precipitated Italy's capitulation. German forces in Italy expanded when Army Group B relocated from southern Germany, to become Army Group C in November 1943. Prior to this, German command in Italy had been dangerously split between two headquarters (Rommel in the north and Kesselring in the south), the first of three major mistakes Hitler made during the campaign.2


Following the defection, German forces seized control of Rome, provided security at ports and coastal areas of northern Italy, and began construction of a number of defensive lines, beginning with the Winter Line on which they hoped to resist south of Rome until the spring of 1944.


With additional forces deployed to Italy, the Germans held onto the Gustav Line on the Sangro and Garigliano Rivers. The Allies, hampered by poor weather, undue caution and skilled German resistance, only managed to advance 70 miles beyond Salerno, and remained 100 miles south of Rome by the end of 1943.3


In January 1944 Allied landings at Anzio prompted the Germans to activate the 14th Army in defence of the beachhead. Hitler's second major mistake was intervening in the planning for the German counter-attack at Anzio.4 Among Hitler's edicts were sending inexperienced troops (of the Infantry Lehr Regiment) into a night attack despite the protest of local commanders and insistence on a creeping barrage for which there was not enough ammunition.5 "Had the field commanders had their way," one historian noted, "it is not inconceivable that the assault would have been carried. Kesselring (theatre commander) and von Mackensen (14th Army commander) were convinced that it would...."6


The 10th and 14th Armies continued to fight side by side as the Allies overwhelmed the Hitler Line, took Rome, and advanced to the Gothic (Green) Line.7 On 1 June 1944, Germany had 27 divisions deployed to Italy and 25 more in the Balkans, about 18% of all the divisions in the Army, Air Force, and Waffen-SS combined. That commitment of forces to the Mediterranean was double what it had been a year previously (about nine percent.)8 Hitler's final mistake was not permitting German forces to withdraw in the closing months of the war, ensuring their destruction once the Allies reached the northern end of the Apennines. Lacking both fuel and permission to maneuver, the final Allied offensive in April 1945 was a crushing one.9


Missions of the German Forces


German forces in Italy had three main missions: front-line combat against the Allies, coastal defence and security against potential Allied landings north of the front, and rear-area security in a particularly volatile war between various Italian factions.


There was no active, armed resistance movement to speak of in Italy until after the fall of the Mussolini's regime. That fall did not come about due to an anti-Fascist movement, but had been precipitated instead by the monarchy, elements of the Army, and some elements within the Fascist Party leadership. When the King and the Badoglio government fled Rome, a number of anti-Fascist parties (including Socialists, Liberals, Christian Democrats and Communists) coalesced into a National Liberation Committee (CLN). The CLN was not recognized in the north of Italy, where there was a strong Communist presence, and the Communists formed their own National Liberation Committee of Upper Italy (CLNAI). Both the CLN and CLNAI became active in German-occupied areas. Relations remained poor between the Badoglio government and these committees until the King abdicated in the summer of 1944 and a new government was formed.


Mussolini, in the meantime, formed an Italian Social Republic (RSI) in the north, and equipped military and security forces to wage war against the resistance movements. Nominally an independent state allied to Germany, the Germans nonetheless used their own military in northern Italy to maintain order and secure their lines of communication. The internecine warfare in northern Italy was vicious, and most German formations seem to have been implicated in war crimes against the civil population. Examination of individual crimes reveals many of these were reprisals in the wake of partisan actions, or else rough military justice meted out to suspected partisans.10


German Army Divisions


The most basic component of the German Army was the division. Several types of these served in Italy.


Infantry Divisions


There were 35 different mobilization waves (Welle) from September 1939 to March 1945. Each wave laid out a standard structure for each division created during that wave. The tendency during the war was for manpower to go down and firepower to go up. Type 1939 divisions created before August 1942 were authorized 16,977 men divided into three infantry regiments plus supporting units (artillery regiment, reconnaissance battalion, engineer battalion, signals battalion, horse-drawn and motorized supply columns, medical and veterinary units, MP platoon and field post office). The "Schnell Battalions" which combined anti-tank and reconnaissance sub-units had those functions split out into separate divisional sub-units.


Losses on the Eastern Front caused new divisions from November 1943 (and existing divisions at that time) to be organized as Type 1944 divisions, with 12,772 authorized men. The divisional reconnaissance battalions were reorganized and redesignated as Füsilier Battalions, which were organized identically to the battalions in the infantry/grenadier regiments, possibly with additional bicycles for slightly increased mobility.


In December 1944 the divisions were again reorganized as Type 1945 divisions with further reductions in manpower, though in practice most divisions were deficient in manpower anyway, meaning few divisions reorganized in the final weeks of the war to conform.11


In 1939 a number of Depot Divisions were created to train replacement units in Germany. In October 1942, many of these were redesignated Reserve Divisions and deployed as garrison troops in occupied territories. In October 1944, with the occupied territories having mostly been reclaimed by the Allies, many of these Reserve Divisions were converted to full-blown Infantry Divisions.12

Mountain and Light Infantry (Jäger) Divisions


The Type 1939 Mountain Division was similar in organization to the standard infantry division, but with two mountain regiments and support services appropriate to operating in alpine terrain. Type 1942 Jäger Divisions were lightly armed, mobile infantry. The 1944 Mountain Division was similar to the Infantry Division. It had two Mountain Troop regiments of two battalions each, but a mountain reconnaissance battalion (rather than a Füsilier Battalion, and equipped with bicycles), an anti-tank battalion, and a mountain artillery regiment.

Panzergrenadier Divisions


In June 1943, the Motorized Infantry Divisions of the German Army were redesignated as Panzergrenadier Divisions. They were authorized 14,738 men, organized into two motorized infantry regiments, a tank battalion, motorized artillery regiment, armoured reconnaissance unit, anti-tank, anti-aircraft and motorized engineer battalions. The Type 1944 Panzergrenadier Division had 680 fewer men (mostly in the support units) but greater firepower. In 1945 the Panzergrenadier Divisions were ordered to conform to the establishment of the Type 1945 Panzer Divisions but it is doubtful these reorganizations took place.13 Originally intended to supplement armoured corps (two panzer divisions and a motorized infantry division), the Germans found that the Panzergrenadier Divisions could operate much in the same way as the panzer divisions, having more indirect firepower and about 50% more infantry (three battalions per panzergrenadier regiment as opposed to two).14

Panzer Divisions

In September 1943 the existing panzer divisions, using the Type 1941 establishment, were reorganized as Type 1944 Panzer Divisions. The component units included a single tank regiment of two battalions (often with a full battalion of PzKpfw V "Panther" types and the other with PzKpfw IV), two Panzergrenadier regiments (each of two battalions, one officially equipped with armoured personnel carriers (SPW halftracks) and the other with trucks), an armoured artillery regiment, motorized anti-aircraft unit, armoured reconnaissance, anti-tank and engineer battalions.15

The number of tanks in a panzer division declined sharply during the war, from an establishment of 328 per division in 1939 to 165 in 1943, even without accounting for mechanical breakdowns and routine shortages of vehicles. Perhaps the most signficant change in the 1944 Panzer Division was the introduction of a battalion of PzKpfw V "Panther" tanks. The Type 1945 Panzer Division authorized just 54 tanks, though it is doubtful existing divisions ever reorganized that late in the war.


German Ground Formations in Italy


Formation/Unit Shoulder-strap Device(s) Notes

Army Group

Army Group B G First created in 1939, renamed Army Group Center before the invasion of the Soviet Union. Reorganized in July 1942 from Army Group Command South, relocated to Germany after the defeat at Stalingrad in Febraury 1943. Reinstated July 1943 at Munich under Field Marshal Rommel. Transferred to northern Italy in August 1943. Disappeared under new command structure in November 1943. (Later recreated in January 1944 in France).
Army Group C G Originally mobilized in August 1939, served in France, transferred to Germany after French capitulation and renamed Army Group North for the invasion of the Soviet Union. A new Army Group C was reorganized on 26 November 1943 as part of a new command structure in Italy. Army Group C was the first major German formation to surrender at war's end, capitulating without the approval of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW) on 29 April 1945.
Army Group Liguria - Alternate designation for Ligurian Army between November 1944 and February 1945 with 14th Army under command.


10th Army A/10 Brief service in Poland in 1939 before being transferred west and renamed the 6th Army. A new 10th Army was created on 15 August 1943 in Italy. Surrendered on 2 May 1945.
14th Army A/14 Brief service in Poland in 1939 before being transferred west and renamed the 12th Army. A new 14th Army was created on 18 November 1943 in northern Italy. Following the Allied landings at Anzio-Nettuno, the 14th Army took over defence of the beachhead, and following the Allied breakout and capture of Rome, fought alongside 10th Army during the defensive campaign that followed. Surrendered on 2 May 1945.
Army Detachment Von Zangen - Established 17 March 1944 in northern Italy, became Ligurian Army on 31 July 1944.
Ligurian Army - Redesignation of Army Detachment Von Zangen on 31 July 1944. Also known between November 1944 and February 1945 as Army Group Liguria.


I Fallschirm 1 1st Parachute Corps was established in January 1944 and instead of its intended purpose of commanding parachute divisions in the 1st Parachute Army, went instead under the command of 14th Army to Anzio. The corps remained in Italy for the rest of the war.
LI 51 Created in 1940 and destroyed on Eastern Front. Recreated as 51st Mountain Corps in northern Italy in September 1943.
LXXIII 73 Established 25 November 1944 in northern Italy on the Venetian coast.

Created 15 January 1944, remained on Ligurian coast. Included Fortress Brigade 135 formed in April 1944, which oversaw the garrisons (five Fortress Battalions - 902, 905, 906, 907, 908) of Corsica and Elba. In early 1945 command passed to the Ligurian Army.

LXXXVII 87 Established in November 1942 in France, moved to the Ligurian coast in the summer of 1943.
LXXXXVII 97 Created 28 September 1944, by renaming the Adriatic Coast Operational Zone Command.
XIV Panzer Corps 14 Originally XVI Corps, renamed Panzer Corps in 1942 and stationed in France. Moved to Italy in June 1943.
LXXVI Panzer Corps 76 Renaming of LXXVI Corps in July 1943, deployed to Italy in August 1943.


34th Infantry Division D/34


44th Infantry Division Stalingrad Cross

Stalingrad Division

65th Infantry Division D/65  
71st Infantry Division D/71 Stalingrad Division
92nd Infantry Division D/92 Fought briefly only as battle groups in Alban Hills, broken up to reinforce the 362nd Infantry Division.
94th Infantry Division D/94 Stalingrad Division
98th Infantry Division D/98  
148th Infantry Division D/148  
155th Infantry Division D/155 Field Training Division established Nov 1944, redesignated as Infantry Division January 1945
157th Reserve Division D/157 Reserve Division, redesignated on 1 October 1944 to become 157th Gebirgsjäger Division.
162nd (Turkestan) Infantry Division D/162  
232nd Static Division D/232 Created on 26 June 1944 as a Static Division.
237th Infantry Division D/237  
278th Infantry Division D/278  
305th Infantry Division D/305 Stalingrad Division
334th Infantry Division D/334 Tunis Division
356th Infantry Division D/356  
362nd Infantry Division D/362  
715th Infantry Division D/715  


42nd Jäger Division D/42  
114th Jäger Division D/114  


5th Gebirgsjäger Division D/5  
8th Gebirgsjäger Division D/8 Redesignation of 157th Gebirgsjäger Division in February 1945.
157th Gebirgsjäger Division D/157 Created from 157th Reserve Division on 1 October 1944.
188th Gebirgsjäger Division D/188 reserve?
16th Panzer Division D/16 Stalingrad Division
26th Panzer Division D/26  
3rd Panzergrenadier Division D/3 Stalingrad Division
15th Panzergrenadier Division D/15 Tunis Division
29th Panzergrenadier Division D/29 Stalingrad Division
90th Panzergrenadier Division D/90 Tunis Division

German Air Force Divisions


The major personalities of the Nazi regime dedicated much of their time promoting their own personal interests, and in a unique representation of the internecine bureaucracy of the Third Reich, extended their power bases through the creation of their own armed forces. Hermann Göring was an avid participant in this bizarre proliferation of military units. As Secretary of the Interior and head of the Prussian police he created several battalions of police under the umbrella of his own name, Landespolizeigrupppe 'General Göring.' On the creation of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in 1935, the unit became Regiment 'General Göring.' The first parachute battalion split from the regiment before the war, and a similar parachute unit raised by the Army was transferred to Air Force control in 1939. The parachute units proved their worth in the campaign in the West in 1940, and expanded to three battalions by the time of the invasion of Crete in May 1941. Losses were so heavy on Crete that large-scale airborne drops were not again attempted (three small operations would be carried out in Sicily in 1943, Leros in 1943, and the Ardennes in 1944).


In the meantime, Air Force ground forces were expanded and fought in the Soviet Union and North Africa. The 1st Parachute Division was created in early 1943 by renaming the earlier Flieger Division 7. A 2nd Parachute Division was created in France at the same time, later serving around Rome just before the defection, and leaving for the East while donating a cadre to the newly formed 4th Parachute Division. A 3rd Parachute Division formed in France in October 1943 as well. Additional Parachute Divisions were created as the war went on, with few actual parachute trained men employed within: 5th Parachute Division formed in France in March 1944, 6th in France in June 1944, 7th in October 1944 from the remnants of the 6th which was destroyed in combat in Normandy, the 8th formed in early 1945 in northern Germany, the 9th in December 1944 from various "combed-out" elements of the German Air Force, and employed on the Eastern Front. The 10th Parachute Division was created from elements of the 1st and 4th Divisions in March 1945, and employed in Moravia against the Red Army.


The Regiment 'General Göring' meanwhile served in France in 1940, by this time mainly a heavy anti-aircraft unit, and distinguished itself early in the Russian Campaign. It was expanded to a brigade in the summer of 1942, to include two infantry regiments and an anti-aircraft regiment. In January 1943 the brigade became Panzergrenadier Division 'Hermann Göring' and shortly after redesignated a full Panzer Division. The division served in Tunisia and those elements not destroyed in combat there were captured in the fall of Tunis in May 1943. Those elements of the division which had not shipped to Africa were expanded to rebuild the division, and it fought in Sicily and southern Italy.


A number of regular infantry divisions, known as Luftwaffe Field Divisions, were also created beginning in 1942, serving in Russia and later Normandy. Eventually 22 such divisions served in combat. One division, the 19th, was renamed to become the 19th Assault Division and served briefly in Italy.16


German Air Force Ground Divisions in Italy


Formation/Unit Notes
Assault Division 19th Assault Division

Established on 1 June 1944 by renaming Luftwaffe Field Division 19 and redeploying from coastal duty in the Netherlands to Italy. Fought in heavy rearguard battles in Central Italy for approximately four weeks, during which the division was destroyed. Officially disbanded 15 August 1944, and remnants dispersed to other formations in Denmark

Parachute Panzer Division Parachute Panzer Division "Hermann Göring" Tunis Division
Parachute Division 1st Parachute Division Fought in Sicily in the summer of 1943, then on the Adriatic coast, notably at Ortona and Orsogna in late 1943. Famously defended Cassino in the spring of 1944, and after the fall of Monte Cassino, remained part of the 10th Army, seeing action at Rimini and surrendering in April 1945 at Imola.
2nd Parachute Division Created in France in February 1943. Located in Rhone Valley until fall of Mussolini, moved to Italy and moved on Rome after Italian defection. Brief fighting with Italian units in Rome. To coastal defence at Anzio, and one battalion seized the island of Leros in September 1943. Moved to the Reinhard Line in November 1943. Moved to Eastern Front in November 1943 after heavy losses.
4th Parachute Division Formed from elements of 2nd Parachute Division near Perugia, as well as former members of Italian Nembo and Folgore Airborne Divisions. After the Anzio breakout, continued to see action at Florence, Rimini and Bologna, surrendered in April 1945 near Vicenza.


Waffen-SS Divisions


The SS had its roots as security forces in the earliest days of the Nazi movement. By the outbreak of the Second World War, the SS was a blanket organization to which the Secret State Police (Gestapo), national security services, concentration camp staffs and, after the Russian Campaign began, extermination squads (Einsatzgruppen) belonged. Separate, for the most part, from these structures was the Waffen-SS. Similar to the leader of the Air Force, after whom the Hermann Göring units were named, the leader of the SS desired to have his own private military force for purposes of prestige and political power. From the modest beginnings of volunteer battalions in Poland and France, the Waffen-SS eventually expanded to number 38 combat divisions, a number of which were division-sized in name only, and with the exception of most of the first 12 divisions, included high numbers of foreign volunteers from across Europe.17


Only one of the Waffen-SS divisions served in Italy. The 16th SS Division was formed from a headquarters security detachment and expanded to brigade status, seeing anti-partisan action on Corsica in 1943. The brigade moved to Slovenia and was expanded to division status in October 1943 under the designation 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsführer-SS." One of the division's regiments and an anti-aircraft battalion saw action at Anzio while the remainder of the division fought in Hungary. The division assembled en masse at Grosseto in Italy in May 1944, joining the defensive battles along the western coast reaching Carrera by August and engaging in anti-partisan activities in which hundreds of Italian civilians were killed. The division departed Italy for Hungary in early 1945.18


After the defection by Italy, there were 800,000 disarmed Italian soldiers in Italy, and another 250,000 interned by the Germans. Calls for volunteers for the Waffen-SS, succeeded in attacting 15,000 volunteers (many inspired by the rescue of Mussolini by SS commandos) in November 1943, many of whom had served on the Eastern Front with the Italian Army. One unit mustered at Munsingen following the rescue of Mussolini, termed the Italienische Freiwilliger Verband and soon after went to northern Italy as the Italian Volunteer Legion. A second unit formed at Debica in Poland to become the SS-Battalion Debica, which included Italian veterans of the Lombardia armoured division and Julia mountain division. The 1st Sturmbrigade Italienische Freiwilligen Legion was created in January 1944. Soldiers of the unit referred to themselves as Prima Brigata d'Assalto della Legione SS Italiana. The brigade fought hard at Anzio, earning the right to wear black collar and rank insignia of the German formations of the Waffen-SS. In September 1944 the unit was renamed again to become Waffen-Grenadier Brigade der SS (italienische Nr. 1), and in March 1945 expanded on paper to divisional size. The 29th SS Waffen-Grenadier Division (1st Russian) was disbanded and the number reallocated to the expanded brigade, becoming 29th SS Waffen-Grenadier Division (1st Italian).19


While the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf HItler" was briefly deployed to Italy (with an organic battalion of 27 Tiger tanks) it saw no action there and redeployed to the Eastern Front en masse.


Waffen-SS Divisions in Italy


Formation/Unit Notes
Panzer Grenadier 16. SS-Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsführer SS" Established by expanding a headquarters security detachment to brigade strength, served on Corsica and later moved to Italy.
Infantry 29. Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS (italienische Nr. 1) Due to the byzantine and ever-evolving racial polices of the Nazis in the Second World War, the term "Waffen-Grenadier" reflected the fact that soldiers in the division were not German nationals but instead foreign volunteers. The division was probably in name only, and was granted very late in the war as an umbrella term to a number of Italian volunteer organizations that were already fighting in widely dispersed areas - with some also seeing action against Allied front line units.20



Divisional Profiles

Army Divisions


34th Infantry Division

34. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Infantry Regiment 80, 107, 253 Renamed Grenadier Oct 1943
Füsilier Battalion (1943-45) 34 redesignation of Recon Bn 1 Sep 1943
Artillery Regiment 34 3 battalions, + I./AR 70
Reconnaissance Battalion (1939-43) 34 Aug 1939 to Sep 1943
Pioneer Battalion 34 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 34 third FlaK company added Nov 1943

Created: 1 April 1936
Military District: XII
Early service: Russia 
To Italy: Jun 1944
Fate: Surrendered April 1945

Raised 1936, fought in Luxembourg and France in 1940, moved into Russia in June 1941. Moved to Genoa in June 1944 after extensive combat in the East. After coastal protection duty, moved to defensive positions in August 1944, and surrendered in April 1945 to the Americans west of Como.

Artillery Regiment 34 had only three battalions, a fourth battery from Artillery Regiment 70 also formed part of the order of battle.

A postwar assessment of German ground forces in Italy by staff officer Ludwig Graf von Ingelheim noted the division had not participated in significant operations in Italy and therefore wasn't assessed.


44th Reichsgrenadier Division
"Hoch-und Deutschmeister"

44. Reichsgrenadier Division
'Hoch und Deutschmeister'

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 131, 132, 134 Before Oct 1943, designated as Infantry Regiments
Artillery Regiment 96 Rebuilt in Belgium on 1 Apr 1943 from artillery elements
of reinforced Grenadier Regiments 887 and 888 as well
as a battalion of Artillery Regiment 362.
Reconnaissance Battalion 44 Created April 1943 in Belgium with four squadrons.
Pioneer Battalion 80 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 46 Rebuilt March 1943 in Belgium.
1938-43 1943-45
Created: 1 Apr 1938
Military District: XVII
Early service: Poland, France, Russia, destroyed Stalingrad Jan 1943
Recreated: 1 Jun 1943
To Italy: July 1943
Fate: moved to Hungary in early 1945, managed to surrender to US units.

Original division raised in Vienna, based on the Austrian 4th Infantry Regiment "Hoch-und-Deutschmeister." Served well in Poland in 1939, suffered heavy losses in France in 1940. Ten months occupation duty at La Rochelle, then formed part of Panzer Group 1 in southern Russia, and in 1942 the 6th Army, with whom it was destroyed at Stalingrad.

A new division was raised in Austria from the 44th Infantry Division with divisional units remustered in Belgium. By order of Hitler, the division was named "Reichsgrenadier Division Hoch und Deutschmeister." The division went to north Italy, helped disarm Italian units after the defection, and carried out anti-partisan duties before moving to the front south of Rome. Fought on the Sangro, the Rapido, and at Cassino. Held positions on the Tiber and in the Apennines, brief rest in November 1944 and then sent to Hungary where it retreated from Red Army units, managing to surrender to American units in May 1945.

A special shoulder strap device was adopted by the divisional staff as well as Grenadier Regiment 134 to commemorate the division's service with 6th Army. The cross was of a type worn by the Teutonic Knights, with a German national emblem and "Stalingrad" scroll added. The Stalingrad Cross was also adopted as a divisional vehicle insignia.21

The postwar assessment by von Ingelheim noted the division kept a nine-battalion structure for the infantry regiments, but was nonetheless considered a "bad division."22


65th Infantry Division

65. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Infantry Regiment (1942-44) 145, 146 Renamed Grenadier late 1942
Grenadier Regiment (1944-45) 145, 146, 147 Reorganization as 1944 Type Division
Fusilier Battalion 65 Reorg of Recon Battalion Nov 1943
Artillery Regiment 165 four battalions
Reconnaissance Battalion 165 Jul 1943 to Nov 1943
Pioneer Battalion 165 divisional engineers
Anti-Tank and Reconnaissance Battalion 165 Feb to Jul 1943
Schnell Battalion 165 Feb 1943 to Jul 1943
Anti-tank Battalion 165 Jul 1943
1942-43 late 1943 1944-45
Created: 7 Jul 1942
Military District: XII
Early service:  Coastal defence NW Europe
To Italy: Sep 1943
Fate: Destroyed Apr 1945

A more detailed history of the 65th Infantry Division can be found here. Formed for coastal defence, the division was scheduled to go to the Eastern Front when Italy defected. The division saw extensive combat service on the Sangro, at Anzio, and in the retreat north following the fall of Rome. The division saw action at Florence, the Futa Pass and Bologna before surrendering near the Po River in April 1945. Von Ingelheim rated the 65th as "one of the good infantry divisions."22



 71st Infantry Division

71. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment (1942-45) 191, 194, 211 Originally Infantry Regiments, renamed Oct 1942
Füsilier Battalion 171 Reorg of Recon Battalion Nov 1943
Artillery Regiment 171  
Reconnaissance Battalion 171 to November 1943
Pioneer Battalion 171 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 171  

Created: 25 Aug 1939
Military District: XI
Early service: France, Russia, destroyed at Stalingrad Feb 1943
Rebuilt: Spring 1943 Yugoslavia
To Italy: spring 1944
Fate:  Surrendered to British May 1945.

Participation in the French and Russian campaigns. Destroyed in the fighting around Stalingrad. Rebuilt in spring 1943 in Yugoslavia, used in coastal defence and anti-partisan operations in northern Italy following the defection of Italy. Moved to the front line in Italy in the spring of 1944. Division suffered major losses in the May Offensive, heavy combat with New Zealand troops at Cassino. Defensive battles until September 1944, served on Gothic Line.23 Fought in Hungary in early 1945 and ended war at Carinthia, surrendered to British. The division's combat value was described as "average" by von Ingelheim's post-war assessent.22


 94th Infantry Division

94. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment (1942-45) 267, 274, 276  
Artillery Regiment 194  
Reconnaissance Battalion 194 Originally bicycle battalion, changed to Recon Apr 1943.
Never reorganized as Fusilier Battalion
Pioneer Battalion 194 divisional engineers
Schnell Battalion (1942) 194 Destroyed at Stalingrad
Anti-tank Battalion (1944) 194 Created summer 1943 with three companies


Created: 18 Sep 1939
Military District: IV
Early service: France, Russia, destroyed Stalingrad Feb 1942
Recreated: 1 Mar 1943
To Italy: Aug 1943
Fate: destroyed at Cassino May 1944, reconstituted and surrendered to the Americans in April 1945.

Created as part of the 5th Mobilization Wave. Originally outfitted with Czech equipment. Occupied positions on western border, entered French Campaign on 27 May 1940. Moved to Russia in July 1941, fought at Stalingrad where it was destroyed in the winter of 1942/43. The division was recreated in March 1943, moved to Italy in August for coastal duty at Genoa, and after reorganizing as a Type 1944 division, went into action west of Cassino where it was wiped out again. The remnants were used to reinforce the 305th Infantry Division in July 1944. The division was recreated a second time in August 1944 using troops from Shadow Division Silesia, joined the retreat over the Arezzo, and from December 1944 to April 1945 fought in defensive battles on the Reno River south of Bologna. The division went into captivity in April. Rated as "average" by von Ingelheim's post-war assessment.22


 98th Infantry Division

 98. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment (1944-45) 117, 289, 290 Regiments reformed in June 1944
117 renamed "Grenadier Lehr Regiment 117" Oct 1944
Fusilier Battalion 98  
Artillery Regiment 198  
Pioneer Battalion 198 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 198 Recreated in Crotia with three companies

Created: 18 Sep 1939
Military District: XIII
Early service: France, Russia, destroyed Sevastopol May 1944
Recreated: June 1944, Croatia
To Italy: Jul 1944
Fate: Surrendered April 1945

Created as part of the 5th Mobilization Wave in 1939. Served on western border and then in French Campaign. Granted leave August 1940 to February 1941, then garrison duty in France and into the Russian Campaign, originally as OKH reserve. Fought at Moscow, then defensive fighting. In April and May 1943 used for anti-partisan duties at Bryansk. To Kuban bridgehead in the summer of 1943 (less one of its regiments as Grenadier Regiment 289 was dissolved), then heavy defensive fighting at Kerch. Grenadier Regiment 289 reinstated March 1944, division withdrew to Sevastopol and was destroyed there in May 1944.

The division was recreated in Croatia in June 1944 from surviving remnants of the division and staff from 387th Infantry Division which was smashed and dissolved in the spring of 1944. Moved to Italy in July 1944 for coastal duties at Ravenna. Fought at Rimini in August and September 1944, retreated through Appenines to Senio and defensive fighting there from January 1945 to April. Retreated across the Po and into captivity.


 148th Infantry Division

 148. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment (1944-45) 281, 285, 286  
Fusilier Battalion (1944-45) 148  
Artillery Regiment (1944-45) 1048  
Pioneer Battalion (1944-45) 1048 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion (1944-45) 1048  

variations of divisional sign

Created: 1 Oct 1942
Redesignated: 18 Sep 1944
Military District: VIII
Early service: none
To Italy: Sep 1944
Fate: Surrendered to Americans.

148th Reserve Division reorganized at Metz in December 1942. Transferred to Silesia and in May 1943 to Toulouse, then again in November 1943 to Nice. Guarded mountain passes between Italy and France. On 2 July 1944 transferred to the Field Army.

148th Infantry Division created in Liguria on 18 September 1944 by the renaming of 148th Reserve Division. Served on coastal duty in northern Italy. Ended war in American captivity. Did not participate materially in the fighting and was not assessed by von Ingelheim for that reason.22



155th Infantry Division

 155. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier (Field Training-) Regiment (Nov 1944) 1227, 1228, 1229  
Grenadier Regiment (Feb 1945) 1227, 1228, 1229 renamed Feb 1945
Fusilier Battalion ?  
Artillery (Field Training) Battalion 155  
Artillery (Field Training) Battalion 155  
Pioneer (Field Training) Battalion 1054 divisional engineers

Created: Nov 1944 (as Field Training Division)
Military District: V
Early service: none
To Italy: created in Italy
Fate: Surrendered to Americans May 1945

Established on 2 November 1944 in Italy as 155th Field Training Division, using cadre from 20th Luftwaffe Sturm Division and RAD (Labour service) personnel. On 11 February 1945 renamed 155th Infantry division. Surrendered to American units in the Belluno area.



157 Reserve Division

 157. Reserve Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Reserve Grenadier Regiment 7, 157  
Reserve Mountain Troop Regiment 1 Renamed in Oct 1944 Mountain Troop Regiment 296
Reserve Artillery Regiment 7  
Reserve Pioneer Battalion 7 divisional engineers

Created: 1 October 1942
Military District: VII
Early service: none
To Italy: summer 1943
Fate: Reclassified to Mountain Troop Division Sep 1944

Redesignation of Division No. 157, originally a collection of replacement units in Military District VII. Moved to the western Alps in the summer of 1943, served on anti-partisan duties in Savoy. Reserve Grenadier Regiment 7 dissolved in December 1943. Reclassified in September 1944 to become 157th Mountain Division. Reserve Mountain Troop Regiment 1 was redesignated Mountain Troop Regiment 296, and Reserve Grenadier Regiment 157 was reclassified as Mountain Troop Regiment 297 in October 1944.



 162nd (Turkestan) Infantry Division

 162. (Turkoman) Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Infantry Regiment 303, 314, 329 329th regiment formed Aug 1944
Artillery Regiment 236  
Reconnaissance Battalion 236 Created 1 Jun 1943 with 3 squadrons, expanded to
four squadrons at end of 1944
Pioneer Battalion 936 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 236 two companies, third company added Nov 1944

Created: 1 Dec 1939
Military District: II
Early service: Russia
Withdrawn: May 1942
Recreated: 21 May 1943
To Italy: Oct 1932 
Fate: Surrendered to British in Austria.

Original division was created in December 1939, served at Kalinin and Rshev in December 1941, and withdrawn to Stettin in May 1942, intended as a training cadre for foreign volunteers. Renamed in May 1943 to become 162nd (Turcoman) Infantry Division. Division reformed from volunteer Turkmen recruited from Soviet prisoners of war. Authorized strength of 10,000 volunteers and 8,000 German cadre.

Infantry Regiment 303 created on 1 June 1943 in occupied Poland using men of the 2nd Turkoman Legion and two Turkoman battalions, then reduced from 3 battalions to 2 in June 1944. The 314th Infantry Regiment was created simultaneously from the Azerbaidzhan Legion and battalions, likewise reduced from 3 battalions to 2 in June 1944. On 6 September 1944 Infantry Regiment 329 was created from Azerbaijani battalions and joined the division. It doesn't appear these regiments received the honorific "Grenadier" which replaced the term "Infantry" in German regiments from October 1942.

Relocated to Italy in spring of 1944, moved to the front in May. According to von Ingelheim's postwar account, the division was unable to hold its positions and was considered unreliable.22 Retreated to Austria at end of war and surrendered to British.


232nd Infantry Division

 232. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 1043, 1044, 1045  
Fusilier Battalion 232  
Artillery Regiment 232  
Pioneer Battalion 232 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 232  

Created: 26 June 1944
Military District: IX
Early service: none
To Italy: August 1944
Fate: Surrendered near in Lombardy Brescia and Milan to Americans.

Formed as a Bodenständige (Static) Division on 26 June 1944. Coastal duty on Ligurian coast at Genoa as part of Armee Ligurien. The Ligurian Army was created in July 1944 as a mixed German-Italian command, with authority over Italian forces of the Italian Social Republic - a puppet fascist state under Mussolini in northern Italy. This was the second incarnation of an Italian fascist state, under the Republican Fascist Party which had ostensibly reformed into an anti-monarchist party. While officially called Army Liguria, under command of Army Group C, between November 1944 to February 1945 the subordination of 14th Army meant that the command was also sometimes referred to as an Army Group.


237th Infantry Division

 237. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 1046, 1047, 1048  
Fusilier Battalion 237  
Artillery Regiment 237  
Pioneer Battalion 237 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 237  


Created: 12 June 1944
Military District: IX
Early service: none
To Italy: August 1944
Fate: Surrendered to Yugoslavs May 1945

Created on 12 June 1944 as a division of the 27th Mobilization Wave using units from the dissolved Shadow Division Bohemia. Division assembled at the training ground at Milowitz (Milovice) in Czechoslovakia. Performed coastal defence duty on the Istrian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. Surrendered to Yugoslav forces in May 1945 at Fiume. The end of the war heralded a mass expulsion of ethnic Italians from the region amounting to between 230,000 and 350,000 people (including Croats and Slovenes fleeing communist rule of Yugoslavia).


 278th Infantry Division

 278. Infanterie Division

278. Volksgrenadier Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 992, 993, 994  
Fusilier Battalion 278  
Artillery Regiment 278  
Pioneer Battalion 278 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 278  

Created: 17 Nov 1943
Military District: VIII
Early service: none
To Italy: Jan 1944
Fate: Surrendered May 1945

Originally planned as part of the 10th Mobilization Wave to be stood up on 22 May 1940. However, the fall of France was so rapid that the order was cancelled on 22 July 1940. The division was actually raised in November 1943 as part of the 22nd Mobilization Wave. Raised in Italy around the staff of the 333rd Infantry Division which had disbanded after its destruction in Russia.

Organized at Padua-Ferrara-Bologna in Italy in January 1944. Transferred to Istria at the end of March 1944, and in May 1944 to Pescara. Forced to retreat to Chienti in June after heavy fighting against Polish troops. Heavy losses again at Ancona in July. Moved from the Adriatic inland in August, heavy defensive fighting at San Marino, and further retreats followed by fighting at the Senio. Renamed in April to become 278th Volksgrenadier Division. Heavy losses in final weeks of war, remnants capitulated in May 1945 north of the Po.

Described in von Ingelheim's postwar account as a weak division with only average combat value.22


305th Infantry Division

305. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment (1942-45) 576, 577, 578  
Fusilier Battalion 305 (redesignation of Recon Bn Jul 1943)
Artillery Regiment 305  
Pioneer Battalion 305 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 305 Created summer 1943 with 3 companies

Created: 15 Dec 1940
Military District: V
Early service: Russia, destroyed at Stalingrad.
Recreated in France Feb 1943
To Italy: Aug 1943
Fate: Remnants surrendered Lake Garda May 1945.

Created on 15 December 1940 as a Security Division of the 13th Mobilization Wave at Ravensburg. Reclassified on 7 February 1942 as an assault division, and transferred to Eastern Front in July 1942. Destroyed in January 1943 at Stalingrad. Rebuilt in Brittany, France in February 1943 and deployed to Italy in August 1943. Coastal duty at La Spezia, and entered combat in October 1943. Constant action at Volturno, Pescara, and Bologna. Ended the war north of Po at Lake Garda.

Von Ingelheim's postwar account mentioned the division performed well and had proven itself in mountain warfare.22


 334th Infantry Division

 334. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 754, 755, 756  
Fusilier Battalion 334 Redesignation of Recon Bn July 1943
Artillery Regiment 334  
Reconnaissance Battalion 334 Recreated in France June 1943,
renamed in July to Fusilier Battalion
Pioneer Battalion 334 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 334 recreated June 1943 with
AT company, AA company, StuG detachment
Created: 25 Nov 1942
Military District: XIII
Early service: Africa
Captured in Tunisia May 1943
Recreated in France
To Italy: Oct 1943
Fate: Surrendered to Americans in Dolomites.

Created in November 1942, intended for service in Africa. Dispatched from Naples in January 1943, surrendered at Tunis in May 1943. Original division had two Grenadier Regiments and a Mountain Regiment, and as was standard in North Africa, all units were motorized. Recreated with three Grenadier Regiments.

Rebuilt in France in June using divisional remnants, replacement units and staff of 80th Infantry Division. Moved to Genoa in October 1943, then to the Adriatic Front in January 1944. Retreated to Apennines, positional warfare at Florence from July to October 1944, then combat at Bologna and Faenza. Retreated across the Po and into American captivity at the end of the war. Von Ingelheim rated the division in his postwar survey as good but average.22

Monument in Italy to German 334th Infantry
Division (with variant on divisional sign) and U.S. 34th Infantry Division. website photo


356th Infantry Division

 356. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 869, 870, 871  
Fusilier Battalion 356 From 29 Sep 1943
Artillery Regiment 356  
Reconnaissance Battalion 356 Jul 1943 to Sep 1943
Pioneer Battalion 356 divisional engineers
Schnell Battalion 356 Apr 1943
Anti-tank Battalion 356 Jul 1943

Created: 1 May 1943
Military District: IX
Early service: none
To Italy: Nov 1943
Fate: Surrendered to US in Austria

Created on 1 May 1943 in southern France. Deployed to Italian Riviera, served on Italian Riviera and Adriatic coast in 1944. Combat at Orvieto in June and Rimini in September. Heavy withdrawal battles through Trieste and Stuhlweissenburg, ended war in Austria and surrendered to Americans.

Originally organized with a Schnell Battalion with bicycle and anti-tank troops. Converted to AT battalion with two anti-tank companies and a third (anti-aircraft) company added in 1944. The reconnaissance battalion was converted to a Füsilier Battalion in September 1943, and expanded to four squadrons.



362nd Infantry Division

 362. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Grenadier Regiment 954, 955, 956, 1059, 1060 954 & 955 disbanded June 1944
Fusilier Battalion 362  
Artillery Regiment 362  
Pioneer Battalion 362 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 362  

Created: 15 Nov 1943
Military District: VII
Early service: none
To Italy: formed in Italy
Fate: Surrendered May 1945

Created in northern Italy as part of Mobilization Wave 21 from staff and cadre of the 268th Infantry Division (which had been destroyed on the Eastern Front and formally disbanded in November 1943). Took up coastal defence duties at Riccione-Tagliamento, then coastal duty on the Tyrrhenian Sea north of the Tiber River. Saw action at Nettuno in February 1944, retreat battles through the Alban Hills and through Rome. Refitted at Siena and absorbed surviving elements of 92nd Infantry Division. Defensive fighting at Arno in August 1944 and to Pistoria and combat at Firenzulo. Partisan fighting near the Futa Pass, and in October 1944 fighting south of Bologna, followed by refitting. Back into combat at the Senior River in January. Retreated from Senio in April and surrendered north of the Po in May 1945. Rated as average by von Ingelheim's postwar account.22


 715th Infantry Division

 715. Infanterie Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Infantry Regiment (1941-42) 725, 735 Renamed as Grenadier Regiments in Oct 1942
Grenadier Regiment (1943-44) 725, 735 Gren Regt 774 created after move from Italy
Fusilier Battalion (1944-45) 715 established Jul 44
Artillery Regiment 671 3 battalions only (expanded to four on Eastern Front)
Reconnaissance Battalion 715  
Pioneer Battalion 715 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 715 Established Mar 1944

Created: 8 May 1941
Military District: V
Early service: coastal duty
To Italy: Jan 1944
Fate: To Russia in early 1945, surrendered in Czechoslovakia

Garrisoned the Cannes-Nice sector in France in late summer 1943 when Italian troops pulled out following the defection. Sent to Italy in January 1944 after conversion to a motorized infantry division using makeshift commercial vehicles. Organized with only four infantry battalions and deficient in anti-tank, artillery and pioneer units. Served in the Anzio beachhead, and withdrawn following the fall of Rome. Rebuilt from elements of Grenadier Regimetn 1028 and Shadow Division Wildflechen, then back to the front in September 1944. Fought in the Gothic Line and then transferred to the Adriatic Coast. Rebuilt once more in February 1945 with three Grenadier Regiments (two battalions each). sent to the Eastern Front and surrendered in Czechoslovakia on 2 May 1945. Described by Ingelheim's postwar account as "on the whole of modest combat value....below the average of the German infantry divisions."22



5th Mountain Division

5. Gebirgs Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Mountain Troop Regiment 85, 100  
Mountain Artillery Regiment 95  
Mountain Bicycle Battalion 95 (1940-41) Transferred to 3 Mtn Div Feb 1942
Reconnaissance Battalion 85 Created Jan 44 from reorg of Schnell Battalion
Mountain Pioneer Battalion 95  
Mountain Anti-Tank Battalion 95 (1940-41) Transferred to 3 Mtn Div Feb 1942
Schnell Battalion 95 Created March 1943
Anti-tank Battalion 85 Created Dec 43 from reorg of Schnell Battalion

The divisional sign was a chamois (A European goat-antelope) astride three mountain peaks.

Created: 25 October 1940 at Salzburg
Military District: XVIII
Early service:  Greece, Crete, Russia
To Italy: Nov 1943
Fate: Surrendered near Turin to the Americans in May 1945

Created October 1940 in the Salzburg area, using Gebirgsjäger Regiment 100 formerly of the 1st Mountain Division and the 85th Infantry Regiment, which came from 10th Infantry Division when it converted to a motorized infantry division. Served in the Greek Campaign in April 1941, striking from Bulgaria into the Metaxas Line. Action on Crete followed, along with garrison duty there and a return to Salzburg for reorganization. Went to Army Group North in March 1942. In March 1943 the division received a schnell battalion which was split into separate anti-tank and reconnaissance battalions in December 1943 and January 1944. Transferred to northern Italy in November 1943 and defensive fighting at Monte Mare, Monte Croce and Monte Cassino. Heavy fighting at Cassino and transfer to the Adriatic in May 1944, more combat in Lombardy. Moved to the western Alps in October 1944, and surrendered near Turin in May 1945 to the Americans. Von Ingelheim felt that "despite having the best equipment, only a moderately average combat value."22


8th Mountain Division

 8. Gebirgsjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Mountain Troop Regiment 296, 297  
Mountain Artillery Regiment 1057  
Mountain Pioneer Battalion 1057 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 1057  

Created: Feb 1945
Military District: VII
Early service: as 157th Mountain Division
To Italy: created in Italy
Fate: surrendered to Americans near Trento

Plans to create an 8th Mountain Division in Lapland in March 1944 were never realized. In February 1945, the 157th Mountain Division was redesignated to become 8th Mountain Division.



 42nd Light Infantry Division

42. Jäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Jäger Regiment 25, 40  
Artillery Regiment 142  
Reconnaissance Battalion 142  
Pioneer Battalion 142 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 142  

Created: 22 December 1943
Military District: XVII
Early service:  Croatia
To Italy: June 1944
Fate: surrendered to British at Belluno

Created in Croatia from the 187th Replacement Division in December 1943. Moved to northern Italy in June 1944, served on coastal defence on the Ligurian Coast and at La Spezia. Moved to Bologna in November 1944, and remnants retreated over the Po River in April 1945. Division surrendered to the British at Belluno.



114th Light Infantry Division

114. Jäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Jäger Regiment 721, 741  
Artillery Regiment 661  
Reconnaissance Company 114 Bicycle company converted to reconnaissance company on renaming of division on 1 Apr 1943. Expanded to four companies on 2 May 1944.
Pioneer Battalion 114 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 114  

Created: 1 Apr 1943
Military District: I
Early service: Yugoslavia as 114 Inf Div
To Italy:  Feb 1944
Fate: Surrendered to Americans near Brescia.

Created on 1 May 1941 as 114th Infantry Division and deployed to Yugoslavia for anti-partisan duties. On 1 April 1943 reclassified as 114. Jäger Division. Deployed to Anzio-Nettuno in February 1944. Described by von Ingelheim as weak and of only average combat value, had little experience of front-line combat and troops tended to be from older age classes.22



 157th Mountain Division

157. Gebirgsjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Mountain Troop Regiment 296, 297  
Mountain Artillery Regiment 1057  
Mountain Pioneer Battalion 1057 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 1057  

Created: 1 September 1944
Military District: VII
Early service: as 157th Infantry Division
To Italy: formed in Italy
Fate: renamed 8th Mountain Division Feb 1945

Redesignation and classification of the 157th Reserve Infantry Division as 157th Mountain Division.



188th Mountain Division

188. Gebirgsjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Mountain Troop Regiment 901, 902, 903, 904 Originally Reserve Mountain Regiments 136 , 137, 138, 139
Mountain Artillery Regiment 1088  
Mountain Pioneer Battalion 1088 divisional engineers

Created: 1 March 1944
Military District:  XVIII
Early service: none
To Italy: created in Italy
Fate: Surrendered in Yugoslavia in 1945

Redesignation of the 188th Reserve Mountain Division as a field division. Served in northern Italy and from August 1944 to the end of the war on the Adriatic coast and the Istrian peninsula.



16th Panzer Division

16. Panzer Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Regiment 2  
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 64, 79  
Panzer Artillery Regiment 16  
Army FlaK Artillery Battalion 274  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 16  
Panzer Pioneer Battalion 16 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 16  

Created: converted to armour 1 Nov 1940
Military District: VI
Early service: Balkans, Russia, destroyed at Stalingrad
Recreated: Early 1943
To Italy: May 1943
Fate: Returned to Eastern Front in October 1943.

Originally established as 16th Infantry Division, converted to armour in November 1940. Served in Romania as an instructional unit, participated in suppression of an uprising and in spring 1941 moved to Bulgaria. In reserve during the Balkan campaign, moved to Silesia and then into Russia in May 1941. Heavy combat on the Eastern Front and eventually destroyed at Stalingrad.

The division was recreated in Brittany, France and sent to Tuscany, Italy in May 1943. Secured the Gulf of Taranto in August 1943 following the evacuation of Sicily. In September 1943 helped disarm elements of the Italian armed forces following the defection. Rushed to the Adriatic coast near Termoli and withdrew under enemy pressure to the Sangro. At the end of November the division was replaced in the line by the 65th Infantry Division and returned to the Eastern Front, where it remained for the rest of the war. The 16th did not receive the PzKpfw V "Panther" until after it returned to the Eastern Front.24


26th Panzer Division

26. Panzer Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Regiment 26  
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 9, 67  
Panzer Artillery Regiment 93  
Army FlaK Artillery Battalion 304  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 26 Originally Motorcycle Battalion 26, redesignated as armoured recon in April 1943.
Panzer Pioneer Battalion 93 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 51  

Created: 14 September 1942
Military District: III
Early service: coastal duties France
To Italy: June 1943
Fate: Surrendered to British troops at Bologna in May 1945

Originally established as 23rd Infantry Division, converted to armour in Belgium in September 1942. Used as training formation and for coastal duties near Amiens, France. The Panzergrenadier Regiments were originally set up subordinate to the 26th Panzergrenadier Brigade, but the latter was disbanded in November 1942.

The division moved to Italy in June 1943, served at Salerno and Cassino, followed by Anzio-Nettuno, Orsogna, Rimini, Ravenna and Bologna. Continually reinforced, in June 1944 received troops from Grenadier Brigade (motorized) 1027 and in November 1944 received drafts from the 20th Luftwaffe Field Division.

The 1st Battalion of the 26th Panzer Regiment re-equipped with Panther tanks, but never served in Italy, instead going to the 25th Panzer Division in Russia and later to the Grossdeutschland Division and the Brandenburg Division, being renamed along the way. In its place, the 1st Battalion of Panzer Regiment 4 was attached to Panzer Regiment 26 in Italy, and in April 1945 was officially renamed to finally become the official 1st Battalion of Panzer Regiment 26.24

The Division capitulated in May 1945 to the British and was described by von Ingelheim as "one of the best German divisions in the Italian theatre of war. Despite heavy losses the division maintained high morale and was always well led."22


3rd Panzergrenadier Division

3. Panzergrenadier Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 8, 29 8 Pz Gren Regt was named Grenadier Regiment until 1 Dec 1944, due to another regiment in the 8th Panzer Division having the name 8 Pz Gren Rgt until it was renamed Pz Gren Rgt 98.
Panzer Battalion 103  
Artillery Regiment 3 (motorized)  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 103  
Pioneer Battalion 3 (motorized) divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 3  

Created: October 1934
Military District: III
Early service: as infantry division in Poland. France, and Russia. Destroyed at Stalingrad.
Recreated: 1 March 1943 as 3rd Infantry Division (motorized).
To Italy: Jun 1943
Fate: Moved to France in August 1944 and fought in France and Germany to war's end.

Participation as infantry division in the Polish and French campaign. In the fall of 1940, converted to motorized division, and served as 3rd Motorized Infantry Division in Russia. Destroyed at Stalingrad. Reorganized in SW France in the spring of 1943 as 3rd Motorized Infantry Division and renamed in May/June 1943 as 3rd Panzergrenadier Division. Went to Italy in June 1943 and into action at Salerno in September. Retreated across the Volturno and was in reserve at Monte Cassino in December. Went into action at Aprilia and Cisterna following the Anzio landings. Transferred to Florence after the fall of Rome in June 1944, and transferred to France.25

According to von Ingelheim the "division never advanced beyond average in terms of combat value."22


15th Panzergrenadier Division

15. Panzergrenadier Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 104, 115, 129  
Panzer Battalion 215  
Artillery Regiment 33  
Army FlaK Artillery Battalion 315  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 115  
Pioneer Battalion 33 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 33  

The division originally used a three pointed star as a divisional sign, but beginning on Sicily adopted a five-pointed star that was easier to apply.

Created: 6 July 1943
Military District: XII
Early service: France, Africa, destroyed at Tunis.
To Italy: created in Italy Jun/Jul 1943
Fate: Surrendered 1945

Originally 33nd Infantry Division, served as such in the French Campaign. Autumn 1940 converted to the 15th Panzer Division. Served in Africa from the spring of 1941 to May 1943 and was wiped out there.

The remnants of 15 Panzer Division were resurrected as the Sizilien Division, and renamed 15th Panzergrenadier Division. Panzergrenadier Regiments 104, 115 and 129 were among those units formed on Sicily in July 1943. PzGren Rgt 115 fought at Cassino and was dissolved in February 1944, its personnel went to Panzergrenadier Regiment 129. In April 1944 PzGren Regiment 129 was renamed Panzergrenadier Regiment 115.

The division saw heavy fighting to the end of the Italian Campaign and according to von Ingelheim, "despite heavy losses was always a good division."22


29th Panzergrenadier Division

29. Panzergrenadier Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 15, 71  
Panzer Battalion 29  
Artillery Regiment 29  
Army FlaK Artillery Battalion 29  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 129  
Pioneer Battalion 29 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 29  

The 29th Infantry Division used a falcon as the divisional sign, and the division became known as the Falke (Falcon) Division.

Military District: IX
Early service: Poland, France and Russia as 29th Infantry Division. Destroyed at Stalingrad.
Recreated: Mar 1943 and renamed in June.
To Italy: July 1943
Fate: Destroyed at the Po April 1945.

Created on 23 June 1943 by reorganization of the 29th Infantry Division.

The 29th Infantry Division was crated before the war in Erfurt, and in 1937 became the 29th Infantry Division (Motorized). The division mobilized and saw action in Poland and France. The division went into Russia with Panzer Group 2, fought at Minsk, Smolensk and Bryansk, and in 1942 left Army Group Centre for Army Group South, with whom it was destroyed at Stalingrad.

The division was reorganized in SW France in the spring of 1943, and was designated a Panzergrenadier Division in the summer.  Moved to Sicily in June 1943, served there and then as a rearguard on the Italian mainland. Fought in defensive battles and at Anzio, and in the last month of the war was trapped by the 8th Army between the Po and the Apennine mountains where it disintegrated. According to von Ingelheim, "one of the best German divisions in the Italian theater of war."22


90th Panzergrenadier Division

90. Panzergrenadier Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Panzer Grenadier Regiment 200, 361 155 Pz Gren Rgt originally also on division strength
but disbanded in October 1943 
Panzer Battalion 190  
Artillery Regiment 190  
Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 90  
Pioneer Battalion 29 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 190  

From 1943 the division's insignia depicted the island of Sardinia, where the division was reorganized.

Military District: III
Early service:
To Italy: July 1943
Fate: surrendered to Americans south of Lake Garda.

The 90th Light Infantry Division was created in the summer of 1941 for use in Africa, and had a number of similar designations through its early history. The division moved to Africa in November 1941 and fought throughout the rest of the campaign, being destroyed at Tunis in May 1943. The division was officially disbanded in June.

The Sardinia Division was created in May 1943 and over the summer was used to recreate the 90th, now designated a Panzergrenadier Division. In September 1943 transferred to the Italian mainland. According to von Ingelheim, the division "served as a good Panzergrenadier Division."22



Air Force Divisions

19th Assault Division

19. Sturm Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Jäger Regiment 37, 38, 45  
Füsilier Battalion 19  
Artillery Regiment 19  
Pioneer Battalion 19 divisional engineers
Anti-tank Battalion 19  

(19th Grenadier Division)

Created: 1 Mar 1943
Early service: France, Netherlands
To Italy: June 1944
Fate: Disbanded 15 August 1944, recreated in the Army as 19th Volksgrenadier Division and fought in France to the end of October 1944.

Originally created as 19. Luftwaffe Feld Division (19th Air Force Field Division), and used as garrison troops. Later converted to Static Division, and employed on coastal duty. On 1 June 1944 the division was redesignated 19th Assault Division and sent to Italy. Used for coastal duty in Liguria originally, and after the fall of Rome thrown into rearguard battles. In four weeks of combat the division was destroyed and the remnants withdrawn to Viareggio where the division disbanded and survivors dispersed to other formations as far away as Denmark.



Parachute Panzer Division
Hermann Goering

Fallschirm- Panzer Division
Hermann Göring

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Parachute Panzer Regiment HG  
Parachute Panzergrenadier Regiment HG1, HG2  
Parachute Artillery Regiment HG  
FlaK Regiment HG  
Parachute Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion HG  
Parachute Armoured Pioneer Battalion HG divisional engineers

Created: redesignated July 1943
Early service: as infantry in Russia, and motorized infantry in North Africa.
To Italy: reorganized in Italy
Fate: to Russian front and eventual expansion to panzer corps, bulk surrendered to Russian troops in May 1945.

As described above, various units were formed to create first Regiment General Göring, then Brigade General Göring. This formation saw action in Russia in the summer and autumn of 1941. In November 1942 the Brigade General Göring was expanded to become Division General Göring.  Elements of the division assembled in Italy, and then moved to North Africa where about 11,000 officers and men surrendered in May 1943.

The Panzer Division Hermann Göring was recreated from new troops and remnants of the General Göring units. In July 1943 the division was renamed to become Parachute Panzer Division Hermann Goering. The Parachute designation of divisional units was notional and no unit received jump training. The division fought on Sicily, including action against the American landing beach at Gela, and then rearguard for the Axis evacuation through Messina. Helped disarm Italian units after defection of Italy, saw brief action at Salerno and then the Gustav Line. Further action at Cassino and Anzio-Nettuno. Withdrawn in April 1944, expected to move to southern France, but the Allied offensive in Italy in May 1944 required it to return to the front. Heavy losses south of Rome, withdrew to Florence, and in July 1944 left for the Eastern Front. Division expanded to corps on the Eastern Front.

The divisional order of battle followed Army lines, with the addition of an anti-aircraft regiment, but was hampered by a lack of combat experienced officers and junior leaders, gradually offset by the cross-posting of Army troops in leadership positions. Rated by von Ingelheim as having an above average combat value.

The HG Division used a unique series of "clock face" tactical signs to distinguish units within the division.


1st Parachute Division

1. Fallschirmjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Parachute Infantry (FJ) Regiment 1, 3, 4  
Parachute Artillery Regiment 1  
Parachute FlaK Battalion 1  
Parachute Pioneer Battalion 1 divisional engineers
Parachute Anti-tank Battalion 1  

Created: 1 Sep 1938 (as 7. Flieger Div)Reorganized: 1 May 1943
Early Service: Poland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Greece, Crete, Russia.
To Italy: July 1943
Fate: surrendered in Italy 2 May 1945

Created as 7. Flieger Division in 1938 to control all parachute units. By 1939 these numbered two regiments. Fought in Poland in company-sized detachments, most missions were scrubbed when fast moving German forces overran the drop zones. Played a vital role in Norway and Denmark, and later the invasion of the Netherlands. After the Western Campaign the division expanded to four regiments. The division fought again in Greece in 1941. The largest German airborne operation took place on Crete in May. Heavy losses led to the division not being employed at the start of the Russian Campaign. Elements of the division fought in various combat groups in September 1941 and in 1942 on anti-partisan duties. One brigade went to North Africa. On 1 May 1943 the division was reorganized, its scattered elements united in France, and renamed 1. Fallschirmjäger Division. The new division had a strong cadre as well as new volunteers. Elements served on Sicily in July 1943, and the division was used steadily in defensive operations, notably at Ortona and later at Anzio-Nettuno and the Gothic/Green Line. According to von Ingelheim, “showed the highest morale and one of the best German fighting divisions.”22


2nd Parachute Division

2. Fallschirmjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Parachute Infantry (FJ) Regiment 2, 6, 7  
Parachute Artillery Regiment 2  
Parachute FlaK Battalion 2 Created after Div left Italy
Parachute Pioneer Battalion 2 divisional engineers
Parachute Anti-tank Battalion 2  


Created: Feb 1943
Early service: none
To Italy: Sep 1943
Fate: moved to Eastern Front in Nov 1943.

Created in February 1943, moved to Italy at time of defection, and fought in Rome and the Reinhard Line. Moved to the Eastern Front in November 1943.


4th Parachute Division

4. Fallschirmjäger Division

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
Parachute Infantry (FJ) Regiment 10,11, 12  
Parachute Artillery Regiment 4  
Parachute FlaK Battalion 4  
Parachute Pioneer Battalion 4 divisional engineers
Parachute Anti-tank Battalion 4  

Created: Nov 1943
Early service: none
To Italy: created in Italy
Fate: surrendered in Italy April 1945

Created in November 1943 from elements of the 2nd Parachute Division, volunteers from Italian airborne units, and various paratroop replacement units in Italy. First saw action at Anzio-Nettuno, then rear guard actions south of Rome, among the last units to leave the city, withdrawal battles, and action at Futa Pass and the Gothic/Green Line. Sent cadre to Austria in March 1945 to created 10th Parachute Division, fought at Rimini and Bologna before surrendering to the Allies in April 1945. According to Ingelheim, “better than average combat value.”22



Waffen-SS Divisions


16th Panzer Grenadier Division
"Reichsführer SS"

16. SS-Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsführer SS"

Main Combat Units

Type Designations Notes
SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment 35, 36  
SS Panzer Battalion 16  
SS Artillery Regiment 16  
SS Assault Gun Battalion 16  
SS FlaK Battalion 16  
SS Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion 16  
Pioneer Battalion 16 divisional engineers

Created: Expanded
Early service: Corsica, Yugoslavia
To Italy: Winter 1943/44
Fate: Left Italy in April 1944, to Austria, then Hungary. Surrendered to Russians in Austria in April 1945.

The motorized Escort Battalion "Reichsführer SS" was expanded in February 1943 to brigade strength (consisting of a Grenadier Battalion, Anti-Tank detachment, assault gun detachment, and anti-aircraft battalion). The Assault Brigade "Reichsführer SS" expanded to Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsführer SS" in September 1943. Served on Corsica and later moved to Italy. Elements served on anti-partisan duty around Ljubljana. Two battalions fought on the Anzio-Nettuno front in February 1944. According to von Ingelheim: "despite quality manpower, average officers and NCOs resulted in the division receiving insufficient training. Never more than "average" combat value."22




Additional Support


A number of additional units supported the German divisions in the field, including assault gun battalions (reorganized as assault gun brigades in early 1944), heavy tank battalions (equipped with the PzKpfw VI "Tiger" tank), and various heavy artillery types used at corps and army level, including Nebelwerfer rocket batteries, and, famously at Anzio, rail guns. None of these existed on the regular establishment of the divisions. Over 190 of the PzKpfw VI ausf E "Tiger" tank were sent to Italy during the Second World War, with 165 of them seeing combat.26 The Tiger units also deployed with a number of remote control demolition devices.


The divisional organizations were somewhat flexible, however, in that the Germans excelled at the use of Battle Groups (Kampfgruppen), where disparate elements of various formations might be brought together under a single headquarters. This was sometimes done when units were cut up into remnants, but the method was also employed to place full-strength units under a single commander. For example, the 65th Infantry Division fought at Anzio as Battle Group Pfeifer, with component units of other divisions under command and fighting alongside the 65th's component elements.


504th Heavy Tank Battalion

 504. Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung

Intended for service in Tunisia, the 2nd Company of this battalion was stranded in Italy after the fall of Tunis. Following Allied landings on Sicily, they fought there with 17 tanks. The company was plagued by poor communication and cooperation with the Hermann Goering Panzer Division to whom it was subordinated, and a number of Tigers were lost through the HG's inability to recover and repair them. After ten days of fighting only two Tigers remained. Reinforced by a third, they joined the HG's panzer regiment and only a single Tiger remained by the time Axis forces had retreated through the straits of Messina to the mainland.

The battalion was recreated in November 1943 in the Netherlands, and went to Italy in June 1944. Additionally, an eight-tank group formed from instructional and training units, named Tiger Company Meyer, was formed in the summer of 1943 and sent to the Brenner Pass. They served under various high level headquarters and only saw action after the landings at Anzio-Nettuno. From 27 January to 1 March 1944 the Tigers fought independently at Anzio, and were absorbed by the 508th Heavy Tank Battalion thereafter.

By 23 July 1944, after defensive battles north of Rome, one company of the 504th had lost all its Tigers. More action for the 504th followed in August and September and by October the Tigers were being parcelled out in small groups to stabilize different areas of the front. In February 1945, the battalion absorbed the remnants of the 508th Heavy Tank Battalion and went into reserve east of Bologna. On 21 April the remaining eight operational Tigers broke out of an Allied encirclement, but unable to cross the Senio River, the last German Tigers in Italy were destroyed by their crews to prevent their capture.

508th Heavy Tank Battalion

 508. Schwere-Panzer-Abteilung

The 508th Heavy Tank Battalion entered action in Italy in February 1944 with 45 Tigers. The battalion operated at Anzio until late May when the surviving vehicles withdrew to Rome for repairs. Further defensive battles followed in June. At the start of July only 23 Tigers were available for action. The company was by this time operating in small groups, diminishing their combat effectiveness. Further combat at Bologna and Florence followed. In February 1945 the remaining 15 Tigers were absorbed by the 504th Heavy Tank Battalion, and the crews sent to Paderborn to train on the Königstiger tank.

Combat Power of German Forces in Italy

Ludwig Graf von Ingelheim, who served on the General Staff of the German Army throughout the war, analyzed and compared the German forces in Italy with their Allied counterparts and came to some interesting conclusions.

Ingelheim identifies 22 divisions which bore the brunt of the Italian Campaign. Among them, six had previously been shattered at Stalingrad (3rd Panzergrenadier, 29th Panzergrenadier, 44th, 71st, 94th and 305th Infantry), four had been destroyed at Tunis (Hermann Göring Panzer Division, 15th Panzergrenadier, 90th Panzergrenadier, 334th Infantry), and six were only newly created in 1943 (16th SS Panzergrenadier, 1st Parachute, 4th Parachute, 278th, 356th and 362nd Infantry).

Ingelheim identified just three divisions serving in Italy as elite - 1st Parachute, 26th Panzer Division, 29th Panzergrenadier Division. He also felt that as the German divisions were reorganized (for example from Type 1939 to Type 1944), their authorized manpower was scaled back, causing disadvantages when facing Allied formations. In addition to manpower shortages, German forces were chronically short of fuel. He offers the following insights:

What did the reorganization of the infantry divisions look like?

  1. The infantry Division Type 1939 had a strength of about 16,000 men. Their essential feature was 3 infantry regiments of 3 battalions each. If you are forced to maintain Infantry Divisions, then you also have to stick to this triangular infantry structure, which has been proven in two world wars.

  2. The Infantry Division Type 1944 was already reduced to about 12,500 men, the infantry regiments had only 2 battalions each, making, a reserve formation in combat impossible because the means of employing a Type 44 division remained the same as with a Type 1939 division. Fighting became more and more difficult.

  3. The Volksgrenadier Division was further reduced in strength to about 10,000 men. The statement made in b) applies to an increasing extent, especially since now also the Fusilier Battalion (the only divisional reserve) was reduced to a single Fusilier Company. This type was however from 1944 the standard type for all infantry formations. The division's artillery lost a light 10.5cm howitzer battalion and received a 7.5cm anti-tank battalion in its place. However, this type of division was better motorized and equipped with more anti-tank and automatic weapons than the Type 1939 and 1944 divisions. However, the army armament, or industry could not meet the demand at this time by far. The whole conversion into divisions of the type "Volksgrenadierdivision" remained piecemeal and was as such a serious disadvantage for the infantry.27

By comparison, the Allies had a number of other advantages. Artillery was both better and more plentiful in Allied divisions. Infantry divisions had nine infantry battalions compared to just six in the German divisions (with the advantage of being able to spell off battalions and/or use them in reserve more often). Allied infantry divisions were often supported by the assignment of independent tank brigades or battalions. Allied units suffered no fuel shortages, and had sufficient mechanical transport for both supplies and redeploying troops. By contrast German formations were horse-drawn. The Allies also enjoyed air superiority, and were able to hinder German movements behind the lines.

During the war, the U.S. 5th Army published an intelligence summary that characterized their German opponents, as reported in the U.S. Army's official history:

There was a tendency in some quarters to downgrade the German opposition. For example, one intelligence report made much of the 'remarkable background' of the divisions in the Tenth Army - the 44th, 94th, and 305th remade after Stalingrad, the 15th Panzer Grenadier and Hermann Goering reconstituted after Tunisia, the 3d Panzer Grenadier, renumbered but the same mediocre 386th, the 29th Panzer Grenadier, a milking of the 345th, the 1st Parachute drawn from the 7th, the 26th Panzer from the 23d Infantry - 'Only [the] 65[th] is an original invention, and it may hardly be regarded as a success.'28

Martin Blumenson, the Army's historian, added immediately after these lines that despite what the 5th Army thought of the German divisions, they 'fought resourcefully and well."

Comparative Strengths

Von Ingelheim's treatise included comparisons of opposing forces in Italy as follows:

Date/Place Ratio Allied:German Divs German Armoured Divisions Allied Armoured Divisions German Infantry Divisions Allied Infantry Divisions

9 Sep 1943


Von Ingelheim's figures of 17:8 are similar to John Ellis' (see below).

15 Nov 1943
Gustav Line
11:10 Hermann Göring
26th Panzer
U.S. 7th Armored  1st Parachute
 3rd Panzergrenadier
15th Panzergrenadier
29th Panzergreandier
65th Infantry
94th Infantry
305th Infantry
334th Infantry
1st Canadian Infantry
U.S. 3rd Infantry
5th Infantry (British)
8th Indian Infantry
U.S. 34th Infantry
U.S. 45th Infantry
46th Infantry (British)
56th Infantry (British)
78th Infantry (British)
U.S. 82nd Airborne
15 Jan 1944
Gustav Line
16:10 Hermann Göring
26th Panzer
U.S. 1st Armored
5th Canadian Armoured
U.S. 7th Armored
1st Parachute
3rd Panzergrenadier
5th Mountain
15th Panzergrenadier
44th Infantry
th Infantry
th Infantry
th Infantry
1st Canadian Infantry
2nd New Zealand Infantry
U.S. 3rd Infantry
5th Infantry (British)
8th Indian Infantry
U.S. 34th Infantry
U.S. 36th Infantry
U.S. 45th Infantry
46th Infantry (British)
56th Infantry (British)
78th Infantry (British)
U.S. 82nd Airborne
May 1944
25:16 9 in Gustav Line
5 at Anzio-Nettuno
2 in reserve
8 U.S.
4 Free French
10 British and Dominion
2 Polish
1 Italian

Von Ingelheim pointed out that the clearly growing superiority of Allied forces was even greater than just the number of divisions, as most German divisions had only six infantry battalions to the nine in a standard British or American infantry division. His final conclusion was "It should be noted that, in addition to the overwhelming air superiority of the Allies, Allied divisions were almost always superior to German troops by twice their strength and equipment. Every passing month of the war continued to worsen the situation of the German troops in Italy, and the situation of the Allies became more favourable."29

Historian John Ellis has pointed out that despite the protests of Allied commanders (and some historians) that insisted the war in Italy was run by the Allied supreme command on a shoestring, "Allied superiority in tanks, guns and aircraft was overwhelming."30 In September 1943, in addition to the ratio of divisions shown in the first line of the table above, the Allies had 1,053 medium tanks in Italy and over 1,900 by May 1944, peaking in October 1944 with over 3,000. Even reducing the figures by a quarter to account for vehicles not in service (due to damage, destruction or other maintenance), the Germans were severely disadvantaged. At Salerno in September 1943 the 16th Panzer Division had 100 tanks, which were whittled down in just six days of fighting to 22. Less than a month later, the entire 10th Army in southern Italy fielded only 149 tanks and 122 assault guns. By the end of November, the Allies had 2,000 tanks in Italy against 229 German tanks and 173 assault guns. By April 1944 the ratio of Allied tanks to German was about 10 to 1. Disparities of artillery and air power were similarly overwhelming .30

John Ellis provides a different analysis in his book Brute Force. For example he cites 13 Allied divisions versus 7 German divisions in September 1943. Note that Ellis has figures for both divisions deployed to the front, and those occupied in garrison and occupation duty). In fact, the only parity the Germans *were* able to achieve, according to Ellis, was in the number of divisions, as many Allied formations were stripped from the Italian theatre for the invasions of France in Normandy in June 1944 and southern France in August 1944.


Both Allied and German historians talk about the hardships of the Italian Campaign and the belief among the troops on both sides that they were relegated to a backwater of the war. For the Allies, it was a brutal slog through unforgiving terrain, a battle of attrition akin to the Western Front of the First World War. For the Germans, a feeling that they were deluged by air and artillery power deployed tenfold or more their own numbers. What is relatively clear today is the human cost: 312,000 wounded, killed and captured Allied soldiers, against 435,000 German casualties. Losses among the civil population were also high, as often from bombs and shells of their Allied liberators as from the brutality of occupying German forces who used reprisals as one of the tools in the bitter partisan fighting that threatened their zone of communication.31


  1. Cooper, Matthew The German Army 1933-1945: Its Political and Military Failure  (Stein & Day Publishers, New York, NY, 1978) ISBN 0-8128-2468-7 p.399

  2. Ibid p.403

  3. Ibid, p.401

  4. Ibid p.406

  5. Zaloga, Steven J. Anzio 1944: The Beleaguered Beachhead (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Botley, Oxford, UK, 2005) ISBN 1-84176-913-4 p.57

  6. Cooper, Ibid, p.406

  7. Thomas, Nigel & Stephen Andrew The German Army 1939-45 (5): Western Front 1943-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Botley, Oxford, UK, 2000) ISBN 1-85532-797-X pp.16-17

  8. Cooper, Ibid, p.403

  9. Ibid, p.406

  10. Jurado, Carlos Caballero Resistance Warfare: 1940-45 (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2005) ISBN 0-85045-938-X pp.24-39

  11. Thomas, Ibid, pp.6-7

  12. Ibid, p.7

  13. Ibid

  14. Niehorster, Lee German Army Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions 1943-1944 (Enola Games, Brooklyn, NY, 1982) p.19

  15. Battistelli, Pier Paolo Panzer Divisions 1944-45 (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2009) ISBN 978-1-84603-406-0 p.15

  16. Windrow, Martin Luftwaffe Airborne and Field Units (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2001) ISBN 085045-114-0 pp.3-28

  17. Williamson, Gordon The Waffen SS (1): 1. to 5. Divisions (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2003) ISBN 1-84176-589-9 p.3

  18. Windrow, Martin Waffen SS (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 1973) ISBN 0-88254-169-2 p.20

  19. Bishop, Chris Hitler's Foreign Divisions: Foreign Volunteers in the Waffen SS 1940-1945 (Amber Books Ltd, London, UK, 2005) ISBN 1-904687-37-7 pp.45, 1177

  20. Windrow, Martin The Waffen SS (Revised Edition) (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 1989) ISBN 0-85045-425-5 p.24

  21. Williamson, Gordon German Army Elite Units 1939-45 (Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2002) ISBN 1-84176-405-1 p.19

  22. Von Ingelheim, Ludwig Graf "Die personelle und materille Lage der deutschen Divisionen in Italien, verglichen mit der Verhältnissen auf allierter Seite." (October 1947) - National Archives and Records Administration document MS#D-342. Von Ingelheim served in various staff roles during the war, including Ia (Operations Officer) of the 54th Army Corps from August 1941 to February 1943. He ended the war as a colonel of the General Staff, serving as chief of staff of the German 82nd Army Corps.

  23. Divisional sketch histories were done with extensive reference to the Lexicon-der-Wehrmacht website

  24. Battistelli, Ibid, p.88

  25. Bishop, Chris Panergrenadier Divisions 1939-1945 (Amber Books Ltd, London, UK, 2007) ISBN 978-1-905704-29-3 pp.16-24

  26. Trocja, Waldemar, Karlheinz Münch and Markus Jaugitz Tigers in Italy 1943-45 (Model Hobby, Katowice, Poland, 2008) ISBN 978-83-60041-34-5

  27. Von Ingelheim, Ibid

  28. Blumenson, Martin. United States Army in World War II – Mediterranean Theater of Operations: Salerno to Cassino (Center of MIlitary History, Washington, DC, 1993) p.60

  29. Von Ingelheim, Ibid

  30. Ellis, John Brute Force: Allied Strategy & Tactics in the Second World War (Viking, New York, NY, 1990) no ISBN, p.325

  31. Ibid, pp. 318-330

  32. Graham, Dominick and Shelford Bidwell Tug of War: The Battle for Italy, 1943-1945 (St. Martins Press, New York, NY, 1986) ISBN 0-312-82323-1 pp.18-19

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