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101st Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)

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101st Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)

101st Jäger Division
Active 1941 - 1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Allegiance Adolf Hitler
Size Division
Engagements World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Erich Marcks

The 101st Jäger Division was a German Infantry Division of World War II. It was formed in July 1942 by the redesignation of the 101st Light Infantry Division, which was itself formed in December 1940. It took part in the Battle of Kharkov, then the Caucasus campaign and the retreat into the Kuban, where it suffered heavy losses fighting both the Red Army and partisans. The division was then involved in the battles around the Kerch Strait, before being evacuated.[1] The 101st was subsequently transferred to the lower Dnieper River in late 1943. It was part of the 1st Panzer Army that was surrounded in March 1944, it formed the rear guard for the XLVI Panzer Corps during the breakout. The division then retreated across the Ukraine. In October 1944, it was moved to Slovakia and took part in the Battle of the Dukla Pass.

During the last year of the war it fought in Hungary and Austria, by the end of the war it had been reduced to the size of a Kampfgruppe.[2]

Background

The main purpose of the German Jäger Divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated units were more combat effective than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions. The Jäger divisions were more heavily equipped than mountain divisions, but not as well armed as a regular infantry division. In the early stages of the war, they were the interface divisions fighting in rough terrain and foothills as well as urban areas between the mountains and the plains.

The Jägers – which means hunters in German – relied on a high degree of training and somewhat superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support. In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were downsized, the Jäger model with two infantry regiments, came to dominate the standard tables of organization.[3]

Adolf Hitler declared in 1943, that all infantry divisions, except for his elite Jäger and Mountain Jaeger formations, were now Grenadier Divisions.[3]

Commanders

Area of operations

As 101 Light Infantry Division
  • Germany (Dec 1940 - June 1941)
  • Eastern front, southern sector (June 1941 - July 1942)
As 101 Jager Division
  • Eastern front, southern sector (July 1942 - Oct 1944)
  • Slovakia, Hungary & Austria (Oct 1944 - May 1945)[2]

Order of battle

  • Jäger Regiment 228
  • Jäger Regiment 229
  • Radfahr Battalion 101
  • Artillerie Regiment 85
  • Pionier Battalion 101
  • Panzerjäger Battalion 101
  • Signals Battalion 101
  • Reserve Battalion 101
  • Versorgungseinheiten 101[2]

Notable members

Willi Heinrich, author of The Willing Flesh, which was turned into the movie The Cross of Iron, served as a company officer in Jäger Regiment 228.

References

Bibliography

  • Willi Weinmann - Die 101. Jäger Division in Dokumenten, Bildern und Berichten

Notes


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