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8th Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)

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8th Jäger Division (Wehrmacht)

German 8th Infantry Division
8. Infanterie-Division
German 8th Light Infantry Division
8. leichte Division
German 8th Jäger Division
8. Jäger-Division

Active
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Size Division
Nickname Schlesische Division
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Rudolf Koch-Erpach

The German 8th Infantry Division (8. Infanterie-Division) was formed in Oppeln on 1 October 1934 under the cover name Artillerieführer III which was used until 15 October 1935. It was mobilized in August 1939 and took part in the Polish Campaign, the Battle of France and the invasion of the Soviet Union. On 1 December 1941, it was reorganized and redesignated 8th Light Infantry Division. It was again redesignated on 30 June 1942 as the 8th Jäger Division. It surrendered to the Red Army in Moravia in May 1945.[1]

Background

The main purpose of the German Jäger Divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated units were more facilely combat capable than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions. The Jäger divisions were more heavily equipped than mountain division, but not as well armed as a larger 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 (means hunters in German) relied on a high degree of training, and slightly superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support. In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were down sized, the Jäger model with two infantry regiments came to dominate the standard tables of organization.[2]

In 1943, Adolf Hitler declared that all infantry divisions were now Grenadier Divisions except for his elite Jäger and Mountain Jaeger divisions.[2]

Area of operations

  • Poland (September 1939 – May 1940)
  • France (May 1940 – June 1941)
  • Eastern front (June 1941 – December 1941)
As 8th Light Infantry Division
  • France (December 1941 – March 1942)
  • Eastern front, northern sector (March 1942 – June 1942)
As 8th Jäger Division
  • Eastern front, northern sector (June 1942 – March 1944)
  • Eastern front, southern sector (March 1944 – May 1945) [1]

Commanders

Order of battle

  • Jäger Regiment 28
  • Jäger Regiment 38
  • Radfahr Battalion 8
  • Artillery Regiment 8
  • Pionier Battalion 8
  • Panzerjäger Battalion 8
  • Signals Battalion 8
  • Feldersatz Battalion 8
  • Versorgungseinheiten 8 [1]

Notes

References

  • Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand: Das Heer 1933–1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues. Vol. III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1969, p. 285.
  • Georg Tessin: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939–1945. Vol. III: Die Landstreitkräfte 6–14. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1967.
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