German 352nd Infantry Division

352nd Infantry Division

352nd Infantry Division

The 352nd Infantry Division (German:.. 352 Infantry Division or 352-ID) was an infantry division of the German Army (Wehrmacht) during World War II.

Unity of the Western Front, it is distinguished by its fierce defense of Omaha Beach during the Allied landings June 6, 1944, and during the Battle of Normandy.

Creation of the 352nd Infantry Division

352. Infantry Division, formed in November 1943 France.1 as part of the 21. Welle (21st wave of mobilization, is under the command of General (Generalleutnant) Dietrich Kraiss November 6, 1943 until its destruction in the area of ​​Saint-Lô end of July 1944.

His leadership was from the 268th and 321st German Infantry Division, after being dissolved bled white on the eastern front. Its composition was a bit better than most other German infantry in 1944 in Normandy, if we consider the 726. Grenadier Regiment of the 716th Infantry Division (two battalions), attached to the unit2. His infantry was thus four regiments of two battalions each, plus a reconnaissance battalion (Abteilung Fusillier), for a total of nine infantry battalions.

March 15, 1944, on the orders of Rommel, the German 352nd DI is pushed towards the sea, in order to strengthen the 716th German Infantry division already site3. This movement seems to go completely unnoticed by the Allies. The information had yet circulated in the Allied High Command (SHAEF), especially in the weekly summary of the 21st Army Group (21st Army group weekly Neptune Intelligence Review) dated May 3, 19444. The presence of the German division at Omaha Beach is anyway a bad surprise for Americans.5 operational levels.

The 352nd DI began in Normandy by improvements coastal defenses (Atlantic Wall), with the establishment of minefields and the shelter of logs. This work required the preparation away from the beaches, and also required to dig the sand towards sinking materials securely. To cover the area of ​​the division, it would have taken ten million mines, but the division does that put ten thousand to its disposal. The first line of obstacles, located about 250 meters from the coast, consisted of Belgian doors.

Then came rows of piles mined said Rommel asparagus. And finally a last line of metal barriers, including Czech hedgehogs. But few of these obstacles were waterproof, and corrosion was due to systems firing explosifs6 quickly.

History of the 352nd Infantry Division in combat

The division was engaged in combat in Normandy June 6, 1944 until the beginning of August 1944.

The Normandy landing

The 914th Grenadier Regiment was placed in June 1944, on the left flank of the division between Isigny and Grandcamp7.

He has been involved in the night of June 5 to 6, because of parachuting in Cotentin6.

The dispersal of some airborne troops who have to believe in a direct attack Carentan8.

He also intervened unsuccessfully to Pointe du Hoc against the Rangers.

He retreated behind Carentan on June 8, but does not participate in its takeover attempt, left to the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division.

The 915th regiment of grenadiers formed with the Reconnaissance Battalion, Kampfgruppe Meyer, the 84th Reserve Corps German Army General (Generalmajor) Erich Marcks6. The unit was put on alert during the night of June 5 to 6, 1944, to intervene from the region of Bayeux to Carentan against U.S. paratroopers of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. In the morning, the news of the amphibious landing, against-the order was given. The three battalions marched against-Bayeux, their starting point, the whole morning of 6 juin8. One of the battalions (II/915 IR) was sent to Omaha Beach (Colleville-sur-Mer) 9 while the rest of the Kampfgruppe was headed north-east of Bayeux for-attack against the British 50th Infantry Division which began to pierce the thin German defensive line. Despite the support of ten Sturmgeschütz IIIG, against the German attack that hit the offensive points of the 231st brigade of British infantry beach outing was a échec10. The Germans did to pieces, Kampfgruppe Meyer being destroyed. Colonel Meyer was killed, indulging in English its state map knowledgeable staff. Quick result, the PC of the 352nd DI positioned Littry, suffer the next day, an aerial bombardment.

At Omaha Beach, the soldiers of the 916th and 726th regiments of grenadiers occupied the trenches fifteen fortified positions called Wiederstandnest (Wn 60-74).

They contained six encuvements mortar, thirty five bunkers, supported by a unit of rocket launchers (Nebelwerfer), automatic flamethrower and eighty-five nests mitrailleuses9.

The 916th Grenadier Regiment had its baptism of fire on D-Day Operation Overlord face 1st and 29th U.S. Divisions

German units fought with tremendous efficiency, defending the cliffs overlooking the beach for several hours.

They caused serious losses to the Americans, before finally being overwhelmed around midi9.

The 916th Infantry Regiment was supported by the Second Battalion of the 915th Infantry Regiment as well as the engineering battalion of 352 (352. Pioniere Abteilung) of the division, plus Marder III tank battalion (Panzerjägerabteilung) in the organization of attacks against coûteuses6.

But before the U.S. pressure supported by aviation and naval artillery, the regiment of Colonel Goth had to withdraw on June 7, unable to hold reclaimed the previous night Colleville6 positions.

The consequence of these failures was the capture of Bayeux, intact, from 7 June 1944 by the 56th Infantry Brigade Columbia, virtually combats11.

352. ID recorded more than 1000 losses on D-Day, about 200 killed, 500 wounded and 500 disparus6.

The 352nd Infantry Division in the Battle of Normandy

The 352nd Infantry Division fought against the Americans in the American Fifth Army Corps using all the resources of the land provided by the Normandy. She is particularly involved in the defense of the approaches and the city of Saint-LO12. The company by both sides of attrition reached this particular unité13.

From June 6 to 16, the cumulative losses amount to about 3,000 men.

Loss of 6 to 24 June 5407 amounted to men.

As of July 11, the unit is still losing 2,479 additional troops.

July 25, 597 more men are counted for lost.

The 352nd Infantry Division also controlled the remains of several large units around Saint-Lô end of July 194414:

Three battalions of the 266. ID.

Two battalions of the 353. ID

A battalion of the 30th Brigade fast (30. Schnelle Brigade which was attached at the 7, division)

A battalion of 275. ID.

A battalion of 343. ID.

An artillery battery 343.ID.

An artillery battalion battery Autun.

The division was in very poor condition, July 30, 1944 when it was declared hors de combat (abgekämft). This meant that each battalion had less than a hundred men. It is withdrawn from the front at the beginning of August 194415.

The end of the war

The division moved southeast of Alencon to be restored. But it has only one week of rest before being joined by U.S. spikes from the breakthrough of Avranches (Operation Cobra). It therefore urges retardant action on the axis Le Mans – Dreux16.

In September 1944, the division (352. Volksgrenadier Division) 15 was restored by fusion with the 581st Grenadier Division of the People’s 352nd Grenadier Division of the People. It was one of the units involved in the Battle of the Bulge Marshal (Generalfeldmarschal) Rundstedt. Following the failure of the cons-offensive, the 352nd VGD was used in defensive battles around Trier on the Moselle. She was destroyed again in mid-March 1945. Only debris crossed the Rhine at Worms. It was restored for the last time as Kampfgruppe and made weapons in Darmstadt in May 1945.

Composition of the 352nd Infantry Division

The unit is built on one of the two main organization of the German infantry division in 1944 models, as well as the 353rd German DI posted in Britain or the 363rd German DI. It has three organically infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, plus additional battalions (discovery, tank, engineering, communications, …). May 1 194 417, its strength is 12,700 men, including 7,300 fighters, which is more than adequate for a large German unit of time.


The soldier Heinrich Severloh, gunner position fortified WN 62, the author of a book of memoirs.

Major Pluskat Werner, who is portrayed in the film by Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day belonged to the 352nd Artillery Regiment who bombed Omaha Beach until he was out of ammunition.

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