Main Menu
User Menu

Military history website

340. divize lidových granátníků [1944-1945]

340th People's Grenadier Division

340. Volksgrenadier-Division

340. divize lidových granátníků
Originální název:
Original Name:
340. Volksgrenadier-Division
Datum vzniku:
340. pěší divize & 572. divize lidových granátníků
Datum zániku:
Pěší divize Scharnhorst
Nadřízené velitelství:
Higher Command:
15.09.1944-DD.12.1944 ?
DD.12.1944-DD.01.1945 LXXXI. armádní sbor
DD.01.1945-DD.02.1945 5. tanková armáda
DD.02.1945-DD.03.1945 XIII. armádní sbor
DD.03.1945-04.04.1945 LIII. armádní sbor

15.09.1944-04.04.1945 Tolsdorff, Theodor (Generalleutnant)
Náčelník štábu:
Chief of Staff:
DD.MM.RRRR-DD.MM.RRRR ?, ? ( ? )
Podřízené jednotky:
Subordinated Units:
Automaticky vyplněné položky:
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Divizní fyzilírská rota 340
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Dělostřelecký pluk 340
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Granátnický pluk 694
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Granátnický pluk 695
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Granátnický pluk 696
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Oddíl stíhačů tanků 340
15.09.1944-17.03.1945 Ženijní prapor 340
DD.12.1944-17.03.1945 Polní náhradní prapor 340

Ručně vyplněné položky:
15.09.1944-04.04.1945 Divizní jednotky 340
Čestný název:
Honorary Name:
Sources: ; ; ; ;
URL : : 0

Historical background

In the autumn of 1944 - after heavy losses on the Eastern Front during the Soviet Operation Bagration and on the Western Front in the Falaise Pocket - the German armed forces had to reform their infantry units to reflect the lack of human and material resources and the shift to a defensive way of fighting.

The reduction of the infantry divisions to Infanterie-Division neuer Art 44 (Infantry Division neuer Art 44), which had taken place in the autumn of the previous year and reduced the total number of men from 17,700 to 13,500, was no longer sufficient. On the initiative of the Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, who was at that time also the commander of the Reserve Troops, the so-called Volksgrenadier-Divisions (Volksgrenadier-Divisionen, VGD) were therefore established. Although the VGDs were integrated into the Wehrmacht, Himmler enforced their disciplinary and military-legal subordination to the Main Commanding Office of the SS, to which Waffen-SS units were also subordinated. This show of distrust in the army command was a reaction to the involvement of senior officers of the ground troops in the attempted coup on 20 July 1944.

The name "People's Grenadier Division" reflected the nationalism (Volk) and Prussian military tradition (Grenadier). It was meant to symbolize the connection between the army and the people and belonging to the military elite.

The full-strength divisions with 10,000 men were to become a strong opponent for the Allied forces, according to the prescribed organizational structure and armament.

Organizational structure

The core of the division was three grenadier regimentsof two battalions. Each battalion had three rifle companies armed with light machine guns and automatic rifles Sturmgewehr 44 and a heavy company with 8 heavy machine guns, four infantry guns 7.5-cm-leIG 18 and six mortars 8-cm-GrW 34.
In addition, each regiment had one infantry gun company with four 7.5-cm-leIG 18 and eight heavy mortars 12-cm-GrW 42 and a tank company armed with 72 anti-tank hand grenade launchers Panzerschreck.
All grenadier companies then had an unspecified number of anti-tank weapons Panzerfaust.

The Artillery Regiment had:
- One light detachment (partially motorized) with three batteries of six field guns or 7.5cm anti-tank guns each;
- two light troops (partially motorised) with two batteries of six 10.5cm light howitzers;
- one heavy section (hypomobile) with two batteries of six 15cm heavy howitzers.

The tank fighter detachment was equipped with:
- one company with nine 7.5cm anti-tank guns;
- one company with 14 assault guns or tank fighters;
- one company with nine 3.7cm anti-aircraft guns.

Reconnaissance was provided by Fusilier Company-two cyclist platoons armed with Sturmgewehr 44 automatic rifles and light machine guns, one heavy platoon with two 7.5-cm-leIG 18, two medium mortars and three Raupenschlepper Ost artillery tractors.

Other components of the division were: an engineer battalion, a liaison battalion, a field replacement battalion and supply units, a medical company and a veterinary company.

In reality, however, the prescribed tabulated numbers of men, weapons and equipment of the VGD could not be met and their quality was not up to the capabilities of the Greater German Reich at the end of its existence.

Most of the personnel were provided by Reserve Army Command - these were mainly "unemployed" members of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine[/i:[i] ([i]without the necessary infantry training), men from the oldest or, on the contrary, youngest conscription years and convalescents were also included in the VGD. Only a fraction of the men were experienced veterans from defunct divisions destroyed on the Eastern Front. The mobility of the VGD depended largely on horse-drawn wagons; one infantry battalion and two companies of the engineer battalion were equipped with bicycles, as was the reconnaissance (physilier) company.

Armament depended on the capabilities of the arms industry - the VGD more often than not had to make do with obsolete or looted weapons.

In all, 78 divisions of People's Grenadiers were formed. They took part in the battles in eastern France, the defence of the Western Wall, the Battle of the Ardennes, the Battle of Otterlo, the fighting on the Eastern Front and the final battles in Germany itself. Some VGD proved themselves and fought very well and tenaciously, while others were thrown into combat with minimal training and bled to death within a short time - this was the case with 340. Volksgrenadier-Division.

340. Volksgrenadier-Division

In July 1944, the 340th Infantry Division was destroyed during the Battle of Brody. Soon after, an order was issued to build a People's Grenadier Division with the same number as its replacement.

The formation of 340. Volksgrenadier-Division began on 15 September 1944 in Toruń on the territory of occupied Poland. Its nucleus was the 572nd Volksgrenadier Division, established only three weeks earlier, which was augmented by 1,500 Navy personnel, 2,200 Luftwaffe members, 2,700 convalescents, 350 surviving veterans of the original 340th Infantry Division, and 400 artillery school cadets. Command of the division was given to thirty-five-year-old Colonel Theodor Tolsdorff, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaf and Swords.

Although most of its men lacked infantry training and combat experience, the division was given only two months to prepare for operational deployment.

On 16 November 1944, the anticipated Allied offensive against German positions in the Geilenkirchen-Würselen area began. The Americans succeeded in pushing the German formations towards Jülich. Volksgrenadier-Division was ordered to move to the front by rail without delay. It lost 31 officers and 2,400 men within a week, and on 28 November 1944 it abandoned Jülich and retreated to the east bank of the Ruhr River. After further heavy losses, it was withdrawn from the front on 25 December, provided to Headquarters West as a reserve for the upcoming Ardennes operation. Due to a decrease in numbers due to combat losses, it was now referred to as Kampfgruppe Tolsdorff (Tolsdorff Battle Group).

On 1 January 1945, Kampfgruppe Tolsdorff, as part of I SS Panzer Corps, received orders to attack Bastogne together with 9th SS Panzer Division and parts of 12th SS Panzer Division. After initial successes, the attack was halted by the American 6th Armored Division, which advanced from Bastogne towards Wardin and Margeret.
On 3 January, Tolsdorff redirected his battle group to Bizory, supported by Panzer IV/70 tank fighters from the 12th SS Panzer Division. Here, it clashed with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 101st Airborne Division and pushed the paratroopers back about 500 meters. The advance continued until 6 January, when it was forced to retreat north. The Kampfgruppe report of the same day indicates a combat strength of 779 men and a complete lack of winter clothing. On 13 January, an American counterattack began, breaking the lines in the group's right sector. After further futile fighting, the remnants of the group withdrew to positions near the Our River on 28 January.

By early March 1945, the remnants of the division were operating as part of XIII. Armeekorps. On 5 March 1945, American forces broke through the front south of Kyllburg and during the night of 6 March 1945 captured Oberstadtfeld, Übersdorf and Bleckhausen, destroying the division's units stationed there. The division's personnel losses were considerable, with only 120 men remaining in the infantry units on 8 March. On 11 March 1945, a division battle group reached the Brohl bridgehead, which was immediately afterwards captured by American troops. The remainder of the division, about 200 men, was assigned to LIII Army Corps on 13 March 1945 and deployed in the Remagen area. Volksgrenadier-Division was declared destroyed. The divisional headquarters formed the headquarters of the Scharnhorst Infantry Division on 4 April 1945.

340. divize lidových granátníků [1944-1945] - lidoví granátníci vyzbrojení automatickými puškami Sturmgewehr, Ardeny, prosinec 1944

lidoví granátníci vyzbrojení automatickými puškami Sturmgewehr, Ardeny, prosinec 1944
URL : : 0

This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

340. Volksgrenadier-Division
URL : : 0

This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

340. Volksgrenadier-Division byla zničena u Ruhru 04. dubna 1945.

Ardenny a západní Německo (09/1944 - 04/1945)

Gránátnický pluk 694
Gránátnický pluk 695
Gránátnický pluk 696
Dělostřelecký pluk 340
Zásobovací jednotka
URL : : 0

This post has not been translated to English yet. Please use the TRANSLATE button above to see machine translation of this post.

září 1944 - listopad 1944
Wehrkreise XX
prosinec 1944
5. Pz. armee
leden 1945
5. Pz. armee
vrchovina Eifel (ve stř. Porýní)
únor 1945
7. armee
vrchovina Eifel (ve stř. Porýní)
březen 1945
7. armee
Sinzig (na Rýnu), Ruhrkessel
URL : : 0