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The 1st Mountain Division ( ) was a formation of the Germanmarker Wehrmacht during World War II.

It was created on 9 April 1938 in Garmisch Partenkirchenmarker from the Mountain Brigade ( ) which was itself formed on 1 June 1935. The division consisted mainly of Bavarians and some Austrian.

Poland and France

The 1st Mountain Division fought in the Invasion of Poland as a part of Army Group South and distinguished itself during fighting in the Carpathiansmarker .

It later took part in the Battle of France and was selected to take part in the planned operations against United Kingdommarker (Operation Sealion) and Gibraltarmarker (Operation Felix) but both operations were cancelled. With Felix cancelled, the division was transferred East, where it took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 as part of the 2nd Army.

Eastern Front

The 1st Mountain Division participated in Operation Barbarossa. On 30 June, they captured Lvovmarker. There, the Germans discovered several thousand bodies of prisoners who had been executed by the NKVD, as they could not be evacuated. As the news spread, a large-scale anti-Jewish pogrom broke out, in which the town's Ukrainian population participated, stirred up in part by German and OUN posters and proclamations calling for revenge against the "Jewish Bolshevik murders".

The 1st Mountain Division continued its advance into the Soviet Union, participating in the breakthrough of the Stalin Line and the advance to the Dnjepr and the Mius River. In May 1942, they fought in the Second Battle of Kharkov and then participated in the offensive through southern Russia and into the Caucasus (Operation Edelweiss).

In a symbolic propaganda move, on 21 August, they sent a detachment to raise the German flag on Mount Elbrusmarker. Although the feat was widely publicized by Goebbels, Hitler was furious at this. After the Caucasus campaign the division was posted to Greecemarker and later Serbiamarker were it took part in anti partisan operations.

But by late 1944 the division, as part of Army Group E, had been withdrawn to Hungary from the Balkans.

It was renamed 1. Volks-Gebirgs-Division 12 in March 1945. Its final major operations were near Lake Balatonmarker (Operation Spring Awakening) against the 3rd Ukrainian Front. Two months later the shattered division surrendered to the Americans in Austriamarker.

War crimes

During the Invasion of Poland, soldiers from the division assisted in the round-up of Jewish civilians from Przemyślmarker for forced labour. This event was documented in the divisional photographic album. Picture captions demonstrate strong anti-semitism from the authors. Photos 7 and 8themselves.[126670] [126671]

On 25 July 1943 soldiers from the division attacked the village of Mousiotitsas in Greecemarker following the discovery of a cache of weapons nearby killing 153 civilians. On 16 August 1943 the village of Kommenomarker was attacked at the order of Oberstleutnant Josef Salminger, the commander of GebirgsJäger Regiment 98, a total of 317 civilians were killed. Elements from the division took part in the murder of thousands of Italians from the 33 Infantry Division Acqui in September 1943 on the Greek island of Cefaloniamarker following the Italian surrender. Soldiers from the division took part in the murder of 32 officers and an estimated 100 soldiers from the Italian 151 Infantry Division Perugia in Albaniamarker following the Italian surrender.

Following the killing of Oberstleutnant Josef Salminger by Greek partisans, the commander of XXII Gebirgs-Armeekorps General der Gebirgstruppe Hubert Lanz issued an order of the day on 1 October 1943 calling for a “ruthless retaliatory action” in a 20km area around the place were Salminger had been attacked. In the village of Lingiades 87 civilians were killed and in total at least 200 civilians were killed.

The Division's war crimes are described in H. F. Meyer's book Bloodstained Edelweiss: The 1st Mountain Division in the Second World War.

Commanders



Order of battle

Order of battle 1939

  • 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 X Battalions


  • 99. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 x Battalions


  • 100. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 x Battalions




  • 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment
    • 4 x Battalions


  • 54. Signals Battalion


  • 54. Pioneer Battalion


  • 54. Supply Troops


  • Service Troops


Order of battle 1941

  • 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 x Battalions


  • 99. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 x Battalions


  • 54. Field Medical Battalion


  • 44. Panzerabwehr Battalion


  • 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment
    • 4 x Battalions


  • 54. Signals Battalion


  • 54. Pioneer Battalion


  • 54. Supply Troops


  • Service Troops


Order of battle 1943

  • 98. Mountain Infantry Regiment'
    • 3 x Battalions


  • 99. Mountain Infantry Regiment
    • 3 x Battalions




  • 79. Mountain Artillery Regiment
    • 4 x Battalions


  • 54. Mountain Jäger Battalion


  • 54. Reconnaissance Battalion


  • 54. Mountain Signals Battalion


  • 79. Mountain Field Medical Battalion


  • 54. Mountain Pioneer Battalion


  • 54. Mountain Pack Mule Battalion


  • 54. Supply Troops


  • Service Troops


Notable members

  • Ferdinand Schörner The last living German Field Marshal, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
  • Wego Chiang son of the Chinese leader General Chiang Kai Shek served in I./Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 98 in 1937 - 1939, reaching the rank of Leutnant before returning to Chinamarker at the outbreak of war.


See also



References

  1. Biography at the Lexikon der Wehrmacht website
  2. Hannes Heer, Einübung in den Holocaust: Lemberg Juni/Juli 1941; in: ZfG 5/2001
  3. Hannes Heer: Blutige Ouvertüre. Lemberg, 30. Juni 1941: Mit dem Einmarsch der Wehrmachttruppen beginnt der Judenmord DIE ZEIT Nr. 26/2001; S. 90
  4. 1. Gebirgsdivision at the Lexikon der Wehrmacht website
  5. Heer et al. (2000), p. 163





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