The 90. Leichte Afrika-Division was formed as Afrika-Division z.b.V (or Divisionskommando z.b.v. Afrika) in August 1941 around a cadre from smaller units serving in Africa. It was supposed to take part in the assault on Tobruk in November 1941, prior to which it was placed in the border position at Sollum Halfaya, together with the Italian Savona Division. Its first action was Operation CRUSADER where it fought at Sidi Rezegh and on the Tobruk perimeter, suffering heavy losses while defending at Sidi Rezegh and against the breakout of the Tobruk garrison. It was consequently withdrawn from the battle area to Agedabia in early December 1941. It was redesignated 90. Leichte Infanterie-Division on 22 November 1941 and 90. Afrika-Division on 26 July 1942.

It fought at Sidi Rezegh, Agedabia, Gazala, Bir Hacheim, in the conquest of Tobruk, and later at El Alamein where it suffered heavy losses. It later continued to suffer heavy losses during the retreat (in January 1943 the division was at half strength) and finally surrendered in Tunisia on 12 May 1943.

Infanterie-Regiment (mot) 361 (also verstärktes Afrika-Regiment 361) was made up of Germans who previously served in the French Foreign Legion. It arrived in North Africa in November 1941, without its heavy weapons and equipment. See also Penal units of the Heer.


Generalmajor Max Sümmermann (1 Sep 1941 - 10 Dec 1941) (KIA) (1)
Oberst Mickl (10 Dec 1941 - 28 Dec 1941) (as Divisionsführer)
Generalleutnant Richard Veith (28 Dec 1941 - 10 Apr 1942)
General der Panzertruppen Ulrich Kleemann (10 Apr 1942 - 13 July 1942)
Generalleutnant Carl-Hans Lungershausen (13 July 1942 - 10 Aug 1942)
General der Panzertruppen Ulrich Kleemann (10 Aug 1942 - 1 Nov 1942)
Generalleutnant Theodor Graf von Sponeck (1 Nov 1942 - 12 May 1943)

Area of operations

North Africa (Sep 1941 - May 1943)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (1)
- Seidel, Wolfgang, 07.06.1943 (1856), Hauptmann, Kdr. II./Art.Rgt. 190 (mot)
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (20)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (8)
- Barby von, Hans-Lewin 13.12.1941 Oberstleutnant Kdr verst. Afrika-Rgt 361
- Klärmann, Hans 09.09.1942 Hauptmann Führer II./Pz.Gren.Rgt 361
- Mickl, Johann 13.12.1941 Oberst Kdr Schtz.Rgt 155
- Geißler, Erich 29.07.1942 Oberst Kdr Inf.Rgt 200 (mot)
- Homeyer von, Friedrich 06.07.1942 Rittmeister d.R. Führer [gemischte] Aufkl.Kp 580
- Köster, Alfred 10.05.1943 Oberst Kdr Pz.Gren.Rgt 200
- Panzenhagen, Albert 02.10.1942 Oberstleutnant Kdr Pz.Gren.Rgt 361
- Zecherle, Konrad 10.05.1943 Leutnant d.R. Zugführer i. d. 1./Pz.Aufkl.Abt 90
- attached :
-- Briel, Georg, 23.07.1942, Major, Kdr Fla-Btl (mot) 606
Holders of the Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 3rd Class (Orden “Michael der Tapfere” III. Klasse) (1)
- Kayser, Erich, Königlichen Dekrets Nr. 2517 / 13.09.1943, Major d.R., Pz.Gren.Rgt. 155

Order of battle

The division underwent considerable expansion and changes due to its initial ad-hoc nature, and the heavy losses it suffered in operations. The OOB is therefore not to be taken as a specific OOB that applied at a given date, but rather aims to list as many of the units attached to the division in its history.

Division-Kartenstelle (mot) 259
Infanterie-Regiment (mot) 155
Infanterie-Regiment (mot) 200
Infanterie-Regiment (mot) 361 (also verstärktes Afrika-Regiment 361) (from November 1941)
Panzergrenadier-Regiment (mot) Afrika (from Sonderverband 288) (from January 1942)
Kolbeck-Bataillon (ad-hoc unit formed in December 1941, existed only for a few days)
Schwere Infanteriegeschütz-Kompanie 707 (from 1942)
Schwere Infanteriegeschütz-Kompanie 708 (from 1942)
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 605 (1941/42)
Panzerjäger-Abteilung (mot) 190 (from 1942)
Afrika-Art. Abteilung 361 (1941)
Artillerie-Regiment (mot) 190 (from 1942)
Aufklärungs-Kompanie (mot) 580 (from January 1942)
Nachrichten-Abteilung (mot)
Pionier-Bataillon (mot) 900
Feldersatz-Bataillon (from 1942)
Krankenkraftwagen-Zug (mot) 638
Kraftwagenwerkstatt-Zug 566
Munitionsverwaltungs-Kompanie (mot) 540
Bäckerei-Kompanie (mot) 535
Schlächterei-Kompanie (mot) 517
Divisions-Verpflegungsamt (mot)
Feldgendarmerie-Trupp (mot)
Feldpostamt (mot) 190


1. Max Sümmermann was killed 10 December 1941 by a strafing British aircraft. 

Sources used

KTB of Division z.b.V. Afrika/90. lei. Afrika-Division
François de Lannoy & Josef Charita - Panzertruppen: German armored troops 1935-1945
French Maclean - Quiet Flows the Rhine: German General Officer Casualties in World War II
George F. Nafziger - The Afrika Korps: An organizational history 1941-1943
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson - Afrikakorps 1941-43

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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