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The 6. Infanterie-Division was formed in Bielefeld on 15 October 1935 from the cover name Infanterieführer VI. The infantry regiments were formed from 16. Infanterie-Regiment of 6. Division of the Reichwehr. It was mobilized in August 1939 as part of the 1. Welle (wave).
During the invasion of France the cavalry squadron, commanded by Oberleutnant Georg von Böselager, of the reconnaissance battalion was the first Wehrmacht unit to cross the Seine River.
The division was destroyed on the Eastern Front in June 1944 and formally disbanded on 18 July 1944. The remnants were used to form the 6. Grenadier-Division.

The 6. Infanterie-Division was reformed on 10 March 1945 from the remnants of the 6. Volksgrenadier-Division, 291. Infanterie-Division and Schatten-Division Dresden.

Commanders

Generalleutnant Walter Kuntze (15 Oct 1935 - 1 Mar 1938)
Generalleutnant Arnold Freiherr von Biegeleben (1 Mar 1938 - 11 Oct 1940) (died) (1)
General der Infanterie Helge Auleb (11 Oct 1940 - 21 Jan 1942)
General der Infanterie Horst Grossmann (21 Jan 1942 - 16 Dec 1943)
Generalleutnant Egon von Neindorff (16 Dec 1943 - 12 Jan 1944)
Generalmajor Alexander Conrady (12 Jan 1944 - 19 Jan 1944)
Generalmajor Günther Klammt (19 Jan 1944 - 1 May 1944)
Generalleutnant Walter Heyne (1 June 1944 - 30 June 1944)
[Reformed as 6. Inf.Div. (Neu)]
Generalleutnant Otto-Hermann Brücker (10 Mar 1945 - 4 May 1945)
Generalmajor Friedrich-Wilhelm Liegmann (4 May 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Siegfried von Waldenburg (1 Sep 1939 - 5 Feb 1940)
Oberstleutnant Walter Reißinger (5 Feb 1940 - 17 June 1940)
Major Heinz Pomtow (17 June 1940 - 7 Feb 1941)
Major Hans Laßmann (7 Feb 1941 - 10 Sep 1941)
Oberstleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm John (10 Sep 1941 - 20 Jan 1943)
Oberstleutnant Hans Gerstung (Jan 1943 - Aug 1943)
Oberstleutnant Hans-Thilo Mittermüller (Aug 1943 - Apr 1944)
Major Franz Steinhart-Hantken (Apr 1944 - June 1944)
[Reformed as 6. Inf.Div. (Neu)]
Oberstleutnant Johann Heitzmann (10 Mar 1945 - May 1945)

Area of operations

Germany (Sep 1939 - May 1940)
France (May 1940 - June 1941)
Eastern front, central sector (June 1941 - June 1944)
Eastern front, central sector (Mar 1945 - May 1945)

Nicknames and Honor titles

Westfälische Division

Infanterie-Regiment 18 was given the title Infanterie-Regiment Paderborn 1 October 1934 but was redesignated 15 October 1935.
Infanterie-Regiment 37 was given the title Infanterie-Regiment Osnabrück 1 October 1934 but was redesignated 15 October 1935.


Holders of high awards (1934-1944)

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (4)
- Lachheim, Adolf, 17.09.1943 (2105), Unteroffizier, Gruppenführer i. d. Aufkl.Abt. 6
- Lange-Wellpoth, Wilhelm, 25.05.1942 (983), Feldwebel, Kp.Trupp-Fhr. 7./Inf.Rgt. 37
- Renken, Erich, 17.04.1944 (3126), Leutnant, Kp.Fhr. 9./Gren.Rgt. 58
- Vogelsang, Karl-Heinz, 27.08.1943 (1974), Leutnant, Kp.Fhr. 11./Gren.Rgt. 58
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (85)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Kaufmann, Dr. Leopold, 12.01.1944, Major d.R., Stab/6. Inf.Div.
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (18)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (17) (15 RK + 2 EL)
Unit-Level Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (1)
- 12./Artillerie-Regiment 6
-- Date/Place of Downing: 13.01.1944 bei Geraschi
-- Award Date: 01.05.1944 (493)

Holders of high awards (1945)

(6. Volksgrenadier-Division / 6. Infanterie-Division (1945))
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (2)
- Berretz, Josef, 08.11.1944, Wachtmeister, 1./Div.Füs.Btl. (AA) 6
- Schreyer, Paul, 15.12.1944, Unteroffizier, 1./Pi.Btl. 6
Holders of the Knight's Cross (2)
- Brücker, Otto-Hermann 14.04.1945 Generalmajor Kdr 6. Volks-Gren.Div
- Dallmeier, Josef 28.03.1945 Leutnant Führer Pz.Jäg.Kp 1183 [Pz.Jäg.Kp 1183/Jagd.Pz.Abt 1183 assigned since feb 1945]

Order of battle (1939)

Infanterie-Regiment 18
Infanterie-Regiment 37
Infanterie-Regiment 58
Aufklärungs-Abteilung 6
Artillerie-Regiment 6
Beobachtungs-Abteilung 6 (2)
Pionier-Bataillon 6
Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 6
Nachrichten-Abteilung 6
Feldersatz-Bataillon 6
Versorgungseinheiten 6

Order of battle (1942)

Grenadier-Regiment 18
Grenadier-Regiment 37
Grenadier-Regiment 58
Radfahr-Abteilung 6
Artillerie-Regiment 6
Pionier-Bataillon 6
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 6
Nachrichten-Abteilung 6
Feldersatz-Bataillon 6
Versorgungseinheiten 6

Order of battle (1943-1944)

Grenadier-Regiment 18
Grenadier-Regiment 37
Grenadier-Regiment 58
Füsilier-Bataillon 6
Artillerie-Regiment 6
Pionier-Bataillon 6
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 6
Nachrichten-Abteilung 6
Feldersatz-Bataillon 6
Versorgungseinheiten 6

Order of battle (1945)

Grenadier-Regiment 18
Grenadier-Regiment 37
Grenadier-Regiment 58
Füsilier-Bataillon 6
Artillerie-Regiment 6
Pionier-Bataillon 6
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 6
Nachrichten-Abteilung 6
Feldersatz-Bataillon 6
Versorgungseinheiten 6

Notable members

Georg Freiherr von Boeselager (Active in the resistance against Hitler and was killed in action before his part in the July 20 Plot was revealed)
Günther Smend (Active in the resistance against Hitler and executed after the failure of the July 20 Plot)

Honorary regimental Chiefs

Chef des Infanterie-Regiments 18: Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt (01.11.1938)

Insignia

The II Battalion of Infanterie-Regiment 37 was one of the battalions transferred as whole units from the Prussian Landespolizei into the Army in 1936 and was allowed to continue carrying their old Polizei flags.
The flag-bearer of this battalion wore the Landespolizei gorget instead of the normal Heer gorget.

de_pr-po
(Illustration courtesy of Flags Of The World)

Footnotes

1. Generalleutnant Arnold Freiherr von Biegeleben died from a heart attack near Jullouville / area Avranches/France 11 October 1940.
2. Released from the division in December 1939 and designated Heerestruppe.

Sources used

John R. Angolia & Adolf Schlicht - Uniforms & traditions of the German Army 1933-1945, Vol 3
Dr Jeffrey T. Fowler - Axis Cavalry in World War II
Georg Tessin - Deutsche Verbände und Truppen 1918-1939

Reference material on this unit

Horst Großmann - Geschichte der rheinisch westfälischen 6. Infanterie Division 1939-1945
Dr. Heinrich Haape & Dennis Henshaw - Moscow Tram Stop: A Doctor’s Experiences with the German Spearhead in Russia (published in Germany as Endstation Moskau 1941/42: Tagebuch eines Frontarztes)
Ernst Martin Rhein - Das Rheinisch-Westfälische Infanterie-/Grenadieregiment 18 1921-1945

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