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The 210. Infanterie-Division was formed 10 July 1942 as a Divisions-Stab z.b.V. for controlling fortress battalions and coastal batteries. The division staff was transferred to Finnmark County in northern Norway to command coastal defense installations at Kirkenes, Vardø, Vadsø, Varangerfjord and Tanafjord. Subordinated to the 20. Gebirgs-Armee, the division guarded the army’s rear to the boundary of the Armee Norwegen. The division commander also served as Festungskommandant Kirkenes.

Between 5 and 9 July 1943 over a thousand soldiers, mainly from the 210. Infanterie-Division with additional troops from XIX Gebirgs-Armeekorps, take part in Operation Mitternachtsonne (Midnight Sun) sweeping the Varanger Peninsula in search of the Soviet-led partisan groups stationed there to report on the German troops and convoys. The operation is a failure but on 12 July a follow-up operation named Wildente (Mallard) with troops from the division supported by the ships R 90, R 121, M 31 and M is launched to conduct a more detailed search around the Kongsfjorden bay. The operation runs until 5 August and is highly successful with all the partisan groups in the Finnmark either captured, killed or forced to flee across the Soviet border. The Germans also managed to get the three captured partisans to cooperate with their captors including one of them who sent false radio messages to the Soviet base in Murmansk tricking them to drop off additional partisans by submarine into a German trap (Operation Tundra). In four trials between August and December a total of 22 civilians were sentenced to death and executed for aiding the partisans and an additional 31 sent to jail.
These operations were coordinated by Leutnant Fritz Pardon who was Chief Intelligence Officer (Ic) of the division and who had been trying to convince the Abwehr about the presence of partisans in the area for some time.

In September 1943 soldiers from the division searched for partisans in the area between Kirkenes and Grense Jacobselv in Operation Seeadler (Sea Eagle) together with replacement troops from 2. Gebirgs-Division but the partisans had already left the area.

In October 1944, the division withdrew from Finnmark in the face of the Soviet Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive. By November 1944, it had been subordinated to the Armeeabteilung Narvik and assumed the coastal defenses of Harstad and the Lofoten and Vesteralen Islands. The division remained in these positions for the rest of the war.

It is listed as 210. Küste-Abwehr-Infanterie-Division in some sources.

Known war crimes

The bodies of the first eleven executed following the anti-partisan operation Wildente (see above) were located in 1946 and examinations supported the rumors that they had in fact not been shot as stated in the German reports but instead beaten to death with blunt objects. The attempts to locate those responsible and bring them to justice failed. (3)

Commanders

Generalleutnant Karl Wintergerst (15 July 1942 - 1 Feb 1944)
Generalleutnant Curt Ebeling (1 Feb 1944 - 10 Mar 1945) (1)
Oberst Wilhelm Rademacher (? Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Unknown (July 1942 - ?)
Major Franz Steinhart-Hantken (? - 14 Mar 1943)
Oberstleutnant Hans Bucher (14 Mar 1943 - 1945)

Area of operations

Germany (July 1942 - Aug 1942)
Norway (Aug 1942 - May 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Pardon, Fritz, 13.02.1945, Hauptmann, Ic 210. Inf.Div.
-- [held higher position at time of award ; most likely awarded for Ic duties with 210. ID ; the contrary is not obvious or prooven]

Order of battle (1942)

Festungs-Bataillon 661
Festungs-Bataillon 662
Festungs-Bataillon 663
Festungs-Bataillon 664
Festungs-Bataillon 665
Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Regiment z.b.V. 837
- Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 448
- Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 478
- Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 480
- Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 773
3./Gebirgs-Nachrichten-Abteilung 67

Beute-Panzer-Zug 217 (attached)
Beute-Panzer-Zug 218 (attached)

Order of battle (January 1945)

Festungs-Grenadier-Regiment 859 (2)
- Festungs-Bataillon 661
- Festungs-Bataillon 663
- Festungs-Bataillon 664
- Festungs-Bataillon 665
Festungs-Brigade-Stab Lofoten
- Festungs-Bataillon 646
- Festungs-Bataillon 650
- Festungs-Bataillon 662
- III./Jäger-Regiment 501 (L)
Pionier-Kompanie 210
Nachrichten-Kompanie 210
Versorgungseinheiten 210

Footnotes

1. Generalleutnant Dipl. Ing. Karl Hernekamp was appointed to command the 210. Infanterie-Division with effect from 10 March 1945; however, he fell ill on the journey to Norway and never actually assumed command.
2. Festungs-Grenadier-Regiment 859 with Festungs-Bataillonen 663 and 664 was transferred from the 210. Infanterie-Division to Division z.b.V. 613, based in Drammen, at some point before the war ended.
3. "Blodröd augusti: Historien om de norska partisanerna" by Alf R. Jacobsen.

Sources used

Alf R. Jacobsen - Blodröd augusti: Historien om de norska partisanerna
Thomas L. Jentz & Werner Regenberg - Panzer Tracts No. 19-1: Beute-Panzerkampfwagen
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Earl F. Ziemke - The German Northern Theater of Operations, 1940-1945

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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