by Miha Grcar

logo-inf-102

12 December 1940 - formed as part of the 12th Wave in the Wehrkreis VIII from 1/3 of the 8. Infanterie Division & 1/3 of the 28.Infanterie Division. The Division was subordinated to the XX Korps/ 11th Army until March 1941, went to the Army reserve in April and joined the II Korps/ 11th Army in May until the start of the Russian campaign.

June 1941 - 102nd with 129th Infantry Division was on the far right (Southern) wing under XLII Korps/ 9th Army within Army Group Centre.
27th June 1941 - in Army reserve along with 900th (Mot) Brigade & 403rd Security Division.
28th June 1941 - the division was attached to the XX Korps with 129th & 162nd & 256th Infantry divisions as the Korps formed part of the pocket front near Bialystok.
August 1941 - attached to XXXX (Mot) Korps with 256th Infantry Division in the 3rd Panzergruppe where it remained until the start of September. During the operation Typhoon the 102nd was under XXIII Korps (Gen der Infanterie Schubert) along with 206th, 251st & 256th Infantry Divisions in the 9th Army. The Korps main responsibility was to defend the armies’ northern flank as it advanced. By November 7th the Korps was 3km west of Drygoma-3km Northwest of Beresuk-Selisharovo. By December 5th the XXIII Korps front was anchored on it’s left flank by the Sseliger-See, whilst it’s right flank abutted that of VI Korps near Kalinin.

January 1942 - encircled south of Lake Volga with XXIII Korps (206th, 253rd & SS Cavalry Brigade with the 189th Stug Abt.) as some nine divisions of the Russian 29th & 39th Armies pushed southward towards Rzhev. On January 22nd elements of the 1st Panzer Division, Das Reich & 256th Infantry Division struck eastward towards the XXIII Korps, whilst from the pocket the 206th Infantry Division reinforced with men from the other infantry divisions, the 102nd inc. plus the SS and assault guns pushed westward. By midday on the 23rd both German forces met, thus cutting the Russian forces to the south.
1st June 1942 - the 84th Infantry Regiment from the 8th Jäger Regiment arrived after originally being assigned to the division back in December 1941 (held in Army & Army Group reserve). The Division had 4 infantry regiments until the 235th Regiment of the division was disbanded on July 20th 1942.
July 1942 - under 9th Army, the Division took part in Operation “Seydlitz”, the clearance of the rear area of Russian troops belonging mainly to the 39th Army and various Airborne units flown in to support it, after it had been trapped by German counter attacks the previous month. The 102nd formed part of the Western Group along with 1st Panzer Division (Krueger) & 110th Infantry Division (Gilbert). The Eastern group consisted of 5th Panzer Division (Fehn) and a mixed Cavalry group under Meden. The opening day of the operation saw the newly arrived 84th Infantry Regiment make the most progress with a drive into the Luchessa sector. On July 7th the attack by XLVI Panzer Korps added momentum to the western groups assault and they broke the front of the 39th Army. By the end of July 7th the 39th Army was cut in two and starting to disintegrate. The 102nd along with 1st Panzer & 86th Infantry attacked again on July 11th, compressing the 39th Army even further. Two days later the 39th Army surrendered. The Russian high command began offensive operations against the 9th Army. Its plan was for the Russian 20th Army to advance in the direction of Sychevka thus cutting off the defenders at Rzhev in their rear.
4th August 1942 - the Russians attacked with 7 Rifle Divisions, quickly pushing aside the German XLVI Panzer Korps. During the night the Russians added to its attack force by committing 2 Tank Brigades and a Cavalry Corps. The German 9th Army responded by ordering 3 Panzer (1st, 2nd, & 5th) Divisions plus 102nd/ VI Korps from their sectors to support the XLVI Panzer Korps. The operations ceased in October 1942 and the division became a part of the XXXIX Korps until January 1943.

March 1943 – the division came from army reserve and continued operations under XX Korps/ 2. Panzer Army from April to July. Participating in heavy defensive battles after the German retreat from Kursk the division saw action in the areas around Orel and Desna as part of XLVI Korps/ 9. Army  and LVI  Korps/ 2. Army. By late autumn the unit was reduced to Kampfgruppe strenght.

Early 1944 - the division (XX Korps) absorbed the remains of the 216th Infantry Division (destroyed during Kursk and autumn battles of 1943).
June 1944 - part of LV Korps/ 9th Army. The Korps, which included the 292nd Infantry Division, defended a 114 km long section of the front. The 102nd had a “Foxhole strength” of 1180 (The highest within 9th Army on the eve of Operation Bagration) and an “Infantry Strength” of 4703, with a further 1130 acting as Korps/Army reserve. The 102nd itself managed to evade the worst of the Russian  Operation Bagration in the summer of 1944, but as with most German formations of the time it’s divisional strength was only fictional. Operating at Kampfgruppe strength for the remainder of the war, the 102. Infanterie Division ended up with the East Prussian pocket.

April 1945 – small parts of the division broke through to Vorpommern and fought on as a Divisionsgruppe 102. The remains of the division were disbanded and absorbed into the 28th Jager Division.
5th May 1945 – The Divisionsgruppe surrendered to the American forces.

Commanders

Generalleutnant John Ansat (10 Dec 1940 - 1 Feb 1942)
Generalleutnant Albrecht Baier (1 Feb 1942 - 10 Mar 1942)
Generalmajor Werner von Räsfeld (10 Mar 1942 - 1 May 1942)
Generaloberst Johannes Frießner (1 May 1942 - 19 Jan 1943)
General der Infanterie Otto Hitzfeld (19 Jan 1943 - 10 Nov 1943)
Generalleutnant Werner von Bercken (10 Nov 1943 - ?? Apr 1945)
Oberst Ludwig ( ?? Apr 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Tschirdewahn (Dec 1940-1941)
Major Oskar Berger (10 Oct 1941-8 Aug 1942)
Oberstleutnant Werner Müller (8 Aug 1942-14 Apr 1943) (WIA)
Oberstleutnant Wolf von Frankenberg und Ludwigsdorf (15 Apr 1943-30 Nov 1944)
Oberstleutnant Kurt Schuster (15 Dec 1943-15 Feb 1944)
Oberstleutnant Fritz Frenzel (30 Nov 1944-5 Apr 1945)

Area of operations

Germany (Dec 1940 - June 1941)
Eastern Front, central sector (June 1941 - Feb 1942)
Germany (Feb 1942 - Apr 1942)
Eastern Front, central sector (Apr 1942 - Jan 1945)
East Prussia (Jan 1945 - May 1945)

Subordination

XX Korps (Dec 1940 – Mar 1941)
Reserve (Apr 1941)
II Korps (May 1941)
XLII Korps (June 1941)
XX Korps (June 1941 - Aug 1941)
XXIII Korps (Sep 1941 – July 1942)
VI Korps (Aug 1942)
XXXIX Korps (Sep 1942 – Jan 1943)
Reserve (Feb 1943)
XXXIX Korps (Mar 1943)
XX Korps (Apr 1943 - Jul 1943)
XLVI Korps (August 1943)
LVI Korps (September 1943)
XX Korps (Oct 1943 – Apr 1944)
XXXX Mot.Korps (May 1944 - Jun 1944)
XXIII Korps (July 1944)
I Kavallerie-Korps (Aug 1944 - Oct 1944)
XLI Korps (Nov 1944 - Dec 1944)
XX Korps (Jan 1945 - Mar 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (3)
- Hesse, Konrad, 27.08.1944 (3796), Hauptmann, Kdr. Stu.Gesch.Abt. 1102
- Kliche, Herbert, 18.04.1942 (910), Leutnant, Zugführer i. d. 2./Pi.Btl. 102
- Schmalz, Eberhard, 25.11.1944 (4579), Leutnant, Zugführer i. d. Pz.Jäg.Stu.Gesch.Abt. 1102
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (3)
- Hartmann, [first name not listed], 08.06.1944 [Date of Action] (562), Unteroffizier, 14./Rgts.Gruppe 348
- Rausch, [first name not listed], 19.06.1942 (148), Obergefreiter, 8./Inf.Rgt. 235
- Sofronk, [first name not listed], 19.06.1942 (155), Unteroffizier, 11./Inf.Rgt. 232
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (112)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (24)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (21) (20 RK + 1 EL)
Holders of the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords (1)
- Wolf, Karl, 21.02.1944, Waffenoberfeldwebel, Gren.Rgt. 84

Order of battle (1940)

Infanterie-Regiment 232
Infanterie-Regiment 233
Infanterie-Regiment 235
Artillerie-Regiment 104
Divisionseinheiten 102

Order of battle (1943)

Grenadier-Regiment 84
Grenadier-Regiment 232
Divisions-Gruppe 216
Divisions-Füsilier-Bataillon 102
Artillerie-Regiment 104
Divisionseinheiten 102

Notable members

Otto Hitzfeld (Active in the resistance against Hitler)
Erich Mende (RK-holder, leader of the liberal Freie Demokratische Partei, FDP 1960-1968 and Vice-Chancellor 1963-1966)

Sources used

Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

Fran Meyer - Tapfere Schlesier: Mit der 102. Infanterie Division in Rußland

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