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The 73. Infanterie-Division was formed on 26 August 1939 as part of the 2. Welle (wave). It took part in the invasions of Poland, the Low Countries, France and Greece before invading the Soviet Union from its jump off point at Iaşi, Romania.
It fought in the southern sector of the Eastern Front, taking part in actions at Nikolaev, Cherson, Sevastopol and the Kuban bridgehead among others. It was withdrawn from the fighting near Melitopol after suffering heavy losses. Moved to the Crimea, the division surrendered to the Red Army in Sevastopol in May 1944.

The division was reformed on 16 June 1944 in Hungary and took part in the fighting on the Vistula at Warsaw/Praga where it was destroyed in September. (Heeresgruppe Mitte requested the division be disbanded because of its failure to hold the Praga bridgehead on the east bank of the Vistula, a proposal that was ultimately rejected.) After reforming, the division fought at Danzig where it was destroyed again.
The division staff was evacuated from Danzig but was lost with the steamer Goya when it was sunk by the Soviet submarine L 3 on 16 Apr 1945.

Commanders

General der Artillerie Friedrich von Rabenau (? Aug 1939 - 29 Sep 1939)
General der Infanterie Bruno Bieler (29 Sep 1939 - 29 Oct 1941)
General der Infanterie Rudolf von Bünau (1 Nov 1941 - 1 Feb 1943)
Generalmajor Johannes Nedtwig (1 Feb 1943 - 7 Sep 1943)
Generalleutnant Hermann Böhme (7 Sep 1943 - 13 May 1944) (POW)
Generalleutnant Dr. rer. pol. Friedrich (Fritz) (von) Franek (26 June 1944 - 29 July 1944) (POW)
Generalmajor Kurt Hähling (30 July 1944 - 7 Sep 1944)
Generalmajor Franz Schlieper (7 Sep 1944 - 10 Apr 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Major Robert Macher (26 Aug 1939 - 10 Mar 1940)
Major Georg Buntrock (10 Mar 1940 - 10 June 1942)
Major Dr. Ziervogel (10 June 1942 - Aug 1942)
Major Fritjof Heyse (Aug 1942 - Sep 1942)
Hauptmann Roland Wagner (Sep 1942 - 1 Mar 1943)
Major Rudolf Japs (Mar 1943 - Dec 1943)
Oberstleutnant Otto Becker (1 Dec 1943 - 25 Sep 1944)
Major Franz Lang (25 Sep 1944 - 5 Apr 1945)

Area of operations

Poland (Sep 1939 - May 1940)
France (May 1940 - Apr 1941)
Balkans (Apr 1941 - July 1941)
Eastern front, southern sector (July 1941 - May 1944)
Poland (June 1944 - Jan 1945)
Eastern Germany & Danzig (Jan 1945 - Apr 1945)

Combat rating

On 30 March 1942, it was rated "suited for limited offensive missions". Its battalions were weak in strength, but the divisional artillery was almost intact, although momentarily immobile.

Nicknames

Kleist-Division

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (1)
- Langer, Paul, 18.03.1942 (845), Oberleutnant, Btl.Fhr. III./Gren.Rgt. 170
Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (5)
- Pangerl, Ludwig, 28.11.1942 (268), Gefreiter, 3./Pz.Jäg.Abt. 173
- Prütting, Hans, 14.10.1943 (383), Obergefreiter, 5./Gren.Rgt. 170
- Schug, Heinrich, 28.11.1942 (294), Obergefreiter, 2./Art.Rgt. 173
- Schwab, Friedrich, 28.11.1942 (283), Gefreiter, 9./Inf.Rgt. 186
- Wiesnet, Georg, 28.11.1942 (296), Unteroffizier, 5./Art.Rgt. 173
- Attached:
-- Hoffmann, Werner, 11.02.1943 (321), Gefreiter, 3./s.Art.Abt. 844
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (97)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Keller, Hermann, 29.04.1945, Oberleutnant d.R., Stabs.Kp./Gren.Rgt. 70
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (17)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (17)
Holders of the Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords (1)
- Mürmann, Dr. med. vet. Fritz, 30.04.1945, Oberfeldveterinär, 73. Inf.Div.
Holders of the Romanian Order of Michael the Brave, 3rd Class (Orden “Michael der Tapfere” III. Klasse)  (2)
- Bünau von, Rudolf, Königlichen Dekrets Nr. 726 / 19.03.1943, Generalleutnant, Kdr. 73. Inf.Div.
- Hitzfeld, Otto, Königlichen Dekrets Nr. 3034 / 06.10.1942, Oberst, Kdr. Inf.Rgt. 213
Unit-Level Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (1)
- 2./Pionier-Bataillon 173
-- Date/Place of Downing: 07.10.1941 bei Dede
-- Award Date: 01.11.1941 (18)

Order of battle (1939)

Infanterie-Regiment 170
Infanterie-Regiment 186
Infanterie-Regiment 213
Aufklärungs-Abteilung 173
Artillerie-Regiment 173
- I. Abteilung
- II. Abteilung
- III. Abteilung
- IV. Abteilung
Pionier-Bataillon 173
Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 173
Nachrichten-Abteilung 173
Feldersatz-Bataillon 173
Versorgungseinheiten 173

Order of battle (1942)

Grenadier-Regiment 170
Grenadier-Regiment 186
Grenadier-Regiment 213
Radfahr-Schwadron 173
Artillerie-Regiment 173
- I. Abteilung
- II. Abteilung
- III. Abteilung
- IV. Abteilung
Pionier-Bataillon 173
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 173
Nachrichten-Abteilung 173
Feldersatz-Bataillon 173
Versorgungseinheiten 173

Order of battle (1943-1945)

Grenadier-Regiment 170
Grenadier-Regiment 186
Grenadier-Regiment 213 (1)
Füsilier-Bataillon 73
Artillerie-Regiment 173
- I. Abteilung
- II. Abteilung
- III. Abteilung
- IV. Abteilung
Pionier-Bataillon 173
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 173
Nachrichten-Abteilung 173
Feldersatz-Bataillon 173
Versorgungseinheiten 173

Notable members

Otto Hitzfeld (Active in the resistance against Hitler)

Footnotes

1. Not reformed after being destroyed in the Crimea; replaced by Grenadier-Regiment 70 during reformation of the division on 16 June 1944.

Sources used

BA-MA RH2/429
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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