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The 65. Infanterie-Division was formed in July 1942 as a “Walküre-II”-Division (1) under the 20. Welle (wave). After suffering heavy losses fighting at the Anzio bridgehead, it was refitted in July 1944 as part of the 26. Welle (wave) from Schatten-Division Ostpreußen. The division surrendered in Italy on 22 April 1945.

Known war crimes

In October 1943 the SAS-men Captain Pat Dudgeon and Bernie Brunt were captured after highjacking a German vehicle and shot at the order from a higher HQ. (2)

Commanders

Generalleutnant Hans Bömers (10 July 1942 - 1 Jan 1943)
Generalleutnant Wilhelm Rupprecht (1 Jan 1943 - 31 May 1943)
Generalleutnant Gustav Heisterman von Ziehlberg (31 May 1943 - 1 Dec 1943)
Generalleutnant Hellmuth Pfeiffer (1 Dec 1943 - 22 Apr 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Klaus vom dem Knesebeck (1 July 1943 - 30 Aug 1944)
Oberstleutnant Werner Habedanck (5 Sep 1944 - 1945)

Area of operations

Netherlands (July 1942 - Aug 1943)
Italy (Aug 1943 - Apr 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the German Cross in Gold (16)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (5)
- Drost, Dieter-Bernd, 27.04.1944, Hauptmann, I./Gren.Rgt. 145
- Kroczewski, Gerhard, 15.12.1944, Unteroffizier, 14./Gren.Rgt. 147
- Kühl, Claus, 25.07.1944, Oberst, Gren.Rgt. 145
- Kurzweg, Siegfried, 17.12.1944, Hauptmann d.R., I./Gren.Rgt. 147
- Riechert, Heini, 27.01.1944, Rittmeister, Div.Füs.Btl. (AA) 65
Holders of the Knight's Cross (5)
- Oakleaves
-- Pfeifer, Hellmuth [574. EL] 05.09.1944 Generalleutnant Kdr 65. Inf.Div
-- Strahammer, Martin [545. EL] 11.08.1944 Oberst Kdr Gren.Rgt 146
- Knight’s Cross
-- Finkbeiner, Wilhelm 20.07.1944 Oberleutnant d.R. Führer 14.(Pz.Jäg)/Gren.Rgt 147
-- Vetter, Johann 15.06.1944 Gefreiter Richtschütze i. d. 14.(Pz.Jäg.)/Gren.Rgt 147
-- Wunn, Heinrich 11.06.1944 Leutnant d.R. Führer 7./Gren.Rgt 147
Unit-Level Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (1)
- 3./Grenadier-Regiment 145
-- Date/Place of Downing: 19.05.1944 bei Aprillia
-- Award Date: 00.00.0000 (552)

Order of battle (1943)

Infanterie-Regiment 145
Infanterie-Regiment 146
Panzerjäger- und Aufklärungs-Abteilung 165
Artillerie-Regiment 165
Divisionseinheiten 165

Order of battle (1944)

Grenadier-Regiment 145
Grenadier-Regiment 146
Grenadier-Regiment 147
Divisions-Füsilier-Bataillon 65
Artillerie-Regiment 165
Divisionseinheiten 165

Notable members

Gustav Heisterman von Ziehlberg (Active in the resistance against Hitler and executed after the failure of the July 20 Plot)

Footnotes

1. Three divisions were formed in July 1942 under the code word “Walküre-II” from elements of the Ersatzheer for security of the English Channel coast, which had been weakened by the departure of divisions for the Eastern Front.
2. "The Secret war in Italy: Special forces, partisans and covert operations 1943-45" by William Fowler, page 34-35.

Sources used

William Fowler - The Secret war in Italy: Special forces, partisans and covert operations 1943-45
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

Wilhelm Velten - Vom Kugelbaum zur Handgranate: Der Weg der 65. Infanterie-Division

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