The Infanterie-Regiment (mot) Großdeutschland was formed on 12 June 1939 by renaming the Wachregiment Berlin.
The GD regiment celebrated the successful campaign in the west with a thanksgiving service in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on 19 July 1940.

It was redesignated Infanterie-Regiment Großdeutschland 1 in April 1942 and assigned to the Infanterie-Division (mot) Großdeutschland.

Known war crimes

Soldiers from the regiment were involved in the killings of black French colonial POWs at Erquinvillers and Lyon during the invasion of France 1940. (1)
The war diary for 10 June 1940 reads in part: "Among our prisoners are twelve Negroes; we shot them because they had cut the throats of German soldiers." (3)

In Pancevo, Yugoslavia, soldiers from the GD regiment on 22 April 1941 took part in the killing of 36 Serbs in retaliation for the killing of a German soldier. (2)

Commanders

Oberstleutnant Wilhelm-Hunold von Stockhausen (12 June 1939-?)
Oberstleutnant Gerhard Graf von Schwerin (? -18 May 1940)
Oberst Wilhelm-Hunold von Stockhausen (18 May 1940-1 Aug 1941)
Oberst Walter Hoernlein (1 Aug 1941-1 Apr 1942)

Area of operations

Germany (Sep 1939-May 1940)
France (May 1940-Apr 1941)
Yugoslavia (Apr 1941-May 1941)
Germany/General Government (May 1941-June 1941)
Eastern front, central sector (June 1941-Apr 1942)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (21)
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (22)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (13)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (7)
- Beck-Broichsitter, Helmut 04.09.1940 Oberleutnant Chef 14.(Pz.Jäg)/Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Frantz, Peter 04.06.1942 Oberleutnant Chef 16.(Stug.)/Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Garski, Eugen 19.07.1940 Oberstleutnant Kdr III./Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Greim, Alfred 04.06.1942 Oberstleutnant Kdr II./Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Hänert, Karl 23.08.1941 Oberleutnant Chef 4.(MG)/Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Hindelang, Hans 04.09.1940 Oberfeldwebel Zugführer i. d. 14.(Pz.Jäg)/Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“
- Klemm, Hans 10.12.1942 Unteroffizier Gruppenführer i. d. 2./Inf.Rgt (mot) „GD“

Order of battle (December 1940)

Stab
Nachrichtenzug
Musikkorps
Kradschützenzug
I. Bataillon
- 1. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 2. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 3. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 4. (MG) Kp.
- Schwere Kp.
II. Bataillon
- 5. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 6. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 7. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 8. (MG) Kp.
- Schwere Kp.
III. Bataillon
- 9. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 10. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 11. (Schtz.) Kp.
- 12.- (MG) Kp.
- Schwere Kp.
IV. Bataillon
- 13. (l.IG.) Kp.
- 14. (Pz.Jäg.) Kp.
- 15. (s.IG.) Kp.
- 16. (StuG) Kp.
V. Bataillon
- 17. (Kradschtz.) Kp.
- 18. (Pi.) Kp.
- 19. (Nachr.) Kp.
- 20. (Fla.) Kp.
Artillerie-Abteilung 400
- 1. Batterie
- 2. Batterie
- 3. Batterie
Nachschubführer 400
- I.- Kolonne
- II. Kolonne
- III. Kolonne
- IV. Kolonne
- Kfz. Werkstattzug

Notable members

Karl Hetz (Deputy president of the Soviet-controlled Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland, NKFD, after his capture at Stalingrad)
Baldur von Schirach (Reichsjugendführer 1933-1940, head of the Hitler Jugend, served in GD 1940, later Gauleiter of Vienna)

Insignia

shoulder-heer-gd-white-embroidered
The “GD” monogram was authorized for wear on the shoulder boards of all ranks of this unit: gold metal for officers, white metal for senior NCOs, and for ranks up to Unteroffizier the monogram was embroidered directly onto the strap in appropriate Waffenfarbe.

cuff-heer-gd
The “Großdeutschland” cuff title was authorized for this unit.

Propaganda & Culture

Lyrics to the "Marsch und Lied für das Regiment Großdeutschland / Großdeutsche Grenadiere".

In fiction

The 1993 board game "GD'40" designed by Dean Essig & Wig Graves and published by The Gamers focused on the battle for Stonne, France.

The 1996 board game "GD'41" designed by Dean Essig and published by The Gamers focused on the drive towards Tula and Moscow.


Soldiers of Infanterie-Regiment (mot) Großdeutschland taking the oath in 1941
inf-reg-gd-oath
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

MG34 training
inf-reg-gd-training-mg34
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Footnotes

1. "Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940" by Raffael Scheck and "“They Are Just Savages”: German Massacres of Black Soldiers from the French Army in 1940", Journal Modern History 77, Nr. 2 (2005), pp. 325-344 by Raffael Scheck.
2. "The German Army and Genocide: Crimes Against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians in the East, 1939-1944" by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.
3. "Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940" by Raffael Scheck, page 114.

Sources used

Gregory Douglas - Special uniform & cuff titles from "Grossdeutschland" units (in The Military Advisor, Vol 6 No 2)
Hamburg Institute for Social Research - The German Army and Genocide: Crimes Against War Prisoners, Jews, and Other Civilians in the East, 1939-1944
Peter Lieb - Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44
Friedrich P. Martin - SED-Funktionäre in Offiziersuniform: Wer befiehlt in der "Nationalen Volksarmee"?
Lynn H. Nicholas - The rape of Europa: The fate of Europe's treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
Raffael Scheck - Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940
Raffael Scheck - “They Are Just Savages”: German Massacres of Black Soldiers from the French Army in 1940, Journal Modern History 77, Nr. 2 (2005), pp. 325-344
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945

Reference material on this unit

James Lucas - Panzer Elite: The Story of Nazi Germany's Crack Grossdeutschland Corps
Hans Heinz Rehfeldt - Mit dem Eliteverband des Heeres Großdeutschland tief in den Weiten Russlands: Erinnerungen eines Angehörigen des Granatwerferzuges 8./Infanterieregiment (mot.) "Großdeutschland" 1941-1943
Tim Ripley - Grossdeutschland: Guderian's Eastern Front Elite
Jacek Solarz - Grossdeutschland (2 vol)
Helmuth Spaeter - The History of the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland Vol 1-3
Helmuth Spaeter - Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland: A Pictorial History

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