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The 16. Infanterie-Division was formed on 15 October 1935 from the cover name Kommandant von Münster. The infantry regiments were formed from 18. Infanterie-Regiment of 6. Division of the Reichwehr.

During the campaign in France 1940 a pamphlet was issued by the divisional staff on how to respond to questions about the treatment of black colonial troops, it read in part:

The deployment of black and colored troops against the German army contradicts the conception of the white race's master role towards the colored peoples. We perceive it as a shame and dishonor, all the more so because our division has had to wage the hardest fights against Negroes. The frequently posed question whether we kill Negroes and colored people has to be answered as follows: "The German soldier shoots his opponent only during combat. Shooting of captures soldiers who are not guilty of crimes against the laws of war contradicts the German soldierly mentality and is out of the question. However, we think that those people who have led the blacks and colored people into war against the German soldiers deserve to be shot. (3)


It was split into 16. Infanterie-Division (mot) and 16. Panzer-Division on 1 November 1940.

It was ordered to reform in August 1944 from 158. Reserve-Division and the surviving elements of 16. Luftwaffe-Feld-Division but that was not completed and it was instead reformed as 16. Volksgrenadier-Division.

Commanders

Generalleutnant Gerhard Glokke (15 Oct 1935 - 12 Oct 1937)
Generalleutnant Gotthard Heinrici (12 Oct 1937 - 31 Jan 1940)
Generalleutnant Heinrich Krampf (1 Feb 1940 - 1 June 1940)
Generaloberst Hans-Valentin Hube (1 June 1940 - 1 Nov 1940)

Area of operations

Poland (Sep 1939 - Nov 1939)
Germany (Nov 1939 - May 1940)
France (May 1940 - Nov 1940)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Knight's Cross (2)
- Doering von, Bernd 30.11.1940 Major Kdr II./Schtz.Rgt 79 [award for action in France ; at time of action it was Inf.Rgt 79, nov 1940 already renamed Schtz.Rgt]
- Meier, Helmut 07.03.1941 Oberleutnant Chef 14.(Pz.Jäg)/Inf.Rgt 79 [KIA : 17.06.1940 west of Bar-le-Duc / France ; award posthumously]

Order of battle

Infanterie-Regiment 60
Infanterie-Regiment 64
Infanterie-Regiment 79
Aufklärungs-Abteilung 16
Artillerie-Regiment 16
- I. – III. Abteilung
- I./Art.Rgt. 52
Beobachtungs-Abteilung 16 (1)
Feldersatz-Bataillon 16 (2)
Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 16
- 1. – 3. Kp
- 4./MG-Btl. 46
Pionier-Bataillon 46
Nachrichten-Abteilung 16
Infanterie-Divisions-Nachschubführer 16
Verwaltungsdienste 16
Sanitätsdienste 16
Veterinärkompanie 16

Notable members

Hans-Valentin Hube (Holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds)

Insignia

The III Battalion of Infanterie-Regiment 79 was one of the battalions transferred as whole units from the Prussian Landespolizei into the Army in 1936 and was allowed to continue carrying their old Polizei flags.
The flag-bearer of this battalion wore the Landespolizei gorget instead of the normal Heer gorget.

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(Illustration courtesy of Flags Of The World)

Footnotes

1. Released from the division becoming Heerestruppe in December 1939
2. Released from the division and designated II./IR 362 / 196. ID in January 1940
3. "Hitler's African Victims: The German Army Massacres of Black French Soldiers in 1940" by Raffael Scheck, page 69.

Sources used

John R. Angolia & Adolf Schlicht - Uniforms & traditions of the German Army 1933-1945, Vol 3
Georg Tessin - Deutsche Verbände und Truppen 1918-1939

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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