The 12. Volksgrenadier-Division (originally designated as a Grenadier-Division) was formed in August 1944 in East Prussia from the remains of the destroyed 12. Infanterie-Division with men from Mecklenburg and Vorpommern. It was brought up to full strength and was fully equipped, certainly not common for the German units at this stage of the war, and sent to the Western front, arriving at the Roer River on 16 September.

Under its first commander Oberst Gerhard Engel, a former adjutant to Hitler on his first combat command, it turned out to be a reliable unit that fought well against the US forces until the losses suffered became too high.
After its first day in action the opponents, Combat Command B's Brigadier General Truman Boudinot wrote in a report:
Although we are through the line, the resistance we are now meeting from the recently arrived 12th Division is much greater than any resistance met while advancing through the line. (1)
It was destroyed in the Ruhr pocket in April 1945.


Generalleutnant Gerhard Engel (9 Sep 1944 - ?? Nov 1944)
Generalmajor Günther Rohr (?? Nov 1944)
Generalleutnant Gerhard Engel (?? Nov 1944 - 28 Dec 1944)
Oberst Langhäuser (1 Jan 1945 - 27 Mar 1945)
Generalleutnant Gerhard Engel (27 Mar 1945 - 10 Apr 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Oberstleutnant Friedrich Burmeister (10 Aug 1944 - 15 Apr 1945)

Area of operations

East Prussia (July 1944 - Sep 1944)
Germany (Sep 1944 - Dec 1944)
Ardennes (Dec 1944 - Jan 1945)
Germany (Jan 1945 - Apr 1945)

Manpower strength

Sep 1944 14.800

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold (1)
- Moldenhauer, Siegfried, 13.10.1944 [14.10. per Besitzzeugnis], Major, I./Gren.Rgt. 48
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (15)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (17)
Holders of the Knight's Cross (15) (11 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW)

Order of battle

Füsilier-Regiment 27
Grenadier-Regiment 48
Grenadier-Regiment 89
Füsilier-Bataillon 12
Artillerie-Regiment 12
- I. Abteilung
- II. Abteilung
- III. Abteilung
- IV. Abteilung
Pionier-Bataillon 12
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 12
Nachrichten-Abteilung 12
Feldersatz-Bataillon 12
Versorgungseinheiten 12


1. From "The longest battle: September 1944 to February 1945, From Aachen to the Roer and Across" by Harry Yeide.

Sources used

Andris J. Kursietis - The Wehrmacht at war 1939-1945
Samuel W. Mitcham Jr - Hitler's Legions: The German Army Order of Battle, World War II
George F. Nafziger - The German Order of Battle: Infantry in World War II
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Harry Yeide - The longest battle: September 1944 to February 1945, From Aachen to the Roer and Across

Reference material on this unit

Gerhard Donat - Lützows wilde verwegene Schar! Das mecklenburgische Grenadier-Regiment 89 in beiden Weltkriegen