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Unit History 

June 1944 – Sept 1944
D-Day - 6th June 1944.
The first soldiers from 352 to spot the invasion fleet, at 05:02, were stationed in the Wiederstandnester (resistance nests) between Omaha and Gold beaches at Port-en-Bessin. The 5. Kompanie, GR916 was manning the defences in front of the beach areas code named 'Dog Red' and 'Easy Green' and took a very heavy toll of the American 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division which started its assault at 06:30.

To view a re-created M.G. Schütze from the period, click here.

The 5. Kompanie was commanded by Oberleutnant Hahn, but Hahn was seriously wounded early in the day and replaced by Leutnant Heinze, a 21 year-old Stalingrad veteran. The battle on the beaches eventually moved inland and the depleted units of the 352 I.D. made many bold stands and counter-attacks. Formigny, were the II Bataillon had its HQ, was captured by the Americans on the 8th June. By the 9th, the 5 Kompanie had been reduced to one Officer (Heinze), one NCO and five Grenadiers, one of whom was a Russian volunteer.

The casualty figures for D-Day alone were: 352ID - 200 killed, 500 wounded and 500 missing.

The 352ID carried on fighting around St. Lo in July and by the end of July the division ceased to exist. The GR916 commander, Oberst Goth was wounded and the divisional commander, Generalleutnant Kraiß killed in action. Leutnant Heinze was badly wounded whilst trying to knock-out a Sherman tank and was evacuated to a hospital in Germany .

During August 1944, the few survivors of the regiment were sent to Flensburg, in Northern Germany, to form a cadre for a new 916. Regiment. To create the mass of the regiment, replacements were drafted in primarily from the Kriegsmarine, along with some redundant Luftwaffe ground crews. The troops were described as averaging 22 to 30 years old, with limited training and no combat experience. Yet GR916 was again up to full strength and had been allotted 98% of its equipment by the time it launched its attack on December 16th.

The Division C.O. during this period was Generalleutnant Kraiß to 2nd August (gefallen), later Generalmajor von Schuckman.


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