History of the 340 Infanteriedivision (May 1941-May 1942)

 

 

1. HISTORY OF THE FÜHRUNGSABTEILUNG

 

The 340 Infanteriedivision was established on 16 November 1940 as a bodenständige division of the 14 Welle in the Schleswig region. On 9 May 1941 the division was subordinated to the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXVII and assumed coastal defence duties in the Pas-de-Calais area between Gravelines and Ambleteuse.More or less 1 year later, in May 1942, it was transferred to the southern part of the Russian front.

In April 1944 it was encircled in the Brody pocket. Even though it managed to break out of the pocket, the division was disestablished in August 1944. However, on 15 September 1944, the division was re-established as the 340 Volksgrenadierdivision. The division took part in the ill-fated Ardennes offensive and in March 1945 again became encircled, this time in the Ruhr pocket.

 

During its stay in France the division had the following commanders:

  • Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Neumann (16.11.1940 - 09.03.1942)

  • Generalleutnant Otto Butze (09.03.1942 - 24.02.1943)

On 3 May 1941 the division received the order to deploy to France, which movement began on 7 May. The division was initially located in the Roubaix area, which the troops reached in the period 9-12 May. In this area the division acted as Armeereserve and it duly established Jagdkommandos and Luftüberfallkommandos to deal with commando parachute assaults behind the front lines at the coast.

 

The following table offers an overview of the Generalstabsoffiziere on 7 May 1941:

 

 

This is followed by an overview of the officers commanding the units of the division on 7 May 1941:

 

 

 

On 14 May 1941 the division was present in its Unterkunftsraum (quarters area) and 3 Unterkunftsgruppen were established: Lille (for Infanterieregiment 695), Hazebrouck (for IR696) and Béthune (for IR697). At this time the division was Armeereserve. In this capacity it was tasked with 3 missions: throwing a landed enemy back into the sea, combatting paratroop and air assault units and dealing with internal unrest). Consequently, the unit's training programme was focused on offensive combat tactics. The divisional headquarters at this moment was located in Roubaix.

On 22 May 1941 the division received the order to relieve the 208 Infanteriedivision in the Calais area in the night of 9-10 June. Also on this day, the division ordered the establishment of a Vorausabteilung (advance unit) in case of emergency. This unit was the verstärkte III/IR696 commanded by Major Pagels. Also, the establishment of Jagdkommandos and Luftüberfallkommandos was ordered to protect against surprise paratroop and air assault attacks. Finally, on this day 11 important locations vulnerable to attack from the ait were identified. These were 8 airfields, but also the Luftwaffenmunitionslager Hem (south of Roubaix), the Tanklager Lille St-André and the rather mysterious Unternehmen (Werk) Mutterstadt in Henin-Lietard.

On 28 May 1941 we have a first overview of the locations of the sub-units of the division:

 

 

On 3 June 1941 the order was given for the 340 Infanteriedivision  to relieve the 208 Infanteriedivision. The right boundary of the division was located at Grand Fort Philippe (excluded), while the left boundary was at Honvaut, just south of Wimereux. This large divisional sector was further subdivided into three smaller sectors: Rechts (IR694 and I/AR340 until Les Baraques, 1km to the northeast of Calais), Mitte (IR696 and III/AR340 between Les Baraques and 500m to west of Wissant) and Links (IR695 and II/AR340 until Honvaut). The following units were in reserve: III/IR696 and the Panzerjägerabteilung 340.

Before the 340 Infanteriedivision was ordered to the coast, it had provided guard parties for quite a few installation in the hinterland. These were now to be handed over to troops of the 208 Infanteriedivision in an order of 3 June. In addition to the corps headquarters in Lille, these were: Armeemunitionslager Harry, Armeebekleidungslager Recques, Hazebrouck, Armeemunitionslager Herzeele, Armeebekleidingslager Candas, Holzarmeepionierpark 536 Lille, Armeenachschubführer 590 and the Kommando zur Verwaltung des Holzlagers AOK16 Lille. Finally, guard duties for 3 airfields were transferred to the Luftwaffe. In return, however, the 340 Infanteriedivision took responsibilities for guard duty at a number of locations at the coast. These were: Armeepioniergerätelager Coulogne, Armeepionierlager Audruicq, Armeepionierpark Hafenbereich Calais, Armeeverpflegungslager St-Omer, Versorgungslager Pont d'Ardres, Südbahnhof Calais, Hauptbahnhof Calais, Verstärkeramt I Calais, Verstärkeramt II Calais, Öltanklager 3 Calais, Öltanklager 4 Calais, Hafensperre Calais, Marinesanitätsgerätelager Wimereux and the Armeemunitionslager Walter in the forest of Eperlecques.

On 5 June 1941 the order was given for the division to assume coastal defence duties in the Calais area, while the actual command was transferred on 10 June 1941.

On 10 June 1941 the 340 Infanteriedivision had assumed control of the sector of the 208 Infanteriedivision in the area of the Höheres Kommando XXXVII.

On 15 June 1941 the following alarm conditions were introduced: regelmässige Gefechtsbereitschaft (normal situation) and erhöhte Alarmbereitschaft (in case of darkness and fog).

On 16 June we find the following overview of the locations of the sub-units of the division (as far down as the companies). This overview includes changes on 25 June:

 

 

 

On 17 June 1941 the divisional reserves (see above) were expanded with the Pionierbataillon 340.

On 23 June 1941 the divixion, on account of its having been moved to the coast, was ordered to establish new Jagdkommandos and Überfallkommandos.

On 24 June 1941 the division reported that, due to the width of the area for which the division was responsible, it was unavoidable that the southern part of the area would be unoccupied. Furthermore, on 25 June the division reported that due to the large number of unused Luftwaffe airfields, some units had to be moved closer to them. Thus, III/IR 696 was moved to the area Hames/Campagne-les-Guines/Landrethun-le-Nord (with HQ in Guines) and the Panzerjägerabteilung 340 to Pihen, St-Inglevert and Audembert (with HQ in Pihen).

Also on this day the Pionierbataillon 340 was ordered to cooperate with the troops in the field for the construction of obstacles and the establishment of Feuerstellungen and their camouflage. In addition, the engineer batallion of the division was also involved in the loading and unloading exercises which continued in order to make the allies think that an invasion of Britain was still possible.

On 26 June 1941 came the firt order for the construction of strongpoints (Stellungsbau). The division had received news that the Oberbauleitung St-Omer of the Organisation Todt would soon allocate material for the construction of concrete machine gun posts and bunkers and was now ordered to suggest, without delay, 12 locations.

On 30 June 1941 the alarm conditions introduced on 15 June (see above) were said to be incorrect ann now changed into 3 stages: regelmässige Gefechtsbereitschaft, erhöhte Gefechtsbereitschaft and höchste Gefechtsbereitschaft.

 

On 4 July 1941 the division had completed the sub-division of the area in Abschnitte and the sub-division of the latter is Standortkommandanturen. Also, new Jagdkommandos and Luftüberfallkommandos to deal with commando parachute assaults behind the front lines at the coast were established. The former were now organised as follows:

 

 

Some 45 Luftüberfallkommandos were also set up by the division, with each command having 5-30 men in it. In addition 43 Standortkommandanturen were also set up in the same period, covering the entire area of the division.

In the month of July and the first week of August, several units in the frontline were relieved. On 11 July 1941 the order was given for II/IR 694 to be relieved by III/IR694 in the period 14-17 July, for the III/IR695 to be relieved by I/IR695 in the period 31 July-3 August, and for the I/IR696 to be relieved by III/IR696 in the period 4-7 August.

In the night of 27/28 July 1941 the Germans discovered and countered a British commando raid. Operation Chess was only the fourth commando raid against the Atlantikwall since June 1940. It was carried by only 16 men of No. 12 Commando against Ambleteuse. Its aim was reconnaissance and the capture of prisoners. However, no prisoners were take and there were no casualties on the British side, although 4 German soldiers were wounded in the firefight.

 

On 3 August 1941 orders were again issued for frontline units to be relieved. This time the I/IR 694 was to be relieved by II/IR694 in the period 21-24 August, II/IR695 was to be relieved by III/IR695 in the period 4-7 September, and II/IR696 was to be relieved by I/IR696 in the period 11-14 September.

On 13 August 1941 orders for the construction of defensive positions along the coast reflect the gradually changing conception of such positions. The units were now instructed to ensure that each position, including artillery and observation, was to have all-round defences and obstacles

On 26 August 1941 the division was ordered to shed one if its infantry companies (5/IR 695) for the creation of other infantry regiments. In order to retain its combat strength on the left flank the division moved 2/IR 694 from the right flank and subordinated it to IR 695.

The division also had at its disposal 5 Beutebatterien, equipped with 10,5cm French guns: Batterien 309-310-264-343-344, with the latter 2 located to the right and left of the Calais port entrance, respectively.

In August 1941 the division also resumed training for the possible invasion of England, now codenamed Unternehmen Haifisch. For practice purposes the division established 2 Verladestäbe: one each at Calais (Hauptmann Stahl) and Gravelines (Hauptmann Rehfeld)

 

On 2 October 1941 the division was visited by the General der Pioniere AOK15 Bordihn. The visit followed as a result of a request by the division to fortify the Cap Blanc Nez - Cap Gris Nez stretch. Bunkers would be built in 70 cm concrete (verstärkt festungsmässig - splittersicher). The construction work was to be coordinated by Festungspionierstab XXVII. On 14 October 1941 the subject was also taken up with the Generalinspektor der Landesbefestigung West Generallautnant Schmetzer, as well as on 23 October with the General der Pioniere der Heeresgruppe D Generalleutnant Schimpff. Actual construction work started on 26 October 1941.

 

On 4 November 1941 the artillery of the 340 Infanteriedivision was organized as follows:

 

 

 

On 9 December 1941 the division expressed its concerns about its artillery organisation. It is good to know that at this point the division, in addition to its organic units, also controlled 5 Stellungsbatterien (Küste)(see above). However, the division was informed that it might receive 3 additional Beutebatterien. It argued that, firstly, the extra manpower for these batteries could not be provided (the 5 Stellungsbatterien already putting a srious strain on manpower), but also that it would disrupt the existing artillery organisation. In addition, the division pointed out that it was actually in need of single guns  and anti-tank guns for the defence of infantry strongpoints.

On 19 December 1941 problems also arose concerning fortifications. Until then the division, under the supervision of the Festungspionierstab 27, had constructed mainly Schabelstände and Doppelschnabelstände. Hiowever, after a visit from Festungsinspekteur Generalleutnant Otto, the latter had forbidden the Festungsbaustab Kanalküste to build those bunkers. The division also saw this decision as an unacceptable intrusion in divisional affairs by a man, whose powers were unclearly defined, if at all. However, the problem was soon resolved with the news that Otoo had only advisory powers.

 

On 4 January 1942 the division reported that in the past weeks it had had to shed a large number of NCOs and soldiers and that replacements were only expected to arrive after 15 January. As a result, all leave after 5 January was cancelled.

Despite a certain animosity between the Heer and the Luftwaffe at the higher levels of command, there was good cooperation between the services in the field. Thus, on 9 January 1942 it was decided to assign Flakkampfgruppen to the 3 reserve batallions and the engineer batallion of the 340 Infanteriedivision, totalling 6 heavy and 14 light AA guns. The guns would only be assigned in emergencies, though. Actually, on 24 January 1942 it was decreed that the sector commanders were to establish contacts with the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine to organise and execute joint exercises.

On 15 January the division received orders that a further 4 infantry companies, one MG company and an artillery battery were to be lost to form other units. Needless to say that this seriously affected the combat capabilities of the division.

On 20 January 1942 an important meeting took place between the commander of the division and the chief of staff of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXVII Oberst von Ditfurth. On the agenda were two subjects: coastal defence and forifications. On the former point the corps, at this point bereft of any reserve division, expressed the wish that a reserve would again be created by withdrawing a division, possibly the 340 Infanteriedivision, from the coast and placing it in reserve. On the matter of fortification an OKH-order of 6 January was discussed, which ordered Schwerpunktbildung along the coastline, but also the fortification of ports and the construction of anti-tank obstacles. However, this work was not to interfere with the construction of field defences. Rather, the latter were to be complemented by the construction of concrete bunkers according to a grand plan, not yet known at the time. In the chief of staff's proposal defence of Calais and Cap Griz Nez would be transferred to the navy and strongpoints would be established between Gravelines and Calais, in the south of Sangatte, at the Cap Blanc Nes (including Escalles), in Wissant and in the area of Ambleteuse. In addition, the important heights further inland were also to be occupied and defended. For the latter, reserves could not be used, as these were supposed to be kept mobile.

On 27 January 1942 the division sent the corps its proposals for the establishments of strongpoints, but also a strong and forcefully motivated plea not the to withdraw the division from the coast, as this would unacceptably weaken defences in the most vulnerable of all sectors.

On 28 January 1942 the division commander, Generalleutnant Wilhelm Neuman, in poor health, was sent to Germany to convalesce. His temporary replacement would be Oberst Reich, the commander of Infanterieregiment 695.

 

Already in February it became clear that the division would be sent to the Russian front in coming months. Thus, on 8 February officers of the division attended discussions on this subject in Paris.

On 12 February, on the same day that the German ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen escaped through the English Channel, 493 replcaments for the division arrived in Calais. These were so-called Volksdeutsche, coming from outside of Germany. Their prior military training was judged to be completely inadequate. In fact, the 'soldiers' had arrived in civilian clothes, prompting local Frenchmen to make sarcastic comments on the uniform situation in Germany! The 700 or so replacement troops which arrived the following day were of equally poor quality.

On 18 February 1942 the division received formal orders to convert to an Angriffsdivision for the Russian front. Around the same time, the companies the division had lost (see above) were transported from the division's sector.

 

On 8 March 1942 Generalleutnant Neumann informed the soldiers of his division that he had been relieved of his duties

On 9 March 1942 the new commander of the division, Generalmajor Butze, officially assumed command of the division.

In a weekly report on 22 March 1942 the division reported that strongpoints were being built according to plan and that numerous obstacles and other defences had been put in place.

On 26 March 1942 an important meeting of all commanding officers of the division took place. It was first confirmed that coastal defence was still the most important mission of the division. Then, however, it was announced that, following a vist of the corps commander earlier that day, a slight change in that mission was envisaged in the sense that the primary mission was now to prevent a landed enemy from gaining a foothold. Interestingly, this would entail making strongpoints lighter and putting up mobile reserve further inland. Increased use of minefields was also to be made.

As a result of the British commando raid on St-Nazaire on 28 March 1942 the 340 Infanteriedivision was briefly put on the highest state of alert (Alarmstufe II).

 

On 2 April 1942 the artillery (including tactically subordinated Heeresartillerie) of the 340 Infanteriedivision was organised as follows (with changes on 19 April included)

 

 

On 6 April 1942 we have an overview of the location of all the units of the division:

 

 

On 6 April 1942 also the command structure as regards the defences of the port of Calais in case of an attack were finalised. Thus, while the port commander was in charge of the Festungsbereich Calais and any units in it, he was tactically subordinated to the commander of the Infanterieregiment 694, though only in case of attack.

On 7 April 1942 a meeting took place between the divisional commander and Generalleutnant Auleb. The latter had been sent by Hitler to inspect coastal defences and carried the title Chef des Alarmstabes. The meeting is interesting in that it enabled the divisional commander to point out everything he was dissatisfied with. Apparently, there were quite a few items troubling Generalmajor Butze. Thus he complained that extra batteries which would be allocated to his division would be of no use, as he did not have the troops to operate these. Also, communications were unsatisfactory. All lines had been laid above rather than under the ground and there was a lack of equipment and trained operators. Training for the eastern front had been impossible due to the division's other tasks, the lack of weapons and suitable terrain. Also, the artillery units could not practise properly and training was deficient. But there was also disatisfaction with the other services. Thus, it was felt impossible to integrate Luftwaffe installations in the divisions's defence and the Kriegsmarine batteries did not yet have all-round defences. The area of the division did not correspond to that of the Marineartilleriekommandeur Pas-de-Calais and it was felt that the Kommandant der Seeverteidigung Pas-de-Calais was not really necessary for the actual defence in case of enemy landings. The latter items clearly show the degree to which there was disagreement between the army and the navy as to command responsibilities. Finally, it was alleged that the naval batteries (including those of the army) had too many officiers and young (read: able) soldiers.

Interestingly, later that day Auleb also had a meeting with the Kommandant der Seeverteidigung Pas-de-Calais, Kapitän-zur-See Frisius, who of course defended naval interests. Firstly, Frisius argued it would be impracticable to have the boundaries of his command coincide with divisional boundaries as the latter were likely to change. Secondly, while conceding that his batteries had too many officers, he actually argued that the Heeresküstenbatterien were undermanned. Moreover, the army naval batteries were unable to shoot with the same precision as the naval batteries, due to the lack of fire control equipment, and were often located too far inland, so that direct observation of the coast was impossible. Ideally, he argued, army officers were to be replaced with trained naval officers. Thirdly, Frisius strongly opposed the idea that the naval batteries should be be tactically subordinated to an army land commander. Rather, he insisted that all batteries able to shoot towards the sea (including those of the army) should be subordinated to a navy command, arguing that only the navy was in a position to judge the situation at sea (Seelage). However, he did concede that as soon as the batteries did no longer have naval targets to deal with and land targets would be available would take orders from the land commander. Nevertheless, Frisius supported close co-operation between the two services.

On 12 April 1942 it was clarified that the sector occupied by the 340 Infanteriedivision was subdivided in 5 sub-sector: one for each of the three regiments, one around the divsional headquarters at Ardres (commanded by the IIa of the division) and one involving the support units in the south (commanded by the Divisionsnachschubführer). The command arrangement for Calais was again repeated: in case of an attack, the city and port were to be defended by the Hafenkommandant, who was himself tactically subordinated to the commander of the local infantry regiment. The port entrance and the two jetties were specifically allocated to the navy. Interestingly, we also learn that the reserve batallions would be supported by flak units, in case of attack.

On 14 April 1942 it was decided that all houses looking out over the beach and sea were to be vacated by their civilian inhabitants.

On 19 April 1942 an order was issued for the relief of the 340 Infanteriedivision by the 106 Infanteriedivision. While the former was to be sent to the Russian front, the latter was in the process of returning from it. The 340 Infanteriedivision was to be assembled in the area Hazebrouck-Bailleul-Armentières-Lens-Bethune-Lillers-Aire, with transport to the east scheduled to begin on 12 April. The 106 Infanteriedivision was to leave the Russion front on 20 April and arrive with its last units in the area Calais-Cassel-Hazebrouck-St Omer-Lumbres on 7 May.

Typical, however, of the dire manpower situation in the West was that the incoming division had been badly mauled in the Russian campaign and was in no way capable of assuming even defensive duties on the Channel coast. Thus, the unit's strength was scheduled to be bolstered by the temporary transfer to its area of several other units (from other corps): Infanterieregiment 676 (minus 1 batallion) of the 332 Infanteriedivision and Infanterieregiment 586 and 1 artillery batallion of the 320 Infanteriedivision. From the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXVII itself 1 infantry batallion and 1 artillery batallion (minus 1 battery) were to be drawn from the corps reserve (Infanterieregiment 573 of the 304 Infanteriedivision). Interestingly, the army had asked the Luftwaffe to help out, notably with the 7 Fliegerdivision and the Brigade Hermann Göring, but this request was turned down.

An order of 24 April 1942 provided further details as to which infantry units were to be relieved by whuch units.

  • The two frontline batallions of Infanterieregiment 694 were to be relieved by one batallion of Infanterieregiment 573 (right sector) and 1 batallion of Infanterieregiment 586 (left sector)

  • The two frontline batallions of Infanterieregiment 696 were to be relieved by 2 batallions of Infanterieregiment 586, with the regimental HQ relieved by that of Infanterieregiment 586.

  • The two frontline batallions of Infanterieregiment 695 were to be relieved by 2 batallions of Infanterieregiment 676, with the regimental HQ relieved by that of Infanterieregiment 676

Similar details were provided for the artillery units:

  • HQ I/AR340 and 1/AR340 by HQ I/AR304 and one battery of AR304

  • HQ III/AR340 by HQ II/AR320 and 4/AR340 and 5/AR340 by two batteries of AR320

On 3 May 1942 we find a final overview of the the artillery (including tactically subordinated Heeresartillerie) of the 340 Infanteriedivision:

 

 

 

On 4 May 1942 the following units of the 340 Infanteriedivision had been relieved by units of the 304 Infanteriedivision: Stab I/AR340 durch I/AR 304, II/IR 695 durch III/IR 676, I/IR 694 durch II/IR 573. The 13/IR 695 had been withdrawn without having been relieved.

On 5 May 1942 the following units of the 340 Infanteriedivision had been relieved by units of the 304 Infanteriedivision: 5/AR 340 durch 4/AR 320, III/IR 695 durch I/IR 676.

On 6 May 1942 the senior engineer officer of the division reported on the fortification work completed. He started by saying that when the division arrived in May 1941 it found only weak field defences. At the end of 1941 units of the division had already built 41 Betonkampfstände. Until May 1942 the engineer unit had been able to build some 70 Dreischartenstände. After the order for the construction of a neue Westwall was given, the division had immediately started fortifying the Festungsnereich Calais, notably by construction Dreischartenstände to protect the roads leading in an out of Calais.After the order erweiterter Befehl neuer Westwall fortifications had been planned in four degrees of priority (Dringlichkeitsstufen) and some of this work had already begun by May 1942. Further, defences had been bolstered by minefields, flamethrowers, flak searchlights and additional barbed wire. Finally, he reported that 50 Schnabelstände had been completed by Festungspionierabschnittsgruppe II/27 in the left sector.

Further on this day the following units of the 340 Infanteriedivision had been relieved by units of the 304 Infanteriedivision:  II/IR 695 durch III/IR 676, III/IR 695 durch I/IR 676, Regimentsstab IR 695 durch Regimentsstab IR 676, 4/AR 340 durch 5/AR 320.

On 7 May 1942 the following units of the 340 Infanteriedivision had been relieved by units of the 304 Infanteriedivision: I/IR 694 durch II/IR 573, III/IR 694 durch III/IR 586, I/AR 340 durch I/AR 304, 1/AR 340 durch 1/AR 304, III/IR 696 durch I/IR 586, II/IR 696 durch II/IR 586, Stab III/AR 340 durch Stab II/AR320, 5/AR 340 durch 4/AR 320, Regimentsstab IR 696 durch Regimentstab IR 586, II/IR 695 durch III/IR 676, III/IR 695 durch I/IR 676, 4/AR 340 durch 5/AR 320, Regimentstab IR 695 durch Regimentstab IR 676. With these changes, the ordered relief operations was completed.

On 8 May 1942 details were provided as to the exact location of the units of other divisions which were to relieve those of the 340 Infanteriedivision:

 

 

 

On 9 May 1942 the Regimentsstab IR694 was relieved by the Regimentsstand IR 573 (Coulogne).

On 10 May 1942 the 340 Infanteriedivision officially tranferred command of KVA C to the 106 Infanteriedivision. The 340 Infanteriedivision left the corps area on 12 May 1942, thereby ending its presence in the western theatre of operations.

On 13 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Stab 340ID und Kartenstelle, Stab I/IR694, 1-3 und motorisierte Teile der 14/IR694, 1/AR340, 2. Krankenkraftwagenzug.

On 14 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Regimentsstab IR 694 und Stabskompanie, 1/2 7, 11, 12 und Rest 14/IR 694, 2/AR 340, 1/Pionierbataillon 340, Panzerjägerabteilung 340, Radfahrschwadron, 2 (teilweise) und 3. Kompanie, Stab der Nachrichtenabteilung 340, 1. und 2. Kompanie, 1. kleine Kraftwagenkolonne, Verpflegungsamt, Feldpostamt, Feldgendarmerietrupp

On 15 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: II/IR 694, Stab III, 9 und 10/IR 694, Stab I/AR 340 und Stabsbatterie, Rest Panzerjägerabteilung 340, Stab Dinafü 340, 8. leichte Fahrkolonne, 11. kleine Kraftwagenkolonne, Werkstattkompanie, Slächtereikompanie, Bäckereikompanie, 2. Sanitätskompanie, motorisierte Teile, 1. Krankenkraftwagenzug

On 16 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: 13/IR 694, Stab II/IR 696 und 6. Kompanie, 2. Fahrkolonne (ohne 14 Fz).

On 17 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Stab IR 696 und Stabskompanie, 5, 7, 8, 1/2 10 und 14 (bespannte Teile IR 696, Stabsbatterie, Stab III und 5/AR 340, Stab und 3/Pionierbataillon 340.

On 18 May 1942 the  following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Stab III, 9, rest 10, 13, Rest 14/IR 696, 6/AR 340, 2/3 3. Fahrkolonne, 1. bespannte Sanitätskompanie

On 19 May 1942 the  following unts of the division were transported out of the area: 1/2 2. 3, 4, 11, 12 IR696, 8/AR 340, leichte Pionierkolonne, leichte Nachrichtenkolonne, Rest der 2. Fahrkolonne, Nachschubkompanie

On 20 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: II/IR 695, Stab I, 1. Rest 2. /IR 696, 3/AR 340. The Stab IR 573 was tranferred to Calais. The Stab I/AR 107 (106 Infanteriedivision) officially assumed command of the artillery in the left sector of the KVA, thus relieving the II/AR 340.

On 21 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Regimentsstab IR695 und Stabskompanie, Stab III und 9., Teile der 10. und mot Teile der 14/IR 695, 9. (Teile) und 11/AR 340, Rest 1. und 2. /Pionierbataillon 340.

On 22 May 1942 the following unts of the division were transported out of the area: Rest 10., 11, 12, 13, Rest 14/IR 695, Regimentsstab und Stabsbatterie AR 340, Stab II und Stabsbatterie AR340, Teile der 10/AR340, Rest 3. Fahrkolonne.

On 23 May 1942 the  following unts of the division were transported out of the area: I/IR 695, Stab IV und Stabsbatterie AR 340, 4, Rest 9 und Rest 10 AR340, 4. Fahrkolonne.

On 24 May 1942 the final units of the division were transported off: 5, 6, 7, 9, 10. Fahrkolonne, Veterinärkompanie 340.

 

2. HISTORY OF THE ADJUDANTUR (IIa)

 

In this section personnel matters and division statistics will briefly be discussed while the division was stationed in France.

 

Activity report from 16 November 1940 until 15 January 1941

 

The 340 Infanteriedivision was established on 16 November 1940. On this day the division commander, Generalmajor Neumann reported for duty in Schleswig. He was followed by the Ia, Oberstleutnant iG Ebeling  and the IIa, Major Raspe on 18 November 1940. The other officers reported for duty in the last week of November, so that all officer positions in the headquarters had been filled by 1 December. There were problems in finding unit commanders, but by the end of December all but one these had been filled in (III/AR 340). Most serious, however, were the problems within the units, so that on 15 January 1942 the units were still short of 55 officers.

Shortages also existes for NCO and soldiers. On 14 December 1940 292 NCOs and  4562 soldiers were requested. These were to arrive before 31 January.

 

Activity report from 16 January until 15 February 1941

 

In the period between 1 and 9 February some of the missing officers, NCOs and soldiers arrived with the division. These men were from the years 1907-1913 and were mainly East Prussians. On 16 February 1941 all officer positions within the division were filled. In this period the division was still short of 1023 NCOs and soldiers. The average age was 28 1/2 years in the fighting units and 33 years in the rear services.

On 15 January 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 219 officers, 36 Beamte, 1132 NCOs and 5546 Mannschaften, for a total of 6933 men.On 15 February 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 256 officers, 43 Beamte, 1414 NCOs and 9303 Mannschaften, for a total of 11016 men.

 

 

Activity report from 16 February until 15 March 1941

 

In this period there were sufficient offciers (partly through promotion) to ensure that each unit had at least 2 officers. On 25 February 1941 84 NCOs and 886 troops were requested for the division. These were predicted to arrive with the division as late as mid-April. The unoccupied position of Kommandeur III/AR 340 was finally filled by Major Zabka on 13 March 1941.

On 15 March 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 263 officers, 44 Beamte, 1493 NCOs and 9155 Mannschaften, for a total of 10955 men. On 15 April 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 274 officers, 63 Beamte, 1548 NCOs and 9148 Mannschaften, for a total of 11033 men.

 

Activity report from 16 March until 7 May 1941

 

The replacements requested on 25 February arrived with the division in the period 20-25 April 1941 (18 NCOs and 851 troops). After the arrival of these the division was still short of  300 NCOs and troops.

 

Activity report from 8 May until 9 June 1941

 

Starting on 7 May 1941 the division was transported to France, where it became Armeereserve of the AOK 16 in Tourcoing. The division had a strength of 276 officers, 64 Beamten, 1616 NCOs and 9720 troops. The missing 5 NCOs and 391 troops were requested.

On 15 May 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 276 officers, 64 Beamte, 1616 NCOs and 9720 Mannschaften, for a total of 11676 men.

 

Activity report from 10 June until 20 July 1941

 

On 10 June 1941 the division was deployed on the coast between Grevalines and Boulogne (both locations excluded). The 5 NCOs and 391 troops requested in the previous period arrived in Calais on 15 June 1941. The division had thus reached its Sollstärke. On 15 June 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 282 officers, 65 Beamte, 1672 NCOs and 9644 Mannschaften, for a total of 11663 men. On 15 July 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 296 officers, 66 Beamte, 1678 NCOs and 9824 Mannschaften, for a total of 11864 men.

 

Activity report from 10 July until 20 August 1941

 

In this period a Verladestab Calais and Verladestab Gravelines were established, to which units 2 officers of the division and 4 auxiliary officers were transferred. Since the division had been operational in France 1 soldier had been killed and 11 injured in aircrast attacks and a British E-boat attack near Ambleteuse. Replacements for the division were not requested. With only 400 men short, the OKH-ordered upper limit of 10% Fehlstellen was not yet reached.

On 15 August 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 290 officers, 65 Beamte, 1692 NCOs and 9627 Mannschaften, for a total of 11674 men.

 

Activity report from 21 August until 30 September 1941

 

In this period the division had a total of 2 killed and 11 injured. On 20 August 1941 the OKH ordered an Ersatzsperre for the entire army of the West. This meant that replacements could no longer be requested, except in exceptional cases and directly with the OKH. Thus, for the static Heeresküstenbatterien the division requested 1 offiver, 29 NCOs and 177 gunners with the OKH on 20 September 1941. On 30 September 1941 the division was short of 454 troops On the basis of the above order, troops for these Fehlstellen could not be requested.

On 15 September 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 287 officers, 65 Beamte, 1708 NCOs and 9463 Mannschaften, for a total of 11523 men.

 

Activity report from 1 October until 15 November 1941

 

In this period 30 officers and 24 Feldwebeln were lost to the Ostheer (i.e. the Russian front). The total losses of the division since they became operational at the coast amounted to 2 killed and 17 injured. In this period replacements were not requested on account of the replacement prohibition (see above).

On 15 October 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 259 officers, 65 Beamte, 1708 NCOs and 9265 Mannschaften, for a total of 11282 men. On 15 November 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 261 officers, 68 Beamte, 1709 NCOs and 9176 Mannschaften, for a total of 11214 men.

 

Activity report from 16 November until 31 December 1941

 

In this period quite a few troops were lost due to the need to complete other division. Thus, 15 soldiers were transferred to the 83 Infanteriedivision and 65 NCOs and 374 soldiers to the 28 leichte Infanteriedivision.

On 15 December 1941 the division had the following actual strength: 269 officers, 64 Beamte, 1645 NCOs and 8804 Mannschaften, for a total of 10782 men.

 

In 1941 the 340 Infanteriedivision had the following staff officers:

 

 

Activity report from 1 January until 28 February 1942

 

In this period entire companies of the division were lost to the Ostheer. Specifically, 5 und 9/IR694, 9/IR695, 3 und 8/IR696 and 5/AR340 with a total strnegth of 920 men were lost. On 11-12 February 1942 1193 replacements were received. Ten per cent of these had not yet received any military training. From the remainder 50 per cent had only served in the Czech army. As a result of the above, the combat strength of the division had seriously been reduced.  On 15 February 1942 the division was short of 1267 men. On 2 February 1942 the OHK ordered the transformation of the division into an attack division ready for the Russian front.

On 15 January 1942 the division had the following actual strength: 271 officers, 63 Beamte, 1683 NCOs and 8695 Mannschaften, for a total of 10712 men. On 15 February 1942 the division had the following actual strength: 272 officers, 65 Beamte, 1659 NCOs and 8883 Mannschaften, for a total of 10879 men.

 

Activity report from 1 March until 15 March 1942

 

In this period  128 NCOs and 1265 troops were exchanged with the 304, 306, 321  and 716 Infanteriedivisionen. As replacements for the complete units shed by the division (see above) 920 replacement troops arrived without any military training. Also 497 convalesced men arrived. On 15 March 1942 the division was short of 4704 men. This shortage was offset by a request for 77 officers, 289 NCOs and 3200 troops, as well complete units from the replacement army.

On 15 March 1942 the division had the following actual strength: 281 officers, 67 Beamte, 1813 NCOs and 9939 Mannschaften, for a total of 12099 men.

 

Activity report from 16 March until 30 April 1942

 

In this period Generalleutnant Neumann was transferred into the Führerserserve (effective as of 1 March) and succeeded by Generalmajor Butze. The following replacements arrived: 20 officers, 289 NCOs and 3200 troops. The following complete units arrived:

  • 3 motorized platoons for the 14. Kompanien

  • 2 AT-companies for the Panzerjägerabteilung 340

  • 3 13. Kompanien

  • Sanitâtskompanie 2/340 and the Krankenkraftwagenzug 2/340

The division was no longer short of NCOs and troops. However, the division did contaiin 400 NCOs and troops not suitable for the Russian front. For these replacements were requested but had not yet arrived. On 15 April 1942 the division had the following actual strength: 329 officers, 71 Beamte, 2017 NCOs and 12323 Mannschaften, for a total of 14740 men.

 

In 1942 the 340 Infanteriedivision had the following staff officers:

 

 

In 1941-1942 the division had the following unit commandeers: