History of LXXXIX Armeekorps (October 1942-June 1944)
1942 1943 1944
The history of LXXXIX Armeekorps starts on 25 October 1942, date on which the former Generalkommando Schelde was given its name and final name. At that moment the unit was commanded by General der Panzertruppen Dr. Alfred Ritter von Hubicki with headquarters in Antwerpen (Nachtegalenpark). The Chef des Generalstabes was Oberstleutnant i.G. Hans-Dietrich von Boeltzig as of January 1943. The corps was made up of 2 divisions:
At this moment in time the remainder of the Belgian coast was under the operational control of the LXXXII Armeekorps. Mention should also be made of the Abschnitt Antwerpen, where the 39 Infanteriedivision was located, over which the corps had tactical control.
For the histories of individual KVAs (with Luftwaffe/Kriegsmarine units) and divisions the interested reader is referred to the individual pages detailing the history of these units. The remainder of this page will consider the history of the corps itself, as well as that of (independent) corps units. A separate page has also been created for the Alarmeinheiten of the corps.
The LXXXIX Armeekorps was given the task of defending the Schelde estuary, both banks of the river Schelde and (the port of) Antwerp. In order to to be able to do this, it worked in close cooperation with the Abschnitt Antwerpen. The corps only exercised tactical control over this area, the administrative control being assumed by the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien- Nordfrankreich.
On 15 October 1942 the AOK 15 ordered its subordinated corps to establish Alarmeinheiten or security troops from the supporting units in the rear.and to report on these. For more information on the Alarmeinheiten of the LXXXIX Armeekorps see here.
On 26 October 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps had the following subordinated Heerestruppen:
An important change took place on 10 November 1942, when the 39 Infanteriedivision was posted on the coast between Wenduine and the French-Belgian border, relieving the 306 Infanteriedivision there, with control officially being handed over on 18 November. Interestingly, it was initially decided to put the 39 Infanteriedivision under the operational control of the LXXXII Armeekorps.
However, on 11 November 1942 this decision was changed and the division would come under the operational control of the LXXXIX Armeekorps in the newly-created Küstenverteidigungsabschnitt A3. This move resulted in a request by the corps for the forces then present in the port of Antwerp to be relieved by forces of the Militärbefehlshaber. The 306 Infanteriedivision, which was planned to go to the Russian front, concentrated in the area Lokeren-Torhout-Tielt-Kortrijk-Oudenaarde with temporary headquarters in Gent. While in this area, the division was also under the operational control of the LXXXIX (from 13 November). On 2 December the division left the corps area.
On 12 November 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued its Korpsbefehl for the 306 Infanteriedivision to be relieved by the 39 Infanteriedivision. It also stipulated that command of the sector had to be officially transferred on 18 November.
On 13 November 1942 the Generalkommando LXXXIX Armeekorps reported the successful takeover of the KVA of the 306 Infanteriedivision on the same day. Most interestingly, the relavent document also explains the decision to keep the headquarters of the corps in Wilrijk, far away from the coast. The main reason for this decision was that Antwerp was well situated in terms of communication lines, especiallu with the fixed (underground) telephone cable to The Netherlands. Locations closer to the coast would have to make do with provisional and improvised (behelfsmässig) connections, which also be vulnerable to air attack. Also, connections with the Militärbefehlshaber and Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber would be more difficult. Even though the city of Gent was also considered as a corps headquarters, this location had been rejected as the city was not located in the Gefechtsgebiet.
Also on 13 November 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued a Korpsbefehl concerning the forces in the Abschnitt Antwerpen. With the 39 Infanteriedivision leaving for the coast, there wouild no longer ben corps forces present in the city and port. Thus, the Korpsbefehl stipulated that the 65 Infanteriedivision on Walcheren was to send one bataillion of the Grenadierregiment 146 on South-Beveland to Antwerp, where it would have to arrive on 19 November.
Due to the decision to put the 39 Infanteriedivision under the operational control of the LXXXIX Armeekorps the corps boundaries were also changed, the French-Belgian border now being the dividing line. As a result of this change, the most important higher artillery headquarters, the Heeresküstenartillerieregiment 940, headquartered in De Haan, with many units in Belgium, was fully subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps on 15 November 1942. On 22 November it was precisized that while the corps had administrative control, tactical control was exercised by the 39 Infanteriedivision.
The document below details the organization of the Heeresküstenartillerieregiment 940 at around this time:
On 15 November 1942 Oberbefehlshaber West issued an order that in order to place too big a burden on the troops an new alarm stage would be introduced. The introduction of the stage Vorwarnung meant that the until then first alarm stage, Alarmstufe I, was not to be ordered too many times.
On 18 November 1942 command of KVA A3 was officially tranferred from the 306 Infanteriedivision to the 39 Infanteriedivision.
On 19 November 1942 the batallion from the 65 Infanteriedivision (see above) arrived in Antwerp. It was subordinated to the Abschnitt Antwerpen and was organized as follows:
Also on 19 November 1942 the Generalkommando LXXXIX Armeekorps issued an important document, it which it clarified the (complex) situation concerning the use of artillery in KVA A2 and KVA A3. More details can be found on the relevant KVA history pages. Also, on this the LXXXIX Armeekorps reported the planned arrival (from 20 November) of the Baubataillon (SF) 128 in Antwerp. The batallion came from the Krim area and was economically and administratively subordinated to the corps. Eventually, the latter unit never came to Antwerp.
On 21 November 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued its Korpstagesbefehl 9/42. Firstly, In it a number of subordinations were decided on. Thus the Heeresküstenartillerieregimentsstab 940 was subordinated tactically and economically to the 39 Infanteriedivision but administratively and displinarily to the corps; I/GR 146 was subordinated tactically to the Abschnitt Antwerpen and the Baubataillon 128 directly to the corps. Secondly, a number of new officers had been appointed: Oberstleutnant iG von Boeltzig as Chef des Generalstabes, Major Zimmermann as Quartiermeister, Major Götze as Korrpsnachrichtenführer and Oberleutnant Brenner as Ic.
On 22 November 1942 it was reported that from 1 December 1942 onwards the 338 Infanteriedivision would be located in the Antwerp area. Originally, it had been intented to use the division to replace the 39 Infanteriedivsion at the coast, with the latter again becoming Heeresgruppenreserve. However, a few weeks later this plan was abandoned and the unit left the area on 3 January 1943. Also on this day, the AOK15 informed all its corps, inclusing the LXXXIX Armeekorps, that the Kriegsmarine had decided on 20 November to disestablish the following Hafenkommandanturen: Nieuwpoort, Gravelines, Le Treport and Trouville. The reason for this move was to free personnel to occupy the newly-acquired ports in the south of France. As only the Hafenüberwachungsstellen would remain in these ports, the corps were asked to take over the tasks of the Hafenkommandanturen. 67 sailors were withdrawn from Nieuwpoort.
On 23 November 1942 the corps commander held talks with the Abschnitt Antwerpen (the reportes is dated 25 November). Firstly, the new organization of the Abschnitt Antwerpen was discussed. Specifically, it was decided to send two of the four Belgian guns which had never been used on the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide to the Krezuschanzschleuse (Kruisschanslock). Secondly, flak use was discussed with the Flakgruppe. Joint exercises with the Flak units were ordered and the absence of a flak liaison officer was deplored. It was stated that 2 Flakkampftrupps could be built from the 4 light batteries present. Land targets had also been determined for the heavy flak batteries. It was further noted that the searchlight batteries had been demotorized and could not be used in a mobile way. It was also ordered that the leichte Flakkampfgruppen were to be motorised. Thirdly, the situation of the Fliegerhorst Deurne was discussed. It was said to have the following organisation:
On 26 November 1942 the Generalkommando LXXXIX Armeekorps informed its subordinate units of a decision taken by AOK 15. This decision concerned the construction of field fortifications and training. As far as the former was concerned, the troops were ordered, in addition to permanent fortifications, to primarily focus on field fortifications. Since troops were thus able to spend less time on military training the number of monthly exercises was to be reduced to a minimum of 4 and were to be mainly held in a company context.
On 27 November 1942 the corps was informed of the ongoing occupation by German forces of the thus far unoccupied part of France Since these actions could have consequenced for the Atlantic and Channel coasts as well, all units were placed on Alarmstufe I. On 29 November 1942 the alarm phase was brougt back to nights only and entirely discontinued on 2 December, after which it was replaced at night by the phase Vorwarnung (until
On 2 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps informed the 65 Infanteriedivision that the I/GR 146 was to return from Antwerp to its parent unit between 10 and 12 December. Only the 2. Kompanie was to stary in Antwerp as Wachkompanie for the corps headquarters.
On 4 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps sent a message of complaint to the AOK 15. The reason for this was two-fold. Firstly, the Hafenkommandant Oostende had been forced to shed the troops and (heavy) weapons defending the western jetty. Since no naval replacement troops were available, the army was forced to take over the defence of this important position. Secondly, the weapons platoon of 5/MAA 202 in Vrouwenpolder (Walcheren) had also been withdrawn. In the message the corps complained that, while it understood the position the navy was in, in the end it was always the army that was forced to bear the consequences.
On 5 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps ordered that the Grenadierregiment 758 of the 338 Infanteriedivision was to be subordinated to the Abschnitt Antwerpen from 8 December onwards. The headquarters of this regiment were in Zwijndrecht. Further, the I/GR 146 (without its second company) was to be withdrawn from Antwerp from 10 December at the earliest. On the same day the corps also sent a message to the AOK 15 it which it pojnted out that, with the 306 Infanteriedivision having been relieved, the 39 Infanteriedivision had taken over a combat area which had been originally conceived for a 9-batallion division. As the 39 ID was composed of only two regiments/six batallions, the corps now requested the most southern part of the division's combat area (around Poperinge) to be taken away from the division. Units located in Poperinge at this point in time were 2/Jägerabteilung 23, Stabsbatterie 2/PzAR 95 (both of the 26 PzD) and Bäckereikompanie 182. This request was granted on 9 December 1942.
On 6 December 1942 the corps sent a message to the 712 Infanteriedivision ordering that, for the sake of fortification work and in order to make the troops more familiar with their duties at the coast, each regimental sector of the division would have 2 batallions on the coast, while a third (reserve) batallion would be especially trained as Eingreifreserve. Concretely, this meant that batallions could no longer be switched.
On 7 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps released its important document Korpsbefehl für die einheitliche Kampfführung der Scheldeverteidigung. In view of the possibility of an enemy amphibious landing on either side of the Schelde estuary, coupled with an airborne attack near Antwerp, the corps was given the following tasks:
In the document particular attention was paid tho the defence of Antwerp The latter task fell to the Abschnittskommandant Antwerpen, Generalmajor Krech, who commanded 3 sub-sectors. The task of defending important objects and crushing potential internal unrest in the city was entrusted to the Feldkommandant 520. Ouitside the port area the defence of Antwerp was to be hinged on the belt of old forts surrounding the city. However, the majority of the available forces were to be kept as a mobile reserve.
The Korpsbefehl also reveals which other units, besides the Abschnitt Antwerpen, were under the tactical control of the corps:
On 8 December 1942 the alarm phase Vorwarnung at night was cancelled. Also on this day the Generalkommando LXXXIX formulated a request to the AOK15 concerning the access defence of ports in its area of command, also against heavily armoured ships.Thus, the request was for 2x 12-15cm canons under concrete each for the ports of Breskens, Zeebrugge and Oostende, which were to be transformed into Panzerstützpunkte.
On 10 December 1942 the corps commander visited the troops of the 338 Infanteriedivision in Antwerp. He found the troops of I/GR 146 still in their locations, with transfer planned for 11 December. The troops of the /GR758 (commanded by Hauptmann Sievert) were deployed as follows: 2. Kompanie in Ekeren; 4. Kompanie in Sint-Mariaburg; 1. Kompanie am Kreuzschanzschleuse. Artillerieregiment 338 (commanded by Oberst pirker) was also visted. It was deployed as follows: I Abteilung in Tunrhout, II Abteilung in Maria-ter-Heide; III Abteilung in Merksem.
On 15 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps was made up of the following units:
On the same day the LXXXIX Armeekorps was deployed as follows:
Until 16 December 1942 the following officers made up the headquarters staff of the LXXXIX Armeekorps:
On 17 December 1942 the recently appointed interim commander of the Armeeoberkommando 15 General der Panzertruppen von Vietinghoff inspected the sector of the 39ID in the morning and that of the 712ID in the afternoon. On 18 December the 65 Infanteriedivision on Walcheren was inspected.
On 20 December 1942 the Generalkommando requested the AOK15 to fully motorize the Infanteriepanzerjägerkompanien of the 39 and 65 Infanteriedivisionen, who were still partly equipped with horses. This was deemed necessary as the reserves, with whom these companies were supposed to cooperate, were already motorized.
On 23 December 1942 the AOK 15 informed the corps that the Brigade 999 woiuld enter the area of command of the LXXXIX Armeekorps and was to be stationed for further training on the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide, north of Antwerp.
On 25 December 1942 the LXXXIX Armeekorps ordered the Abschnitt Antwerpen that the Grenadierregiment 758 of the 338 Infanteriedivision was to be withdrawn from Antwerp and would be replaced by just one company(!), namely the 1. Kompanie/Grenzwachregiment Clüver. The company was to be located to the north of Antwerp so that it could defend the strongpoints Kreuzschanzschleuse and Scheldetunnel. It was to be tactically subordinated to the Kampfgruppe Hafen. Further, the organisation of the 13-14 Kompanien in the Abschnitt West was to be changed in such a manner (by weaking the strongpoints) that each company would have one mobile platoon in reserve.
Thus at the end of December 1942 the following units were under the tactical control of the LXXXIX Armeekorps:
To finish the year a document of 31 December 1942 offers an excellent overview of the progress made in fortifying the coast:
More information on the activities of the above staff section can be found here.
On 2 January 1943 the 338 Infanteriedivision left the corps area.
On 3 January 1943 first transports of the Afrika-Brigade 999 arrived in the same area. The brigade was subordinated to the Generalkommando in every respect, with the last units arriving on 7 January. It was renamed Afrikadivision 999 on 2 February and left the corps areao on 20 February.
On 10 January 1943 the Armeeübungsverband Vlissingen (see above) was officially dissolved.
On 14 January 1943 measures were ordered to make the artillery batteries 1/652 and 2/652 transportable. For the latter the grosse Kraftwagenkolonne of the 712 ID and for the former the Kraftfahrkompanie of the 39 ID would be used. On the same day measures were ordered for strengthening of defensive capabilities. Thus, the divisions had formed Alarmeinhiten with the combat troops (from the rear units) and the logistics troops. Of the Alarmeinheiten formed by the combat troops, the following numbers were permanenetly deployed on coastal defence duties: 39ID (143 soldiers), 65 ID (261 soldiers), 712 ID (88 soldiers) and the Generalkommando (14 soldiers). Also, the corps reported the following Gefechtsstärke/Verpflegungsstärke ration: 78.2%. With the Alarmeinheiten included, this ration increased to 80,15%.
On 15 January 1943 the corps again addressed the issue of defensive strengths. Firstly, it acknowledged that the overall (manpower) situation (on the Russian front) demanded an extreme level of transferring forces to the Rast, even at the risk of further weakening defences in the West. Then, the corps expressed its approval of every kind of improvisation to boost defensive strength in the corps area.
On 16 January 1943 the corps reported that measures to increase the combat strength of the Infanteriepanzerjägerkompanien had been completed.
On 20 January 1943 the Stab Heeresküstenartillerieabteilung 823 was moved to Wenduiine in KVA A3 to Duinbergen in KVA A2, where it assumed the seatactical command of the Artillerieuntergruppe Zeebrügge.
On 23 January 1943 it was reported that the Hochseelehrkommando Terneuzen was tactically subordinated to the corps, while economically and judicially to the 712 ID.
On 25 January 1943 2/GR 146 of the 65 ID was relieved by the 6/GR 146 as Sicherungskompanie at the corps headquarters in Antwerp.
On 28-29 January 1943 Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt visited the area of the Generalkommando.
On 1 February 1943 the corps commander visited the Abschnitt Antwerpen. He ordered that, in the event of an attack the Alarmeinheiten would have to relieve the Landesschützenbataillon 736, which would then act as a tactical reserve for the sector. The corps commander further expressed his wish that from I/Grenzwachregiment Clüver only 1 company would defend the strongpoints, so that that other company (thus released) could be trained and simultaneous act as a reserve unit. By also transferring this company to the Abschnitt Mitte, this sub-sector (currently without forces) would also be secured.
On 2 February 1943 Artilleriekommandeur 189 was established as a static command by OBWest.
Important changes took place on 10 February 1943. Firstly, the order was given for the 39 Infanteriedivision at the coast to be relieved by the 171 Reservedivision, with the former concentrating in the area Oostkamp - Diksmuide - Tielt - Izegem - Roeselare as Heeresgruppenreserve. Secondly, the Afrikadivision 999 was ordered to be tranferred to the south of France. On 18 February 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps was given a new task. In an effort to rebuild the 6 Armee which had capitulated and had perished in Stalingrad on 31 January the corps was ordered to provide forces to newly establish the 44 Infanteriedivision, with cadre units to be drawn from all the corps' divisions. The headquarters of this division were established in Lokeren. The Aufstellungsstab was led by Major Birsak.
On 23 February 1943 the 171 Reservedivision started to relieve the 39 Infanteriedivision on the Belgian coast, with the latter destined to be transferred to the Russian front, leaving the corps area on 7 March. With the former unit being a reserve division, a number of its units still had to be set up. Also, it was only under the tactical command of the corps.
On 26 February 1943 the 39 Infanteriedivision officially handed over command of its sector to the 171 Reservedivision and transferred to the area Oostkamp - Diksmuide - Tielt - Izegem - Roeselare as Heeresgruppenreserve, before being transferred to the East.
Operational on 1 March 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps was given a bodenständige artillery headquarters, namely the Artilleriekommandeur 189, with Oberst Nieper as its first commander. The headquarters were located in Antwerpen, Eglantierlaan 15 and could be reached through the Hauptvermittlung 1 Antwerpen. Subordinated to these headquarters were:
On 2 March 1943 a document discussed the troublesome engineer situation with the 171 Reservedivision. Specifically, the division was said not to possess trained engineer forces. The available Infanteriepionierkompanie 216 was assessed as nicht fähig. To make matters worse, engineer units from other divisions could not be made available. The corps thus requested the allocation of a Stamme (cafre) to form an engineer company. Further, on this day another document ordered measures for the creation of reserves and their mobility. The document started by acknowledging that with the current disposition of forces along the coast line the outcome of combat actions would be dependent on and decided by the deployment of mobile reserves. In this respect, the following measures were ordered. Firstly, all established Alarmeinheiten were to be deployed in the KVAs from the start of combat operations. Secondly, the Alarmeinheiten were to be deployed in such a way that complete units were freed to act as reserves. Thirdly, these freed up units were to be withdrawn to the rear area where they were to be kept ready as reserves. Fourthly, all such reserve units were to be made mobile. Fifthy, in every KVA the pulling out of a reinforced regiment was to be prepared in such a way that said regiment could be deployed to other sectors. Sixthly, the 712 ID was orederd to prepare 350 tons of corgao space, 250 horses and available bicycycles so that the entire division could be pulled out. It the latter case, the Belgian part of its sector would be taken over by a regiment of the 171RD while the Dutch part would be talken over by a battalion of the 65 ID.
The 171 Reservedivision did not only have problems with its engineer unit (seeabove), but also with its headquarters units. A document of 3 March 1943 reveals that the headquarters of the division ware assessed as being unable to perform their allocated tasks. Thus the corps asked AOK 15 for the headquarters units to be upgraded from their reserve status to those of active units. Interestingly, this request was rejected by the army on 4 March 1943 and on 7 March 1943 the division was told to upgrade their headquarters using own forces.
On 5 March 1943 an earlier decision with respect to the deployment of the Alarmeinheiten (see 2 March above) was apparently made. It was decided that only the corps would decide on their deployment at the coastal front. More importantly, the Alarmeinheiten would not be deployed in sectors being attacked.
On 7 March 1943 details were provided about what would happen if some units had to be pulled out for front-line duty elsewhere. Two contingencies were prepared: the extraction of an entire division and that of individual infantry regiments. In the former case the 171 Reservedivision was earmarked to be pulled out. To defend KVA A3 the 712 Infanteriedivision would give up the Dutch part of KVA A2 and send the Grenadierregiment 745 and the Artillerieabteilung 652 to KVA A3, where it would be joined by 3 companies of Alarmeinheiten built from Wehrmacht units in the sector. To defend the Dutch part of KVA A2, the 65 Infanteriedivision would transfer 1 batallion of Grenadierregiment 146 and 1 battery of II/Artillerieregiment 165 to the sector, where it would be joined by Alarmeinheiten. Finally, in KVA A1 3 1/2 companies of Alarmeinheiten would replace the departed troops. In case a reinforced regiment was to be pulled out, the following units were earmarked: GR146 (KVA A1), GR 745 (KVA A2) and GR 71 (KVA A3), supported by artillery units. Finally in the Abschnitt Antwerpen the following Alarmeinheiten were said to be present: 1 Bataillonsstab, 6 verst. Schützenkompanien and 1 Schützenzug.
Also on 7 March a further problem concerning the 171 RD was addressed by the corps. Being a reserve division, the 171 RD was only subordinated to the corps tactically and not administratively or for training purposes (for which purposes it was subordinated to the LXVII Reservekorps). It was therefore requested to subordinate the division to the corps also on these levels.
On 11 March 1943 changes were made in the Abschnitt Antwerpen. In addition to a new suborganisation (with further changes to the Kampfgruppen tadt and Hafen on 20 March), a new overall commander was appointed: Generalmajor Schmidt, in addition to staying on the commander of Feldkommandantur 520 in Antwerp, became the overall Abschnitt commander, with the former overall commander, Generalmajor Krech being relegated to command the Unterabschnitt Ost.
On 19 March 1943 the sub-sectors Kampgruppe Stadt and Hafen of the Abschnitt Antwerpen were re-organized. Thus, Kampfgruppe Stadt was given 2 power centres (Machtzentren), i.e. today's centre and the Kielshoekschans in the south. The commander of this sub-sector was Oberstleutnant Machnig, at least until an Oberst zbV would arrive from the Militärbefehlshaber. The Kampgfruppe Hafen was sub-divided into the sub-sectors Mitte, Ost and Süd.and commanded by the Hafenkommandant Kapitär-zur-See Franck. The important Stp Kreuzschansschleuse was suboedinated to the commander of the Pionierwerftbatallion, Major Werner. Overall commander of the Abschnitt Antwerpen remained Generalmajor Schmidt.
On 24 March 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps requested the 'officialising' (Etatisierung) of the headquarters KVA Antwerpen with the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich.
On 26 March 1943 the status of the newly-established 44 Infanteriedivision was reported on. The Kampfgruppe was reported as being fully operational, apart from 2 light artillery batteries. There was, however, a great shortage of officers.
On 27 March the headquarters of Festungspionierstab 12, the unit in charge of coordinating the construction of Atlantikwall defences along the Belgian coast, was moved from Bruges to Antwerp, in order to guarantee closer cooperation with the corps headquarters. The unit was located in the Bosmanslei 24.
On 1 April the headquarters of the Abschnitt Antwerpen were moved from Merksem to Brasschaat.
On 8 April 1943 it was decided to rotate units of the SS-Panzergrenadierdivision Hohenstaufen (the later 9 SS-Panzerdivision), which functioned as Heeresgruppenreserve, through the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide, near Brasschaat. These units also were also tasked to protect the area against paratroopers. Actually, the division had only been established as recently as January and was still being formed (interestingly with great difficulty owing to the shortage of recruits).
On 12 April 1943 the then Sicherungskompanie at corps headquarters in Antwerp, 6/GR 146 was relieved by 7/GR 146.
On 15 April 1943 Oberstleutnant i.G. Hans-Dietrich von Boeltzig was replaced by Oberst i.G. Fritz Ulrich as Chef des Generalstabes. One day later General der Artillerie Wilhelm Stemmermann was appointed to evaluate the defence capabilities (Abwehrbereitschaft) in the corps area. Stemmermann had returned injured from the Russian front and was in the Führerreserve when he received the appointment. Later he was also tasked with overseeing and leading the training of the 44 Infanteriedivision.
Also on this day, the headquarters of the corps consisted of the following officers:
On 25 April 1943 the corps informed its divisions that OBWest was planning the allocation of Festungsstammtruppen to man static weapons. In this context, the divisions were instructed to list thenumber and kind of available static weapons.
On 26 April 1943 the corps reported that the newly-established 44 Infanteriedivision was ready for attack missions, but in a limited way.
On 27 April 1943 the corps was informed by the Militärbefehlshaber that the official establishment of a headquarters for the Abschnitt Antwerpen had been approved, with a maximum strength of 5 officers, 2NCOs and 18 soldiers.
On 30 April 1943 the corps reported that 2 Panzerkampfwagen III tanks were allocated by the 26 PzD for training the troops in close-range anti-tank tactics.
On 5 May 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps took measures in execution of the Grundlegender Befhel OBWest 24 concerning the establishment of Kampfkommandanten. Major Birsak of the 712 ID was appointed as Kampfkommandant with a headquarters of 3 officers, 2NCOs and 6 soldiers. In the event of an enemy attack and on orders of the AOK 15 the Kampfkommandant was initially to aseemble in Bruges, in the premises of the Kreiskommandantur, Twijnstraat 4-6 and would then move to an ordered location. The command of Kampfkommandant was conceived as an all-services Wehrmacht command with the folloiwng duties:
To enable the Kampfkommandant to perform these dtuties he was granted absolute power over all military personnel in his location, but also over the civilian population. Finally, the Kampfkommandnat was to cooperate closly with the Strasenkommandant(en) in his location, who he was to give orders to keep the roads open for military traffic.
On 8 May 1943 it was decided to establish Festungsstammtruppen in KVA A1 and KVA A3 (no mention was yet made of KVA A2) to man the bodenständige Waffen.
On 9 May 1943 further details were released with respect to the organization of the Festungsstrammtruppen. A Festungsstammabteilung couild consist of up to 8 Kompanien with each company consisting of between 200 annd 350 men. The folloiwng units were set up:
The first troops (956 for the 65ID and 1208 for the 171RD) could be expected towards the end of May/beginning of June.
On 10 May 1943 the corps was informed by the Seekommandant Südholland that the OKM had decided to withdraw the 8/MAA 202 from Dumburg without replacing it. The corps expressed its wish to keep this unit in this location, otherwise the fire power in this area would be considerably weakened. Assuming that the withdrawal was planned to free personnel for the planned heavy naval battery at Knokke the corps suggested disbanding the Batterie Hamilton on the jetty of Zeebrugge and using these soldiers for the 8/MAA 202. The Hamilton guns would then be transferred as static guns to the 65 ID.
On 13 May 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps ordered measures to increase the combat strength of the Abschnitt Antwerpen. The folloiwng measures were ordered:
Further, the sub-sectors were renamed. Thus, the Abschnitt Antwerpen would now be subdivided into the Unterabschnitte Hulst, Scheldetunnel, Stadt, Hafen and Ost.
On 15 May 1943 the corps headquarters consisted of the following officers:
On 20 May 1943 the combat mission of the Abschnitt Anwterpen was redefined. The mission was now defined as the defence of the inner Schelde access to Antwerp and the port and city of Anwterpe in the event of enemy action or unrest. The main defensive effort was to be developed in the port area and at the Schelde tunnel. For this purpose the Abschnitt Antwerpen was subdivided into the Unterabschnitte Hulst, Scheldetunnel, Stadt, Hafen and Ost (see also above). The most important objects to be defended were the Schelde tunnel, the Kruisschans locks and the Schelde bridge at Boom, which objects were to be defended against sabotage and commando actions at all times. In addition, other economically important objects were to be secured in sufficient measure. Positions were not to be given up until overrun by the enemy, allowing sufficient time for reserve to arrive. Outside of the port area the defence of Antwerp was to be based on the old fort ring around the city. These forts were already to be turned into strongpoints, so that the main access roads to the city could be defended. However, the majority of the garrison was to be kept back as a mobile reserve.
On 26 May 1943 we get a first overview of the operational deployment of the Festungsstammtruppen:
On 2 June 1943 General der Panzertruppen Dr. Alfred Ritter von Hubicki was given a new assignment (general commanding the Auffrischungsstab Mitte) and replaced by Generalleutnant von und zu Gilsa.
On 3 June 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps reported on its request to OBWest to declare the island of Walcheren as Verteidigungsbereich. This request was rejected since that would weaken the VB Vlissingen. Instead, however, the northern and northwestern coasts were to be reinforced with semi-permanent constructions and the Arnemuiden isthmus was to be reinforced with permanenet constructiions. Strongpoints were to be kept small in number and size but effective.
On 5 June 1943 7/GR 146 was relieved by 11/GR 745 as Scherungskompanie at the corps headquarters in Antwerp.
On 6 June 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps reported that, in a change to previous orders, the 65 Infanteriedivision (in the process of being replaced by the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision) was to be transported by train to the LXXXII Armeekorps, and more specifically to the area Bailleul-Wormhout-Watten-Lillers with headquarters in Blendecques. Here, the division would be Armeereserve and re-equip by 20 July for transfer to the Russain front.
On 9 June 1943 the Korpsbefehl detailing the mission of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision on Walcheren was issued. The division was ordered to defend Walcheren, as well as North and South Beveland, with the main effort concentrating on the the Verteidigungsbereich Vlissingen, followed by the northern and northwestern coast of Walcheren. To be especially defended from paratroop/glider forces were the Arnemuiden Isthmus, the crossings over the South Beveland canal and the Bath isthmus.
On 11 June 1943 the LXXXIX issued order for the defence of its own headquarters in the Nachtegalenpark in Antwerp. The strongpoint commander was Major von Schenkendorff. Subordinated to him were various (alarm) units: the Sicherungskompanie, the two Alarmzüge of the headquarters staff and the Alarmeinheiten of the Korpsnachrichtenabteilung, Flakregimentsstab 95, Sicherheitsdienst, Feldgendarmerie and the Admiral der Seebefehlstellen.The mission of these forces was the defence of the corps headquarters in close cooperation with the nearby strongpoint of the Korpsnachrichtenabteilung. When Alarmstufe II was declared or by special order of the Chef des Generalstabes the following actions were planned:
On 12 June 1943 the corps was briefly put in Alarmstufe I, since agent reports had mentioned the possibiliy of enemy attacks against the coast. This was repeated for the night 15/16 June.
On 13 June 1943 the 44 Infanteriedivision was ordered to establishe a corps reserve, consisting of a fully motorized reinforced infantry battalion. Its planned operational area was Goes - Middelburg.
On 17 June 1943 the first units of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision started to relieve the 65 Infanteriedivision on Walcheren, the former unit taking full control of KVA A1 on 19 June. Being a Luftwaffe unit, the division was only under tactical control of the LXXXIX Armeekorps The 65 Infanteriedivision left the corps area 4 days later, bound for France.
On 18 June 1943 the Sicherungskompanie at corps headquartes, 11/GR 745 was replaced by 7/GR 134 of the 44 ID.
On 19 June 1943 the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision officially assumed command of KVA A1. From the same report we also learn that in KVA A2 6/GR 745 was deployed in the PzStp Breskens and the 11/GR 745, which had been Sicherungskompanie at corps headquarters, was now deployed in Sluis, with 7/GR 134 now acting as Sicherungskompanie.
On 21 June 1943 the 65 Infanteriediviison had completely left the area of the LXXXIX Armeekorps.
On 22 June 1943 the corps reported that, since cadre personnelto form the headquarters staff of the Festungsstammabteilkungen and -Kompanien was not to be expected in the foreseeable future, the staff headquarters were to be set up by existing personnel means.
A Luftwaffe order of 28 June 1943 made the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision subordinate to the LXXXIX Armeekorps tactically and territorially, as well as in terms of training. However, the division remained a Luftwaffe unit administratively, subordinated to the local Luftgaukommando.
On 29 June 1943 the corps reported on the establishment of Festungsstammtruppen in KVA A1. The creation of these troops was a direct result of a decision taken by Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt to establish a second line of defence 5-10 kilometres behind the coastline. Behind this so-called zweite Stellung a mobile reserve, the Abschnittsreserve, was stationed. However, this reserve was built from the troops of the divisions themselves, so that the Hauptkampflinie at the coast was severely weakened. These shortages were remedied by the Festungsstammtruppen. These were older soldiers of inferior quality who manned the bodenständige weapons in the armoured bunkers and enjoyed a relativelu quiet time. The Festungsstammtruppen were first deployed in KVA A1. Thus on 29 June the corps reported to the army the creation of the following units: Stab Kdr Festungsstammtruppen LXXXIX, Stab I Festungsstammabteilung, 1 Kompanie (in Serooskerke: 184 Mann), 2 Kompanie (in Westkapelle: 155 Mann), 3 Kompanie (in Koudekerke: 252 Mann), 4 Kompanie (in Vlissingen: 260 Mann) and the 5 Kompanie (in 's Heerenhoek: 114 Mann)
In June 1943 a german document also shows us the buildings constituting the headquarters of the LXXXIX Armeekorps in Park Den Brand in Wilrijk. The Google Earth animation below is based upon that document:
Between 1 January and 30 June 1943 the following units had joined or left the corps area:
On 1 July 1943 the 712 Infanteriedivision received new artillery units. Until then, the division only had the Artillerieabteilung 652 assigned. Now, the division was given the Regimentsartilleriestab 652 and the II Abteilung/AR 652. The old Artillerieabteilung 652 was renamed I Abteilung/AR 652. On the same day the corps informed the AOK15 that it had chosen an area west of Terneuzen (actually the Braakman polder east of Biervliet) as corps firing range
On 4 July 1943 the corps was informed that the reserve divisions were to remain deployed in coastal defence for the time being. and that the time for their planned relief would be communicated. Nevertheless, the establishing of the 264 Infanteriedivision was tio proceed.
On 6 July 1943 a
document asseses the combat value of the 19
Luftwaffenfelddivision. Despite the good human
material the division was deemed to be unprepared to
perform the tasks of an average army duivision due to
its insufficient training and lack of practical
On 20 July 1943 the 1/HKAA 823 was reported to be ready for action with 6 guns in a new firing position (Stp Prinz Eugen, KVA3).
On 21 July 1943 the 9/MAA 202 left the Stp Rheingold in KVA1. The occupation of the strongpoint was taken over by one platoon of the 2/Jägerregiment 38 and 28 soldiers of the naval artillery.
On 22 July 1943 the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was officially subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeelorps for tactical, training and territorial purposes. However, it remained subordinated to the Luftgaukommando administratively and economically.
On 26 July 1943 the Generalkommando reported on the organisation and strength of Feldersatzbataillone and Ausbildungsbataillone to be established.
On 27 July 1943 the (44) Reichsgrenadierdivision Hoch und Deutschmeister started leaving the corps area, which it had left completely on 31 July. Since this unit had provided the Korpsreserve, the latter was now newly composed of the Reservegrenadierregiment 71 and the II/Reserveartillerieregiment 252 of the 171 Reservedivision.
On 27-28 August 1943 a heavy air attack took place of the railway battery E655 and the cokes factory in Zeebrugge. The guns and bunkers were also damaged, as well as the plant itself. Seven civilians were killed and 40 seriously injured.
With an order of 30 July 1943 three artillery units were ordered to leave the corps area (for LXXXII Armeekorps): the Heeresküstenartillerieregiment 643 (formerly in KVA A2), the Eisenbahhartilleriebatterie 655E (formerly based in Zeebrugge) and the Gerätebatterie 676 (formerly in Duinbergen).
On 30-31 July 1943 the Flugplatz Koksijde was attacked and 2 Me-190s were damaged.
On 3 August 1943 the corps informed its division that the commander of the AOK15 had pointed out the importance of freeing a large number of regulat troops for local and mobile reserve by deploying the Festungsstammtruppen. Also, the strength of individual companies was fived at 200-300 men. The divisions were to report, by 8 August, on the new organisation of the Festungsstammtruppen in their sector, so that that new organisation could take effect on 15 August. Also on this day, Batterie E655 and the Gerätebatterie 676 (corps reserve) were pulled out in the area of the 712 Infanteriedivision.
On 6 August 1943 the 712ID reported the creation of the Feldersatzbataillon 712.
On 8 August 1943 a reorganisation within the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was carried out. Thus the Radfahrkompanie 19 and 2 platoons of I/Jägerregiment 37 took over positions of II/Jägerregiment 37. Also the batallion boundary of III/Jägerergiment 38 was shifted about 4km to the east (east of the Stp Johannistal).
On 11 August 1943 the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision reported the creation of the Unteroffiziersausbildungsbataillon 19(L).
On 14 August 1943 the corps informed the 171 Reservedivision that the newly-organized companies of II/Festungsstammabteilung LXXXIX were to receive as of that day the denomination 6-10 Kompanie
On 15 August 1943
some 100 bombers attacked the Vlissingen airfield as
well a several strongpoints and towns on Walcheren. The
death toll was 9 soldiers and 37 civilians, while 11
soldiers and 50 civilians were injured.
On 18 August 1943 AOK15 ordered Alarmstufe I to be instigated each morning between 4 and 6am (though without fuel consumption). This order was recalled on 9 September.
On 25 August 1943 The AOK15 informed the corps that the 242 Infanteriedivision, which had been established in Germany on 9 July, would be moved within the corps area, more specifically in the area Lokeren-Eeklo-Brugge-Torhout-Tielt-Deinze-Gent. More importantly perhaps, the division was subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps in all respects. The actual movement of the division took place between 28 and 30 August. Individual batallions of the division conducted live firing exercises on the Truppenübungsplatz Wachtebeke. The (planned) headquarters for the division was Bellem.
August the Generalkommando provided
answers to a number of questions of the AOK 15
with respect to the general readiness of the corps. The
document is entitled Generalüberprüfung. Due to
the detailed and extensive nature of the document it is
reproduced in its original form
On 1 September 1943 the 3/Pionierbataillon 19 was moved to Ostend and subordinated tactically to the 171 Reservedivision. On the samz day a report mentions the existence of an Übungsplatz Wachtebeke for the 242 Infanteriedivision.In another message on the same day the corps expresses its approval for the move of one batallion of the Grenadierregiment 719 of the division to the Übungsplatz Wachtebeke. Still on the same day the corps reported to the AOK15 the completion of the preparatory actions for the pulling out of either the 171 Reservedivision or a reinforced regiment from each of the KVAs. This document is so detailed that we produce it in full here. Still on 1 September the corps ordered the 242 Infanteriedivision to establish a Feldersatzbataillon.
On 2 September 1943 the corps orderered its units to keep the closest of contacts with all units of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe both within the own KVA but alsio with those of the neighbouring KVAs. All information gathered by the latter were to be passed on to the corps through the Ic (intelligence) network. On the same day the corps issued Alarmstufe I on account of an increased minesweeping activity by allied ships in the Channel. Also on this day the AOK 15 sent a message to the corps ordereing it to improve the mobility of the heavy anti-tanks guns and the artillery with all possible means.
Between 2 and 5 September
a special assessment group headed by Generalleutnant
Macholtz travelled through the corps area
assessing the defensive efforts put in place by the corps
thus far. On the same day, all army commanders were ordered
to keep close personal contact with all Luftwaffe
and Kriegsmarine commanders in their area. This
way, local commanders tried to make up for the lack of a
unified command at the higher levels.
The Flakregiment 129 in Bruges and the Fliegerhorst Woensdracht were requested to provide Flak cover.The batallion returned to its parent unit on 25 September. The 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was to guard the rail and road bridges avross the South Beveland canal near Schore by a reinforced platoon. Finally on this day Alarmstufe I was ordered. The reason for this was the fact that heavy air attacks in the Boulogne area could be seen as a precursor to a possible invasion. The Alarmstufe ended on 9 September.
9 September 1943 the corps received
orders that the 244 Infanteriedivision would be
established in the Antwerp area (replacing the 242
Infanteriedivision). The division would be subordinated
to the corps for training, building and logistical purposes.
This division was to be
operational on 1 November 1943. On the same day the corps was informed that for 'special
purposes' a static batallion would be established and
subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps. It would be
called Bataillon LXXXIX and would initially be used
for replacing the batallion of the 242
Infanteriedivision in the Woensdrecht area (see above).
Companies were to be provided by the 242 and 264 Infanteriedivisionen. The latter division had been
established on 19 May 1943 and was built in the
Liège-Charleroi-Mons-Nivelles area as part of the LXVII
Reservekorps. The commander of the Bataillon LXXXIX
was Major Hanold. It took up positions in the
Woensdracht area on 24 September. Also
on this day the I/GR 917 was given its combat
mission. The batallion was to be located on both sides
of the Bath isthmus along the line
in such a way that it could block the isthmus from the
east and west an destroy an air-landed enemy in
Further on this day, the 242 Infanteriedivision
reported to the corps that the room allocated to the
division (Antwerp area) had been divided into 5
On 13 September 1943 the corps commander made an inspection visit of the KVA Antwerpen, visiting specifically the strongpoints Scheldetunnel, Kreuzschanzschleuse and Fort Merksem. He noted that good progress was being made in building these strongpoints. He was also asked by the Abschnitt to make the Stopi Hauptmann Schmidt available as an adiviser.
On 14 September 1943 the Ausbaustab for Bataillon LXXXIX had arrived. Also on this day LXXXIX Armeekorps provided an overview of all boats in the corps area. The full overview can be found here.
On 16 September 1943 one company of the 242 ID hjad arrived for the Bataillon LXXXIX
On 17 September 1943 one company of the 264 ID had arrived for the Bataillon LXXXIX
On 18 September 1943 the corps released an order with respect to the deployment of the Festungsstyammtruppen. It did this as it had noticed that wrong ideas still existed about their deployment. Thus the officers and NCOs of the Festungsstammtruppen were not to be used as strongpoint commanders. Also the troops themselves were not to be used for other purposes than detailed (i.e. the operation of one or more static weapons). Finally, the trrops were not to be moved from one weapon to another or from one strongpoint to another.
On 20 September 1943 Major Hanold has assumed command of the bataillon LXXXIX. After operational readiness the unit was to relieve I/GR 917. The 19 LwFD was responsible for its further thraining. The batallion was also to carry out construction work on positions defending the Bath isthmus.
On 21 September 1943 the corps ordered the 712 and the 242 Infanteriedivisionen to shed troops for building the cadre of the 244 Infanteriedivision.
On 23 September 1943 the order for headquarters to relocate to their command bunkers was partially revoked.
During the night of 23/24 September 1943 the Grenadierbataillon LXXXIX relieved the I/GR 917 and took over responsibility for the defence of the Bath isthmus. One platoon of the Panzerjägerabteilung 19 as well as the 2cm Flakzug stayed and became subordinated to the batallion. The Bataillon LXXXIX consisted of 11 officers and 604 NCOs and other ranks.
On 24 September 1943 an important change was ordered to the deploument of the Festungsstammtruppen. It was ordered that, if a strongpoint was occupied uniquely by Festungsstammtruppen, the commander of the strongpoint was also to belong to these troops.
September 1943 the I/GR 917 had
returned to its former quarters in Eeklo.
October 1943 the 242 Infanteriedivision
started transferring to the AOK 19 area (minus
1 Grenadierregiment and an artillery batallion,
which were transferred to the AOK 7 area). It
was replaced in the Abschnitt Antwerpen by the
October 1943 the corps reported to the AOK
15 on the defensive capabilities of the units in
its coastal defence sectors in a lengthy document. In
addition, the corps formulated numerous issues and
proposals to improve defensive capability. The details
can be found
On 15 October 1943 the corps reported to the AOK 15 that the Kampgruppe A would be operation on 20 October. Motorized transport for the unit would be provided by the Armeekolonnen Nachtigall and Brieftaube. On the same day the 712 Infanteriedivision was informed that it might lose another full grenadier batallion for the Russian front, in return for which it would receive double the number of eastern and Turkish batallions. The 712 ID was ordered to nominate one batallion for the Russian front.
On 16 October 1943 the 171 Reservedivision was assigned the Armenierbataillon 809. Until a decision about its use was made, the unit was stationed in Zedelgem - Jabbeke.It had arrived on 15 and 16 October. On 4 December the corps ordered the division to instruct the batallion in coastal defence duties.
On 17 October 1943 more insight was provided in the planning for the final fortification of the Atlantikwall, the Endausbauplanung. Thus the planning for all 3 Wehmacht services would be located at the offices of the Festungspioniestab 12 for viewing in the period 11-16 November. The corps ordered all units to check the plannings for their sector, specifically the new plannings with their priority phases. The units were also asked by 17 November to communicate to the corps either agreement with the planning or proposed changes.In any case, everything would have to be finished before 20 November, on which date the planning would be passed onto the AOK 15.
On 18 October 1943 the 3. Batterie/Marineartillerieabteilung 204 was
dissolved. Three of the four guns were re-assigned as
Hafensperrfeuer, while tye fourth was operated
as LAK (Landeabweherkanaone) by the Wachkommando.
On 23 October 1943 the corps then ordered a further reinforcement of the Kampgfruppe of the 244 ID from 1 November. The Kampfgruppe now consisted of 2 regiments (A and B).
On 25 October 1943 the corps requested that the Schelde ferry boats, which could be needed by the corps in an emergency, would be equipped with Flak guns and, while subordinated to the Seekommandant, could be called upon by the corps of necessary.
October 1943 the corps ordered 12
radio-operators to be sent to Antwerp to reinforce the
communications personnel of the KVA Antwerpen.
Also on this day the corps issued its additions to the
AOK 15 additions (Zusätze) to the
Grundlegendem Befehl OBWest Nr. 31 of 21 October
concerning the organisation of a coastal defence in
depth, otherwise known as the 2. Stellung. This
line, which was also supposed to act a a stop line and a
line behind which reserves could assemble for a
counterattack, was to consist of field fortifications
organised in resistance nests. Initially, prior emphasis
was to be placed on so-called Kernstücke.
Importantly, construction on this line was to begiin no
later than 18 November.
On 1 November 1943 the corps was tasked with the establishment of a company consisting of convalescing soldiers. The company was called Genesendenkompanie 15. The company was tactically subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps as Korpsreserve. Also on this day the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was officially transferred from the Luftwaffe to the Heer. Furtther on this day, the Generalkommando reported the operational readiness of the Kampfgruppe 244ID with 2 grenadier regiments. Additionally, the corps ordered the 244 ID to be fully combat ready by 11 November.
Further on this day, the Luftwaffenfelddivisionen were officially transferred from the Luftwaffe to the Heer, retaining their names, however.
this day a reorganisation of the Unterabschnitt
Stadt of the KVA Antwerpen was
addressed. Considering the importance of the sub-sector
the Generalkommando supported the request of
the Feldkommandantur 520 to replace the current
Ortskommandant, Major Hübner, for an
officer (preferably Oberstleutnant) with
sufficient recent combat experience, since, after the
end of the temporary allocation of Oberstleutnant
Machnig, the Ortskommandant would
simultaneaously assume the responsibilities of commander
of the Unterabschnitt Stadt. Importantly, the
corps also requested that, until a new officer was
appointed, the recalling of Oberstleutnant
Machnig would be postponed, as otherwise the overall
defensive strength of the KVA Antwerpen would
be seriously weakened.
On 5 November 1943 the AOK 15 released a message concerning the deployment of the Italian volunteers. It informed the Generalkommando that it could expect 865 soldiers (2 fewer than above) Of these 674 would actually be allocated: 190 for the army coastal, railroad and static batteries, 362 in the divisions and 122 for the unit 1./Stellungsbaukompanie 89. This left 221 soldiers not yet allocated. Interestingly, it was also reported that 55 soldiers refused to work under German supervision. These were to be trated as POWs and the corps requested their removal. We further learn that the corps planned to establish another unit, i.e. 2./Stellungsbaukompanie 89 with some of the remaining troops, as well as reinforce the 1st company. Of paramount importance was also the fact that through the deplyment of the Hiwis 404 German trrops could be freed.
In a document of 6 November 1943 we find some more information about the Armenierbataillon 809. The headquarters, headquarters company, as well as the second and fouth companies were billited in Zedelgem, while the first and third companies were housed in Jabbeke.The document also ciontains the assessment of the commander: the unit was considered fully capable for defensive actions, but alsofor offensive purposes, athough in a limited way.
On 8 November Stab III/732, 5/732 and 3/745 departed (now said to depart for the LXXXI AK). Also on this day, the Generalkommando wrote that it planned to restructure the Luftwaffenfledivision into regular infantry divisions as soon as possible.
November 1943 the Generalkommando
requested the area naval commands to take a stance with
respect to the corps' request for the navy searchlights
to also be used to light the so-called Vorfeld,
i.e. the area immediately in front of the beach. Also on
this day, the corps ordered the 244 ID to have
all of its commanding personnel introduced to the duties
of a coastal defence division. On the same day, the
corps also informed the division that its current state
allowed the start of systematic training for coastal
defence (with end date 10 December). Thus the division
was to exercise at the Truppenübungspl¨tze
Maria-ter-Heide a nd Vossenbergen.
Simultaneously, the division was also to be introduced
to the coastal sectors and train to act as
November 1943 the re-organisation of the 19
Luftwaffenfelddivision was addressed again. Under
the circumstances it was more difficult than expected.
The constant readiness of the division meant that the
reorganisation could only take place platoon per
platoon. To make this possible, a Zwischenlösung
would be used.
On 19 November 1943 the Generalkommando stated that the Reststab of the 39 Infanteriedivision was needed to form a headquartters on the Russian front. Other units of the division which had already arrived (Feldgendarmerie, Feldkasse, Feldpostamt) or would still arrive were to be subordinated to an integrated into the 244 Infanteriedivision.
In the period 15 to 21 November 1943 a number of units were relocated in the KVA A2: II/GR732 from Westkapelle to Moerkerke; 12/745 from Sluis to Middelburg; 10/745 as Wachkompanie to Oostburg; finally, 10/732 was now located in Dudzele. In the sector of the 171 Reservedivision (KVA A3), Reserveinfanteriegeschützkompanie 216 was moved from Gistel to Snaaskerke.
On 22 November 1943 (and until 18 December) II/GR 932 and 6/AR 244 were moved to Sissonne as Lehrtruppe. Also on this day, the Stab 39ID was transferred to Germany and the Restteile 39ID were integrated into the 244 ID.
On 29 November 1943
orders were issued with regard to the pulling out of a
division from a coastal sector to act as Armeereserve.
How this would affect the various sectors and units is shown
in the following table:
Also on 29 November 1943 we find the following overview of units within the LXXXIX Armeekorps:
Also on 29 November the Stab Scheinwerferabteilung 469 and the 2/leichte Flakabteilung 993 left the KVA A3. Finally, also on 29 November the Armenierbataillon 809 was transported from the 171 Reservedivision area to the Truppenübungsplatz Sissonne. It returned from there on 19 December.
On 30 November 1943 the Generamlkommando send instructions to the divisional commanders to follow up more close the still too frequest accidents with mines and weapons, as well as the unusually high number of suicides and soldiers running off without permission.
On 1 December 1943 the main artillery unit in the area of the LXXXIX Armeekorps, the Heeresküstenartillerieregiment 940 was organized as follows:
Also on 1 December 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps wax organized as follows:
On 2 December 1943 the Ostbataillon 628 arrived in Brugge. It was to be assigned to the 712 Infanteriedivision.
On 4 December 1943 the Generalkommando issued an order for the Armenierbataillon 809 to be made familiar with coastal defence duties, after having returned from Sissonne and being positioned in the reat of the I/RGR 216 sector, so that the batallion would be ready to take over the sector from 5 January onwards.
On 7 December 1943 the LXXXIX Armeekorps requested the AOK15 to be given another 1000 troops to beef up its Festungsstammtruppen LXXXIX, as the present number was said to be insufficient for manning the static weapons.
On 8 December 1943 the Generalkommando issued instruction for the deployment of the Festungsstammreervekompanie LXXXIX in the event of an emergency. Thus, in the event of the codename Middelburg or Oostburg being declared the unit was to be ready for movement from Antwerp within three hours. It was then to be transport within 6 hours to Middelburg or Sluis, respectively.
On 9 December 1943 the Generalkommando issued orders for the training of the Ostbataillon 628, which was to achieve operational readiness by 20 January.
On 12 December 1943 the corps was informed that the 272 Infanteriedivision was to be established in the Antwerp area from units of the 216 ID. Also on this day, the Generalkommando released the information that the Pionierlandungsbataillon 86 was to be transferred from the Russian front to Antwerp, where it would be subordinated to the Abschnitt.
On 13 December 1943 the 244 Infanteriedivision was transported off to the Artmeeoberkommando 19. This move was completed on 16 December.
On 15 December 1943 the Generalkommando informed the 171 Reservedivision that the AOK 15 had approved the detaching of troops from the division to give infantry training to the units of the Hafenschutzflottillen of the navy and also ordered this detaching of troops.
On 16 December 1943 the corps was ordered to prepare yeat another batallion to be sent to the Russian front, the Marschbataillon "Infanterie West Nr 287". This unit left the corps area on 25 December.
On 19 December 1943 the remaining units of the disbanded 216 Infanteriedivision arrived for the formation of the 272 Infanteriedivision. Also, the Armenierbataillon 809 from the 171 Reservedivision returned from the Truppenübungsplatz Sissonne to its old quarters. Maybe most importantly on this day, the commander of the LXXXIX Armeekorps sent a message to the AOK 15 with proposals for bolstering the combat strength of the infantry. Several proposals were made with respect to the organization, armament, equipment and training of the infantry units in coastal defence. Concerning organisation three proposals were made: the static divisions should have 3 regimenst and 9 batallions, 1 Radfahrkompanie each and 1 MG company for each regiment.
On 20 December 1943 the Generalkommando ordered the Fall Möwe (i.e. the extraction of the RGR 71 and II/RAR 252 to be given up.
On 21 December 1943 the corps ordered that, in order to assess the preparatyions for the pulling out of units, units would actually be pulled out in January and February, followed by a 2-day tactical training for each of these units. On the same day the corps also informed its divisions with respect to a passage on coastal defence from one of the orders by Hitler. Thus, it was said that in the spring of 1944 at the latest an allied invasion wasexpected. Consequently, each sector commander was fully responsible for achieving full defensive readiness and camouflaging of positions by 1 March. Also, bunkers were to be built only from a tactical point of view, meaning that the construction of large permanent personnel bunkers would no longer be allowed and that only gun bunkers, bunkers for anti-tank guns and small personnel bunkers could still be built.
On 22 December 1943 the commander of the LXXXIX Armeekorps request Flak protection from the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe for crossings of the river Schelde in the context of the planned exercises (see above). Also, the Kriegsmarine was asked to provide sea rescue facilities.
On 23 December 1943 the Generalkommando informed its divisions that new additions (Zusätze) by the AOK 15 were to be expected addressing the necessary completion of the overal new bunker construction programme (gesamtenNeubauprogrammes). The divisions were, therefore, ordered to start tactical recces fo all allocated new construction and, in as far as these were completed, to carry out the allocation.
On 25 December 1943 the Marschbataillon Infanterie West Nr. 287 was transported to the Russian front.
On 30 December 1943 Hitler ordered all soldiers able to serve in combat to be tranferred to front-line service. Also on this day, the corps releaed additions (Zusätze) for the contingency plans or Aufmarschbewegungen 2A and 2B. Thus the corps communicated that the code word orders (Stichwortbefehle) Middelburg, Oostburg or Dixmuiden would in any case be preceded by the code word order Alarm Fall Aufmarschbewegung 2A (bezw. 2B) Abtransport (bezw. Abmarsch) vorebereiten. Finally on this day, the Generalkommando informed its divisions of an order by Hitler to send all soldiers suitable for combat to the fronts. This meant that the Jahrgänge 1914 and older would be drafted into the fighting troops. Also, headquarters units from the diviosional level upwards were to be reduced in number. Finally, the Trosse units were to be cut by 20%.
On 31 December 1943 the corps ordered the Ostbataillon 608 to be reorganized into a batallion of a static division. Also the AOK 15 had requested the integration of the unit onto the 712 ID as the I/GR 745, which unit was then to become the Füselierbataillon 712.
In the period July-December 1943 the Wochenberichte of the corps gave detailed information with respect to units arriving, leaving, moving and reorganizing in the sector of the LXXXIX Armeekorps, as well as detailed information on the construction of the Atlantikwall. This detailed information can be found in the document below:
On 3 January 1944 the 3./Fahrschwadron 137 arrived with the 171 Reservedivision.
On 4 January 1944 Generalfeldmarschall Rommel visited strongpoints in the sectors of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision and 712 Infanteriedivision. During this visit Rommel remarked that the Divisionsreserve of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was located too far to the rear. Also, more artillery was to be massed in the Schwerpunktsabschnitt. We also learn that the commander of the Sturmbataillon - Armeewaffenschule 15 was Hauptmann Hühne).
On the same day the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued orders for the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision in KVA A1 to be relieved by the 165 Reservedivision, with the former division transferred to the area Gent-Bruges as Armeereserve. The move was to commence on 6 January. However, some units of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision were to remain in the KVA A1 until further notice; III/LAR 19 (mit 30t Munitionskolonne), 3/LAR 19, Luftwaffenpionierbataillon 19 (ohne eine Kompanie), eine Kompanie Luftwaffenpanzerjägerabteilung 19, einzelne Teile von Luftnachrichtenabteilung und Versorgungstruppen und einzelne Kommandos der Versorgungstruppen. In addition, the I/Festungsstammabteilung LXXXIX and the Heeresartillerieabteilung 1140 also were located in the KVA. On the same day, the corps also ordered the complementation of the cadre personnel of the Armenierbataillon 809 up to 25% of the total strength by the 171RD. Finally on this day, the corps reported to the AOK15 on the setting-up of reserves.More specificaly, in case of the pulling out of the 712 Infanteriedivision the following (main) units would remain: II/Grenadierregiment 745 and a Marschbataillon 712 (consisting mainly of the Feldersatzbataillon 712). In case of the pulling out of the Reservegrenadierregiment 71 the following (main) units would remain: 2 Marschkompanien.
On 5 January 1944 the first units of the 165 Reservedivision arrived in KVA A1. On the same day the LXXXIX Armeekorps wrote to the AOK 15 with respect to bolstering the combat strength. In the document the corps mentioned logistical centres of other Wehrmacht parts and the Militärbefehlshaber which would also be used by the Heer in the event of a division being pulled out of the coastal front. The document is also interesting in the sense that it provides a nice overview of the logistical structure within the corps area. The units are listed in the document below:
On 6 January 1944 it was reported that the 272 Infanteriedivision would be transferred to the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich, more specifically to the area St-Etienne - Lyon - Bourg.
On 7 January the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision had completed its transfer and the 165 Reservedivision had arrived in KVA A1 with all its units. Also, the corps requested the AOK15 for the officialisation (Etatisierung) of the ad-hoc established Panzerjägerkompanie (Sf) and its integration as the 1. Kompanie into the Panzerjägerabteilung 148.
On 8 January 1944 parts of the Pionierlandungsbataillon 86 arrived in Antwerp. On the same day Armenierbataillon 809 was transferred to KVA A1 (South-Beveland). Also on this day, the corps ordered the training of crews for the 2cm Alarmflakgeschütze. These Flak guns were to arrive soon. Finally, the corps reported to the AOK15 on measures taken and to be taken to bolster combat strengths by removing troops from non-essential support and staff positions.
On 11 January 1944 the Chef des Generamlstabes of the corps Oberst iG Ulrich went for a meeting with the army commander to Tourcoing. Subjects discussed were a proposal for flooding, use of reserves and fortification matters.
On 15 January 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps ordered the continued transfer of 1 batallion each time of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision to Maria-ter-Heide for training purposes.from 20 January onwards. On the same day the corps issued an important order to its divisions with respect to a number of issues: the forward deployment of reserves, the construction of the 2. Stellung, the pulling out of units and the preparation for the deployment of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision in the KVA A2/A3. An important issue was the move from reserve units in the rear to locations just behind the coastline in order to be able to respond faster to any allied landing (and in accordance with Rommel's) orders. Separate orders were given for each division:
Also addressed in this document was the 2. Stellung. Essentially, work on this second line of defence was scaled down. Thus, the companies working there were to be moved back to the coast and the divisional troops deployed to be pulled out to resume their normal duties. It was determined that only the local civil labourers would keep on working in the 2. Stellung.
With respect to the pulling out of units in case of an allied attack, one of the three contigencies, Fall Middelburg (165 RD) was inactivated. Thus, the division would not be pulled out. The other two contingencies (Fall Oostburg and Fall Dimuiden) were to be revamped by way of temporary solution (until the reorganisation of the divisions had been completed). Thus, the Fall Oostburg was now defined as follows:
Finally, the above document stated that the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was to prepare for deployment in both the KVA A2 (Zeebrugge-Blankenberge) and A3 (either side of Ostend and south of Nieuwpoort).
Also on 15 January 1944 an addition (Ergänzung) to the Kriegsrangliste of officers in the corps headquarters was issued for the period 1 July-31 December 1943:
On 16 January 1944 the corps handed over a proposal to the AOK15 concerning the execution of permanent inundations and requested a decision as to whether the inundations would be carried out in the manner proposed.
On 19 January 1944 the corps; on the orders of the AOK15, ordered that all independently-made transfers of personnel saved from logistics and staff functions into the combat troops was prohibited. From now on, all freed-up troops were to be transferred to the Feldersatzbataillon 712.
On 20 January 1944 the corps ordered that, for a large-scale enemy attack which did not affect the corps sector, the pulling out of the 712 Infanteriedivision (Fall Oostburg) or the 48 Infanteriedivision (Fall Dixmuiden) to be used as Armeereserve were to be prepared calendrically. Thus, a new version of these contingencies was issued.
On 21 January 1944 AOK 15 ordered that the 171 Reservedivision would be tactically subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps and would be renamed 48 Infanteriedivision (bodenständig). In contrast, the 165 Reservedivision was to remain a training division and would remain administratively subordinated to the LXVII Reservekorps. Further, the corps added its comments for the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision on the AOK15 order of 9 January concerning training, the construction of the 2. Stellung and the deployment of engineers. Also, the corps ordered the creation of a Sicherungskompanie for special duties. The current Sicherungskompanie (3/Jägerregiment 45) was to be relieved by the newly-established company on 1 February. Finally on this day, the corps issued an order concerning the Luftraumbeobachtungsdienst and the expansion of the Flugmeldenetz. Briefly, every soldier wa now responssible for observing the skies and reporting extraordinary activities as defined in the document.
On 22 January 1944 the corps issued its order for the renaming of the 171RD into the 48 Infanteriedivision (see also above). The change was to take effect on 1 February.
On 23 January 1944 ordered the establishment of the Feldersatzbataillon 148 with a headquarters and 5 companies for the 171 Reservedivision. Also on this day we find an overview of all headquarters, troop parts, units and the like which had been established unofficially (Kommandomässig) following OKH/OBWest/AOK15/LXXXIX AK orders:
Finally on 23 January the corps released its orders additional to the Führerweisung 51. Firstly, it ordered that all headquarters to be used during combat were to be made ready so that the most important parts of headquarters could function in them (deadline 15 February); also the construction of Gefehctstände and Ausweichgefechtsstände was to be completed before 1 March. Secondly, all weapons and equipment were to be built-in and camouflaged feldmässig, even when a festungsmässig use had been planned, for as longer as the latter had not materialized. Thirdly, construction work on the 2. Stellung was to be carried out by local civilians and the Truppe. Thirdly, Baracken inside strongpoints were to be removed.
On 24 January 1944 the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was ordered to start preparing for operations outside the corps area. More specifically, the division was to prepare in such a way that it would be ready and waiting in an assembly area to be transported by train within 24 hours. Also on this day, the corps reported once more to the AOK15 on the strengthening of the combat strength. The first issue discussed was the reorganization of the static divisions into infantry division (new type); this was siad to be possible only for the 48 Infanteriedivision. The 712 Infanteriedivision had been made similar to an infantry division (new type) by turning the batallion freed up by the integration of the Ostbataillon 628 into the Füselierbataillon 712. Secondly, it was pointed out that the request 20% reduction in support troops was deemed impracticable for the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision, as this would heavily affect the mobility of the division; Such a 20% reduction was only possible with the two other divisions, but here too, the AOK15 was requested not to carry out the reduction.
In the night of 25/26 January 1944 a storm caused major damage to strongpoints, minefields etc.
On 27 January 1944 the corps issued an order to the 165 Reservedivision concerning the move of the Sturm-Btl. Armeewaffenschule.and the deployment of I (Ost)/GR 745. As concerns the latter, the unit would be tactically subordinated to the 165 Reservedivision, while remaining administratively subordinated to the 712 ID. The arrival of the unit had been ordered for 30 January.
On 31 January 1944 it was ordered by the AOK15 that the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was freed of any construction work for the 2. Stellung and was to spend all its time training for operations.
From 1 February 1944 onwards 10 radio operators were made permanently available to the KVA Antwerpen, who would be integrated in the Nachrichtenzug of the KVA Antwerpen. Also on this day, the 171 Reservedivision was renamed into the 48 Infanteriedivision and fully subordinated to the corps.
On 2 February 1944 the corps issued an order showing (on a map) the roads to be taken by reserves and supply columns in the event of combat (Umgehungsstrassen).
On 3 February 1944 the corps issued an order for the deployment of the Baupionierbataillon 798 and the Festungspionierbataillon 12. The former unit was to prepare for departure within 24 hours following the code word Hanna. The latter unit was to take into account that, in the event of combat, it would be given a new mission. All orders would be given by the Festungspionierstab 12. As a consequence the sector commanders were informed that these units could not be used as permanent troops for strongpoints or even as reserve, but only as temporary Alarmeinheiten.
On 15 February 1944 the following officers made up the headquarters staff of the LXXXIX Armeekorps:
On the same day the corps reported that, following AOK15 orders, the corps headquarters troops had moved to their combat bunkers and that all parts of the Generalkommando had been accommodated on a wartime footing (kriegsmässig). Further on this day, the corps informed the division by telex of an order from the Heeresgruppe B. All headquarters were to make sure that, in the event of an enemy attack, all reserves could intervene within the shortest possible delay. Also, the units of the Panzergruppe West were to be put on erhöhte Marschbereitschaft from 15 February onwards.
On 16 February 1944 the following changes to the Fälle Oostburg-Dixmuiden were made with respect to the orders of 20 January above:
On 19 February 1944 the corps commander inspected the area of the 165 Reservedivision. The report drafted after this inspection visit contains some interesting information. Firstly, Flak forces in the area of the division were discussed. Instead of 24x 2cm Flak from the Flakregiment 35 (part of the Flakbrigade 19), the folllowing Flak forces (19 guns) were said to be deployed:
On 29 February 1944 the corps issued proposals to the Admiral Niederlande concerning the deployment of ship crews and static naval units as Alarmeinheiten. If the former for some reason remained in port in the event of combat or Alarmstufe II they would be subordinated to the land commander, who would decide on their further deployment as Alarmeinheiten. Static navy units would also become subordinated to the land commander in case of combat or with Alarmstufe II. Also discussed was the relation of the Seekommandant Süd-Holland in relation to the VB Vlissingen. As long as the VB Vlissingen was not encircled, the Seekommandant would fulfil his normal function, i.e. deploy all means available to combat an enemy attack with an emphasis on the VB Vlissingen. However, as soon as the latter had been encircled or contact with the commander of the KVA A1 had been lost, the Seekommandant would become fully subordinated to the commander of the VB. The same principle would be followed for artillery support. Apparently, the navy had planned for the Seekommandant to leave Vlissingen in case of an attack. The corps commander now requested that these plans would be shelved; If the VB Vlissingen was surrounded, no single man could be allowed to leave it, not even the Seekommandant.
Finally on this day, the LXXXIX Armeekorps reported to the AOK15 on the completion of the items ordered by the AOK15 on 20 January concerning the location and headquarters, the fortification of positions and communication networks in the various KVAs. All act:ivities had been completed, with the following exceptions:
On 12 March 1944 the corps issued an order to the divisions about the concepts of Stützpunkt and Widerstandsnest. In essence, the decision whether to regard a position as one or the other was that the divisional commander. This had been decided by the AOK15 on 7 March.
On 14 March 1944 the corps commander inspected the area of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision. The report drafted afterwards contain some interesting information. Thus, the Panzerjägerabteilung was still equipped with only 5 Sturmgeschütze. Also, the division had too few Hilfswilligen. Further, the division was short of 90 MG and 23 mortars.It was also proposed to establish a Strafvollstreckungszug with the division. In addition, the division requested 1 FK 39 and 1 sFH 12.2 (r) for the Feldersatzbataillon and a larger car for the division commander. Finally, instead of just 1 batallion, 1 regiment was to spend time training at the Truppenübungsplatz.
Also on this day, the corps issued an order on the naming of the Ostbataillonen. More specifically, the I (Ostbataillon 628)/GR 745 was renamed into the I (Ost)/GR 745 and the III (Armenierinfanteriebataillon 809)/GR 128 into III (Armenier)/GR 128.
On 16 March 1944 the corps submitted Kriegsgliederungen to the AOK15 for the emergency cases Oostburg and Dixmuiden. For the former the Vorausabteilung was the reinforced III/GR 745; for the latter the reinforced Füselierbataillon 148.
On 22 March 1944 the corps issued a copy of an army order to its divisions concerning the construction of numerous decoy installations. The corps ordered the establishing of shops where decoy canons could be produced (with the help of the civilian population).
On 27 March 1944 Generalfeldmarschall Rommel visited the Generalkommando, as well as some Atlantikbefestigungen in the corps area.
On 28 March 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps wrote to the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreicht with respect to the KVA Antwerpen. The corps essentially approved the separation of the positions of Kommandeur KVA Antwerpen and Feldkommandant. However, the following was to be implemented in order to safeguard the defensive interests of the KVA:
We also learn from this document that the headquarters of the KVA Antwerpen consisted of 15 officers, 1 Beamte, 19 NCOs, 64 other ranks and 2 Angestellter. The Nachrichtenzug for the KVA Antwerpen was made up of 1 officer, 16 NCOs, and 78 other ranks.
Also on 28 March a Kommandeursbesprechung was held on the visit of Feldmarschall Rommel on 27 March. Here, the following items were decided:
On 30 March 1944 the corps again ordered the checking of full defensive readiness and the execution of the alarm exercises.
Also on 1 April Oberst iG Ulrich telephoned with Oberst iG Metzke of the AOK15 concerning the deployment of the schwere Heerespanzerjägerabteilung 668. It was proposed that the deployment in the corps area was to be carried out following the Dinglichkeitsstufen: 1) sector Zeebrugge-de Haan; 2) Nieuwpoort and 3) sector Breskens-Zeebrugge.
On 3 April 1944 Generalleutnant von Tettau, who was at the time Leiter des Führungs- und Ausbildungsstab in die Niederlanden, visited the corps headquarters for talks about operational and support possibilities in case of enemy attacks on Antwerp. Also on this day, the Generalkommando wrote to the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich concerning the KVA Antwerpen. Attached to the document ( was the Stärkenachweisung for the KVA. The corps emphasized that this constituted the minimum requirement, the complete realisation of which was the precondition for the separation of the functions of KVA Kommandeur and Feldkommandant. Further, the Generalkommando would request the Etatisierung for a Nachrichtenzug for the KVA Antwerpen. There were no objections against the plan to send a small Arbeitsstab from the Feldkommandantur 520 to Torhout in case of Fall A II. Further, the earlier corps requirment for the Ortskommandanur 720 to be subordinated to the KVA-Kommandeur was dropped. In case of Falle IIa and case om combat the Feldkommandantur 520 was to remain geschlosseni in Antwerpen (with the exception of the above-mentioned Arbeitsstab).
Finally, on this day a meeting took place with the commander of the AOK15. During this meeting the following items were discussed: the Landfronten of the KVAs (no info available), the deadline of 15/4 for the erection of anti-air assault obstacles on flat terrains as well as the beach obstacles. It was again further emphasized by the Chef AOK15 that the construction activities were more important than training. The last point of discussion was constituted by the Hilfswilligen. There were 1604 with the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision; however some 900 Hiwis were short; Since OBWest had communicated to no further Hiwi could be provided, the corps forwarded a new request to the AOK15.
On 5 April 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued orders to its divisions and the KVA Antwerpen to turn the Küstenverteidigungsabschnitte into Festungsbereichen or fortress areas. Interestingly, detailed information was provided for each of the sectors:
Also on this day a meeting took place between the Ias of the divisions. The first point discussed was that Rommel had ordered that each and every soldier was to start immediately with the construction activities, whatever the difficulties. Further, the first requirement for minefields in the Landfront was a depth of 400metres (with deeper minefields later). The Minenband at the coast was to be completed. At unit boundaries minefields were to be established at right angles with the coastline. Important also were large minefields (Grossminenfelder) which were to have sufficient depth. Even though obstacles against air landings were only priority level 4, this did not mean that this work could not be started at appropriate locations. Not to be forgotten was the 2. Stellung the construction of which was to be continued. Available supplies of mines were to be used first as beach obstacles, then at the coast and then in the rear areas. The labour effort for the beach obstacles was to be maximum. Troops of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision were to be used for construction work if the own duties of the division so allowed, and only within Festungsbereichen; The 165 Reservedivision was to begin with construction activities on Walcheren, North-Beveland and the southwestern part of South-Beveland. Within large minefields, strongpoints, observation posts and weapons were to be integrated. Finally, mock minefields were immediately to be made to look like real ones.
On 6 April 1944 the Artilleriekommandeur 189 reported to the corps on the deployment of Torpedobatterien and the possible locations for these. For the entire OBWest area the initial allocation was 200 torpedoes, with a monthly follow-up delivery of 200-300 units. The AOK15 was to get absolute priority in deliveries with 45 batteries of 3 torpedoes each planned (15 batteries of which would be delivered shortly). The LXXXIX Armeekorps was planned to receive 8 of these. The torpedoes had a range of 5km. and a speed of 60km per hour.
On 8 April 1944 an air attack on the airfield at Koksijde killed approximately 40 civilian labourers. In addition the runway and several hangars were damaged. Also on this day, the corps passed on an order from the Admiral Niederlanden concerning the mobile Flak reserves of the Kriegsmarine. The Admital Niederlanden had ordered that every Marineflakabteiling was to establish 1 light and 1 medium mobile Flakzug (each consisting of 3 canons and 1 searchlight). The transport was to be provided by the 10. Marinekraftfahrabteilung. The army corps were requested to instruct the commanders of Verteidigungsbereiche or fortresses that the mobile flak units could be pulled out and, thus, were only temporarily available to them In the actual. In order not to weaken the defensive strength of the VB Vlissingen, 2x 4cm Bofors would be made available to replace the 3.7cm Flak in that case. Further on this day, the corps ordered (on the basis of an Heeresgruppe B order) the immediate submission of a Gesamtausbauplanung. This action was required since the Heeresgruppe B had ordered that proposals for such an Ausbauplanung were to be submitted to the AOK15 as early as 12 April. The planning was to be drafted by the divisions, in cooperation with the Festungspionierabschnittsgruppen and the relevant headquarters of navy and air force. The planning was to be submitted in 3 Dringlichkeitsstufen (levels of priority) and broken down into numbers for the 3 services. In the 1. Dringlichkeitsstufe the following was to be included:
All other constructions were to be included in the second and third levels of priority, as decided by the divisional commanders. In addition, the document also dealth with some specific issues:
The divisions were to submit their plannings to the corps on 11 April at the latest.
Finally on 8 April, the corps issued an order on the Abwehrbereitschaft. It wasfirst pointed out that the jamming of radars, intel on the enemy as well as good tidal conditions could make enely landings possible. The divisions were, therefore, ordered to 1) order increased attention for guards, sentries and patrols, 2) feuerbereitschaft of the heavy weapons in case of darkness and mist.and readiness of the Seezielbatterien for firing at Vernichtungs- und Sperrfeuerräume. If no targets could be located at sea fire was to be directed towards Anlandungsstellen.
On 9 April 1944 the corps (on the basis of instruction from Generalfeldmarschall Rommel) ordered changes to the order concerning the accommodation of reserves. Indeed, Rommel had ordered units to move forward to the coast. However, reserve and logistics troops south of the newly established Landfront were to remain in their accommodation, albeit protected against air attacks.
On 12 April 1944 Major Baumann of the Kommandostab of the Militärbefehlshaber came to the corps to discuss the mobilisation of the Flemish for guard and security duties. After the meeting the corps commander decided that Major Baumann would be requested to begin talks with the following goals: 1) measures to provide volunteer Flemish civilians to guard factories, bridges, port infrastructure, buildings in cities and militarily important constructions; 2) immediate start of the recruiting campaign.
On 13 April 1944 the corps wrote to the Militärbefehlshaber concerning the allocation of personnel from the Feldkommandantur 520 for the KVA Antwerpen. In this document the corps commander communicated firstly that after the approval of the new official strength the personnel requests to the FK520 by the KVA Antwerpen were so restricted that the operations of the FK would not be jeopardized. Secondly, a secondment or detachment of personnel from the FK to the KVA had so far not been ordered directly to the headquarters. Rather one officer and 1 Stabshelferin had been detached to the Unterabschnitt Stadt, which was attached to the Ortskommandantur. In addition, a few officers of the FK had so far been called upon to act as OvD. However, after the approval of the new strength of the KVA Antwerpen, this would no longer be necessary.
In the period 13- 15 April 1944 Generalleutnant Diehm (General zbV bei HrGr B) visited the coastal divisions and inspected the beach defences
(Vorstrandhindernisse). On 15 April Diehm also visited the corps headquarters in Antwerp.
Also on 15 April 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps submitted the plans of the divisions for the Landfront and also added its own opinions for each of the sectors, this in the context of the planned ortganisation of the coastal defence sectors as Festungsbereiche:
Further on 15 April 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps again addressed the AOK15 with a fairly urgent matter. Indeed, the transition of the KVAs to Festungsbereiche had given rise to a number of questions, the solution of which was becoming urgent:
Also on 15 April the Chef des Generalstabes of the corps had a meeting with the Chef des Generalstabes of the AOK15. No fewer than 16 different items were discussed. In the first few points issues in the various coastal sectors were discussed.
Other items were also discussed. Logistics units had to stay outside the festungsbereiche. The transfer was dependent on available static infrastructure. The evacuation of Bruges and Diksmuide was necessary, with the later posing an especially serious problem. The question was asked whether the AOK could position something there. Further, the construction work on the 2. Stellung was to be stopped. Also discussed was the problem that the 712ID had placed an insufficient number of obstacles due to material shortages. The use of the 19 LwFd for construction duties in the Landfront was also discussed. In view of the 'nonchalance' of the military government in providing civilian labour, it was proposed that the KVA commanders would have full power in the KVA in this respect. Further, traffic control units were not available in the combat area; could these by provided by the Militärbefehlshaber. The reduction of the Korpsnachrichtenabteilung with one company was seen as a big problem. Also communications equipment for a deployment of the Arko 189 was not available. Finally, decisions had to be made regarding the Landfront, so that construction work could start immediately.
On 17 April 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps informed the 165 Reservedivision that the AOK 15 had essentially agreed the proposals of the division (see above). In more detail:
Also on 17 April the corps wrote to the 712 and 48 Infanteriedivisionen concerning the execution of the process of turning the KVA into Festungsbereichen. The AOK15 was agreed with the proposals of the divisionen. The only limitation was that no combat troops of the infantry or engineers were to be deployed at the Landfront. The AOK15 was also agreed with the plans of the 48 ID to carry out some sweet water floodings, even though the approval of the OBWest was still expected. The corps also permitted that lon-local forces currently deployed on the 2. Stellung were transferred to working on the Landfront. A special problem was the result of the creation of Festungsbereiche on the location of logistical units. In principle, all logistical units and infrastructure were to be integrated into the Festungsbereiche. Where this was impossible, the logistical units and infrastructure were to be positioned as close as possible to the Festungsbereiche so that they could continue supplying the divisions and, when attacked from the rear, withdraw into the Festungsbereiche. For the 712 Infanteriedivision the Bäckerei- und Schlächtereihalbkompanie and the Feldhalblazarett could remain outside the Festungsbereich for the time being. However, all other units and infrastructure were to be moved inside in as far as possible. For the 48 Infanteriedivision the Verwaltungstruppen were to bge concentrated in Diksmuide. Further, the Hauptverbandplätze in Wilveringem and Gistel could remain. All other units and infrastructure was also to be moved inside the Festungsbereiche, again in as far as possible. Finally, for ammunition supply, 2-3 Ausgabestellen were to be planned.
On 18 April 1944 the corps issued orders to the 712 and 48 Infanteriedivisionen concerning changes in the preparation for the readiness of the divisions to be pulled out for other uses. More specifically, in the cases of the 712ID and the 48ID it was envisaged to pull out the complete division. Since the former division was seen as the first candidate for pulling out, this division was first to be made mobile. Only in exceptional cases would the 48ID be pulled out to be deployed elsewhere. Vorausabteilungen of the division were to be Abmarschbereit within 6 hours, the complete divisions within 36 hours.
On the same day, a similar document was produced but this time with reference to the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision and the schwere Panzerjägerabteilung 668.
On 19 April 1944 the corps gave its permission for the transfer of the Personaleinheit Sturmgeschützabtailung 1019 to the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide until 9 May. Also, in response to a question from the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision, communicated that for the deployment of a regimental group in the Oostburg area the regiment to return last from Maria-ter-Heide was planned.
On 20 April 1944 the Generalkommando informed the AOK15 that a manning of land defences the land defences (Landfront) by support troops only was not possible. and therefore requested permission to deploy small numbers of fighting troops. In addition, the corps also requested the AOK15 to suspend courses for four weeks, so that extra efforts could be made in fortification. On the same day the corps also urged the coastal divisions and the Abschnitt Antwerpen to speed up and complete the construction of defences, saying that all days remaining before the invasion were to be fully used.
On 21 April 1944 the Generalkommando issued an order to the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision and the Armeekraftwagenkolonne Nachtigall concerning the transport of units of the division residing there to their operatioonal areas at the coast in the event of combat actions.Thus, all parts of the division were to be transported from Maria-ter-Heide as soon as possible. The Armeekraftwagenkolonne Nachtigall was at the disposal of the division for the transport of the combat elements.According to the document the headquarters of the unit were in Gent and the commander was Hauptmann Brunner. The unit had smaller units (Staffeln) in Wetteren, Gent, Deinze, Kalken and Lokeren.
On 22 April 1944 the corps issued comments to the AOK15 order of 20 April concerning bunker construction and the construction of Nusskrackerminen. Firstly, the corps stipulated that, even though, training courses had been suspended, divisional courses were exempt and could still be continued, unless the AOK15 was still to decide otherwise. Second, the deployment of the civilian population to work on Luftlandehindernisse in the area of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was to be organized by the 712 and 48 Infanteriedivisionen, in cooperation with the relevant headquarters of the Militärbefehlshaber. Thirdly, with respect to the deployment of units of the 19 LwFd in the Festungsbereiche of the coastal defence division, it was decided that the Pionierbataillon 19 (less 1 company) would remain at the disposal of the 48 Infanteriedivision for mine-laying duties. One company would be at the disposal of the 712ID for the construction and mining of the Landfront. Fourthly, the 2. Stellung was to be continued only north of Bruges, where it was located in the area of the Luftwaffenjägerregiment 45. In other areas construction was to be halted and labour and material used for the new duties. Fifthly, the divisions had full authority of the available Rollbocke in their areas. The KVA Antwerpen was to install the Rollbocke available and report the numbers to the corps. The allocation of Rollbocke was to be made by the corps. Any resulting gaps in defensive lines were to be filled with mines or other defensive obstacles. Sixthly, it was currently being determined whethet the Festungspionierstab 12 and the OT could help the divisions with the creation of the factories for the nutcracker mines. The divisions themselves, however, were to to create such factories, whatever the possibilities of the above. Finally, the corps noted that it was being faced with divisional requests for massive amounts of material whould could not be delivered in sufficient amounts through the fortress egnineer or OT channels. The corps would try to get extra materials through the Militärbefehlshaber. If necessary, the divisions were to help themselves out in confiscating all available materials in their areas.
Also on this day and in follop-up of the above, the LXXXIX Armeekorps wrote to the Militärbefehlshaber concerning the use of the entire population for the construction of obstacles against paratroop and glider landings and other obstacles and the materiald required. The military commander was informed that the field units would direct their requests for labour and material to him and, consequently, request to order subordinate commands of the latter to meet requests from the troop commanders. Secondly, the Militärbefehlshaber was also asked in the areas of the OFK Gent and Brüssel to constructed ddefences against air attacks, to construct air landing obstacles around Gent and to confiscate all available construction materials.
On 24 April 1944 the corps issued an order to the 712 Infanteriedivision that the division was to be ready to march in 6 hours in the event it was being pulled out for deployment elsewhere.
On 27 April 1944 the Generalkommando issued an order concerning the transfer of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision. For this purpose the Luftwaffengrenadierregiment 38 was transferred from Maria-ter-Heide to the Bruges area on 30 April. The new Bereitschaftsräume for the division were mentuioned as follows:
All transports were to be carried out at night. The Luftwaffenpionierbataillon 19 was tio be shared by a number of units (1 company to the 19 LwFd, 712ID and 48ID each, with the latter two to be used for the constructions of the Divisionsfestungsbereiche) The Luftwaffenfüselierbataillon 19 was to be temporarily subordinated to the 48ID for the fortification of the Landfront. The units of the division were also given provisional directions for deployment. Thus, the division was to prepare a deployment in counterattack. The Luftwaffenjägerregiment 38 and the Luftwaffenfüselierbataillon 19 were to specifically prepare for a deployment on the boundary of the 712ID and 48ID. The division was also to take over defence of the strongpoints between Terneuzen and Nummer Een from the 712ID and to set up Fallschirmjagdkommandos. Finally, however, the 712ID would remain solely in charge in the KVA A2.
On 29 April 1944 the Flakkompanie 148 was transferred from Oostende to Dunkirk.
On 30 April 1944 the Generalkommando LXXXIX Armeekorps issued the deployment order for the 19 LwFd. Following this order the division (Heeresgruppenreserve) would either be pulled out for deployment to other fronts or subordinated to the army or corps. The combat mission of the division was two-fold. On the one hand, the division was to prepare for countering enemy air landings in the area Terneuzen-Brugge-Maldegem-Eeklo. On the other hand the division was to prepare a closed formation counterattack against an enemy invader in close cooperation with the two coastal defence divisions along the Belgian coast. The individual regiments were tasked with individual missions, in the event of regimental counterattcks, though this situation was deemed improbable. Also on this day, the Jägerregiment 38 was transferred from Maria-ter-Heide to the Bruges area. Further on this day, the corps issued an order to the divisions concerning the construction of Vorstrandhindernisse and Luftlandehindernisse. With respect to the former width was to be preferred to depth. If depth was the aim then the obstacles were to begin as close as possible towards the sea to stop the enemy as early as possible. The construction of concrete factories was said to be very good, so that large numbers of nutcracker mines could be built in the very near future. With respect to the latter, work was said to be going well, but the number of German guards was still to be reduced. Also, full training days were forbidden for as long as obstacles were to be built. Neverthless, the commanders had to ensure that the troops got enough rest and sleep.
On 2 May 1944 Oberst Gajer, the Kommandeur der Festungsstammtruppen LXXXIX, was appointed Stabsoffizier für Marschüberwachung with the corps headquarters. All the Strassenkommandanten would be subordinated to him. Also on this day, there was a message from Oberstleutnant iG Behr, Chef des Generalstabes LXIV Reservekorps. He said that Oberstleutnant Bernhardy of the AHA Berlin had told him that the reserve division deployed at the coast were to be transformed into static infantry divisions and that an order for the 165 Reservedivision was to be expected in May.
On 2-3 May 1944 the corps commander inspected the sectors of the 712 and 48 Infanteriedivisionen.
On 3 May 1944 the corps passed on an AOK15 order to the divisions concerning the building of the Landfront and the occupation of it, adding its own comments. Extra attention was still to be paid to the connections with the divisionals and corps boundaries. Also, the Vorfeld of the Landfront was to be kept under observation, so that enemy airborne troops could be spotted immediately. Every artillery batallion deployed in the divisional sector was also to establish a Landfrontbeobachtungsstelle so that fire could be opened immediately.
Also on this day an order was issued concerning the defence against air attack. No single man was to be unprotected in case of air attack. The room in (semi-) permanent bunkers was to be fullu used for sheltering. Other troops were to have Panzerdeckungslöcher. Orders were also released for the Stellungsbau. Trenches were to be constructed in large numbers, but covered only with light material. In future, field bunkers were to be kept as small as possible and as low as possible above the surface with protection by earth. It was especially advise to reinforce cellars and then to blow up the house above it for extra protection. Further, the construction of a Landfront was NOT to be at the expense of the defences at the coast. Also, each division was to prepare a combat plan for the Landfront. Like the coastal front, the latter was to be subdivided into sectors with sector commanders. Mock minefields and air assault obstacles were to continue being placed. The construction of large bunkers and long trenches at the Landfront was forbidden.
On 4 May 1944 the corps commander's notes on the inspection visits of 2-3 May above were released. In general the corps commander was pleased with the progress in the construction of beach obstacles. However, the construction of Luftlandesperren was still seen as insufficient. As the poles were too thin, it was suggested to tie together pairs of poles. Other problems were encountered, notably in the sector of the GR 745:
It was further noted that the Strafvollstreckungszug 712 had to march hours each day from Sluis to their work place (i.e. constructing beach obstacles at the ZWn 4). The bunker of the Regimentsgefechtsstand 745 had been built too close to one another and were badly camouflaged.With the exception of 2, all bunkers were of VF-strength.
On 5 May 1944 the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision was transferred to the area Brugge-Sluis-Ijzendijke-Eeklo. The division headquarters were transferred to Eeklo.On the same day the Divisionsgefechtsstand of the 48. Infanteriedivision was located 1km to the south of Oostende.
Also on this day,
the corps issued an order to the 19
Luftwaffenfelddivision concerning the defence
against enemy air landings. In their new billeting area
the division was no longer to construct all-round
defences. Rather, it was to secure the area against air
landing by the construction of obstacles and by
establishing observation posts which were to be
constantly manned. In the event of enemy air landings
within the billeting area, all available forces were to
immediately counterattack. The divisional artillery of
the division operating in the area of the 712
Infanteriedivision was to be used in this respect,
for as far as it was able to fire and preparations for
such use were to be made. Finally, both divisions were
to closely cooperate and train together.
May 1944 the corps reported that the
Admiral Kanalküste had reported enemy landing
exercises. On the basis of these the corps passed on 2
conclusions; Firstly, the Vorstrandhindernisse
had so far been constructed in the right place, since
the enemy would have to try and land further away from
the coast. Secondly, after the obstacles had been given
sufficient width, they were to be given sufficient depth
towards the water; thus nutcracker mines were to be
placed along the low-tide line and KMA mines further
into the water.
Also on this day, the corps
ordered that the cooperation at the corps boundaries was
to be prepared now. Specifically,
on the French-Belgian border, the Nahtregimenter
of the 48ID and the 18lwFD were to
hold a joint terrain meeting, led by the latter
division. In addition the 48ID was to provide a
Nahtkommando. This consisted of the 2 und 4
Kompanie of the Füselierbataillon 148.
On 31 May 1944 the Generalkommando LXXXIX issued an order for the deployment and billeting of the 70 Infanteriedivision.This was actually a change to the original plans. On the orders of the AOK15 the Personaleinheiten designated to move to the KVA A1 for the reorganisation of the 165 Reservedivision were NOT to immediately move to the KVA A1, but rather were to be deployed as Korpsreserve in the area Antwerpen-Zuid-Beveland-Bergen-op-Zoom, this to fake a newly-arrived Eingreifdivision. The operation even had a a code name Aktion Geiger and the faking unit was to be called Ausbildungsstab Geiger.The actual move into the KVA A1 was now planned for mid-June. The units already (or soon to arrive) in the KVA A1 were the I/GR118, the Pionierbataillon 170 and support units. This complex action led to an equallly complex subordination of units. Thus, the Personaleinheiten of the 70ID deployed to the east of the Beveland Canal were grouped as the 70ID and commanded by Oberst Geiger. This force consisted of the Regimentsgruppen 1019 and 1020, the AR 170 and relieved units of the 165RD. However, the 70ID itself was subordinated to the 165 RD in all ways but tactically (tactically it was directly subordinated to the Generalkommando). The missions assigned were to be completed in the closest possible co-operation with the 165RD and the KVA Antwerpen. Relieved units of the 165RD accomodated in the area of the 70ID remained subordinated administratively and for training prposes to the 165RD, but logistically to the 70ID.
The document also ordered the tactical mission of the 70ID. Thus, the 70ID was todefend its area (Antwerpen-Woensdrecht) against enemy air landings and sabotage and was to also defend militarily important objects. The Regimentsgruppe 1020 and parts of the 165RD in the Kalmthout area were to cooperate closely with the Abschnitt Antwerpen for the defence for the city and port of Antwerp as well as a deployment in the Unterabschnitt Ost. The Regimentsgruppe 1019 was to explore a deployment in the eastern part of the KVA A1 in close cooperation with the 165RD.
The divisional headquarters were to be operatonal on 6 June with a sufficiently large Vorkommando in the Divisionsgefechtsstand De Donk with the follwoing composition (Oberst Geiger als commander, Hauptmann Ihlenburg as Ia, Hauptmann Meyeras Ib, Oberleutnant Böhm as Ib-Hilfsoffizier, Major Schaudich as IIa/b, Leutnant Lorenz as O1, Stabszahlmeister Ernst as IVa and Leutnant Reichel as WuG.
An annex to the document is a Planpause with the position of the units:
On 1 June 1944 we find an Unterkunftsübersicht of the 19. Luftwaffenfelddivision. This overview has been processed in the Google Earth animation below.
Also on this day, the corps commander visited beach obstacles and the Hauptkampflinie in the KVA A1. He also had a meeting with general Daser. It was ordered that no complicated and time-consuming obstacles were to be constructed. Rather, the focus was to be placed on closing remain gaps. In the Westkapelle sector it was ordered that flamethrowers were to be installed where obstacles and wire defences were insufficiently present. Also, the socles for 7.5cm Pak were found not yet to have been installed in 2 bunkers. It was deemed important to place canons in bunkers even if the bunkers were only partially completed. Further, the issue of a relaxation centre (Erholungsheim) for the III/Armenierbataillon 128 would be addressed again after the relief operation. Finally on this day, the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued orders for the Stabsoffiziere für Marschüberwachung. This command was a corps command, to which all the Strassenkommandanten in the corps area were subordinated. The commander was Oberst Gajer. The Stomü had far-reaching powers, including the disciplinary power of a division general. He had 21 men in his HQ. The latter were located in the corps headquarters in Antwerp.
On 3 June 1944 the corps ordered the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision to be ready to be moved out of the area. The units still taking part in the Aktion Landgraf around Roeselare were to be transported from there. The strongpoints on the southern bank of the Westerschelde were to return to the contraol of the 712 ID.
On 4 June 1944 the corps wrote to the SS-Panzerdivision Adolf Hitler concerning the necessary recce missions to be carried out for possible deployment. More specifically, recce missions were to be carried out for a counterattack against an airlanded enemy in the area Ijzendijke-Eeklo-Brugge-Aardenburg. Of second importance was a deployment in the area Hulst-Antwerpen-Bergen-op-Zoom.Of special importance for this heavy armoured division was that its tanks could only cross the Schelde river at Antwerp (Schelde tunnel) and Dendermonde. The process of finding other bridges and reinforcing those was in progress.
Also on this day, the corps issued an order for the reorganisation of the Panzerjägereinheiten. Specifically, the Panzerschreck AT-weapons currently with the grenadier companies were to be surrendered to the 14. Kompanien. The 88mm R - Werfer 34 (Puppchen) also allocated to the 14. Kompanien were to be deployed with the grenadier regiments as platoons (each with 4 guns).
On 5 June 1944 the corps passed on to the divisions, as well as the OFK570, HKAR 940 and the schwere Heerespanzerjäherabteilung 668 the message from the AOK15 that a radio message had been received making the invasion possible within 48 hours. At 10.30pm on 5 June 1944 the AOK15 ordered Vorwarnung for the entire army area. The reason for this was the interception of a radio message signalling the invasion to begin within 48 hours.
On 6 June 1944 the corps sent an order to the 70 Infanteriedivision. Let us us remember that this division was still in the process of relieving the 165 Reservedivision. The corps wrote that the enemy attack in Normandy made it necessary that units of the division would become einsatzbereit as soon as possible. In terms of tactical subordinations the following decisions were taken:
As a result of the latter action 7 June 1944 saw the appearance of two searchlight and 3 light Flak batteries in the Antwerp area. On the same day it was decided that the following alarm procedures would apply: Vorwarnung from 8 am to 7 pm and Alarmstufe II from 7 pm to 8 am. Also on this day, the corps issued an order to all divisions ordereing an immediate concentric attack with all available forces in the event of enemy air landings between the Seefront and the Landfront. In case air landings occurred behind the Landfront, the latter was to be defended.
On 8 June 1944 the II/RGR 260 was transferred from Capelle to Zwartenheuvel. Also on this day, recces were made for the deployment of the SS-Panzerdivision Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler in the areas Antwerpen, Bruges, Gent, Terneuzen. Further, the corps established contact with the 19 Panzerdivision. Also, the Pionierbataillon of the Leibstandarte would be moved to the Lier area. Finally, the AOK15 ordered that the supplies of the strongpoints were immediately to be safeguarded.
Also on 8 June the corps issued an order concerning the locations of the headquarters sections of the Stp Generalkommando in Antwerpen, as well as guidelines for its defence. This document will be analyzed in more detail. The order was a Sonderstabsbefehl. A number of headquarters units had their accommodation changed:
At 1.30pm on 9 June 1944 the SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, at that moment billeted in Beverloo, was immediately subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps and transferred to the former operational area of the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision in KVA A2 (area Ijzendijke-Aardenburg-Eeklo) Elements of the division were to be transported to the following Bereitstellungsräume:
At 3 pm Alarmstufe II was ordered (from 6 pm onwards) on the basis of an intercepted radio message making enemy landings possible in the early hours of 10 June. At 4pm the Ia of the 19 Panzerdivision was with the Chef des Generalstabes to discuss the possible deployment of a Kampfgruppe.
At 8 pm the 712 Infanteriedivision reported the operational readiness of the Kampfkommandant Brügge and the OFK Gent that of the Kampfkommandant Gent. At 8.45 pm the corps war diary mentions that the Flakabteilungen 291 and 294 had arrived in the area Gent and Maldegem, respectively. The latter unit is later identified as the schwere Heeresflakabteilung 294, prompting us to believe the former unit to be the schwere Heeresflakabteilung 291. The appearance of these units here, though logical (air defence for the SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) is surprising, since these units were based in the Pas-de-Calais providing Flak defenses for the V2 and V3 weapons site in that area. It is difficult to believe that these 2 crucial units were withdrawn from those sites.We, therefore, believe only some parts of these units to have moved north.
Finally, at 9 pm the Generalkommando issued orders for the airfield at Koksijde to be rendered unusable and for civilian labourers to do this.Also on 9 June (actually in the night of 9/10 June) the following Luftwaffe units entered the corps area,
A corps order of 10 June gave these units the mission of combatting airborne threats. These units were no other than the former Fliegerregimenter 22 (Gent), 52 (Soissons), and 53 (Tongeren). The mission of these regiments was to defend their area against enemy air landings and to block enemy incursions. However, the regiments would only become subordinated to the Generalkommando in case of an enemy attack an on the orders of the AOK15.
An earlier corps order of 9 June gives different names to these regiments (these were actually the old names). Thus, the Luftgaufeldregiment 1 for 22 (located in the area Izegem-Roeselare), the Luftgaufeldregiment 2 for 53 (located in the area Sint-Niklaas-Lokeren) and the Luftgaufeldregiment 3 for 52 (located in the area Poppel-Turnhout). This order was later cancelled and replaced by that of 10 June above.
On 10 June 1944 the SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler arrived in its designated areas with its divisional headquarters in Kaprijke. On the same day the (schwere Heeres)Flakbateilung 291 and the Luftwaffe gemischte Flakabteilung 242 were reported to have arrived in the Antwerp area. The latter unit had also arrived from Northern France (the Watten area). Also, the Luftgaufeldregiment Nr 51 in Antwerp reported its operational readiness. Finally, Oberst Linden of the Luftgaufeldregiment Nr 53 established contact with the Ia of the corps.
On 11 June 1944 it was ordered that, as of 12 June, the Grenadierregiment 1019 would be subordinated to the 70 Infanteriedivision with the mission of countering enemy airborne troops and defending the strategically important Bath isthmus on the river Schelde. Further on this day, the corps released some lessons drawn from the invasion so far. Finally on this day, the corps wrote that, in spite of several requests, the Alarmstufe II was to be continued for the foreseeable future. As this put heavy pressure on the troops, the divisions were allowed to introduce some measures to relax that pressure.
On 12 June 1944 the Grenadierregiment 1020 joined the 70 Infanteriedivision. At the same time the I/Reservegrenadierregiment 205 and II/ Reservegrenadierregiment 260 battalions of the 165 Reservedivision weresubordinated to the KVA-Antwerpen for the defence of the city. This combat group was known as the Regimentsgruppe Holdschuher. The combat mission of this was specifically the defence of Antwerp to the east and south of the city. Also on this day the LXXXIX Armeekorps established an advance communications post in Gent, the so-called Meldekopf Gent.
At 0.58am on 13 June 1944 the Germans blew up the port of Nieuwpoort. Also on this day, it was announced that the 363 Infanteriedivision would arrive from Denmark and would be subordinated to the Generalkommando. The resident 48 Infanteriedivision was ordered to propose billeting for this division. The combat mission of the 363 Infanteriedivision was the defence against air landings and the counterattack in case of an enemy landing near Oostende, as well as the blocking of the narrow area to the southeast of Veurne. An Anlage makes clear that the units of the division were to be offloaded at the railway stations of Torhout, Jabbeke, Veurne, Diksmuide, Brugge, Kortemark and Lichtervelde.
At 6 pm AOK15 informed the corps that a departure of the 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was likely, as soon as the 363 Infanteriedivision had arrived. Finally, at midnight the corps was informed that the operational area for the latter division would be the Bruges area. Finally, the Ia of the AOK15 informed the corps that the 715 Infanteriedivision would not be subordinated to the corps.
On 14 June 1944 the operational area of the 363 Infanteriedivision was specified as being between Bruges and the river Schelde. On the same day it was decided that the following alarm new procedures would apply: Vorwarnung from 8 am to 9 pm and Alarmstufe II from 9 pm to 8 am. Lastly, it was decided that the newly-established Artilleriepakabteilung 1037 was to be subordinated to the Generalkommando and deployed in the Bruges-Maldegem area. It was equipped with 27x 88mm Pak and 14 transporters. The unit was actually a replacement for the Heerespanzerjägerabteilung 668, which was now to return to its old billeting area south of Bruges and prepare to be Armeereserve.
On 15 June 1944 parts of the 363 Infanteriedivision had arrived. Air defences for the unloading of the division were taken over by the schwere Heeresflakabteilung 294 and the gemischte Flakabteilung 242. Finally, at 10pm the 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler commenced its departure to the 7 Armee..Also on this day, we find an Offizierstellenbesetzung or overview of staff officers, which can be found in the document below:
On 16 June 1944 various transfers took place. Firstly, more parts of the 363 Infanteriedivision arrived. Secondly, it was decided in a corps order that the division was to move into the area vacated by the departing 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. A first area to be vacated for a reinforced regiment of the 363 Infanteriedivision was the area Aardenburg-Lapscheure-Vivenkapelle (night of 17-18 June), followed by the area Maldegem (18-19 June) and Ijzendijke (19-20 June) These were the so-called Marschbewegungen for the division. In case of an enemy attack during these transport movements the division (together with remaining parts of the Leibstandarte) was to attack towards Zeebrugge and, secondarily, towards Oostende Thirdly, the schwere Heeresflakabteilung 291 was now located in Maldegem to protect the loading of the latter division. Fourthly, the Luftgaufeldregiment Nr 53 was transferred to the Laon area. Finally, Luftgaufeldregiment Nr 22 had moved to the Beauvais area.
On 17 June 1944 further parts of the 363 Infanteriedivision arrived. Also, the first units of the 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler departed. It was also announced that the gemischte Flakabteilung 242 was to remain tactically subordinated to the LXXXIX Armeekorps for the time being. On this day we also find an updated Bewegungsübersicht for the 363 Infanteriedivision, which can be found in the document below:
On 18 June 1944 the corps issued a correction to the Dienstanweisung for the Stabsoffiziere für Marschüberwachung.
On 19 June 1944 further units of the 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler departed. Also on this day the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued an order to the 89 Infanteriedivision. This unit was to be subordinated to the corps and deployed in the area Brugge-Veurne-Diksmuide as Eingreifdivision and Armeereserve. However, since on 20 June, it was decided that this division would not be sent to the LXXXIX but rather to the LXXXI Armeekorps it will not be dealt with further here. Interestingly, the latter document was also addressed to the Kampfkommandant Brügge and the Kampfkommandant Dixmuiden.
On 21 June 1944 the move of the 363 Infanteriedivision within the corps area was concluded.
On 22 June 1944 the corps issued an order on the Führereinsatz of the Festungsstammtruppen in case of Alarmstufe II. It was first stated that the Kommandeur Festungsstammtruppen LXXXIX was continuously at the disposal of the corps as the Stabsoffizier für Marschüberxwachung. At on the onset of combat Oberst Gajer would be deployed as Stomü with his headquarters staff. A second point made was that batallion commanders, company commanders and other officers acting as instructors and at that time not being used in strongpoints would only fully come at the disposal of the divisions in thearea at the onset of combat. If possible, there we to be used, in the context of the Festungsstammtruppen, as second-in-commands of strongpoints and sub-sectors which were somehow involved in the deployment of Festungsstammtruppen. If this were not possible they could be used as Ordonnanzoffiziere, liaison officers or commders of Alarmeinheiten. In principle these officers could only be used for static defence and deployment missions.
Also on 22 June the 165 Reservedivision issued an order concerning its relief by the 70 Infanteriedivision. The Ablösungstermin was mentioned as around 5 July. The duration of the relief operation was put at some 3 weeks. In the document the 165 Reservedivision proposed, and requested permission, to conduct the relief operation in the manner formulated (see document). The document also proposed to transfer 831 NCOs and 2437 other ranks from the 165 Reservedivision to the 70 Infanteriedivision.
On 23 June 1944 an order was issued for the transfer of II/Grenadierregiment 1020 to Middelburg with subordination to the 165 Reservedivision upon arrival. The unit was to relieve the II/Reservegrenadierregiment 205, which was deployed as Divisionsreserve in the Grijpskerke area. The latter unit was to be billeted in Middelburg for other purposes. The Abmarschbereitschaft was 4 hours; the Verladebereitschaft 8 hours. The code word was Dänemark.
Also, the corps issued an order to the 363 Infanteriedivision concerning readiness for departure or loading in the event of it being deployed elsewhere.
Finally on this day, the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued an order concerning the relief of the 165 Reservedivision. An Anlage to this order was the order by the 165 Reservedivision of 22 June above. The corps was especially worried about the weakened combat strength of the division after the relief operation. Experience with the I/GR 1018, which had been deployed at the coast for some time now, had shown that the eventual combat strength would be decreased, mainly due to the new troops being Magenkranken. Secondly, the corps warned that if the transfer of the above-mentioned NCOs and other ranks from the 165RD to the 70ID was not sanctioned, then the division would no longer be able to varry out its defensive duties. Delaying the relief operation and/or providing longer training was said not to change anything., since many new troops were simply unfit for coastal defence.
On 24 June 1944 an order was given to the KVA Antwerpen to form 1 company (81 troops) from the I/Reservegrenadierregiment 205 and II/ Reservegrenadierregiment 260 to be located at the bridge in Dendermonde to provide infantry defence for the Flak units present there and to defend the bridge against sabotage from 27 June onwards. The bridge was defended by 2x 2cm Flakzügen. The infantry company would remain subordinated to the KVA Antwerpen.
Also on this day the corps informed the 48 Infanteriedivision in the KVA A3 that it was to be reinforced with extra units:in the night of 25/26 June (see below) These extra units would be supplied by both the LXXXIX Armeekorps (363ID) and the LXXXII Armeekorps (182 Reservedivision, 326 Infanteriedivision, 331 Infanteriedivision).
On 25 June 1944 the headquarters of the 363 Infanteriedivision were located in Kaprijke, while those of the Artillerieregiment 363 were are the eastern outskirts of Sint-Kruis (Bruges). On this day, the gemischte Flakabteilung 242 was also withdrawn from Nieuwpoort.
On 26 June 1944 the following units arrived in KVA A3: Stab Reservegrenadierregiment 79 (182 Reservedivision), Reservegrenadierbataillon 437 (182 Reservedivision), Füselierbataillon 363, II/Artillerieregiment 363 as well as one searchlight and one medium AT-platoon. More specifically, these units were deployed and tasked with missions as follows:
On 27 June 1944 further units arrived in KVA A3. I/Grenadierregiment 752 (326 Infanteriedivision), II/Grenadierregiment 558 (331 Infanteriedivision), I/ Artillerieregiment 179 and III/Reservegrenadierregiment 205 (165 Reservedivision). Also on this day the departure of the 1. SS-PzD Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler was concluded. Further, the headquarters of the corps' Quartiermeisterabteilung were transferred to Schoten, while that of the Artillerieregiment 363 was moved from Sint-Kruis to Aardenburg. Finally, Grenadierregiment 958 (363 Infanteriedivision) was transferred from Ijzendijke to Plakkebord.
Also on 27 June the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued another order. It first pointed out that the second large-scale allied landing was still to be expected, which would be the start of the deciding battle in the West. In the case the sector of the corps did not come under attack, it would be certain that all available forces would be pulled out to be deployed elsewhere. In such a case it would be extremely important that all the prepared measures for the extraction and transfer of units would be executed smoothly. In the first instance, candidates for extraction would be the 363 Infanteriedivision (Armeereserve), schwere Heerespanzerjägerabteilung 668 and the units transferred to the 48 Infanteriedivision from the area of the LXXXII Armeekorps. In a second stage the 712 and 48 Infanteriedivisionen could be pulled out. Code words were Oostburg, Dixmuden and Feierabend (the latter presumably for the 363 ID). All commanders concerned were ordered to recheck the measures taken.
On 28 June 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued a document with an overview of the emergency headquarters (Ausweichgefeechtsstände) and forward communication centres (Meldeköpfe).
On 29 June 1944 the divisional headquarters (Führungsabteilung) were located in Gistel, while the Quartiermeisterabteilung was in Oudenburg.
Also on this day the 165 Reservedivision was ordered to prepare a long-term defence of the Verteidigungsbereich Vlissingen. The order stipulated that if, in the event of combat action on Walcheren, the Verteidigungsbereich Vlissingen was threatened, the following units below would additionally have to be withdrawn into the VB: Divisionsstab 165RD and the troops occupying Middelburg, I/RGR260 (less 1 company), II/GR1020, Reserveartillerieabteilung 5 mit 2-3. Batterie, und 2. und 5./RAR61, Stab un 3. Kompanie/Reservepionierbataillon 9. The units inside the VB Vlissingen were also supposed to stay inside the VB and would only be allowed to operate outside it on the explicit orders of the AOK15. The document also states that the Generalkommando would already request that the I/RGR 260 would already be moved intio the VB.and deployed along the Landfront.
Further on this day, the LXXXIX Armeekorps wrote to the AOK15 with respect to the defence of the VB Vlissingen. In order to defend it with success in the long term, it was deemed necessary to have following troops: 2 complete infantry regiments, 2 further artillery batallions for the Landfront (in addition to the Heeres- und Marineartillerie present), 1 schwere Panzerjägerabteilung, 1 Pionierbataillon, a mixed Nachrichtenkompanie, a further schwere Flakabteilung, a Sanitätskompanie or a Feldhalblazarett. Also further permanent bunkers were requested. The following units had the mission to conduct a fighting retreat into the VB Vlissingen: Divisionsstab 165RD and the troops occupying Middelburg, I/RGR260 (less 1 company), II/GR1020, Reserveartillerieabteilung 5 mit 2-3. Batterie, und 2. und 5./RAR61, Stab un 3. Kompanie/Reservepionierbataillon 9. Heavy AT-weapons were not available, since all of these had been deployed at the coast. The Sicherheitsbesatzung of the VB Vlissingen was mase up of: Reservegrenadierregiment 215 with the I. und III. Bataillonen, 8. Kompanie/GR1020, 3. und 4. Kompanie/Festungsstammabteilung I/LXXXIX, Heeresartillerieabteilung 1140, Seekommandant Südholland mit Hafenkapitän, Marineflakabteilung 810 mit 2, 3, 4 Batterien and the 8-9/MAA 202. The corps also requested permission to already move the I/RGR 260 (less 1 company) into the VB to occupy the Landfront, which was at present undermanned. Finally, for a fighting retreat into the feste Platz Antwerpen all units of the 70ID, with the exception of the I/GR 1019 had been given orders. The latter batallion was lokacted on South-Beveland between Goes and the Bath isthmus.
Finally on 29 June, the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued an order regarding the deployment of the 70 Infanteriedivision in vase of combat. On the grounds of experiences gained in the Normandy fighting, it was ordered that all troops near Festungen ot Verteidigungsbereiche were to fight their way into these in case they were in danger of being encircled. The AOK15 had now ordered that the same held for the port and city of Antwerp. Id, in the case of Antwerp, there we signs of an enemy inte,ntion to encircle Antwerp, the 70 Infanteriedivision (less the I/GR1019) was to fight its way into the city, where it would then be subordinated to the KVA-Antwerpen for the defence of the city. The KVA Anwterpen was already to designate assembly areas and prepare deployment plans for the 70 ID. In case the division was deployed in Antwerp, the I/GR1019 would be subordinated to the 165 Reservedivision, since this batallion had the task to defend the Bath isttmus or the feste Platz Goes.
In the period January-July 1944 the Wochenberichte of the corps gave detailed information with respect to units arriving, leaving, moving and reorganizing in the sector of the LXXXIX Armeekorps, as well as detailed information on the construction of the Atlantikwall, the 2. Stellung and the Landfront. This detailed information can be found in the document below:
On 1 July 1944 an Ergänzung zur Kriegsrangliste, i.e. an addition to the overview of officers was issued. It has been processed into the document below: