History of Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII (1940 - 1942)
The Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was established on 15 October 1939 from the Grenzschutzabschnittkommando 2 in Deutsch-Krone.
In June 1940 it assumed command of the French coastal defence sector between the Somme estuary and Le Havre under the command of General der Kavalerie Günther Pogrell (with Chef des Generalstabs Oberstleutnant von Steuben). The corps served under a number of higher commands (Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich, AOK 4, AOK 16) before becoming subordinated to the AOK 9 in August 1940 (Generaloberst Adolf Strauss), and to the AOK 15 in May 1941.
On 27 May 1940 the Höheres Kommando XXXII issued its Stabsbefehl for the transfer of the command from Germany to the West.
On 11 June 1940 the HK XXII was subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich with immediate effect. The message further reads that the corps was to transfer to Charleroi as soon as possible and that its commander was to report in Brussels.
On 12 June 1940 the HK XXXII issued its Vorbefehl for the transfer. The document states that the corps headquarters was tio move to Charleroi. It was expected to arrive there on 14 June.
On 13 June 1940, however, the plans hud undergone a complete change. The HK XXXII would now be subordinated to the Armeeoberkommando 4 and was to be deployed south of Rouen, with corps headquarters at Elbeuf. It was expected to leave on the same day.
On 15 June 1940 it was apparently decided that the HK XXXII would no be subordinated to the Oberfeldkommandantur 591 in Forges-les-Eaux and commanded by Oberst von Claer.
On the same day it was reported that the Höheres Kommando XXXII had assumed command in the sector Dieppe - Le Havre..For this purpose, it was assigned the 57 Infanteriedivision. This division was organized as follows: IR 217 from Dieppe to Eletot, IR 179 from Eletot to Heuqueville and the IR 199 from Heuqueville to Le Havre/Harfleur.The divisional headquarters were in Le Havre. In the same document Flak units were also requested to protect against allied air attacks on Le Havre. Also on this day a first report was released on the situation in Rouen. The only military unit actually present in Rouen was at this time was the Landesschützenbataillon 453 commanded by Major von Ledebour. The Frontsammelstelle was located in Hotel Europe, Rue Verte. Also present was the Pionierbataillon 630, which was tasked with building new bridges across the Seine river.
On 16 June 1940 the57 Infanteriedivision complained that the control over a 90km-coastline was not easy with headquarters in Le Havre. The division, therefore, requested permission to move its headquarters to an area south of Etretat.
On 17 June 1940 it was decided to pull the 57 ID out of its coastal defence duties and to have it replaced by the 227 ID which, with headquarters in Amiens, would be responsble for defending the coastline between St-Valery-sur-Somme to Lillebonne, 25km east of Le Havre. The division was to be organized as follows:
From this document we also learn that the headquartters of the HK XXXII were first located near the Rouen railway station (until 18/6 at noon) and later to Canteleu.
On 18 June 1940 the 227 Infanterieidvision had relieved the 57 Infanteriedivision with its motorized parts. The unmotirized infantry regiments were expected to arrive on 20/21 June.
On 19 June the 227 ID moved its divisional headquarters to an area north of Bolbec. Also on this day, the HK XXXIII was ordered to take over the protection of the French coast from the Somme estuary to the Soulle esuary (in Coutances) with the 227 (Somme to Le Havre) and 216 (Harfleur to Soulle) Infanteriedivisionen.
The latter division was to establish contact with the Gruppe Rommel (reinforced 7 Panzerdivision) which was about to invest Cherbourg. Also to be subordinated to the HK XXXII was the MG Sperrbataillon, which would be directed towards Argentan. In Cherbourg the 216 ID was to relieve the schnelle Brigade von Senger (subordinated to the 7 Panzerdivision), temporarily based in Valognes (Grand Hôtel du Louvre). Until that relief, however, the brigade was also subordinated to the HK XXXII. At this point in time, therefore, the Höheres Kommando XXXII consisted of:
On 20 June 1940 the 216 Infanteriedivision was ordered to focus on Cherbourg and to make sure that the port installations would not be destroyed. Also, the division was to secure the local supplies of ammunition and equipment.
On 21 June 1940 the HK XXXII informed the 216 ID that the Brigade Senger urgently requested the Pionierbataillon 216 to be sent to Cherbourg..
Late in the evening of 21 June the HK XXXII issued its Korpsbefehl. In this docuument, it announced a reorganisation in the corps area. Its boundaries were now the Somme in the east and the Orne estuary until Caen. Cherbourg was thus no longer located in the corps area. A new division, the 223 Infanteriedivision was also subordinated to the corps. The organisation was now as follows:
After the 216 ID had relieved the Brigade Senger the unit was to be transferred to another corps.
The above situation, however, changed again on 22 June 1940, when the MG-Sperrbataillon left the HK XXXII. On the same day the HK XXXII issued a new Korpsbefehl, in which it gave detailed instructtions to the 223 ID. The division, headquartered in Bernay, was to take up coastal defence duties from the Seine until the Orne (incluidng the road Caen-Falaise-Argentan).One regiment was to be sent to Pont Audemer at the disposal of the corps.
On 23 June 1940 the HK XXXII telexed the Generalkommando zbV 1 in Lille. The reason for this was that the HK XXXII had been tasked to extend its eastern boundary beyond the Somme estuary. (until then secured by the AA 254 of the 254 ID). Thus, the 227 ID would now also have to move some forces east of the Somme, more specifically until the departmental boundary in the area of Nampont (along the rive Authie).(See also 26 June below)
On 24 June 1940 the 223 ID had reached the coast with its motorized parts and (until the arrival of the infantry) was deployed as follows:
On the same day the 223 ID issued its order for the deployment of the division along the coast. Its tasks were twofold: fending off enemy landing attempts and securing coastal installations and collecting weapos, supplies and prisoners. The division was to deploy as follows:
The division's other units (including the IR 425) were to be held in reserve. The divisional headquarters were 5km to the northeast of Pont-l-Evèque, while the Divisionsstab was billeted in Trouville.
On 29 June 1940 a German document sheds some detailed light on the forces available behind the HK XXXII to keep the order and take care of French refugees. Thus for the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich's area this was the Generalkommando XXIX Armeekorps. This was headquarted at the Château Valéry near Mortefontaine (12km south of Senlis) and commanded by Generalleutnant von Obstfelder. Behind the sector of the HK XXXII the 297 Infanteriedivision was deployed in the Departement Seine-Inferieure. Thus division was commanded by Generalleutnant Pfeffer and headquartered in Rouen.'Rie Louis Pasteur (du Mont aux Malades)).In addition, the Generalkommando XXIX Armeekorps also had the 170 and 206 Infanteriedivisionen subordinated to it (the 207 Infanteriedivision was struck in the document).
The fact that confusion sometimes reigned at the highest level is shown by a document dated 3 July 1940. The issue was the area to the north of the Somme, which, according to the docuiment had been added to the sector of the HK XXXII on 26 June (see 23 June above). The 227 ID, tasked with taking over that area, now reported that forces of the 254 ID had done so!. Since even the Militärbefehlshaber was said not to be in a position to resolve the matter, it was decided that units of the 227 ID with stay in the area together with II/IR 328 of the 254 ID.
On 6 July 1940 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII issued a Korpsbefehl for its deployment. At this time the corps consisted of two infantry divisions: the 227 Infanteriedivision and the 170 Infanteriedivision. According to the Befehl the HK XXXII would become subordinated to the AOK 16 at a time still to be specified (see below). The divisions received the following missions:
For these missions the 227 Infanteriedivsiion was to be lodged in the French department Seine-Maritime and the 170 Infanteriedivision in the department Oise and the part of the department Eure north of the Seine. The divisions were also ordered to cooperate with the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich: more specifically the 227 ID with the Feldkommandantur 217 in Rouen and the 170 ID with the Feldkommandanturen 580 in Beauvais and 573 in Evreux.
On 7 July 1940 a meeting took place in Paris with the Oberbefehlshaber Militärverwaltung Paris. Here it was agreed that a deployment of the 170 Infanteriedivision in the department Oise and the area north of the Seine in the department Eure could go ahead, as no other forces were located in these areas. As most of the 227 ID would be located at the coast, the eastern part of the department Seine Inferieure would not be occupied by (many) troops. The Militärbefehlshaber, nevertheless, requested small units to be sent to Forges-les-Eaux and Neufchatel, as no Landesschützeneinghieten could be allocatated at that moment. Finally, it was agreed that 1 battalion would be sufficient for the occupation of Rouen.
On 8 July 1940 it was reported that the HK XXXII would become subordinated to the Armeeoberkommando 16 from 12 July onwards. Before the corps had been subordinated to the Militärbefehlshaber Frankreich. On the same day the 170 Infanteriedivision was officially subordinatzed to the HK XXXII.
On 9 July 1940 the 223 Infanteriedivision took over the refugee responsibility from the 227 Infanteriedivision.
On 10 July 1940 the 223 Infanteriedivision left the area of command of the HK XXXII and was transferred to the Generalkommando X AK.
On 12 July 1940 the Armeeoberkommando 16 officially assumed its duties. It was commanded by GeneralfeldmarschalL Busch and headquartered in Tourcoing. The AOK 16 was deployed as follows in July 1940:
On 23 July 1940 the HK XXXII released a document concerning the 295 Infanteriedivision in the context of the new organsation of the AOK. The document states that the 295 ID would be subordinated to the HK XXXII after it had been relieved by the 254 Infanteriedivisioni, which was to start on 24 July. The 295 ID was to be located in the area of the Somme department south of the river in such a way that it could performs coastal defence duries between the Somme and the Bresle estuaries and that reserves could quickly be sent to the coast. In addition, the division was also to assist in the care for the refugies, harvesting and general adminsitration of the area. The 295 ID was to relieve those units of the 227 ID which were still performing coastal defence in the sector between the Somme and the Bresle estuaries. The twon of Eu was allocated to the 295 ID for billeting.
On 25 July 1940 a Korpsbefehl was issued for the Generalkommando VIII Armeekorps to be located in the area of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII, with the 8 Infanteriedivision east of the line Rouen-Totes (from 26 July onwards) and the 28 Infanteriedivision to the west of that same line (from 29 July onwards). The 227 Infanteriedivision was order to withdraw all of its units from this area, including the I/IR 412 in Rouen. It was further mentioned that the divisions of the VIII Armeekorps would not be charged with harvesting or administrative duties and that the bodenständige divisions (the 227 ID, 170ID and the recently subordinated 295 Infanteriedivision) were to keep their current missions.
On the same day the 295 ID issued its Divisionsbefehl 3. In this document the division first provided a general overview of the planned new sitiation. The division was to become a part of the HK XXXII, which would then command 3 divisions: the 227, 295 and 170 Infanteriedivisionen. The HK XXXII itself would become subordinated to the Armeeoberkommando 9. The forces of the latter were to be divided into an Operationsgruppe and a Besatzgungsgruppe. The HK XXXII would be a part of the latter. The divisions of the corps would take over the following areas:
The area formerly belonging to the 295 ID would be taken over by the 254 ID, which was the left-wing division of the AOK16.
On 28 July 1940 the Armeeoberkommando 9, to the south of the Seine, officially took over its command responsibility. On this day the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was officially transferred to the AOK 9 and consisted of the 227, 170 and 295 Infanteriedivisionen.
In August 1940 (precise date unknown) the 56 Infanteriedivision of the XXXXIII Armeekorps (see above) was transferred to the Paris area and the 295 Infanteriedivision took over coastal security of the sector from the Somme to Le Tréport, but now as part of the HK XXXII, so that the latter now consisted of three bodenständige divisions.
On 23 August 1940 it was reported that the military situation necessitated a military reorganisation of the coastal defence divisions of the corps. Thus, the coastal defence sector of the 295 Infanteriedivision was extended southwards from Le Tréport to Dieppe (inclusive), while the 227 Infanteriedivision was reponsible for the Dieppe to Le Havre (inclusive) sector. The former was ordered to deploy two of its regiments and the majority of its artillery in such a way that an enenmy landing attempt could be foiled, especially at Dieppe where the main defensive effort was to be. The 227 Infanteriedivision was to organise itself in such a way that the sole main defensive effort was at Le Havre, especially its port.
On 23 August 1940 the 295 Infanteriedivision was responsible for the sector from the Somme to Dieppe (with main defensive effort in Dieppe) and the 227 Infanteriedivision for the sector from Dieppe to Le Havre (with main defensive effort in Le Havre).
On 30 August 1940 the above reorganisation was reported to have been completed. and the situation was now as follows:
On 6 October 1940 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was composed as follows:
On 17 October 1940 a report summarizing a meeting at AOK 9 headquarters the day before reveals major changes being planned close to the southern corps boundary:
On 23 October 1940 the 223 Infanteriedivision left the army area of command To replace it, the 170 Infanteriedivision would be transferred and subordinated to the XXXXIII Armeekorps. On the same day information was also given concerning the location of Heerestruppen in the area:
The VIII Armeekorps mentioned above was allocated the Givors area for billeting. Finally, information was also goven on the (new) location of 2 engineer batallions:
On 25 October 1940 more information was made available concerning the above changes:
The following overview of 31 October 1940 shows the units temporarily subordinated to the Höheres Kommando XXXII:
On 31 October 1940 the XXXXIII Armeekorps officially took command of the 170 Infanteriedivision which had its divisional headquarters in Pont-l'Eveque. Also the Pionierbataillon 46 became suboidinated to the HK XXXII. Finally, also the Kommandeur der Bautruppen 31 and the Baubatailonen 120 an 124 became suboedinated to the HK XXXII, albeit only administratively.
On 1 November 1940 the corps headquarters were located in Canteleu (Rouen).and the corps was composed of 2 divisions: the 227 Infanteriedivision headquarters in Bolbec) and the 295 Infanteriedivisionen (headquarters in Eu). The former division was based between St-Valery-en-Caux and Le Havre, the latter between St.-Valery-en-Caux and the Somme estuary. In addition the corps had the followng Korpstruppen and Heerestruppen:
Also on 1 November 1940 the schweres Strassenbaubataillon 523 was subordinated to he 295 Infanteriedivision for blocking purposes on the Somme river. In addition, the division had the Baubataillonen 25 and 99 subordinated for construction purposes.
The two infantry divisions were faced with serious manpower problems. Thus, it was reported that the 295 Infanteriedivision would have to give off large troop contingents for the purpose of forming new divisions, amounting to one regiment and 1 artillery battalion. Worse, the division was ordered to allocate 15% of its ist-Stärke ro economic activities, with the percentage for the 227 Infanteriedivision as high as 33%. This resulted in the current strengths only sufficing for the most necessary coastal defence and a total absence of troops for training purposes.
Durung a meeting at AOK 9 headquarters on 12 November 1940 it was stated that both the Eingreifdivisionen and the coastal security divisions were primarily to practise attacking.
No doubt as a direct result of the above manpower problems. AOK 9 ordered the corps' divisions on 28 November 1940 to transfer all unnecessary sentry units to other commands (notably that of the Militärbefehlshaber) in order to make manpower economies here.
On 17 December 1941 AOK 15 informed the Höheres Kommando XXXII that the 225 Infanteriedivision was to be transported to the East from 25/12 onwards. The Panzerjägerabteilung of the 332 Infanteriedivision was transferred to the 225 Infanteriedivision with immediate effect. Also on 17 December 1941 AOK 15 informed the Höheres Kommando XXXII that the 225 Infanteriedivision was to be transported to the East from 25/12 onwards. The Panzerjägerabteilung of the 332 Infanteriedivision was transferred to the 225 Infanteriedivision with immediate effect. On the same time, AOK 15 notified the Höhere Kommandos XXXII and XXXVII that the 716 Infanteriedivision (without the Wachregiment Paris and the Lehrtruppe Sissonne) was to be transferred into the area of the Höheres Kommando XXXVII. Between 6 and 12 January the division was to reach the area Charleroi (headquarters) - Mons - Valenciennes. The division would reamin Armeereserve.
On 26 December 1940 the Pionierbataillon 46 (Heerestruppe) left the corps area.
On 9 January 1941 the Panzerjägerabteilung 227 (- 1 company) left the corps area, as did the schweres Strassenbaubataillon 523 on 16 January and artillery battery 7/AR227 on 29 January. On the same date the VO Messtrupp 509 arrived at Canteleu and was subordinated first to the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII and then allocated to the 227 Infanteridivision.
On 1 February 1941 it was reported that several guard duties had been transferred to the Fedkommandanturen (see also above).
On 4 February 1941 some companies of the Festungsbaubataillon 82 (see above) were transferred out of the corps area, notably the 1. Kompanie to Wimereux and the 2. Kompanie to Bruges.
On 5 February 1941 the Baubataillonen 25 and 99, which were subordinated to the 295 Infanteriedivision (see above) left this division. The former was subordinated to the Kommandeur der Bautruppen 31, while the latter had already been transferred to Brest on 26 January.
The middle and latter part of February saw a number of units of the 227 Infanteriedivision leaving the corps area: notably the Drückereitrupp and Wettertrupp and the Werkstattkompanie. On the other hand, the 295 Infanteriedivision was receiving units: Feldlazarett 295 in Amiens, 3/Panzerjägerabteilung 295 in Abbeville, the Wetterzug 295 in Dieppe and the 7., 8. und 9. kleine Kraftwagenkolonnen.
On 2 March 1941 the Baubataillon 254, which was at the time working for the Kommando Flughafenbereich Beauvais, was also subordinated to the Kommander der Bautruppen 31 (and thus the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII, truppendienstlich).
Between 3 and 10 March 1941 the 93 Infanteriedivision, commanded by Generalleutnant Tiemann, newly arrived in the corps area, more specifically the area Amiens-Péronne.The division had returned from leave in Germany to France for training purposes. While functioning as Heeresgruppenreserve, the division was also tasked with guarding the so-called Nordostlinie of the demarcation line, relieving the 295 Infanteriedivision from this task. The divisional headquarters were located in Amiens.
On 7 March 1941 a number of Baubataillonen left the corps area. Thus, the Baubataillon 121 and the 3./Festungsbaubataillon 88 were transferred from the area of the 227 Infanteriedivision to Cherbourg, while the 3./Festungsbaubataillon 82 was transferred from Rouen to Dannes (Waldlager). The last units of the latter unit left the corps area on 15 March.
On 11 March 1941 the Kommandeur der Bautruppen 14 left the corps area of command.
On 22 March 1941 the headquarters of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII were moved from Rouen-Canteleu to Flixecourt, some 40 kilometres north of Amiens.
The end of March 1941 saw further units of the 227 Infanteriedivision leaving the corps area: Feldlazarett 227, the 1./Krankenkraftwagenzug 227, Schlächtereizug 646, and the Nachschubkompanie 227 (renamed in Nachschubkompanie 646. Units of the 295 Infanteriedivision also left the area: the Brückenkompanie B657 and the 5.-7. Fahrkolonnen. Further, several Baubataillonen left the corps area: 25, 51, 52 and 254. On 26 March 1941 the Artilleriekommandeur 27 was also transported out of the corps area.
On 27 March 1941 AOK9 was informed of the sentry duties of the corps' divisions. The corps strongly criticized the current arrangement, resulting in a ungeheure Belastung of the coastal defence divisions and reserves. As a case in point, it was pointed out that the 227 Infanteriedivision had a coastline of 90 kilometres to defend (including Le Havre), while it could only muster some 60 men each for its companies. The corps called this situation völlig unhaltbar.
On 11 April 1941 an important change in the northern boundary of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII occurred. On this day, the VII Armeekorps, which had been guarding the Pas-de-Calais in anticipation of Operation Sealion as part of the 16 Armee, lost its coastal defence duties. The Pas-de-Calais region was divided up between the Höheren Kommandos zbV XXXVII to the north and XXXII to the south. Thus, the latter gained the 321 Infanteriedivision (established between the Somme estuary and Wimereux).
On 14 April 1941 the 295 Infanteriedivision was officially relieved by the newly-arrived 302 Infanteriedivision, assuming coastal defence duties between St. Valery-en-Caux and the Somme estuary.(including Dieppe). This division had arrived between 9 and 11 April. The divisional headquarters were located in Arques-la-Bataille and the boundary with the 227 Infanteriedivision to the south was at Le Tot, to the west of St. Valery-en-Caux. The 295 Infanteriedivision had completely left the corps area on 22 April
The composition of the corps on 14 April 1941 is detailed in the document below.
On 15 April 1941 the corps had the following Korpstruppen:
On 14 April 1941 the Personaleinheit 5/AR 227 was transferred to Germany (Hamm).
Between 15 November 1940 and 15 April 1941 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII had the following personnel strengths in its divisions:
On 18 April 1941 the AOK 9, Abt T issued an important order in which the boundaries between the Höhere Kommandos XXXVII, XXXII and LX were changed and some headquarters were relocated. More specifically, the following changes occurred:
On 21 April 1941 the Baubataillon 120 was put on transport in Beauvais and left yhe corps area of the HK XXXII.
On 22 April 1941 the Baubataillon 124 left the corps area. Also on this day the 295 Infanteriedivision left the corps area of the Höheres Kommando XXXII.. Further on this day, the Vermessungszug 631, subordinated to the 302 ID, was located in Dieppe for measuring activities for the division. Finally, the 295 Infanteriedivision had been completely transported out of the area of the HK XXXII.
On 23 April 1941 the Ausbildungskommando of the 227 Infanteriedivision (until today in Neufchatel) was moved to Pavilly and took over the guard duties at the AOK in Limesy (until today assumed by the 2/Radfahrabteilung 227). The latter unit (former Wachkompanie) returned to the 227 ID.
On 25 April 1941 the northern boundary of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was moved to the south of Boulogne at St-Quentin. As a result the 321 Infanteriedivision was transferred to the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXVII. In order to compensate the loss the southern boundary of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was also extended further south, now reaching as far as Cabourg in Upper Normandy. This new situation is reflected in the composition of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII on 25 April 1941:
Also on 25 April 1941 the Nachschubbataillon 545 was subordinated partly to the 302 Infanteriedivision (1. und 3. Kompanie), while remaining partly subordinated to the 321 Infanteriedivision (2. Kompanie).
On 26 April 1941 the 321 Infanteriedivision was transferred from the Höheres Kommando XXXII to XXXVII. Also on this day, the presence within the corps area was reported of the 5. Staffel/2. NSKK-Transportregiment der Luftwaffe. Further on this day, the 302 Infanteriedivision took over command of the sector north of the Somme. Finally on this day, the Radfahrwachbataillon 45 of the 93 Infanteriedivision was transported out of the corps area.
After this date the most important change was the relocation of the headquarters from Flixecourt back to Rouen on 29 April 1941.
On 30 April 1941 the extension of its southern boundary as far as Cabourg (see above) resulted in the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII assuming command of the 225 Infanteriedivision, which was located between the Seine estuary and Cabourg. On the same day the headquarters of the 26 Infanteriedivision were moved to Flixecourt. On the same day, the HK XXXII assumed command of the 225 Infanteriedivision and the 319 Infanteriedivision of the Channel Islands.
On 5 May 1941 the Nachschubbataillon 545, until then mainly subordinated to the 302 Infanteriedivision (see above), was subordinated to Armeenachschubfüher 590 and located in Rouen.It was replaced with the divsion by the newly-arrived 3./Feldzeugbataillon 4, which was billedted in Beauchamp (Eu).
On 8 May 1941 the Radfahrwachbataillon 143, until then subordinated to the 93 Infanteriedivision, was transported out of the divisional area.
On 9 May 1941 the Wachbataillon 143, until then subordinated to the 93 Infanteriedivision, left the corps area.
From 11 May 1941 onwards the Frontsammelstelle Rouen was subordinated to the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII (but only wirtschaftlich und disziplinar)
On 13 May 1941 the Vermessungszug 631, until then with the 302 Infanteriedivision, entered the area of the 227 Infanteriedivision near Le Havre. It was billeted in the Aplemont school in Le Havre.
On 15 May 1941 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII had the following real personnel strengths (Iststärken):
On 16 May 1941 the Wachbataillon of the 28 Infanteriedivision, which had been deployed in Le Havre since 22/4 was today relieved bu units of the 227 Infanteriedivision.
On 25 May 1941 it was reported that the corps had been allocated 36 captured French Renault tanks. Their primary purpose was to bolster coastal defences by creating a mobile armoured striking force.On the same day the Infentarieregiment 328 (227 Infanteriedivision) was withdrawn from the area of the 302 Infanteriedivision and returned to its own division.
On 26 May 1941 the 28 Infanteriedivision, which was a part of the VIII Armeekorps of the AOK 9, was transported out of the area of the Höherss Kommando zbV XXXII. This division had, apparently, also performed a reserve function, since its place was take by the reinforced 377 Infanterieregiment of the 225 Infanteriedivision, which was moved to the Lillebonne area as Korpsreserve.
On 28 May 1941 the II/AR 225 arrived in Motteville as corps reserve (Korpsreserve).
From 29 May 1941 onwards more new infantry divisions began arriving in the corps area: the 336 Infanteriedivision and the 716 Infanteriedivision (in the area Rouen, with headquarters in Rouen).
On 1 June 1941 the 336 Infanteriedivision had arrived with all parts from the HK XXXVII and officially took over command from the 227 Infanteriedivision, thus assuming the coastal defence role between St. Valery-en-Caux and Le Havre. The last units of the latter division left the corps area on 3 June.
On 2 June 1941 the 716 Infanteriedivision had arrived with all of its units. On the same day the Kommandeur der Bautruppen 31 left the corps area.
On 5 June 1941 the Sturmbootkommandos 506 and 505, which had been subordinated to the 336 and 302 Infanteriedivisionen, respectively, left the corps area of command. On the same day, the subordination of the Frontsammelstelle Rouen was undone (see above).
On 9 June 1941 the 225 Infanteriedivision was moved to both sides of the Somme, gradually leaving its sector to the new 332 Infanteriedivision
On 10 June 1941, as a direct result of the above changes, the units constituting the Korpsreserve were also changed. Thus, IR 678 (332ID) relieved IR 377 (225ID) and III/AR332 relieved II/AR225.
On 11 June 1941 the arrival of the 332 Infanteriedivision in the area of the 225 Infanteriedivision in the corps area of the Höheres Kommando XXXII was reported as running according to plan.
On 12 June 1941 it was reported the the relief of the 225 ID by the 332 ID was running according to plan in the area of the Höheres Kommando XXXII.
On 13 June 1941 the new 332 Infanteriedivision, which had been arriving since 4 June, relieved the 225 Infanteriedivision in its sector and officially took over command of the coastal defence sector between the Seine estuary and Cabourg. On 14 June the latter division moved its headquarters to Flixecourt.
The above changes are reflected in the overview of 15 June 1941:
The map belows shows a visual representation of the divisions constituting the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII on 15 June 1941, as well as the divisions of the other Kommandos:
On 18 June 1941 it was decided that the divisional reserves wold not be motorised due to the lack of trucks. Rather, the reserves would be issued with bicycles.
On 19 June 1941 the mass of the 225 Infanteriedivision had arrived in its new billeting area in the corps area of the HK XXXII.
On 21 June 1941 the 225 Infanteriedvision was reported to have arrived with all of its units. The headquarters of the division were located in Flixecourt. On the same day a start was made with the withdrawal of the 716 Infanteriedivision, from the Evreux area to the area St-Lo-Carentan-Lessay-Coutances, where it became subodinated to the XXXXIII Armeekorps as corps reserve
On 23 June 1941 the HK XXXII established first contacts with the Luftwaffe Flughafenbereiche Lisieux and Beauvais. The reason for this was that the coeps would take over the defence against enemy paratroops of 8 airfields, three of which were located in the coastal area. On the same day the transfer of the 716 Infanteriedivision had been concluded. Its headquarters were located in Coutances.
On 24 June 1941 the Vermessungszug 631 after having completed its measuring activities with the Artillerieregiment 336 was traneferred to Parame (near St-Malo) in order to be reorganized into a Vermessungsabteilung.
On 25 June 1941 the 1 und 3 Kompanie/Pionierbataillon 332 left Honfleur and were subordinated to the infantry regiments for the digging of trenches. In exchange (?), a battalion of the Infanterieregiment 687 (Divisionsreserve 332ID) was moved from the Cambremer area (near Lisieux) to the Beuzeville area (near Honfleur). Also on this day an advance party of the 93 Infanteriedivision was transferred to an asembly area in preparation for its departure.
On 26 June 1941 guard duties at the so-called Nordostlinie (i.e. a part of the demarcation line) were transferred from the 93 Infanteriedivision to the 225 Infanteriedivision.
On 29 June 1941 the first units of the 93 Infanteriedivision were transported out of the corps area.
On 1 July 1941 the 711 Infanteriedivision (Generalmajor von Reinersdorff) was officially subordinated to the HK XXXII. A meeting was held at the divisional headquarters in Soissons to discuss the composition and the training status of the newly-subordinated division.
On 2 July 1941 the 93 Infanteriedivision had been transported out of the corps area with all of its units.
On 5 July 1941 the 336 Infanteriedivision took over the supervision of the Seine-barges at the Duclair, Caudebec and Quilleboeuf.
In the period 7-9 July 1941 Generaloberst Haase (OB 15 Armee) visited the corps area.
On 10 July 1941 the Armeelehr- und Versuchsabteilung had arrived in the area of the 336 Infanteriedivision and had been billeted in Le Havre and in the area to the east of the city.
On 13 July 1941 the Nebelwerferabteilung 1 had arrived with all units in an area 8 kilometres to the south of Bolbec.
On 15 July 1941 the Chef des Generalstabes of the Heeresgruppe (Generalleutnant Hilpert) arrived for discussions regarding new guidelines for Seelöwe. On 17 July the Heeresgruppe ordered all Seelöwe documents within the corps area to be collected and submitted to the Heeresgruppe.
Between 20 December 1940 and 20 July 1941 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was made up of the following officers:
On 21 July 1941 the commanders of Flakbrigade VII and Flakregiment 39 reported to the HK on the use of Flak units in the Seelöwe case. The following day the commander of Luftverteidigungskommando IX, Generalmajor Renz, visited the HK to discuss the use of Flak units.
On 24 July 1941 the Sturmbootkommando 924 left the corps area.
On 28 July 1941 the Beobachtungsabteilungen 555 and 556 were subordinated to the HK XXXII.
On 29 July 1941 we find an overview of the allocation of Beutepanzer (captured tanks) to the corps/divisions. The total number of 100 tanks (70 alt and 30 neu) were divided as follows:
On 31 July 1941 the Beobachtungsabteilung 555 had arrived in Noaillès (southeast of Beauvais) and the Beobachtungsabteilung 556 in Hénonville. These units were now longer subordinated to the Artilleriekommandeur 141, but to the HK XXXII. Also on this day, the IR 678, previously Korpsreserve relieved the IR 677 in coastal defence, the latter now becoming Korpsreserve. The change was completed on 2 August, with the new Korpsreserve in the billeting area west of Rouen.
On 12 August 1941 AOK 15 informed the Höhere Kommandos on the deployment of new Beutebatterien: HK XXXVII was to receive 32 guns (8 batteries), HK XXXII 16 guns and HK LX 12. In all, 15 batteries would be provided, which were to be deployed with the infantry as replacement for the missing Infanteriegeschütze. Individual divisions were to receive 4-8 guns.
On 14 August 1941 Generalmajor Kessel assumed command of the 332 Infanteriedivision.
On 21 August 1941 the 2. Fahrkolonne and the Divisionsnachschubführer 711 arrived.
On 25 August 1941 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII had the following Korpstruppen:
During an attack on Le Havre in the night of 15/16 September 1941 the following infrastructure was burnt down: Marinepionierpark, 2 big halls of the navy, Heereskraftfahrpark with repair shops and 1 Marinekraftfahrpark.
On 17 September 1941 the Beobachtungsabteilung 555 left the area of the HK XXXII.
On 19 September 1941 the IR 676 (I and III) relieved the IR 677 as Korpsreserve.with the latter taking over the left sector of the 332 Infanteriedivision.
On 21 September 1941 mention is made of a Flugwachkommando Rouen.
On 30 September 1941 II/IR 328 (227 ID) at the demarcation line had been relieved by the III/744 (711 ID). The latter division now took over responsibility for the demarcation line towards the eas until the army boundary.
On 1 October 1941 the Armeeoberkommando 15 informed its subordinate corps that they were to receive 60 light captured guns (Beutegeschütze). These were to be organized in 15 bodenständige Gerätebatterien. The allocation of the guns was as follows: Höheres Kommando XXXVII (32 huns), Höheres Kommando XXXII (12 guns) and the Höheres Kommando LX (16 guns). The guns were to be given to the infantry at the coast.On 4 October 1941 the Nebelwerferabteilung 1 left the area of the HK XXXII. On the same day Oberbefehlshaber West Generalfeldmarschall von Witzleben issued a directive that would eventually lead to the construction of the Atlantikwall: the Befehl für den Ausbau der Küstenverteidigung reflected an important change in German thinking. For the first time the concept of coastal defence (rather than protection) was introduced, as it became clear that the lack of forces to conduct an aggressive defence had to be compensated by building new defences. The Festungspioniere, who until that time had been working solely for the Kriegsmarine, were also tasked to build concrete constructions for the Heer. In order to do do, they were subordinated to the local army corps, which in their turn allocated the units to their subordinated coastal defence divisions. Nine days later, on 13 October 1941, the Armeeoberkommando 15 gave further instructions in connection with the Befehl of 4 October. This resulted in the following structure:
On 11 October 1941 the Beobachtungsabteilung 556 left the area of the HK XXXII.
On 27 October 1941 the Divisionsstab 225 Infanteriedivision had moved to Amiens.
On 4 November 1941 the commander of the Armeeoberkommando 15, Generaloberst Haase, who was ill, transferred his duties to General der Artillerie Heitz. On the same day AOK 15 issued an order for the 716 Infanteriedivision to be relieved by the 711 Infanteriedivision between 15 and 30 November. The latter would be subordinated to the Höheres Kommando LX. The 716 Infanteriedivision was to take over its duties (mainly providing security at the Nordostlinie) and was to be subordinated to the Höheres Kommando XXXII as Armeereserve.
On 5 November 1941 the Panzerjäger- und Aufklärungsabteilung 225 were transferred to the 319 ID (LX Armeekorps).
On 8 November 1941 the Panzerjägerabteilung 225 with the subordinated Radfahrschwadron was set en route to the 319ID in Granville
On 11 November 1941 AOK 15 released an overview of ALL the Wehrmacht units that the army and its corps had to cooperate with:
On 16 November 1941 the 711 ID started being relieved by the 716 ID. Also, the IV/AR 225 left with the 225 ID.
On 22 November 1941 responsibility for guarding the demarcation line was taken over by the 716 ID. In all sectors units were relived by units of the division: Abschnitt Chauny, I/IR736, Abschnitt Vailly, II/IR726, Abschnitt Vouziers I/IR726
On 24 November 1941 there was an English landing attempt near Auberville. The attempt was repuulsed after a firefight of 10-15 minutes.
On 30 November 1941 the 716 ID had completely relieved the 711 ID.
On 7 December 1941 there is a reference to a Wasserübungsplatz in Arques-la-Bataille
On 15 December 1941 it was reported that north of the Seine the only remaining Korpsreserve was II/IR 678 of the 332 ID and 2/AR336 of the 336ID. Further, the 332ID deployed one batallion on either side of Honfleur to protect the Seine estuary. Finally, 13/IR377 of the 225 ID was transported to the AOK7 (less one platoon).
On 17 December 1941 the following units of the 225 ID had again arrived in the division area (Lehrtrupp Sissonne): III/IR376, 3/Pionierbataillon 225, 14/IR376.
On 20 December 1941 the Wachregiment Paris had been relieved by the IR 736 (716ID). The division was also to provide a new Sicherungskompanie for the army headquarters.
On 22 December 1941 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII, when reporting on the combat readiness of its divisions to AOK15, took a remarkable initiative. Firstly, it complained that the coastal defence divisions had been considerably weakened as a result of being forced to shed manpower for the Russian front. To make matters worse, the fact that the army had to provide troop to guard navy ans support installations had an additional detrimental effect on the combat power of the already depleted divisions. Secondly, the corps then made a remarkable request: in case trained recruits could no longer be made available for the West (there was indeed a ban on this), the corps would welcome completely untrained recruits, whom it would then train from scratch in Rekrutenkompanien. For the corps to have made such a request, the situation must have been precarious indeed. In fact, at this point the corps was short of about 3000 men.
On 24 December 1941 the 225 ID began being transported to the Russian front. The movement had ended on 29 December. Also on this day, the Infanterieregiment 572 (302 Infanteriedivision) arrived in Doullens with 2 platoons and in Amiens with 1 platoon to take over guard duties.
On 29 December 1941 the last transport of the 225 Infanteriedivision had left the area.
On 30 December 1941 the Korpsreserve near Yvetot had been strengthened to 2 infantry batallions of the 332 ID and 1 light artillery batallion of the 336 ID. Also part of the Korpsreserve was the Lehrbataillon of the 336ID would was to arrive in Sissonne on 4 January.
On 1 January 1942 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII consisted of the following coastal defence divisions (from north to south): the 302 Infanteriedivision, 336 Infanteriedivision and the 332 Infanteriedivision. Located further back but still in the area of operations of the command was the 716 Infanteriedivision.
On 5 January 1942 the last elements of the 225 Infanteriedivision left the transport area Amiens.
Between 23 and 26 January the 332 Infanteriedivision was relieved by the 711 Infanteriedivision (previously attached to the Höheres Kommando zvV LX) and was supposed to leave the area of operations for the Russian front. At this point, however, the other two divisions were also forced to shed off a dozen or so companies to support the same front. The corps reserve was constituted by 2 bataillions of the 336 Infanteriedivision. near Yvetot.
On 25 January 1942 the 711 Infanteriedivision assumed command and the 332 Infanteriedivision was withdrawn to the area Rennes-Laval-Le Mans as Heeresgruppenreserve.
On 27 January 1942 the 716 Infanteriedivision left the area of the höheres Kommando.and entered that of the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXVII.
On 28 February the corps was confronted with the British commando raid on the Cap d'Antifer radar station.
Between 22 March and 1 April 1942 the 336 Infanteriedivision was relieved by the 332 Infanteriedivision, which after all not was not being sent to the Russian front yet (although it eventually would in the spring of 1943). After having occupied the southern part of the corps area of operations, the division now assumed command of the middle part. The 336 Infanteriedivision, for its part, was designated as Heeresgruppenreserve and transferred to the area of the AOK 7, from where it would move to the Russian front in May.
On 23 March 1944 the 336 Infanteriedivision began leaving towards AOK 7 and the area of the 332 Infanteriedivision around Rennes. On the same day, the latter division began the takeover.
On 1 April 1942 the relief of the 336 ID by the 332ID was complated.
On 2 April 1942 the Festungsnachrichtenstab 16 (Rouen) (+/- 200 men) was subordinated economically (wirtschaftlich) to the Höheres Kommando XXXII.
An important change of command took place on 4 April 1942. General der Kavellerie Günther von Pogrell, who had commanded the corps since the spring of 1940, was succeeded by General der Panzertruppen Adolf Kuntzen.
Having lost its reserve division the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was now given the 10 Panzerdivision to perform that role. The latter unit had just returned from the Russian front to refit, for service in Africa as it would turn out. Its main units arrived between 7 April and 9 May (advance units on 5 April). The division was subordinated to the Höheres Kommando in all respects.
On 13 April 1942 the Wochenbericht contained an interesting complaint about the operations of the Organisation Todt, interesting in the sense that the document provides more information on construction activities in the corps area. Firstly, the corps observed that only some 3000 OT personnel were at work for construction activities in the whole of the corps area. Of these 500 were working on Flak positions in Le Havre which were still not finished despite having been started a considerable time ago. Then the complaint followed that the fortification of Le Havre could not proceed in this manner. For example, not a single OT worker was said to have taken part until then in the construction of infantry strongpoints within the Festungsbereich Le Havre. Then the complaint became personal: the local OT-commander, Baurat von Grienberger, was claimed NOT to be the Geeignete Persönlichkeit [...] um sich durchzusetzen. Festungspionierstab 21 had been asked to relieve von Grienberger of his duties. Finally, the AOK15, to which the complaint was formulated, was asked to stress the importance of the fortress Le Havre with the OT, so that the latter would assign more resources to the area.
On 3 May 1942 the Höheres Kommando ordered the establishment of an Aufklärungskompanie for the corps headquarters.
On 6 May 1942 the training of the new recruits was reported to have been finished for the 302 and 711 Infanteriedivisionen. The 332 Infanteriedivision finished training its new recruits on 15 May 1942. Normal training for a new recruit was 8 weeks.
On 26 May 1942 the Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII was renamed LXXXI Armeekorps. It consisted of the following coastal defence divisions (from north to south): the 302 Infanteriedivision, 332 Infanteriedivision and the 711 Infanteriedivision. Located further back but still in the area of operations of the command was the 10 Panzerdivision.
The Höheres Kommando zbV XXXII also had a number of Heerestruppen subordinated to it, albeit only tactically. Administratively, these units were controlled directly by the Oberkommando des Heeres. The following overview lists the Heerestruppen in the corps area between 30 August 1940 and 15 June 1942.