KVA A1 - 165 RESERVEDIVISION/70 INFANTERIEDIVISION


1. Introduction

 

The 165 Reservedivision was established on 4 October 1942 by renaming the Division Nr. 165 in France. The latter was created on 1 May 1941 in Epinal as a training division first under Armeegruppe Felber and later Armeeoberkommando 7. Between November 1942 and February 1943 it was stationed in the south of France under Armeeoberkommando 19 as a precaution against a possible attack from within Spanish territory. In September 1943 its status changed to that of reserve division. From 4 January 1944 the division was moved northwards to defend the coasts of the islands of Walcheren, Noord-Beveland, and Zuid-Beveland.

 

 

2. Commanders

       165 Reservedivision:

  •         01.05-1941 - 01.02.1944:    Generalleutnant Siegmund Freiherr von Schacky auf Schönfeld

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  •         01.02.1944 - 15.05.1944:    Generalmajor Wilhelm Daser

70 Infanteriedivision (bodenständig)

  •         15.05.1944 - 07-11.1944:    Generalmajor/Generalleutnant Wilhelm Daser

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3. Subordinate units

       165 Reservedivision:

  •         Reservegrenadierregiment 205

  •         Reservegrenadierregiment 215

  •         Reservegrenadierregiment 260

  •         Armenierinfanteriebataillon 809 

  •         Reserveartillerieregiment 5

  •         Divisionseinheiten 1065

70 Infanteriedivision (bodenständig) (HQ: Park Toorenvliedt, Middelburg)

  •         Grenadierregiment 1018 (HQ: Serooskerke)

  •         Grenadierregiment 1019 (HQ: Vlissingen)

  •         Grenadierregiment 1020 (HQ: Goes)

  •        Füselierbatallion 170

  •         Armenierinfanteriebataillon 809 (until August 1944) 

  •         Artillerieregiment 170

  •         Pionierbatallion 170

  •         Feldersatzbatallion 170

  •         Panzerjägerkompanie 170

  •         Nachrichtenabteilung 170

  •         Nachschubtruppen 170

I/Festungsstammtruppen LXXXIX (HQ: Paulinenburg, Serooskerke)

4. Strongpoints within Küstenverteidigungsabschnitt A1

Freie Küste Walcheren VB Vlissingen Nord-Beveland Süd-Beveland
KVUA Nord-Walcheren KVUA West-Walcheren KVUA Ost-Walcheren
Grenadierregiment 1018
III/Artillerieregiment 170
1/Festungsstammtruppen
Grenadierregiment 1018
III/Artillerieregt. 170
2/Festungsstammtruppen
Grenadierregiment 1020 Grenadierregiment 1019
I/Artillerieregiment 170
3/Festungsstammtruppen
4/ Festungsstammtruppen
  Armenierinfanterie- Bataillon 809
Feldersatzbataillon 170
II/Artillerieregiment 170
5/Festungsstammtruppen
Stp Emmerich (1) WN Kranz (10) WN Brunhild (24) Wn Fledermaus (33)   Stp Gr.Kurfürst (62)
WN Fujijama (2) Stp Misdroy (11) WN Braunau (25) Wn Carmen (34)   Wn Hindenburg (63)
Stp Johannisthal (3) Wn Rügen (12) Stp Fischhausen (27) Stp Fidelio (35)   Stp Blücher (64)
Stp Flensburg (4) Stp Tiefland (13) Stp Ostmark (28) Stp Tannhäuser (36)    
Stp Wien (5) Stp Undine (14) WN Moltke (29) Stp Zauberflöte (37)    
Stp Hamster (6) Stp Waffenschmied (15) Stp Scharnhorst (30) Stp Heldburg (38)    
Oostkapelle (26) Stp Rheingold (16) Stp Etzel (31) Stp Edelweiβ (39)    
Paulinenburg (32) Stp Meistersinger (17) Stp Scharnhorst (65) Stp Hohenstaufen (40)    
Stp Zoppot (7) Stp. Lohengrin (18)   Villapark (41)    
Stp Swinemünde (8) WN Freischütz (19)   Stp Kyffhäuser (42)    
Stp Kleine Löwe (9) Stp. Hötzendorf (20)   Wn Leuchtenburg (43)    
  Stp Friedrich Barbarossa (21)   Stp Helgoland (44)    
  Stp von Stein (22)   PzStp Nettelbeck I (45)    
  Stp von Seeckt (23)   PzStp Nettelbeck II (46)    
      PzStp Nettelbeck III (47)    
      MKB Kernwerk (48)    
      Stp Dietl (49)    
      Wn Eschwege (50)    
      Stp Veste Koburg (51)    
      Bunkerdorf (52)    
      Stp Rebhuhn (53)    
      Stp Kriemhild (54)    
      Stp von Kleist (55)    
      Stp Kolberg (56)    
      Landfront (57)    
      Stp Rommel (58)    
      Wn Reseda (59)    
      Stp Fichte (60)    
      Panzermauer  Landfront (61)    
Blue links are clickable and take you to pages covering a specific sector or the strongpoint itself (yellow background).
A blue background indicates strongpoints where one or more
Regelbauten are still present today.

5. History and operations (January - June 1944)

On 4 January 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps issued its order for the 19 Luftwaffenfelddivision to be relieved by the 165 Reservedivision in the KVA A1. The former would be transferred to the Gent-Brugge area, where it would act as Armeereserve. To protect the transport the division was ordered to call  upon the I. Abteilung/Flakregiment 35. Some units of the division were to remain in the KVA A1 until further notice. III/LAR 19, 3/LAR 19, Luftwaffenpionierbataillon (ohne eine Kompanie), eine Kompanie Luftwaffenpanzerjäherabteilung 19, einzelne Teilen von Luftnachrichten und Versorgungstruppen, einzelne Kommados der versorgungstruppen. In addition, the I/Festungsstammabteilung LXXXIX and the HAA 1140 would also remain in the KVA A1.

On 12 January 1944 the 165 Reservedivision was deployed as follows:

 

 

On 15 January 1944 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:
  • 165 Reservedivision:: the following units were to be sent forward:
    • II/Reservegrenadierregiment 260  to the area Domburg-Westkapelle
    • I/Reservegrenadierregiment 215 to the Verteidigungsbereich Vlissingen
    • one company of I/Reservegrenadierregiment 260 was to move to the current location of II/RGR 260
    • Armenierinfanteriebataillon 809 was remain subordinated to the division as corps reserve and was to be moved to the location proposed by the division (?)
  • 712 Infanteriedivision:
    • The reserve companies of the battalions were to be moved forward immediately nehind the HKL as well as both reserve battalions (III/GR 745 and III/GR 732)
    • Ostbataillon 628 was to be integrated as I/GR 745 with the latter being renamed Füselierbataillon 712.
  • 171 Reservedivision:
    • all three regiments of the division were to man the Hauptkampflinie
    • one reserve battalion each  was to be deployed in the StpGr Ostende and immediately behind the HKL on the left wing

On 16-17-18 February 1944 the 3 corps divisions were ordered to start calendrical preparations for the pulling out of one infantry regiment each, to be put at the disposal of the Generalkommando within 12 hours. The units affected were the Grenadierregimenter 127 (48ID), 260 (165RD) and 745 (712ID). In each case artillery units would be added. and the sector vacated was to be taken over by other units of the division The code words were Möwe for the 48ID, Feyerabend for the 165RD (assembly area Goes) and Baldur for the 712ID (assembly area Schoondijke-Breskens-Lissewege-Sluis)

 

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:
  • 1 Batterie der Flakabteilung 847 (bisher Flugplatz Vlissingen) mit 2 Züge (6x 2cm) Enge bei Arnemuiden (Sloedam) und 1 Zug (3x 2cm) an der Vlakebrücke (Süd-Beveland Kanal)
  • 10x 2cm Alarmflak: 6x Enge von Bath, 2x Vrouwenpolder, 2x gegenüber Vrouwenpolder
Secondly, it was reported that only the divisional headquarters and that of the VB Vlissingen were accommodated in permanent bunkers, with all other headquarters in field fortifications. Thirdly, the VB Vlissingen was discussed in detail.
  • As a replacement for the airfield unit (Fliegerhorstbesatzung) 1 company was to be allocated
  • Also medical facilities were to be housed in permanent bunkers
  • The following details were provided with respect to the Landfront:
    • The wet AT-ditch was ready
    • 200 meters of the AT-wall were still not finished and 120 metres were ready to be poured. The two companies working on this day could complete 40 metres a day. The entire AT-wall was estimated to be completed in 8-10 days. The order was also given to to start preparing Kleinstunterstände so that the AT-wall could also be defended in between the pak-positions.
  • With respect to the Panzerstützpunkt Nettelbeck it was reported that the 9/MAA202 would be occupied with personnel from 21 February onwards and operational on 25 February.
  • Also discussed were the Vorstrandhindernisse at the Stp Fidelio.

 

 

On 1 April 1944 the 165 Reservedivision had the following subordinated Heerestruppen:

 

 

On the same date the division had the following divisional weapons:

 

 

 

Finally, on 1 April 1944 the division possessed the following surplus and static weapons:

 

 

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:
  • 165 Reservedivision: firstly, the corps mentioned that Rommel had insisted on the occupying forces on Sooth -Beveland being moved forward to bolster defences on Walcheren, with only the narrow passage at Arnemuiden and the strongpoints to the south until Borssele remaining occupied. The corps fundamentally disagreed, arguing that a defence of the South-Beveland canal and the importat town of Goes was necessary. Taking into account the army order for the Reservebataillon III/205 to be moved from the Middelburg area to the coast, the corps proposed the following solution:
    • At the Straits of Bath only the railway bridge was to be defended by 3x 2cm Flak and an infantry platoon
    • II/Reserveregiment 260 (Ausbildungsbataillon) would be moved to Goes to defend the South-Beveland canal and Goes
    • The Arnemuiden-Schoondijke szctor (Wn Schill) would be occupied by Stab III (Arm)/GR 128 with the Stabskompanie, 2 /Arm)/GR 128 and a subordinated company of I/RGR 260.
    • In the area of the east of Middelburg I/RGR 260 (less one company) would be positions as Divisionsreserve
    • III/RGR 205 would be transferred to an area West of Middelburg with the headquarters and 1 companuy and to an area southeast of Westkapelle with one company as Divisionsreserve
    • The strongpoints between Hoedekenskerke and Ellewoutsdijk could, according to the corps, not be given up since otherwise the inner Schelde would be totally defenceless.
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:
  • The Festungsbereich Walcheren consisted of:
    • the island of Walcheren
    • the western part of the islands North and South Beveland
  • The fester Platz Goes consisted of the middle part of the South-Beveland island
  • The following troop movements were ordered:
    • At the Straits of Bath only the railway bridge was to be defended by 3x 2cm Flak and an infantry platoon
    • II/Reserveregiment 260 (Ausbildungsbataillon) would be moved to Goes to defend the South-Beveland canal and Goes
    • The Arnemuiden-Schoondijke szctor (Wn Schill) would be occupied by Stab III (Arm)/GR 128 with the Stabskompanie, 2 /Arm)/GR 128 and a subordinated company of I/RGR 260.
    • 2x schwere Feldhabutize 18 (mot) of the 1./RAA 61 were to join the Stp Friedrich Barbarossa (2 und /RAA 61) as mobile reserve for a possible counterattck
    • For 7. /RAA 5 a firing position was to be constructed in the Serooskerke area. In case this battery was pulled out from South-Beveland to Walcheren a position switch of the 1./RAA 61 with 4x sFH 414 (f) was planned in the currently occupied position of the 4./RAA 5 in the southwest corner of South-Beveland.
    • In the area of the east of Middelburg I/RGR 260 (less one company) would be positions as Divisionsreserve
    • III/RGR 205 would be transferred to an area West of Middelburg with the headquarters and 1 companuy and to an area southeast of Westkapelle with one company as Divisionsreserve
    • The deployment of the Veterinärkompanie 137 within the Festungsbereich was to be investigated. All other logistical units and facilities were to remain where they were
  • The straits of Bath, the passages across the South-Beveland canal and Arnemuiden were to be equipped with obstacles against air assault, and this with the highest priority.
  • The transfer of the above units and the construction of the KVA into a Festungsberich were to start immediately.

The 165 Reservedivision was officially renamed 70 Infanteriedivision (bodenständig) by Armeeoberkommando 15 on 16 May 1944. To form the new division fresh troops were brought in from Germany and they were initially stationed under Divisionsstab z.b.V 70 Infanteriedivision under the temporary command of Oberst Rudolf Geiger around Bergen op Zoom and Woensdrecht, where they acted as corps reserve. Meanwhile, the Reservedivision 165 was moved to that same area.

On 23 May 1944 the Generalkommdo LXXXIX issued its order for the reorganisation of the 165 Reservedivision into the 70 Infanteriedivision (bodenständig). The extracted units of the 165 Reservedivision were to be transported to the Woensdrecht area. On the onders of the army relieving and relieved units were to be kept ready as local Alarmeinheiten. The docupent is accompanied by 2 annexes: the first detailing the reorganisation of the division, and the second detailing that of the Reserveartillerieregiment 5.. Both these documents have been processed in one document below:
 

 

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 origonal 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 Ai 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:
  • :I/1018 in Aagtekerke, Pionierbataillon 170 Sint-Laurens, Nachschub Middelburg, Füselierbataillon Lewedorp-Nieuwdorp GR1018 Goes, II/1018Goes PzJKgAbt Goes
  • GR1019 Woensdrecht, II/1019 Woensdrecht, III/AR 170 (ohne 9.) Woensdrecht
  • 70ID De Donk, AR170 De Donk,I/170 (1-4) De Donk,I /1020 Kapellen, GR1020 (ohne I/1020 ) Brasschaat
  • I/205 + II/260 in Kalmthout
  • I/1019 In Krabbendijke
On 6 June 1944 the LXXXIX Armeekorps 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:
  • Tactically subordinated to the corps: Stab 70 ID with the I/RGR 205, II/RGR 260, I/AR170, Panzerjägerkompanie 170 and still to arrive parts of the GR 1020.
  • Subordinated to the 165RD were: GR 1018, GR 1019, III/AR 170, Nachrichtenabteilung 170, Pionierbataillon 170, Versorgungstruppen
A number of missions were also given to the 70 Infanteriedivision:
  • The subordinated parts of the 70ID were at the disposal of the 165RD in the KVA A1. The Enge von Bath was to be secured and defended against enemy air landings.
  • The 70ID with its subordinated units was to secure and defend its accommodation areas against an airlanded enemy
  • In case of air landings near (rather than in) the accommodation areas the corps would decide if and in which form counterattacks with limited purpose were to be conducted.
  • In case of an enemy attack on Antwerp the corps would order the tactical subordination of the 70ID to the KVA Antwerpen, in which case the division was to move on Antwerp.
  • The 70ID was to constantly check the divisional area for air landings. It was to take and keep contact with the Flakschule Hoogboom and the Truppenübungsplatz Maria-ter-Heide.

On 22 June 1944 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 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 29 June 1944 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.

 

Iin order not to weaken defences on Walcheren, units were rotated gradually, so that 70 Infanteriedivision was not fully formed until 1 July 1944. On that day the change of division was completed and the new 70 Infanteriedivision came under the command of the old divisional staff of the 165 Reservedivision, the latter unit being disbanded on the same day. After fierce fighting in the battle of Walcheren 70 Infanteriedivision surrendered to the British on 6 November 1944.