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German Army GrossDeutschland Division
The German Army’s Most Elite Division in WWII
© 2005
434 pages; 16 chapters, 1 combat report, and 9 appendixes
The GrossDeutschland Division was the most famous division in the
Third Reich during WWII. It was the
German Army’s most elite division
on the Eastern Front in World War Two
. However, in modern days,
little is known about it. It was considered the most elite division in the
German Army. The German Army founded the GrossDeutschland in
to prove that the German Army could field a more elite division
than the Waffen SS. Members of the division had strict selection criteria
and were recruited from all over Germany. All other WWII German Army
Divisions were made up from men from a certain locality.
GrossDeutschland division, or Greater Germany Division, was the
exception in many ways. The division was involved in the most intense
combat on the Eastern Front from 1941-1945. In 1940 the
GrossDeutschland Motorized Regiment served in France, and in
1941 was sent to Russia. It was then wiped out and reformed at least five times. Each time it was improved in size and in
equipment it received. In 1942 it became a Motorized Infantry Division, in 1943 it became a
Panzer Grenadier Division. And
by 1945, it was the main element of the
GrossDeutschland Panzer Corps destined to fight to the end on the Eastern
Front in World War Two
. This book tells the story of the GrossDeutschland Division; not only of its military
achievements, but also its massive casualty rates, and its valiant repeated reformations. Finally, it died on the
Eastern Front
in World War Two
, as most of its personnel would have wanted to go, fighting the hated Bolsheviks.
Review Table of Contents
“On 10 September 1942, the refurbished, full strength GrossDeutschland Division was ordered to counterattack a
breakthrough by the Soviet 31st and 29th Armies near Rzhev. That night the division deployed opposite the enemy
breakthrough area. At day break on September 11: "The first lines of the
Grossdeutschland companies emerged from
the woods...and into the view of Soviet artillery observers who then directed upon them every available artillery piece...
Wave after wave of fighter bombers strafed the troops with anti-personnel bombs... The
Grossdeutschland infantry line
vanished completely in smoke and dust as the (Red) artillery began to smash...the attack...The artillery fire of three Red
Army corps was now concentrated upon the German infantry and armor...
...At last light both regiments consolidated and the roll was called. The losses were frightening...The dawn of 12
September brought the resumption of
Grossdeutschland Grenadiers advance against sixty massed batteries of Soviet
artillery..." By the next day, GrossDeutschland's two infantry regiments had been reduced from over 6,000 men to a few
hundred, and its panzer battalion was wiped out ! An entire division reduced to a cinder in two days of fighting. Why?
GrossDeutschland had been ordered to advance across an open, heavily mined plain against massed enemy
artillery fire and air attack. No smoke screens or other deceptions were used, neither was the division's motorized
capacity exploited. The
GrossDeutschland Division was ordered to make a direct assault against an enemy surface, not
a vulnerability. The division repeated that "maneuver" twice...until the
Grossdeutschland Division was dead !  Twice the
division commander ordered his infantry regiments to assault across open areas observed by many enemy artillery
observers. Where was the elite leadership?”
Excerpt from GrossDeutschland
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