3. Kompanie Reichsgrenadier Regiment 'Hoch- und Deutschmeister'
Reichsgrenadier Division 'Hoch- und Deutschmeister'
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The Polish Campaign 1939

The 44th Infanterie Division was assigned to Army Group South during the attack on Poland. The Division passed through Teschen, Bielitz, Krakau, Turnow, Debica, Jaroslau and Niemirow. At Niemirow the Polish resistance had by now fallen away and the 44th Infanterie Division was thus assigned multiple objectives with part of the Division tasked with the capture of the city of Lemberg and part swinging north of city. Indeed, the Division had pressed so far east during this phase of the campaign that it was now in what was agreed under the terms of the Nazi–Soviet Pact (aka the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact) to be the new Soviet sphere of influence, with the Soviet Union joining the fight against the Poles on 17 September 1939. During the Polish campaign the Division had marched and fought an average advance of 29 km per day! The Division remained on the new demarcation line at the River San until mid November when it was transported west spending the winter of 1939/40 as part of the Army Reserve stationed between the Harz and the Weser. In January 1940 the Feldersatz Battailon was detached and became the 3rd Battailon, 443rd Infanterie Regiment, 164th Infanterie Division. In September 1940, one third of the division was detached to form the 137th Infanterie Division. (At that time, the German Army formed new divisions by detaching one-third of two existing divisions, then raising the remaining parts from new recruits. In this manner only one-third of a newly created division was made up of new recruits).


With Britain and France declaring war on the Germans following the invasion of Poland and the lack of the likelihood of a peaceful solution following the refusal of Hitler’s peace offering in the 6 October 1939, thoughts turned inevitably to a further conflict on the Western Front. With the spectre of the carnage of the Great War firmly in their minds, the officers of the Division had much work to accomplish with their newly battle-hardened division. They were not so hopeful that any campaign in the West would go as easily as the Polish campaign or be over so quickly. Feverish work began to prepare the troops for what was sure to be a hard fought campaign in the West.


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