Forces of Valor 83010 German 352.Infanterie Division Figure Pack - Normandy, 1944 [D-Day Commemorative Packaging] (1:32 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The true Forces of Valor...the men that fought the battles, the men behind the machines, and the men that paid the ultimate sacrifice. These men came from every nation and every creed to battle on their countries' behalf. Unrecognized acts of heroism occurred every hour of every day across every battlefield all over the world.
The battles of World War II raged all over Europe and the Far East. From the harsh desert climate of North Africa to the rain soaked Western European Theatre to the extreme cold at the heart of Germany and Eastern Europe, the men of World War II fought bravely wherever they were and no matter what they faced.
This 1:32 scale set consists of four Wehrmacht soldiers in various poses from the 352.Infanterie-Division. Comes with debris and a variety of battlefield equipment. Now in stock!
Height: 2 inches
Release Date: September 2010
Historical Account: "Unpleasant Surprise" - The 352.Infanterie Division was formed in November 1943 in France, commanded by Generalleutnant Dietrich Kraiss from November 6th, 1943, until it was destroyed in July 1944. Organizationally, the 352nd was better off than most German divisions in 1944. At that time, as a result of severe personnel losses, German infantry divisions were generally reduced to 6 infantry battalions. The 352nd, however, retained its full complement of nine battalions.
While the 352nd did have men who had fought on the Eastern Front, the majority of the men were teenagers, 17 & 18 years old. Of the 333 officers assigned, fully 50% were without any combat experience and the division was short about 30% of the needed NCOs. Moreover, 1,455 of the division were Russian "volunteers". There had never been any battalion or regimental training. Of the 12,021 men of the division, only 6,800 were combat troops, detailed to defend a 53 kilometers (33 mi) front. The 352. was not considered to be a crack division by anyone's imagination.
The 352. began its coastal duty by improving the beach obstacles, emplacing mined stakes and timber structures. This involved not only cutting and hauling timber from miles inland but also driving stakes and piles deep in the sand. To fully cover the sector, they needed 10 million mines, but a scant 10,000 were available. The first band of obstacles - about 250 yards (750 ft) out from the waterline at high tide - consisted of Belgian Gates, reinforced iron frames with iron supports that were built atop rollers. Next came a band of mined stakes and log ramps, meant to tear the bottoms out of landing craft or tip them over. Finally, there was a row of metal obstacles, including hedgehogs, made of iron rails. Although the Germans had attached mines to many of the obstacles, few of them were waterproofed, and corrosion had long since taken a toll on many of the explosive devices.
The soldiers of the 916. and 726. regiments occupied slit trenches, eight concrete bunkers, 35 pillboxes, six mortar pits, 35 Nebelwerfer (multi-barrel rocket launcher) sites and 85 machine-gun nests. The defenses were clustered in strong points.
Early on June 6th, 1944, a Kampfgruppe from the 915.Grenadier Regiment, which was the only reserve element of the 352.Infanterie Division, was diverted away from the Omaha and Gold beaches and the 101st Airborne Divisions drop zones. The regiment spent the morning of June 6th searching the woods for the parachutists, believing an airborne division had landed in the area but which turned out to be dummies dropped as part of Operation Titanic.
The 916.Grenadier Regiment saw action during D-Day Operation Overlord, opposing the 1st and 29th U.S. divisions at Omaha Beach. The 352. made a good account of itself, causing many casualties and defending the bluffs above the beach for several hours before being overwhelmed. The 916th retreated in the morning hours of June 7th after the Commander Col. Ernst Goth couldn't hold the positions retaken in the night of June 6th any longer. The rest of the division saw heavy fighting in the bocage (or hedgerow) country defending Saint-Lo against the Americans.
The 352. was destroyed in the fighting following the invasion, and, on July 30th, the 352. was declared abgekampft, meaning the division was no longer fit for combat. The division was reconstituted as the 352.Volksgrenadier Division in September, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Thereafter, it fought defensively around Trier and the Moselle until it was destroyed once again in mid-March 1945, with only a small remnant escaping across the Rhine at Worms. It was partially reconstituted one last time as a battlegroup in mid-April, and ended its career near Darmstadt.