Research on the German Armed Forces 1918-1945
The 718.Infanterie-Division was formed on the 30th of April, 1941 from various units of the Replacement Army. It was destined for service in the Balkan region and was designed as an occupation and security unit to meet those needs. Interestingly, this unit, like the others of the 700-designations, was populated with at least half its ranks consisting of over-aged men with little experience. Many of the officers only had experience from WWI! The unit also consisted of two regiments instead of three as with most Infanterie-Divisionen of the period, and it was lacking its share of motorized vehicles and heavy weapons.
After formation, the Division was transported to the Balkan region where it helped to relieve the 132.Infanterie-Division and the 183.Infanterie-Division on the 29th of May, 1941. The 718.Infanterie-Division then took part in security operations, anti-partisan drives, reconnaissance missons, mopping up actions, training, and general occupation duties.
Almost as soon as it arrived, the 718.Infanterie-Division began to fight against the partisan forces in the region. It fought at Mokro, Mitrovica and Zvornik, and later took part in defensive actions in the region of Rogatica-Dubica-Prijedor. It saw fighting in the assault on Sokalc and Vladinica, and took part in Unternehmen Weiß 1 and Unternehmen Weiß 2. It fought in the region of Mostar and at Prozor in security operations designed to protect the important Bauxite mining region which was very important to the German war effort. It later fought at Podhum and Ostrozac in the Neretva region and also in the region of the Konjic Plains and at Celebic.
From its arrival in the region until March of 1943, the 718.Infanterie-Division took part in no less than 15 specific operations against partisan forces. Unternehmen Kroatien Süd-Ost was one of the first and it took place from January 13th-26th, 1942. It was essentially a seek and destroy operation designed to located and eliminate partisan forces in and around Sarajevo, Zvornik, Tuzla and others locations near these regions. It was launched during the cold of winter so as to hit the partisan forces when they would be weak from lack of proper winter clothing and protection. Partisan forces were estimated at about 4,000 men strong, against which the Germans sent the 718.Infanterie-Division as well as the 342.Infanterie-Division and units of the Croatian Army. The main partisan concentration was around Sarajevo and Visegrad. The Germans suffered light losses against 521 partisans killed and 1,331 captured, as well as large stocks of weapons and ammunition taken. The operation was deemed a tactical succcess, although Italian forces that had been requested to take part in the operation did not arrive in time to help prevent the escape of the remaining partisan forces.
Unternehmen Ozren took place on January 29th, 1942 and was a mopping up action against the partisans in and around the Ozren Mountains. Unternehmen Prijedor took place on February 15th, 1942 in Prijedor. This operation was an attmept to liberate Landeschützen-Bataillon 923 which was trapped by partisan forces.
Thereafter, the 718.Infanterie-Division took part in variously in Unternehmen Trio I, Trio II, Foca, Zenica-Zavidovici, S, Jajce I, Jajce II, Jajce III, Tuzla II, Travnik, Teslic, Konjic, and finally Unternehmen Mostar in March of 1943, shortly before being reformed as the 118.Jäger-Division.
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