The 334.Infanterie Division was formed at the Grafenwohrtraining area in the autumn of 1942 as a composite unit. It’s threemotorized Infanterie-Regiments, the 754, 755, 756, being raised from threedifferent Wehrkreise (Military districts); (754/XIII – Nurnburg, 755/XVII -Wien, 756/XVIII – Salzburg). It’s first posting was to North Africa, wherethe lead elements of the 754.Infanterie-Regiment arrived in Bizerta inlate December of 1942 under the command of Oberst FriedrichWeber, (promoted Generalmajor on Jan.1,1943), with the rest of the divisionarriving by January 15,1943. The division was attached to Pz.A.O.K. 5(5.Panzerarmee), and was committed immediately to the Tunis-Tebouria sectoralongside Division “Von Broich” and 10.Panzer-Division.
The first major action in which the division participated was during”Unternehmen Eilbote I” on January 18,1943, operating as an element of”Korpsgruppe Weber” in support of von Arnim’s drive on BouArada, Tunisia,where it sustained moderate losses. The division remainedcontinually engaged in northern Tunisia througout Feburary and March of1943 in a series of fierce and costly engagements that cost the divisiondearly in casualties that it could not replace. In late April 1943 “GruppeAudorff” of the 334.Inf.Div. participated in an attack on the heights ofMedjez el Bab. After a week of bloody fighting the 756.Geb.Inf.Rgt. retiredfrom the heights it had recently regained,and moved back toward Tunis.
By May 7, the hard fought division was out of fuel, and found itselfimmobilized near the Chonigui Pass. It was encircled by advancing UKforces, and finding itself with no other option,surrendered on May 8, 1943.
During it’s last two months fighting in Africa, the 334.Inf.Division’s754.Inf.Rgt.(mot.) had attached to it a diminutive unit of Vichy Frenchorigin called the “Phalange Africaine.” This obscure unit had it’s startupon the advent of the Anglo-American landings in Nov.1942. Feelingdirectly threatened by the new Allied threat to it’s African domain, Vichyorganized a “volunteer” force to aid the Italo-German cause which itinitially named the “Legion Imperiale.” The first and only Battalion of thegrandly named “Legion” was formed as the “Phalange Africaine’ with astrength of 300 Frenchmen and 150 Algerian Moslems. It was armed with amixture of French and German small infantry weapons, while the colonialuniform of the French Army, along with the German stahlhelm and Afrika-korpsgreatcoat made up it’s uniform. It saw brief combat in Tunisia alongsidethe remnants of “Kampfgruppe Krause” (334.Inf.Div.), and in the last daysof April was renamed the “LVF en Tunisie” (Legion Volontaire Francaise inTunisia). The unit (LVF e.T.) passed into captivity alongside the rest ofthe Axis forces in North Africa on May 8, 1943.
A new 334.Infanterie-Division was re-mustered in southern France in Julyof 1943, after the original 334 surrendered in North Africa with the fallof Tunisia. Unlike the former 334.Inf.Div. – all of it’s regiments were drawnfrom Wehrkries XIII – Nurnburg. After some 3 months intensive training, thedivision was transferred to Army Group C in Italy in November of 1943.Withstanding heavy defensive actions, the division was down to Kampfgruppestrength by May of 1944,but remained engaged on the Gothic-Linecontinuously through September of 1944, bearing the brunt of the Alliedpush throught the Futa Pass.
It fought later along the Florence-BolognaRoad as part of the XIV.Panzerkorps,being briefly relieved and shifted tothe Adriatric sector for a short period of rest in December 1944. Stillunderstrength, the division was employed in the defense of Bologna inFeburary of 1945 with an effective strength of only some 2600 troops. The334.Inf.Div. was finally decimated in late April of 1945, along with muchof LI.Gebirgskorps,in the last major Allied offenisve on the Italian front.
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