German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945
The 716.Infanterie-Division was formed as an occupation unit from units of the Replacement Army on May 2nd, 1941. After formation and transfer to Occupied France it took part in coastal defense operations, security duties, training, air raid protection, construction of defensive fortifications, and alert exercises along the Coast of France and Belgium, mainly in the regions of Saint-Lo, later Soissons, and still later in and around Caen where it was stationed when the Allied forces invaded the Normandy Coast on June 6th, 1944.
The 716.Infanterie-Division first fought against the Allied air drops at Breville, Ranville and Bavent, and also in the defense of the Battery positions at Merville. The 716.Infanterie-Division also fought in fierce defensive combat at Villers Bocage, along the Caen-Bayeux road and in the region of Caen. After being heavily engaged for the duration of the Allied D-Day invasion, the 716.Infanterie-Division took very high losses that forced it, along with the rest of the German forces in the region, to withdraw.
Moving into southern France the Division took up coastal security positions in the region of Salses-Perpignan-Elne to the French-Spanish border. Thereafter, the 716.Infanterie-Division retreated through Languedoc, over the Cevennen and through the Rhonental to the region of Lyon. After this movement the Division was engaged by French partisan units before later arriving in the area of Schlettstadt.
In October of 1944 the 716.Infanterie-Division was in the region of Oberrhein near Kolmar where it fought at Neunkirch-Obenhein and was nearly destroyed in very heavy fighting. The remains of the Division formed "Kampfgruppe 716.Infanterie-Division" near Todtmoos and withdrew through the southern portion of the Schwarzwald being taken by American units at Kempten.
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