The 125th Infantry Division was one of the 10 divisions initially raised in October of 1940 as a part of the 11th wave in Wehrkreis V, Stuttgart. Approximately one-third of the division’s initial strength came from Würtemburgers who were stationed in and around Stuttgart at the time. New recruits were taken from the graduating class of 1920 or earlier. The initial training period was completed at the Münsingen training grounds during the fall and winter season of 1940/1941.
In the early spring of 1941, the 125.Infanterie-Division was transferred to southeastern Poland where it was attached to the XXIV.Armee-Kommando as are serve unit. Two weeks after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the 125.Infanterie-Division was rapidly transferred to the IV.Armee-Korps,17.Armee. It was immediately placed on the front lines near Vinnitsa. In two months of fighting on the eastern front, the 125th counted 300 KIA and over 1,800 wounded men. During the fall of 1941, the 125th participated in the taking of the city of Uman and they successfully forded the Dniepr River near Vorovskovo. From there, the division advanced past Stalino and halted near Mius. To the east of Mius, the division held its winter lines reasonably well in late 1941 and early 1942.
For the German 1942 offensive, the 125.Infanterie-Division was transferred to the V.Armee-Korps, 17.Armee.On the 22nd of August, 1942, the 125th advanced deep into the Ukraine where managed to captured Rostov. In a daring stroke,Infanterie-Regiment 420 stormed across the Don River bridge and was able to capture the city of Bataissk. After reuniting with the rest of the Division, the 125th captured Krasnador, the capital city of the Kuban. While in this region the division prepared itself for defensive actions during the winter of 1924/1943.
On Christmas eve, 1942, Generalmajor Friebe became the new divisional commander. The 125th Infantry Division was one of the German divisions which got caught fighting in the Kuban bridgehead and as a result of strong Soviet pressures, was forced to retreat. Exhausted and in dire need of refit, the 125th Infantry Division was removed from the Kuban front lines area after the Germans evacuated the region.
In October of 1943, the 125.Infanterie-Division was assigned to the right-wing of Heeresgruppe A. While under its control the Division fought near Tsherson, Nikolayev, and Nikopol. During this time the 125th was used to plug holes in the German lines on a nearly daily basis until time took its toll upon the effective capabilities of the division. To increase the combat effectiveness of the artillery components of the Division, Artillerie-Regiment 125 received a IVth Artillerie Batterie on March 1st, 1944, created by combining elements of the surviving I./AR 41 and III./AR 261.
In April of 1944, OKW officially dissolved the 125.Infanterie-Division.It was no longer an effective combat unit having taken enormous casualties in the past many months. The surviving soldiers of the Division were transferred to the 258.Infanterie-Division and the 302.Infanterie-Division.
Knights Cross Holders