The 126.Infanterie-Division was formed on October 18th, 1940 from portions of the 11.Infanterie-Division, 16.Infanterie-Division, and the 253.Infanterie-Division. It was formed at Truppenübungsplatz Sennelager.
The 126.Infanterie-Division first took part in the attack on the Soviet Union on June 21st, 1941, under Armeegruppe Nord, 16.Armee, X.Armeekorps. It initially broke through the Russian border and raced towards Leningrad, crossing over the Duna River, after which it took up defensive positions along the Volkhov River just north of Novgorod and the Ilmen Sea where it would remain for some time.
For the next two years, the division took part in fierce fighting in the region of Armeegruppe Nord during repeated attempts by the Soviets to relieve besieged Lenningrad. The fighting was especially brutal, and the climate and geography of the region added to the bitterness of the combat. In the fall of 1941, portions of the lines were held by the 126.Infanterie-Division along the Volkhov River were given up to the newly arrived 250.Infanterie-Division, consisting of nearly 18,000 Spanish volunteers. Together with the two divisions often fought side-by-side in equally devastating defensive and offensive battles.
Later, the division was transferred south of the Ilmen Sea where it took part in numerous defensive battles in the region ofDemjansk as a unit of the Demjansk Pockek. It took up defensive positions along the southern bend of the enormous Demjanskencirclement.
After fighting in the region of Armeegruppe Nord for the entire time the division was on the Eastern Front, it took part in the general fighting withdrawal towards the west, fighting notably in the Pantherstellung, at Pleskau, in the region of Riga, and thereafter near Libau. The division was finally taken by the Soviets in May of 1945 while located in the region of Preekuln-Vartava south of Libau along the coast of the Baltic Sea.
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