This Silesian 7th Wave division was mobilized on December 1st, 1940, mainlyfrom conscripts and existing Ersatz und Ausbildungs (replacement &training) elements from within the Wehrkreis VIII area. These includedKommandeur der Ersatztruppen 2 in Goerlitz and Ersatzbataillon 327 inTarnowitz, Arzweiler, and Neutitschein*.
In May 1940 the divison was still forming in OKH reserve at Goerlitz. Bythis time only the Infanterie-Regiment 442 was fully formed to strength.After the successful Western campaigns of Spring and early Summer 1940, andthe vast amounts of military materiel captured by the Wehrmacht, thisrelatively new division was partially outfitted with artillery, vehicles,and small arms from French and Low-Country stocks to bolster its existingstrength.
In June of 1941, the 168.Infanterie-Divison was attached (in reserve at Armylevel) to the 6.Armee as part of Heeresgruppe Sud for the invasion of theSoviet Union. Progressing east during the great encirclement battles ofSummer 1941, the division moved along with the advancing 6.Armee, fightingnotably at Kiev, and at the 1st battle of Kharkov, wintering in defensivepositions in the Donets region. In June 1942, the division was attached to24.Armeekorps (of 6.Armee) for “Unternehmen Blau” – the investment of theDonets Basin, the crossing of the Don river, and the exploitation south intothe Caucasus. In the summer of 1943, the 168.Infanterie-division fought inthe decisive Belgorod sector of the Kursk salient commanded byGeneralleutnant Chales de Beaulieu. As part of “Army DetachmentKempf”, Gen.d.Pz.truppe Breith’s 3.Panzerkorps – the division fell back westof Kiev in the bitter autumn battles west of the Dneiper, fighting with4.Panzerarmee in the Zhitomir battles of December 1943. In February 1944the division was fighting heavy defensive battles (abwehrschlacht) inAkhtyrka against unrelenting Russian attacks, where upon pulling back tosafer positions, it found itself encircled on the west bank of the Dneipernear Tcherkassy. Here the division was badly shot up, and for all intentsand purposes, ceased to exist as a cohesive fighting force. The stragglersof the burnt-out formation were reorganized in Poland.
After a brief re-fitting period in the spring of 1944, divisional elementsof the 168th served with General Nehring’s 24.Panzerkorps in the defensivesummer battles of 1944, fighting overwhelming Soviet forces notably atTarnopol; thereafter falling back into Galicia, and southern Poland, takingup lines along the Vistula in late 1944. By this period, the divison hadassimilated disparate remnants of the 223.Infanterie-Divison, renamedDivisionsgruppe 223**. These elements, along with the burned-out remnantsof the Grenadier-Regiment 429 (which was later disbanded) were renamedGrenadier-Regiment 385. In January 1945, a weakly constituted 168.Infanterie-Division,as part of General von Edelsheim’s XLVIII.Panzerkorps, was dug-in oppositethe overwhelming forces of Soviet Marshal Koniev’s 1st UkranianFront, secured in their bridgehead at Baranow on the Weichsel (Vistula). OnJan. 12, 1945, while holding the main line of resistance before the bridghead,the division was virtually annihilated in the Soviet winter offensive inthe space of 24 hours, with it’s routed elements refoming in Silesia. InMarch 1945, the I./Artillerie-Regiment 248 was disbanded with the II./248replacing it. The II./248 was replaced by the II./Artillerie-Regiment 304.Never fully reformed, the division surrendered to the Soviet Army nearGlatz at the cease of hostilities on May 9, 1945.
Some of the organizational changes within the division included: Oct. 15, 1940- Stab/442, I./417, I./429 were all detached to form theInfanterie-Regiment 678 of the 332.Infanterie-Division (14 wave). On Nov.26, 1940, the Stab/Infanterie-Regiment 429 was detached to the101.Infanterie-Division, and Stab/2.batterie/Artillerie-Regiment 248 wasdetached to Artillerie-Regiment 332. The detached units were reformed, andon Dec. 30, 1940, a fourth battalion was formed using detached elements ofthe former s.Artillerie-Bataillon 759 (a fifth Art.Bttln. would be added8.25.42 using nebelwerfer rocket-projectors).
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