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D-Day Soldbuch - 711. Infanterie-Division and HQ 15. Armee - France, Belgium, Holland
Old 01-13-2018, 08:27 AM   #1
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Default D-Day Soldbuch - 711. Infanterie-Division and HQ 15. Armee - France, Belgium, Holland

Hello all,

Time to show a simple but interesting Soldbuch I recently acquired. I will directly lead you to the story of Helmut Röthing:

Helmut Röthing was born on 25.06.1901 in Dommitzsch, Kreis Torgau. Röthing was married with Käthe Röthing-Thomas, they had an evangelic religion. The couple lived in Salzgitter. Röthing worked as Verwaltungssekretär, he was a civil servant.

Finally also Röthing was called up for military duty when, because of the shortages, also the elder men were conscripted. His Soldbuch was opened on 11.09.1943 as part of the Landesschützen-Ersatz-und-Ausbildungs-Bataillon 11 in Hildesheim. That moment Röthing already reached the age of 42. He stayed in this unit after he completed his basic training. Probably he stayed in this unit as an instructor or a clerk(when we look to his civil duty).

In the end also Röthing had to left Germany. In the first months of 1944 Röthing was transferred to the 2./ Grenadier-Regiment 744, 711. Infanterie-Division. This unit was stationed in France, more precisely in Normandy. The 711. Infanterie-Division establish the defensive of the most western part of the 15. Armee. The 711. Infanterie-Division formed the dividing line between the 7. Armee and the 15. Armee. The division defended the coast between Caen and Le Havre, an important area at the Channel coast. The 2./ Grenadier-Regiment 744, Röthing his unit, was based in La Motte, near Villers-sur-Mer. The division was weak, very weak – and not complete. It was only partially motorised. The average age of the division was above 30 years and only 20% of the men had combat experience on the Ostfront. Most of these men were wounded there and were not capable enough to return.

The division was also on the dividing line of the Allied invasion. On D-Day the British paratroopers landed in the area of the 711. Infanterie-Division. These elements of the division went already into combat on D-Day, they fought some heavy battles against these British PARA’s. Also the positions of the 711. Infanterie-Division were heavily bombed on D-Day by the Allied airplanes and the Allied warships. The OKW saw that the 711. Infanterie-Division was too weak to fight against the Allied armies. The 346. Infanterie-Division was inserted in the area of the 711. Infanterie-Division. So it could happen that some units of the 711. Inf. Div. went into heavy combat against the Allied in the months after D-Day and other units weren’t involved in any combat.

The 2nd Kompanie of Röthing seems to be in heavy combat against the British PARA’s on or/and after D-Day. I saw a Wehrpass on the internet of the 2./ Gren. Rgt. 744 who was killed on 19.06.1944 in Sallenelles. A small village between Merville and the Orne mouth. There is a good chance that Röthing went into combat against the British PARA’s and the British troops that landed on Sword Beach. When the German front in Normandy collapsed, the 711. Infanterie-Division get the orders to pull back, it went again in heavy combat with the Allied troops.

It seems that Röthing was transferred during the Normandy combats to the Headquarters of the 15. Armee, more precisely to the Stab./ A.O.K.15, under command of Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth and later General der Infanterie Gustav-Adolf von Zangen. Till the chaotic withdrawal the headquarters of the 15. Armee was in Tourcoing, near Lille/Rijsel.

During the withdrawal the 15. Armee, 150.000 soldiers, escaped to be sieged near Calais. The 15. Armee had to defend the various garrison fortresses as Dunkirk, Boulogne and Le Havre. Most of the 15. Armee retreated through Belgium. Early September 1944 the 15. Armee lost Antwerpen and Brussel to the Allied. Thereafter the 15. Armee began to retreat across the Scheldemonding near Breskens. It would let to the “Battle of the Scheldt”, between September and November 1944. The battles were very important and heavy. It was important to defend the Schelde estuary because it was the water way to the harbour of Antwerp, very important for the Allies. During these battles the Headquarter of the 15. Armee under Von Zangen(and with Röthing) was situated in Holland, in the Dutch city of Dordrecht(between 15.09.1944 and 31.10.1944). Thereafter the HQ was moved to the Dutch city Bilthoven, near Utrecht. I think Röthing served all that time as a clerk in the staff under the famous Generals. During Market-Garden the 15. Armee send some divisions to the battle area.

After the loss of the Scheldt the 15. Armee was send to the area of Aachen to replace the 7. Armee and the 5. Panzerarmee who went into the Battle of the Bulge. Röthing was promoted on 01.11.1944 to Obersoldat. The last entry in the Soldbuch was made on 16.12.1944(the day that the Battle of the Bulge started) when his K98 was exchanged for a Pistole08. The next months the 15. Armee fought along the Ruhr. Helmut Röthing went into Allied captivity in this period, a POW number can be seen in his Soldbuch.

Reactions are as always welcome. Thanks for looking!

Aram
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File Type: jpg Rothing8.jpg (224.8 KB, 101 views)
File Type: jpg Rothing9.jpg (68.4 KB, 100 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:28 AM   #2
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File Type: jpg Rothing7.jpg (87.4 KB, 101 views)
File Type: jpg Rothing3.jpg (93.2 KB, 101 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:30 AM   #3
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File Type: jpg Rothing5.jpg (77.5 KB, 101 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:31 AM   #4
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File Type: jpg Rothing10.jpg (84.8 KB, 100 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:32 AM   #5
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The commanders of the 15. Armee under which Röthing served:

Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth
General der Infanterie Gustav-Adolf von Zangen.
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File Type: jpg Hans von Salmuth.jpg (17.1 KB, 101 views)
File Type: jpg Gustav-Adolf_von_Zangen.jpg (17.8 KB, 101 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:34 AM   #6
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And 2 maps I made with all the relevant places in Normandy and Holland.

That's it for now.
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File Type: jpg Map-Röthing-Normandy.jpg (92.4 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg Map-15.Armee-Holland.jpg (173.5 KB, 101 views)
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:07 AM   #7
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Aram
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Old 01-13-2018, 03:01 PM   #8
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Interesting. Fights of the 2./744 in Sallenelles sector is very surprising because all the I. Batl. is said by Gen. Reichert (in MS B-403) to be stayed in its positions along the coast until august. Only the III./744 fought in Sallenelles, with parts of GR 857. So I wonder what is happened exactly ?
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Old 01-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reactions guys!

An interesting question indeed. I was also suprised when I looked to the positions of the I./744 along the coast before the invasion(as the most right of the three Btl's) and then finding the 2./ 744 around Sallenelles three weeks after. I found the Wehrpass in an online auction from 2016. I attached the 2 relevant pictures. Time to solve out this little Normandy mystery.
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File Type: jpg 540x360.jpg (24.3 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg 540x360 (1).jpg (24.2 KB, 78 views)
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Last edited by mtdr; 01-13-2018 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:48 PM   #10
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Yes, I saw also this one. So, is it only the 2. Kp. who was sent to Sallenelles or more of this bataillon ? Or what is this Wp. right ? Because, we cannot exclude an error of secretariat or a mutation to another bataillon, without any trace in the Wp.
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