|Formed April 1. 1939
Mobilised on August 26. 1939
This division was formed by the amalgamation of the former Austrian
5. and 7.Gebirgs divisions after the Anschluss (When Austria was added
to the Reich, many Austrian Mountain units were added to the German Heer.)
The 2nd Gebirgsjäger Division was formed this way, being formed from
the 5th and 7th Austrian Divisions. It is interesting to note that the
68th Bicycle Abteilung and 48th Panzerabwehr Abteilung were traded with
the 95th Bicycle Abteilung and 95th Panerabwehr Abteilung of the 5th Gebirgsjager
Division, but both never actually became part of the 5th Gebirgsjager Division,
as they stayed in the Finland and soon became regular troops.
On the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, the division was part
of XVIII Korps of 14 Armee, one of the constituent units of Heeresgruppe
Sud, and took part in the successful Polish campaign along with the 1st
and 2nd Gebirgsjäger Divisions. But it was transferred to the Western
Front before the campaign concluded, and in March was withdrawn from the
front to prepare for its part in the forthcoming campaign in Norway.
It was chosen as the spearhead unit of the invasion force at
Narvik in April 1940. One of the division‘s regiments, the 138th, was detached
to capture Trondheim, leaving the force which took Narvik seriously weakened,
and when the British expeditionary force arrived at the port, the division
found itself in the midst of some very bitter fighting. It was a close
run thing, and Dietl admitted that he had considered withdrawing his battered
troops over the border into Swedish internment. However, the division fought
on determinedly, and finally won the day against the Allies after the surrender
of the Norwegian Government, just days before elements of the 2nd Gebirgsjager
Division managed to reach them and link up.But only after over two months
of heavy fighting.
The 3.Gebirgs Division then took part in the initial stages of
"Unternehmen Barbarossa" (the invasion of
the Soviet Union), during the drive from northern Finland towards the port
of Murmansk. lt remained in this sector until autumn 1942, when it was
moved to the southern sector of the front, which was coming under severe
pressure from Soviet counter-attacks. It took part in the attempt to relieve
6.Armee at Stalingrad.
The division then fought in the defensive battles in the Ukraine,
before withdrawing through Hungary into Czechoslovakia, where it became
part of XXXXIX Panzerkorps. It was in action in Upper Silesia when the
war ended, where it surrendered to Soviet forces in May, 1945.
Thanks to Jason Pipes for historical reference