Jagdgeschwader 3 Udet was a Luftwaffe fighter-wing of World War II. The Geschwader operated on all the German fronts in the European Theatre of World War II and it was named after Ernst Udet in 1942. Jagdschwader 3 Udet was formed on 1 May 1939 in Bernburg/Saale from JG231, JG3 was one of the Luftwaffes fighter units that took part in the Battle of France. A particularly fruitful period over France occurred from 14–17 May 1940, Allied sorties over the area of German advance had attempted to prevent the German armour from crossing the Meuse and sent waves of inadequately protected bombers to do the job. As a result,90 Allied bombers were shot down and the 14 May became known as the day of the fighters within the Luftwaffe, I. /JG3 destroyed seven fighters without loss on this day. On 15 May five were destroyed, again for no losses, on 17 May an entire formation of 13 Bristol Blenheims were shot down by I. /JG3. A total of 19 Allied aircraft were shot down by I. /JG3 alone on that day, the unit claimed some 179 aircraft shot down.
Oberleutnant Lothar Keller was top claimant with 10 kills, and I. /JG3 Gruppenkommandeur Maj. Günther Lützow scored 9, I. /JG3 was the most successful Gruppe, with 88 enemy aircraft destroyed for ten Bf 109s lost while six pilots were killed and one wounded. JG3 flew intensively in the Battle of Britain, on 21 August 1940, Oberstleutnant Lützow was appointed Kommodore of JG3. He recorded 8 more victories during the battles over England. Lützow was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 18 September, by the end of 1940 its most successful pilots were Oblt. Erwin Neuerberg and Lt Helmut Meckel, the Geschwader lost some 51 pilots killed or POW July–December 1940. I Gruppe alone had destroyed exactly 50 enemy machines, but in exchange of 32 Messerschmitts of which 20 were lost to enemy action, ten pilots were killed or missing while a further 11 were captured. The Geschwader took part in Operation Barbarossa from 22 June 1941 onwards, Lützow became the second Experte to achieve 100 victories when he downed three Russian fighters near Moscow on 24 October.
On 27 June 1941, Hauptmann Gordon Gollob was made Gruppenkommandeur II. /JG3 and he claimed 18 victories in August and achieved 37 victories in October, including 9 aircraft shot down over the Perekop Isthmus on 18 October and 6 aircraft on 22 October. He was awarded the Eichenlaub on 26 October for 85 victories and he led II. /JG3 until November 1941. In the period 22 June -5 December 1941, the unit destroyed 1,298 Soviet aircraft in return for 58 losses in aerial combat, at this time the unit was equipped with Bf 109F-4 Trops. At the end of April II Gruppe departed Sicily for a stay in Germany before being redeployed to the Eastern front
24th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
The 24th Panzer Division was formed in late 1941 from the 1st Cavalry Division based at Königsberg. The division fought on the Eastern Front from June 1942 to January 1943, reformed it once more returned to the Eastern Front in late 1943 and remained there until surrender to Soviet forces in May 1945. The 1st Cavalry Division was formed shortly after the outbreak of World War II, in November 1939, the division was part of the German invasion of northern Netherlands where it encountered only weak defences as it was not a strategically important area. After the Dutch surrender the division part in the final actions of the battle of France before serving as an occupation force there and, from September 1940. It participated in the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, after initially being stationed in northern France the division served under the Fourth Panzer Army in Army Group South of the Eastern Front from June 1942. The division participated in the capture of Voronesh and, in late December 1942, was encircled in the Battle of Stalingrad and destroyed.
The 24th Panzer Division was reformed in March 1943 and served in Normandy and went back to the Eastern Front where it suffered heavy casualties around Kiev, during spring-1944 it took part in the battle of Târgu Frumos, part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive. Near the end of the war it saw action in Poland, parts of the division were evacuated to Schleswig-Holstein and surrendered there to British forces at the end of the war while the remainder surrendered to Soviet forces in East Prussia in May 1945. In keeping with the Divisions mounted origins, the 24th Panzers tank crewmen wore the golden-yellow Waffenfarbe of the rather than Panzer pink. Die Gepanzerten und Motorisierten Deutschen Grossverbände 1935 –1945, Panzers at war, A J Barker,1978 Death of the Leaping Horseman, Jason D Mark,2002
44th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)
The 44th Infantry Division was formed on 1 April 1938 in Vienna, about two weeks after the Anschluss of Austria. It first saw combat at the start of the war in the Invasion of Poland, after a 9-month period of coastal defence the division was transferred East. On 22 June 1941, the took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union. It remained in the east after the failure of Operation Barbarossa, taking part in actions for the winter against the Soviet Army offensives near Izum. Refurbished, the participated in the German summer offensive, and was subsequently destroyed with the 6th Army at Stalingrad in January 1943. The division was rebuilt as Reichsgrenadier-Division Hoch- und Deutschmeister in Belgium when Hitler ordered the Stalingrad divisions should be reconstructed, by the summer of 1943 it was back up to strength and sent to fight in Italy, where it was heavily engaged at Monte Cassino. It withdrew up the Italian peninsula during 1944 and briefly clashed with American forces attacking the Gothic line, withdrawn to refit, it was instead sent to oppose the Soviet breakthrough in Hungary.
The division joined the efforts to recapture Budapest with the 6th SS Panzer Army, the remnants of the division retreated into Austria, until the final days of the war, when it marched west and surrendered to the American forces near Linz. The unit was established on 1 April 1938 shortly after the annexation of Austria from elements of the Austrian army, the usual establishment called for around 15.000 men. In January 1940 the Feldersatz Battalion was detached and became the 3rd battalion, 443rd infantry regiment, 164th infantry division, the German Army continued to expand, in February 1940 the 10 divisions of the 8th wave were created. The 44th gave up 2nd battalion 143 Infantry Regiment which became 1st battalion 523rd Infantry Regiment,297 Infantry Division, in September 1940, one third of the division was detached to form the 137th Infantry Division. The German Army formed new divisions by detaching one-third of two existing divisions, raising the remaining parts from new recruits, in this manner only one-third of the two old and one newly created divisions were new recruits.
Like all the divisions lost in the Battle of Stalingrad, it was reformed using other formations, on 17 February 1943, the division was reformed with the 887th and 888th Grenadier Regiments in Belgium. From August to November 1943, schwere Panzer-Kompanie/Tigergruppe Meyer, equipped with eight Tiger I tanks, was attached to the division for the disarmament of Italian formations in northern Italy, after a brief rest it was transferred to Hungary and fought the Red Army while retreating into Austria. It managed to capture by the Red Army and surrendered to US forces at Hohenfurth on 10 May 1945. Nine days later, in the hours of 1 September 1939, after a short artillery preparation. Soon the first prisoners were taken and the first casualties suffered, the Second World War in Europe, for the 44th Infantry Division would last from its first day in September 1939, to its last in May 1945, had started. The ethnic Germans, Volksdeutsche, in the border regions greeted the invading troops with some enthusiasm, with gifts of milk, the division continued its advance, crossing the San River and pushing into eastern Poland towards Lviv