Stegmann, Rudolf.

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Stegmann, Rudolf

Stegmann, Rudolf, born 06-08-1894,in Nikolaiken/East Prussia, was a German Generalleutnant and commander of the 36th Infantry Division from 01-08-1943 until 10-08-1943. The 36th was a German Infantry formation. It was formed in Kaiserslautern on 01-10-1936. During World War II it was mobilized in August 1939, as part of the first wave. It was later reorganized and re-designated the 36th Motorized Infantry Division  in November 1940. It was then the-motorized, reorganized and re designated the 36th Infantry Division File:36th Infanterie Division Logo.svg on 01-05-1943. The division, under Generalmajor der Infanterie, Alexander Conrady

   was destroyed at Bobruysk in June 1944 during the Soviet summer offensive. It was reformed on 03-08-1944 as the 36th Grenadier Division and renamed the 36th Volksgrenadier Division in October 1944. Stegmann became commander of the 77th Infantry Division , succeeding Generalleutnant Walter Poppe  , with the LXXIV Army Corps, from 01-05-1944 until he was killed in action age 49, on 18-06-1944. General Poppe survived the war and died age 76, on 17-08-1968 in Herford. The 77th Infantry Division was formed on 15-01-1944 in the town of Münsingen, and formed part of the twenty-fifth wave of infantry divisions raised in Germany. The division consisted of infantry from the disbanded 364th Infantry Division, with staff moving from the also disbanded 355th. With its men having already gone through training the division was quickly sent to Normandy in France as a component of the 7th Army’s LXXXIV Corps, who were awaiting the now-inevitable Allied invasion. By 13 June the enemy was sure that the intention of the U.S. forces was to cut the peninsula. At first Field Marshal Erwin Rommel    thought that there was a possibility of preventing this by moving the 77th Division down from the Merderet to block the American advance west of St. Sauveur-le Vicomte. The opponent was General James Lawton Collins   with his 79th Infantry Division, nicknamed “Cross of Lorraine”  and their casualties in the European campaign: total-6,874, killed in action 1,151 and wounded in action 5,723.

Erwin  Rommel ordered this move on 14 June, but he still had no intention of risking the isolation of the 77th Division if the peninsula should be cut. He decided, on the contrary, that if the Americans broke through to the west coast, the 77th Division would be withdrawn south and the defence of Cherbourg would devolve on the 709th  91st , under Generalmajor Bernard Klosterkemper  and 243rd  under Generalleutnant Heinz Hellmich Divisions. In anticipation of an American breakthrough, LXXXIV Corps on 15 June ordered the reorganization of German forces in the peninsula into two Kamfgruppen, battle groups. The field order, copies of which were captured the next day by the 9th Division, organized the 709th Division and 243rd Division into one Kampfgruppe “Schlieben” under Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Karl Wilhelm von Schlieben

, commanding the 709th Infantry Division. The 77th and 91st Divisions File:91. Luftlande Infanterie-Division Logo.svg were combined in another Kampfgruppe under Generalleutnant der Infanterie, Heinz Hellmich commander of the 243rd Infantry Division File:243 Infantry Division (German).svg. If the peninsula were cut, Kampfgruppe von Schlieben was to defend Cherbourg and Kampfgruppe Hellmich was to pull out to the south to prevent any further American penetration south of St. Lô-d’Ourville.

Death and burial ground of Stegmann, Rudolf.

The redisposition of the Kampfgruppe Hellmich proved more difficult. General Hellmich was killed on 17 June, while attempting to redispose elements of the 709th Division and his own 243rd Division. Meanwhile, Generalleutnant Rudolf Stegmann of the 77th Infantry Division File:77th Infanterie-Division Logo.svg was ordered to disengage and withdraw to la Haye du Puits. Then Stegmann was killed in action on 10-06-1944, age 49 and he is buried on the war cemetery of Orglandes. The Generals Heinrich Hellmich and the first killed German General on D-Day, Generalleutnant der Infanterie, former Kommandeur der 91st Infanterie Division ,

Wilhelm Falley,    are also buried here.



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