Wehrpass Hans Meier

Pages 32 and 33 will always be of great importance to any Wehrpass collector as they detail the actions the unit the soldier the Wehrpass belonged to was involved in. These come in many shapes and forms. Normally they take the form of handwritten entries but often printed entries stuck straight into the Wehrpass are also encountered, as in this particular case. In Hans’ case the war diary entries cover the progress of the 16th Infantry Division through its early participation in Operation Blau. It details the breakthrough battles and follow up operations up to the River Don. Hans also followed his Division into the Caucuses with actions at the Kuban river and the Kalmuk Steppes. The 16th Infantry (Mot) was also the unit that pushed its troops the further East as some of its recon elements came as close as 20kms to Astrakhan. As the tide turned Hans was also involved in the harsh retreat from the Caucuses after the surrounding of 6th Army at Stalingrad. His service record for 1943 is full of ‘Abwehrkampf/Abwehrschlacht’, defensive battles as the Red Army inexorably pushed Westwards. The names of the rivers (Mius, the Dontez, and the Dnepr) read as the different defensive lines where the Wehrmacht tried to make a stand and stem the Soviet steamroller. Still attached to a reconstituted 6th Army, Hans continues his service in the workshop company. In early 1944 elements of the 16th Motorised along with elements of other units are used to create the 116th Panzer Division, the Windhund Division famous for its involvement in the Normandy Campaign. Hans however seems to have to stayed deployed in the Reich as shown by the entry ‘Verwendung in Heimatskriegsgebiet’ (service on the Home Front Area of Operations).

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