Wiesbaden - History - World War II

World War II

In World War II, Wiesbaden was the Headquarters for Germany’s Wehrkreis XII. This military district included the Eifel, part of Hesse, the Palatinate, and the Saarland. After the Battle of France, this Wehrkreis was extended to include Lorraine, including Nancy, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The commander was General der Infanterie Walther Schroth.

Wehrkreis XII was made up of three subordinate regions: Bereich Hauptsitze Koblenz, Mannheim and Metz.

  • Bereich Hauptsitz Koblenz was the headquarters for 12 Unterregion-Hauptsitze, namely Trier I, Trier II, Koblenz, Neuwied, Kreuznach, Wiesbaden, Limburg an der Lahn, Lahn, Mainz, Worms, Darmstadt and Luxembourg.
  • Bereich Hauptsitz Mannheim was the headquarters for 10 Unterregion-Hauptsitze, namely Saarlautern, Saarbrücken, St. Wendel, Zweibrücken, Kaiserslautern, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Ludwigshafen (Rhein), Mannheim I, Mannheim II and Heidelberg.
  • Bereich Hauptsitz Metz was the headquarters for Unterregion-Hauptsitze Metz, Diedenhofen (Thionville) and Saint-Avold.

During the war, Wiesbaden was largely spared by allied bombing raids. But between August 1940 and March 1945, Wiesbaden was attacked by allied bombers on 66 days. In the attacks, about 18% of the city's homes were destroyed and approximately 1,700 people lost their lives.

Wiesbaden was captured by U.S. Army forces on March 28, 1945. The U.S. 317th Infantry Regiment attacked in assault boats across the Rhine from Mainz while the 319th Infantry attacked across the Main River near Hochheim am Main. The attack started at 0100 and by early afternoon the two forces of the 80th U.S.Infantry Division had linked up with the loss of only three dead and three missing. The Americans captured 900 German soldiers and a warehouse full of 4,000 cases of champagne.

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