Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short, summarize this topic like I'm... Ten years old or a College student
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, and also took part in the Battle of France in 1940. After a 9-month period of coastal defence the division was transferred East. On 22 June 1941, the division took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union, attached to Army Group South. It remained in the east after the failure of "Operation Barbarossa", taking part in defensive actions for the winter against the Soviet Army offensives near Izum and Kharkov. Refurbished, the division participated in the German summer offensive, and was subsequently destroyed with the 6th Army at Stalingrad in January 1943.
|44th Infantry Division|
Reichsgrenadier-Division Hoch- und Deutschmeister
|Active||1 April 1938 – 8 May 1945|
|Motto(s)||"Für Führer und Vaterland"|
|Engagements||World War II|
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 Withdrawn to refit, it was instead sent to oppose the Soviet breakthrough in Hungary.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, and was subsequently nearly destroyed near Lake Balaton. 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.