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90th Light Infantry Division
90th leichte Afrika Division Logo.svg
90th Light Africa Division insignia.
Active August 1941 – May 1943
July 1943 – April 1945
Country Nazi Germany
Branch Heer
Type Infantry
Light Infantry
Size Division
Engagements North African Campaign
Italian Campaign

The 90th Light Infantry Division was a German Army division during World War II.


The 90th Light Infantry Division was created in August 1941 as Division z.b.V. Afrika, from units already in Africa under the control of Divisions-Kommando z.b.V. Afrika. The abbreviation z.b.V. stands for "zur besonderen Verwendung", which translates as "for a special use" in English. Through its five-year existence it was redesignated several times, although always known colloquially as the Africa Division. This is because it was the only German combat division to have actually been raised in Africa itself. It fought for the remainder of the North African campaign, finally surrendering to the Allies in Tunisia in May 1943. It was regarded apparently[citation needed] by the 2nd New Zealand Division as their special foe, as the two formations faced each other on several occasions.

As with the other units of the Afrika Korps, replacement units were quickly raised from available troops stationed in Western Europe. As such, the Africa Division was reconstituted as the 90th Panzergrenadier Division in Sardinia during July 1943. Evacuated from Corsica with the Sturmbrigade Reichsführer SS to the Italian mainland in October 1943, the division appeared opposite both the Americans and British as they pushed north. It was then very nearly wiped out in the bitter fighting with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division along the Moro River in late November 1943. A short time later it was withdrawn into reserve at Frosinone and redesignated 90th Grenadier Division (Motorized). While still rebuilding, it was deployed piecemeal along the front in response to the Allies spring offensive in 1944 to serve as a rearguard while the balance of the German units in southern Italy fell back to the Winter Line. Shifted southeast from the Franco-Italian border in September 1944, 90th Grenadier was finally listed as destroyed in the fighting south of Bologna. The remainder of its personnel surrendered to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) in Italy in April 1945.


  • Division z.b.V. Africa (August 1941 – November 1941)
  • 90th Light Infantry Division (November 1941 – March 1942)
  • 90th Light Africa Division (March 1942 – May 1943)
  • 90th Panzergrenadier Division (July 1943 – November 1943)
  • 90th Grenadier Division (mot.) (November – 1943 May 1945)


  • Generalmajor "Max Sümmermann" (July 17, 1941 – December 10, 1941: KIA)
  • Oberst "Johann Mickl" (December 11, 1941 – December 27, 1941)
  • Generalmajor "Richard Veith" (December 28, 1941 – April 28, 1942)
  • Generalmajor "Ulrich Kleemann" (April 29, 1942 – June 14, 1942)
  • Oberst "Werner Marcks" (June 14, 1942 – June 18, 1942)
  • Oberst "Erwin Menny" (June 18, 1942 – June 19, 1942)
  • Oberst "Werner Marcks" (June 19, 1942 – June 21, 1942)
  • Generalmajor "Ulrich Kleemann" (June 21, 1942 – September 8, 1942)
  • Generalmajor "Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke" (September 8, 1942 – September 17, 1942)
  • Oberst "Hermann Schulte-Heuthaus" (September 17, 1942 – September 22, 1942)
  • Generalleutnant "Theodor Graf von Sponeck" (September 22, 1942 – May 12, 1943)
  • Generalleutnant "Carl-Hans Lungershausen" (May 23, 1943 – December 20, 1943)
  • Generalleutnant "Ernst-Günther Baade" (December, 1943 – December, 1944)
  • General der Panzertruppe "Gerhard von Schwerin" (December, 1944 – April 1, 1945)
  • Generalmajor "Heinrich Baron von Behr" (April 1, 1945 – April 28, 1945)


Division z.b.V. Africa

  • Command
  • 155th Rifle Regiment
  • 361st Infantry Regiment
  • 288th Special Purpose Regiment
  • 361st Artillery Battalion (motorized)
  • 605th Antitank Battalion
  • 900th Engineer Battalion

90th Light Infantry Division

  • Command
  • 155th Rifle Regiment
  • 200th Infantry Regiment (motorized)
  • 361st Africa Infantry Regiment
  • 361st Artillery Battalion
  • 190th Antitank Battalion

90th Light Africa Division

  • Command
  • 155th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 200th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 361st Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 288th Africa Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 190th Panzer Battalion (assigned later in Tunisia)
  • 190th Artillery Regiment (motorized)
  • 580th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (later assigned to 21st Panzer)
  • 90th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (assigned in late 1942)
  • 190th Antitank Battalion
  • 900th Engineer Battalion
  • 190th Panzer Signals Battalion
  • 190th Field Replacement Battalion

90th Panzergrenadier Division

  • Command
  • 155th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 200th Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 361st Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 190th Panzer Battalion
  • 190th Artillery Regiment
  • 242nd Sturmgeschütz Battalion (retired to the division in October 1943)
  • 1st/190th Antitank Company (only a company, from the October 1943 all the battalion)

See also


  • Mehner, Kurt (1993). "Die Deutsche Wehrmacht 1939–1945". Militair-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. Norderstedt, Germany. (no ISBN)

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