Role light infantry
|Country Nazi Germany|
The 97th Jäger Division was a light infantry Division of the German Army during World War II. It can trace its origins to the 97th Light Infantry Division which was formed in December 1940. It was then redesignated the 97th Jäger Division in July 1942. It fought in the Battle of Kursk and suffered heavy losses. It was then transferred to the lower Dnieper river area and fought well during the retreat through Ukraine. It was transferred to Slovakia in October 1944 and surrendered to the Red Army near Deutschbrod in May 1945.
The main purpose of the German Jäger Divisions was to fight in adverse terrain where smaller, coordinated units were more facilely combat-capable than the brute force offered by the standard infantry divisions. The Jäger divisions were more heavily equipped than mountain divisions, but not as well armed as a larger infantry division. In the early stages of the war, they were the interface divisions fighting in rough terrain and foothills as well as urban areas, between the mountains and plains. The Jägers (hunters in German), relied on a high degree of training and slightly superior communications, as well as their not inconsiderable artillery support. In the middle stages of the war, as the standard infantry divisions were downsized, the Jäger structure of divisions with two infantry regiments, became the standard table of organization.
In 1943, Adolf Hitler declared that all infantry divisions were now Grenadier Divisions except for his elite Jäger and Mountain Jäger divisions.