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Holdfast: North Africa 1941-42» Forums » General

Subject: The German 90th Infantry Division rss

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Matthew Looby
United States
New York
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The 90.leichte-Afrika-Division went though a number distinct changes in name and organization between 1941 and 1943. The division was originally formed on June 26th, 1941 when a number of units were brought together under the operational control of “Division Command for Special Use Africa”, otherwise known in German as Divisions-Kommando z.b.V Afrika.

This formation initially controlled approximately two regimental sized infantry units. In August of 1941 that unit became simply the “Division for Special Use Africa” (Division z.b.V Afrika).

From this point the naming of the division is somewhat confused. Numerous sources list the division as becoming the 90th Light Infantry Division on November 27th, 1941, and later the 90th Light Africa Division in March of 1942, but two rather prominent sources (Rolf Stoves “Die gepanzerten und Motorisierten deutchen Grossverbande 1935-1945” and Peter Schmitz & Jurgen Thies “Die Truppenkennzeichen der Verbande und Einheiten der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS und ihre Einsatze im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945”) list the division as becoming the 90th Light Infantry Division on April 1st, 1942 and later the 90th Light Afrika Division on July 26th, 1942. Some confusion appears to exist regarding the actual date on which the division changed from the Africa Special Use Division to the 90th Light. An important piece of the puzzle is provided by official records.

Roger Bender in his excellent reference work “Uniforms, Organization and History of the Afrikakorps” states that according to official German war records the unit was referred to as the 90th Light as of November 28th, 1941. As can be seen some aspects of this units history are sadly murky.
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