"Type 999" divisions???

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Fallschirmjäger and the other Luftwaffe ground forces. Hosted by Christoph Awender.
User avatar
tigre
Member
Posts: 9028
Joined: 20 Mar 2005 11:48
Location: Argentina

Re: "Type 999" divisions???

Post by tigre » 02 Sep 2020 14:46

Hello to all :D; more...................................

999. leichten Afrika-Division.

Possibility of defecting.

In mid-April 1943, around 5,700 members of the 999. leichte Afrika-Division had to be transferred to the Tunisian theater of war. Among them were some 1,500 former political prisoners. Until the surrender of Army Group Africa on May 13, 1943, their deployment lasted only one or two months, depending on the regiment.

First, the reinforced ASR 961 was used from March 28 on the Southwestern Front near Kairouan. There it was supposed to cover the flank of the Deutschen Afrikakorps, which withdrew from the south towards the "Tunisian bridgehead." From April 15, 1943, the reinforced ASR 962 battalions were deployed on the northwestern front near Heidous and Djebel Dardyss.

As a general rule, the 999 former political prisoners were unwilling to put their lives on the line for the victory of the Nazi regime. They strove to enter Allied captivity as safely and securely as possible without a fight. However, there were no large joint operations at company or even battalion scale, as had been planned and prepared on several occasions.

In the specific situation at the front, the former political prisoners hardly had any means of communication between them, since they were indispensable for coordinated actions. In widely separated bases they were mostly only a minority compared to regulars and criminals. While it was clear from the outset that the regular staff consisted largely of fanatical fighters, some of the offenders also proved "willing to probation." The Berlin communist Heinz Meyer of ASR 961 summed up the situation in such a way that “none of our old instructions on dismantling the military force, breaking up the front, etc. could be carried out. The only thing left (...) was to look for the opportunity to defect ".

The first eight deserters, mostly communists, were denounced on April 6, 1943, with the addition: "They were all good soldiers." This expressed the desire of many former political prisoners to appear outwardly as "staunch soldiers." This was not only related to the goal of preventing unnecessary harassment. It was also about lulling superiors to safety and gaining greater freedom of action. Meanwhile, Army Group Africa telegraphed to OKW: "The most severe countermeasures have been ordered within the Rgt."

Karl Kuntze, once a member of the resistance group “Red Fighters”, recorded what was concealed in his diary on April 7, 1943: “Leutnant Juranek reads an order from General Thomas that some of our unit have deserted. If that happens again, every tenth man will have to be shot. "With this threat, Thomas followed a maxim of his" Führer ", which he had already stated in the Reichstag on July 13, 1934:" The mutinous divisions are always backed by the order to be decimated ”. By the way, Thomas met "hero death" four weeks later when his plane was shot down while flying to Africa.

To avoid reprisals against the comrades who stayed, desertion actions were carried out in such a way that they could not be easily recognized as such even later. This was particularly successful with the withdrawal movements that soon began. In other cases, acts of desertion and sabotage were recognized, but due to the rapid collapse of Army Group Africa, they could no longer be reported to the higher command.

The interplay of these and other factors resulted in completely different assessments of the 999's "combat value." Based on consistently positive reports from career-aware 999 officers, the Army High Command concluded that "former unworthy of military service, with a few minor exceptions, had done extremely well." In contrast, the 999 antifascists sang their voluntary change in front of the "Tommy" in captivity allied with the "Song of the 999 Division" as follows: "You don't need your tanks for us, / the weapons are in the sand. / We don't want to die for Hitler / In African lands (...) Then Tommy finally appeared, / I had known it a long time ago / The battle was over before it started / because we were not ready to die. / «

Sources: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 9leDiv.htm
https://www.mymilitaria.it/liste_04/sol ... rigade.htm
999er-Strafsoldaten - deportiert vom Hannoverschen Bahnhof. Hamburger Antifaschisten in Wehrmachts-Uniform.
http://www.die-linke-weissenburg.de/pol ... wir-nicht/

Cheers. Raúl M: 8-).

User avatar
tigre
Member
Posts: 9028
Joined: 20 Mar 2005 11:48
Location: Argentina

Re: "Type 999" divisions???

Post by tigre » 09 Sep 2020 19:28

Hello to all :D; more...................................

999. leichten Afrika-Division.

Concerns about "combat prowess".

Shortly before the end of the fighting in Tunisia, the OKW had decided to send the remainder of the Africa Division 999, as it came to be called a little later, to Greece for coastal protection. The German Military Leadership expected an Allied invasion there. The following events, especially in the Peloponnese, soon led to a disenchantment in the OKW, with respect to the troops of the 999. Oberst Erich von Brückner played an important role in this. The Commander of ASR 963, who would no longer arrive in Tunisia, had assured on April 19, 1943 that he would "remove by court martial and medical everything that was not nailed down" so that the final result would be "good". Three months later, the same man in the Peloponnese reported that the "attempt made with the use of an officer corps capable of training a reliable fighting force from unusual human material ... must be considered essentially a failure."

The OKW then commissioned Oberstleutnant Bernhard Klamroth to get a picture of the situation. Klamroth's report of August 29, 1943 was quite clear: “30-40% of all those unworthy of military service are great traitors. The possibility is affirmed that some activists (...) instigate riots at the right time ”. A day later, Oberst von Brückner addressed again General Felmy of the LXVIII . Army Corps in Athens. Meanwhile, his "concern over the combat value and reliability" of the 999 had increased further: "When the soldiers mockingly explain to the Greeks that the colonel's orders are none of their business, the colonel will soon be 'liquidated' if they are pressured to get along with the penitentiaries and it is about turning them into soldiers when they declared that they hated the Führer and his followers, that they wanted the war to end and the British to come, this is not hidden from the enemy intelligence service either. ..) you can't fight with the concentration of a few thousand subhumans. "

General Felmy forwarded the letter to OKW and announced the return of "25% of the less reliable men" as an immediate measure. This was not yet authorized in Berlin. Instead, two staff officers and two judges were dispatched to prepare suitable countermeasures. The reports obtained left nothing to be desired in terms of clarity. The former commander of III. ASR 961 Battalion wrote:

“It is remarkable that the intelligentsia of those with a political background go out of their way to do each job correctly so as not to attract attention in any way. (...) However, this behavior does not correspond so much to the need to compensate for the mistakes they made before, but to a tactical prudence to surrender to their fate until (...) the current latent state can explode into a new public enthusiasm for the communist idea. You have to be very careful with them. "

His "colleague" from the former III./ASR 962 reported on a conspiracy to "turn weapons against his own superiors and desert" in the event of an attack: "Cerny and his accomplices achieved their thing with impeccable conduct, a zeal for service and good military behavior to deceive superiors in such a way that they enjoy a special confidence ”. Franz Cerny, from the opposition of the Communist Party, was executed on July 19, 1943 in Anomanolas.

Sources: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 9leDiv.htm
https://www.mymilitaria.it/liste_04/sol ... rigade.htm
999er-Strafsoldaten – deportiert vom Hannoverschen Bahnhof. Hamburger Antifaschisten in Wehrmachts-Uniform.
http://www.die-linke-weissenburg.de/pol ... wir-nicht/

Cheers. Raúl M: 8-).

User avatar
tigre
Member
Posts: 9028
Joined: 20 Mar 2005 11:48
Location: Argentina

Re: "Type 999" divisions???

Post by tigre » 16 Sep 2020 13:17

Hello to all :D; more...................................

999. leichten Afrika-Division.

»Criminal Brigade«

A fourth battalion of the former Africa Division 999 was placed under the 117th Jäger Division in the Peloponnese. Its commander, General le Suire, shared the following assessment of the battalion commander: "From a remote base (...) within 4 weeks 6 men (...) with full armament can be shown to have defected to the gangs (i.e. partisans). These soldiers were previously considered reliable. It was found (...) that mostly political convicts had formed a group of followers in order to prepare rules of conduct in the event of enemy attacks and the removal of superiors. (...) In the event of an enemy attack, the part that has so far successfully camouflaged itself will turn out completely. (...) I consider the formation of these special associations (...) to be a danger. "

After Colonel I.G. Meichsner flew back to Berlin on September 28, 1943 with such assessments, the OKW was also forced to act. On October 3, 1943, the order was issued for a large-scale "purge". From the 999 units in Greece and still in Germany, around 1500 to 2000 "unreliable elements" were "removed". An unspecified number who still had remaining sentences to serve were returned to the penal institutions. 1250 men with no remaining sentences were made available to the "Organization Todt", responsible for military construction projects, as unarmed workers.

Almost exactly one year to the day after his "Führer's order" to set up the Africa Brigade 999, Hitler had to acknowledge that the project had largely failed. When General Alfred Jodl explained to him the situation in the various theaters of war on October 4, 1943, the events of the 999ers in Greece were also discussed. In the largely charred fragments of the protocol, the words can still be deciphered: "... again the battalion of this probation or criminal brigade ..."

Sources: http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... 9leDiv.htm
https://www.mymilitaria.it/liste_04/sol ... rigade.htm
999er-Strafsoldaten – deportiert vom Hannoverschen Bahnhof. Hamburger Antifaschisten in Wehrmachts-Uniform.
http://www.die-linke-weissenburg.de/pol ... wir-nicht/

Cheers. Raúl M: 8-).

Return to “Heer, Waffen-SS & Fallschirmjäger”