Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

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RICHARDGF
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Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by RICHARDGF » 24 Mar 2008 17:45

I am trying to keep track of Nordlands movements in the last days of the war, but lack information of the Divisions whereabouts during the period of 20/03/1945 untill 16/04/1945. I know that I. batt. of rgt.23+24 where sent to Hungary, and that Nordland troops participated in combat by Berkholz, Pagelsee and Karlshof, but have no dates or information regarding this period. Can anybody help me, or tell me where I can achieve any specific information about this period?

Richard

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 24 Mar 2008 19:31

You are asking about where Nordland was after the withdrawal from the Altdamm Bridgehead, up to the start of the Soviet Berlin Offensive. During this time Nordland and rest of the III. (germ.) SS-Panzerkorps was refitting just west of the Oder and north of Berlin.

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by PK » 24 Mar 2008 20:12

I recommend you to read Tiekes book "Tragedy of the Faithful" about III. SS-Pz.Korps.

/PK

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by RICHARDGF » 25 Mar 2008 21:05

Thanks, I have read Tiekes book "Tragedy of the Faithful", but my notes don't show anything of the subject. Have booked it again at the library.
Btw.Does anybody know the whereabouts of Nordlands KTBs ?

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by PK » 25 Mar 2008 22:10

Hello Richardfg

The KTBs for "Nordland" and III. SS-Pz.Korps didnt survived the war....

All the best
Petter

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 28 Mar 2008 16:39

here is some information:

March 27 (circa):
Division HQ at Alt-Kükendorf; SS-PGR 24 refitted with tank crewmen from Hermann von Salza - who no longer have any tanks to crew.

Army Group Vistula reports Nordland casualty rates for March 1945:

* 366 killed
* 1,611 wounded
* 387 missing

April 1945: Heavy combat Oder front, Neukölln, Battle of Berlin - division part of 11th Army.

April 7:
Stationed W. Schweldt; first battalions of Norge and Danmark regiments transferred to 5th SS-Division;

April 9:
Königsberg, the capital of East Prussia, falls to the Soviets.

April 16:
Soviets launch final offensive in Berlin. A French SS volunteer assault battalion (Französisches Freiwilligen Sturmbattalion) under SS-Hauptsturmführer Henri Joseph Fenet joins the division in the defense of the city. Spanische-Freiwilligen-Kompanie der SS 101 is possibly attached to the division and defends the Propaganda Ministry.

April 17:
Division brought out of reserve, assigned to LVI Panzer Corps and ordered to move south of Seelow. Unit sent to front line at Hermersdorf, then transferred to Eberswalde. Nordland only has 50 armored vehicles in the recon and "Hermann von Salza" detatchments, and has suffered 15,000 casualties, including 4,500 KIA/MIA since January. General Heinrici orders the 23rd SS Nederland to Müllrose, SW of Frankfurt an dem Oder. Himmler is furious that Heinrici is essentially stripping the III. SS-Panzer-Korps of its main combat units.

Soviet dive bombers attack a Nordland column.

April 18:
Divisional elements near Strausberg bypassed by Soviet columns heading towards Berlin. Recon detachment suffers heavy casualties from a Katyusha rocket strike.

SS-Brigadeführer Joachim Ziegler vists General Karl Weilding, the commandant of Berlin, at Weilding's HQ in Müncheberg. Ziegler reports that the 11th SS division has stopped to refuel and won't arrive to reinforce Weilding's 56 Panzer Corps until later. The delay in Nordland's arrival prevents the 56th Panzer-Korps from launching a counterattack against the Soviet armored forces on the Seelow Heights. The Nordland command staff is clearly not happy about serving under this Army commander. Weilding is livid.

April 19:
11th SS in heavy combat NW of Müncheberg. Division�s recon detachment rounds up stragglers from the 9th Parachute Division & makes a successful, albeit short-lived counterattack. SS-PGR 23 withdraws from Pritzhagen. SS-PGR 24, mixed up with Hitler Youth and elements of 18th Panzergrenadier Division, withdraws through the Buckow Forest towards Strausberg. The recon detachment suffers heavy casualties but reassembles near Strausberg. Sturmbannführer Saalbach makes a speech to his troops about Hitler's birthday and the importance of stopping the Soviet advance. 11th SS wounded are sent back to a SS field hospital (probably the III. SS-Panzer-Korps) where Dutch and Danish female volunteer nurses tend to them.

Later in the day, elements of SS-PGR 23 & SS-PGR 24 defend Strausberg airfield from a Soviet tank attack. 11th SS units then withdraw towards the Berlin autobahn ring, avoiding the main roads congested with fleeing civilian traffic.

April 20:
Obersturmbannführer Klotz, commander of SS-PGR 24, KIA. His body is placed in a chapel and abandoned. Danish W-SS volunteer Sturmbannführer Per Sörensen takes command of regiment but is KIA four days later.


Sources:

A European Anabasis: Western European Volunteers in the German Army and SS, 1940-1945

The Fall of Berlin - Anthony Beevor - Viking - 2002

Tragedy of the Faithful - Wilhelm Tieke - Fedorowicz - 2001

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Regiment Norge » 28 Mar 2008 17:16

Hi!

Som remarks about the 11. SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Div "NORDLAND". As Mr. Rikmenspoel stated the KTB with Anlagen as Ia, Ib and Ic reports have not surveived the war. The only KTB of III.(germ.)SS-Pz.Korps is number 3 from 30.11-31.12.43 that have surveived the war. Here the Anlagen as MOrgenmeldungen, Ia Tagesmeldungen various Orders and Funkspruch are attached. Otherwise the KTB with Anlagen to the Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 103 have surveived the war from 1943-44 toghether with the KTB to Nachrichten-Abteilung 11 from the fighting at the Curland penninsula in 1944. Total lack is any document to SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 23/24 "Norge and Danmark".

To my knooowledge the only "original" documents to NORDLAND that has surveived is the "Namentliche Verlustmeldungen" now held at Deutsche Dienststelle in Berlin, together with over 500 pages of Verleihungslisten to EK I/II and KVK I/II now at the Zentralnachweisstelle in Aachen.

It is not true that the body of the KIA Rgt.-Kdr "Danmark" Rudolf KLOTZ was abandoned in a chapel. I have a letter from Deutsche Dienststelle from 08.10.1997 who states that KLOTZ died at Reserve Lazarett 124 on the 20.04.1945 in Berlin-Baumschulllenweg. He was later buried at Gemeindefriedhof Berlin-Baumschulenweg, Grab-Nr. 15a-291. The work of Tieke was first time published in 1968 in Germany. He had only onhand what the surveivor told him and their written memoires. Since 1968 a lot of other documents have seen the light as the personell files with Vorschläge zur verleihung des RK, DKiG ....". These files are now microfilmed and held at NARA in Maryland (College Park).

I am not sure of the sources Mr. Beevor has used but a good friend of mine in Sweden have written many pages of errors in Mr. Beevors "Berlin 1945" book. The book by Wolfgang VENGHAUS "Berlin 1945" published on Selbstverlag is a documentary of statements from the Berlin fighting. He was the second writer to the KTB NORDLAND to 2.5.45 as an Unterscharfuhrer and has many interesting news.

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 28 Mar 2008 19:01

Just a few notes to some posts above. Note that the I./Norge and I./Danmark were sent to Germany to reform during March 1944. They actually rebuilt in September 1944, and then two months later joined Wiking near Modlin, north of Warsaw. They remained with Wiking to the end of the war, but were essentially destroyed in fighting in Hungary between January and March of 1945.

Despite what Beevor has written (and which since has been widely quoted from his book), Ziegler and the Nordland staff were not "upset about serving under Army command." Beevor and many others missed the point that Ziegler was a career Heeres-Generalstabs-officer, who was detached to the Waffen-SS in 1943, and then transferred to the Waffen-SS in August 1944. This was all due to the friendship he formed with Felix Steiner during the Caucasus campaign in late 1942. By spring 1945, Ziegler and Steiner both sought to spare the surviving Scandinavian and Western European volunteers from being killed in the downfall of Germany. Steiner was able to retreat with the III. (germ.) SS-Panzerkorps HQ to northwest of Berlin, bringing along most of the survivors of the Langemarck (Flemings) and the Wallonien, and a portion of Nederland (the other part was caught in the Halbe pocket south of Berlin). They stayed out of combat as much as possible, while moving west to surrender, and were joined by the survivors of II./Danmark, who didn't make it into Berlin. But Ziegler was unsuccessful in preventing the main body of Nordland from being trapped in the city. When it was clear that Ziegler was delaying responding to orders, in order to avoid sacrificing his division in Berlin, Weidling replaced Ziegler with Dr. Krukenberg, the advisor/commander of the French Charlemagne. This is when Ziegler became dspondent, and was placed under house arrest, around April 24. It was about the same time that Krukenberg had arrived in Berlin (not on April 16) with a volunteer battalion organized from his smashed division, with Henri Fenet actually commanding this small battalion (Fenet and his men actually welcomed fighting in Berlin, they knew what they were getting into).

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 28 Mar 2008 19:44

Here's my understanding of the situation:

April 25:
Zeigler gives Hauptsturmführer Pehrson permission to see if the Swedish Embassy will permit the Swedish SS troops in Nordland to seek asylum.

Krukenberg meets with Weidling at his HQ on the Hohenzollerndamn. Weidling orders Krukenberg to take of the the 11th SS Division and defend Defense Sector C, i.e. the SE sector of Berlin.

The sequence of events surrounding Ziegler's dismissal and arrest on April 25-26, and even his exact command, aren't clear. Some postwar accounts put him as acting commander of the III. SS-Panzer-Korps, although this is possibly due the fact that Nordland was by this point the only combat-capable unit affiliated with the corps. Why exactly Zeigler was dismissed isn't entirely clear, either, although certainly Weidling had his motivations:

• It may have been due to Zeigler's refusal to link up with the LVI. Panzer-Korps on April 18th, or
• His refusal to break out towards the Ninth Army during Weidling's April 22 staff conference.
• It may have been due to the rumors that Himmler had given Ziegler "secret orders" to abandon the defense of Berlin and reassemble out of reach of the Soviets at Schleswig-Holstein.

At any rate, news of Zeigler's "defeatism" worked its way up the chain of command to Hitler.

How Zeigler was dismissed isn't exactly clear either: In his postwar account, Krukenberg claimed that the handover of the division occurred without any drama. Other accounts, however, claim that Ziegler was frog-marched out of his divisional command post on the Hosenheidestra�e near Templehof airport by a sub-machine-gun toting SS detachment commanded by an unknown SS-Brigadeführer. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?" remarked Nordland Staff officer Sturmbannführer Vollmer, but Zeigler supposedly tells his astonished staff not to worry as he is hustled off.

At any rate, Krukenberg takes over command of Nordland around noontime. The combat strength of SS-PGR 23 and SS-PGR 24 regiments combined is less than a battalion. 11th SS wounded are crammed into a makeshift aid station in a cellar on the Hermannplatz.

By early afternoon, forward elements of the division withdraw up the Hermannstraße and set up defensive positions on the Hermannplatz. Krukenberg is slightly WIA by shrapnel. Using the twin towers of the Karstadt Department Store on the square as an observation post, SS spotters watch four separate Soviet armies (Fifth Shock, Eight Guards, First Guards Tank & Third Guards Tank Army) surround central Berlin.

Despite what Beevor has written (and which since has been widely quoted from his book), Ziegler and the Nordland staff were not "upset about serving under Army command."


Hi Marc

I think Beever's point is that Ziegler's "delaying responding to orders" indicated a certain reluctance to serve under or to follow orders from his Heer superiors. Weidling's anger regarding Ziegler's refusal to assist the LVI. Panzer-Korps is certainly well-documented.

Beevor and many others missed the point that Ziegler was a career Heeres-Generalstabs-officer, who was detached to the Waffen-SS in 1943, and then transferred to the Waffen-SS in August 1944. This was all due to the friendship he formed with Felix Steiner during the Caucasus campaign in late 1942. By spring 1945, Ziegler and Steiner both sought to spare the surviving Scandinavian and Western European volunteers from being killed in the downfall of Germany.


I think you're missing the point that Zeigler, despite being subordinated to German Army General Weidling, refused to follow/failed to execute orders to reinforce the LVI. Panzer-Korps. He placed the lives of his SS volunteers ahead of his orders and the lives of the men in the LVI. Panzer-Korps.

It was about the same time that Krukenberg had arrived in Berlin (not on April 16)


You are correct; my apologies. Krukenberg didn't get the telephone call from Weidling to replace Ziegler and get to Berlin center until April 24th.

I'm a little confused about Hitler's supposed ordering Ziegler arrested on April 26th and then awarding his a Knight's Cross on April 28th.

(Fenet and his men actually welcomed fighting in Berlin, they knew what they were getting into).


At least Fenet welcomed the fighting, or claimed he did postwar. I'd love to hear an account from one of the French SS captured by the Soviets on April 26th and set free because they convinced their captors they were French laborers, not SS. (this was apparently before Soviet troops in the Berlin fighting knew about SS tattoos). I doubt their story would sound so heroic.

Both Beevor and Chiukov (the Soviet commander who captured Berlin and wrote a book about the battle) make strong mention of the Soviet sledgehammer tactics used to combat SS resistence in the city center. During the Battle of Berlin, SS troops fired panzerfausts at Soviet tanks from basement windows and cellars. In response, Soviet armored columns begin to travel with squads of troops on board each tank, shooting up any windows or holes with their PPSh sub-machine guns. Soviet tankmen covered their vehicles with sandbags and mattresses in an effort to neutralize the hollow-charge panzerfausts. When German troops managed to knock out a tank, the Soviets respond by pulverizing the surrounding area with a Katyusha strike.

Hi Regt. Norge,

It is not true that the body of the KIA Rgt.-Kdr "Danmark" Rudolf KLOTZ was abandoned in a chapel. I have a letter from Deutsche Dienststelle from 08.10.1997 who states that KLOTZ died at Reserve Lazarett 124 on the 20.04.1945 in Berlin-Baumschulllenweg. He was later buried at Gemeindefriedhof Berlin-Baumschulenweg, Grab-Nr. 15a-291.


Would love to see the letter, if you can post it. As you mention, Tieke was the source of the "abandoned in the chapel" story, which may not necessarily be incorrect.A dying Klotz could have been abandoned by his SS comrades and then either transferred to (by another unit) or pronounced dead by Reserve Lazarett 124. Or maybe the SS veterans made up the story that they told Tieke because it sounded more romantic than dying in a crowded, stench-filled, panic stricken field hospital under shellfire.


BTW Beevor has an entire section of his website devoted to errata, footnotes, addtional information, etc. on his Downfall book:

http://www.antonybeevor.com/Berlin/berlinmenu.htm

The fact that he is so transparent with his historical research and works is very commendable.

I had to correct the right spelling of the names of two generals:
Not Weilding - but WEIDLING
not Zeigler - but ZIEGLER

Dieter Z., mod.

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 30 Mar 2008 05:33

Hi Rob, my source for much of what I wrote about Krukenberg and French volunteers is Robert Forbes' book For Europe, for which Forbes conducted meticulous research among the surviving French veterans. He has a lengthy section on Berlin, and demonstrates that those French who volunteered to go to Berlin, with a strong chance of being caught in an inferno at the very end of a lost war, were indeed eager to get into the action. This was a group of perhaps 300 men out of several thousand who had survived the fighting in Pomerania. The vast majority of Charlemagne Division survivors opted to stay well away from Berlin!

Forbes consulted Krukenberg's memoirs, along with contacting French veterans. Forbes states that when Krukenberg arrived at the Nordland HQ, Ziegler accepted the situation, warned Krukenberg that he would probably be the next scapegoat (for the failing defense of Berlin, when only scattered forces were available), and then left on his own for the Reichs Chancellery, where he was was arrested.

Ziegler already held the Knight's Cross since September 1944. Steiner recommended Ziegler for the Oakleaves for his leadership in the 4th Battle of Kurland, in the Sonnenwende offesive, and for his defense of the Altdamm Bridgehead, and this decoration was allegedly approved on April 28, 1945. However, Scherzer's study of the late war awards shows that in reality, Ziegler could not have been awarded the Oakleaves. His recommendation may have been under strong consideration, as was an Oakleaves recommendation for Paul-Albert Kausch (commander of Nordland armor), but neither could be actually approved. You mention Tieke's book on the III. (germ.) SS-Panzerkorps, so see pages 426-427 for Lennart Westberg's biography of Ziegler, which discusses his motives in Berlin.

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by alex5 » 21 May 2009 01:10

Last days of 11. SS does any one know what the actions were,of 16 company reg. 24 Danmark,during the month of april 1945? My father, SS-Oberscharführer Arne Sorensen' last entry as per his soldbuch,was in the lazarette, where he was innoculated again. Mar 5,45 signed by Kryssing,and some scribbling at the top of the first page, 26, 4, 45. I wish I knew how to paste bitmaps here,as the soldbuch is very legible. He was a volunteer of the frikorps, company 3, and and the reg 24 Danmark, iron cross 1st and second class, war wound medal silver, close combat medal, survived the war, after being interred by Danmark. He died in 1996.A couple of his postings were signed by Per Sorensen, and quite a few by Christensen, and Kryssing
yours,Alex Sorensen

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by alex5 » 21 May 2009 02:25

as to the whereabouts of reg 24 danmark,my fathers soldbuch indicates 16 company was in Dresden camp 26 on 3/april 1945 (probably about to be re-posted to the front,where-ever it was at that time)Funny,the last tick innoculation was 9 june 1945. yours,
Alex

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by Endzeit Jan » 22 May 2009 07:46

Hi
Per Sorensen led the regiment Danmark only 4 days. From the 20.04. until 24.04.1945.
16. Company was the pioneer company. This led in this period Willy Illum.
Jan

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by alex5 » 22 May 2009 22:58

perhaps he was signing my father's soldbuch in absence of another officer,as his signature occurs on 28/10 /44,at a location Hoke60,4 (wherever that might be) just prior to moving to Siiwertsi,and after leaving Tannenberg flst. The date says 11/3/? 44 but it appears to be written out of sequence.

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Re: Last days of 11. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Nordland"

Post by RICHARDGF » 16 Aug 2009 20:38

Hi Alex5

Here are some excerts from my files on Nordland, tdelling the whereabouts of Reg.24/16. :

From the start of april 1945, the 16.kmp, was situated west of Schwedt on the east bank of the Oder, where the are establishuing defence positions.

19.04.1945
At 03.30 am the 16. Kp. arrives in Garzau, east of Strausberg

20.04.1945
In the afternoon heavy Russian artillery fire is laid over the Strausberg airfield, followed by attacks from both sides. A single 8,8 destroyes 3 T34, and 16. Kp. together with the MG-Zug drives back the attack.
When reg.24 reach Strausberg the southeastern part of the town is being shelled. In 2 Sturmgeschütze 24/16 is sent to Buckholz to see if the Russians are there, which they were, but they manage to destroy 2 russian tanks before they retreat.

21.04.1945
Reg.24 is now at the Reichsbahn 1, south of Neuhagen, where 24/16 + the MG-Zug knocks back a Russian infantry attack.

22.04.1945
In the rests og 16.kmp along with some HJ, take positions on the west side of Karlshorst Rennbahn

24.04.1945
In the night 16.kmp. and MG-Zug is reinforced with navy personel, and is sent to Jungfernheide.

02.05.1945
During their outbreak they meet “Pi-Walde” (SS-Ustuf. Henry-Valdemar Christensen 4,45 - ?) and others on their way via Spandau to Döberitz, until they reach Grabow, and leave the Russian sector. They continue on a truck to Luneburger Heide.

I don't think he was in Nordland in april 1945, if Kryssing signed his Soldbuch he must have been i Hungary/Austria with Wiking .

best regards
Richard

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