An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

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.
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 01:00

GERMAN MILITIA ENLISTS WOMEN RECRUITS - Berlin, Germany • February 12, 1945


Jpeg capture is mine. 1 second after the original common photo.

On this date in 1945 German women were called up for ser­vice in the Volks­sturm (Home Guard, or national mili­tia). Adolf Hitler was playing his
final card in World War II by mobi­lizing prac­ti­cally every Ger­man civil­ian for an apoc­a­lyptic defense of the Third Reich, a 20th‑century Wag­nerian Goetter­daem­merung. Nazi themes of death, trans­cen­dence, and com­mem­o­ration were given full play in the state news media to encourage recruitment into a lost cause.

The previous year, 1944, German military for­tunes, reduced by advancing enemy armies on both East­ern and West­ern fronts, com­pelled the
nation to con­script 16‑year-olds from the Hitler­jugend (Hitler Youth) to fill the ranks of its under­strength infan­try units. In late-Septem­ber of that year male con­scrip­tion was ex­tended to those up to the age of 60. Dozens of Volks­sturm bat­talions were formed from among citizens who were
not already serving in a mili­tary unit. Into their hands were placed short-range (45 yards), single-shot, recoilless Panzer­faust anti­tank wea­pons for the last-ditch cam­paign against the advancing enemy. Lacking uni­forms, these former civil­ians were issued black arm­bands em­bossed with the
words Deutscher Volks­sturm Wehr­macht to wear with their street clothes, sup­posedly to give them a sem­blance of belonging to the Wehr­macht
(Ger­man armed forces). The arm­bands did not pre­vent Soviet sol­diers from treating these armed men, out of mili­tary uni­form, as bandits and therefore undeserving of a chance to surrender.

From the out­set the Volks­sturm was sub­ject to the author­ity of Nazi Party Gau– and Kreis­leiter (county and dis­trict leaders), not offi­cers of the Wehr­macht, except in battle. In this final call-up, the Nazi Party exerted even more pres­sure on civil­ians than before, and so-called “volun­teers” who would other­wise have been exempted by their age or sex were con­scripted under the threat of sum­mary exe­cu­tion of any citi­zen shirking his
or her duty to defend the Vaterland. (At this late stage, con­scripts were required to provide, not only their own clothes for combat, but blanket, backpack, and cooking utensils.)

In the final major offen­sive of the war, the Battle of Berlin (April 16 to May 2, 1945), 40,000 mem­bers of the Volks­sturm (mainly vet­erans of World War I and young boys between the ages of 13 and 18 who had grown up seeped in Nazi pro­pa­ganda) were used by the German high command in
their desperate, senseless, and futile defense of Hitler’s capital. ... its-4.html
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 05:05

Volk Ans Gewehr (Rare Version) HD Eng Subtitles VIDEO

deutscher-volkssturm-volk-ans-gewehr ... ans-gewehr

Please be advised that I do not endorse or advocate this video = purely for Historical purposes = Volkssturm

The jpeg captures are all mine from the video. Please check the video. Historically intertesting and sad.

VS 2 a.JPG
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 05:07

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 05:07

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 05:08

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 05:09

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 08:29




October 10, 1944. East Prussia, Germany. Speech to Members of the Volkssturm.
(Notes) NARA, RG 242, T-175, Roll 93, Frames 4347-4352

(Stenographic report) NARA, RG 242, T-175, Roll 93, Frames 4353-4393

(Typed Copy, with Himmler's Handwritten Corrections) NARA, RG 242, T-175, Roll 93, Frames 4201-4267, 4305-4345 and 4353- 4420

(Himmler's Personal Speaking Manuscript) NARA, RG 242, T-175, Roll 93, Frames 4268-4304,

(Incomplete Audio Recording) Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv, Tb 52-12721

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 21:06

The Size and Composition of the Anti-Nazi Opposition in Germany

Undermining of Volkssturm and Efforts to Prevent Last-Ditch Resistance by Gabriel A. Almond

As the war neared an end and the German military manpower shortage became more and more apparent the Nazis attempted to ensure a last
ditch resistance through the calling up of the Volkssturm (the levy of older men and boys). There is evidence from a number of areas from
opposition sources that anti-fascist groups attempted to infiltrate the Volkssturm and undermine its will to resist. Certainly, on the whole the
poor record of the Volkssturm cannot be attributed to this oppositional sabotage. Even to Nazis the small numbers, lack of training, and inferior
arms of the Volkssturm in contrast to the numbers and equipment of the attacking troops was apparent. This overwhelming physical and
technical disproportion and the general hopelessness of resistance were undoubtedly the primary factors in the widespread demoralization of Volkssturm units. But wherever there were oppositional groups efforts were made to render the hopelessness of resistance clear through propaganda.

In a number of cases oppositional groups put pressure on the authorities to yield towns without fighting; in one or two cases armed uprisings
were planned to yield areas without resistance.

The Leipzig NKFD issued a leaflet on April 14 exhorting the Germans not to defend the town.

The Nazi regime is about to collapse! American and English troops stand before our city. In order to avoid further bloodshed and destruction of
the remnants of our residential and industrial areas, we must mobilize all the anti-fascist forces. The solution is: an end to the insane war of
the Nazis. The hour of emancipation from Nazi slavery is at hand. Now it is necessary to act! What is to be done?

No resistance to the English and Americans!

Resistance means death and destruction!

Resisting soldiers should be disarmed.

Orders to report to the Volkssturm should be disobeyed!

On April 16 a leaflet in the form of an open letter addressed to the Oberburgermeister and Polizeipresident of Leipzig was distributed.
The leaflet urged the hopelessness of any further resistance, and held the authorities responsible for any death and destruction resulting
from resistance in Leipzig. "We are making you responsible for every sacrifice and all destruction resulting from resistance .... We demand
surrender of our city without resistance in the interest of the population of Leipzig."

The Leipzig opposition leaders claim that in Lindenau, a Leipzig worker's neighborhood where the NKFD was strong, the Volkssturm revolted.
They also claim that no resistance was offered the American troops in these workers' areas.

In Hamburg the Antifa planned an internal revolt in the event of a decision by Gauleiter Kaufmann to resist. Soldiers in the Hindenburg and Mackensen barracks are reported as having been prepared to mutiny. 5,000 copies of a leaflet were distributed in Blohm and Voss five weeks
before the occupation urging the workers not to defend the town. Although the workers were threatened if they did not hand in the leaflets,
only 47 of the total were given to the authorities. During the last weeks before the occupation a unit of 250 partly armed men was formed
among the Blohm and Voss workers, and it was planned to use these units to seize key buildings in the town in the event of resistance in

The antifascist organizations also sent delegations to Hamburg industrialists threatening violence if the town was defended. The industrialists
were ordered to go to the Gauleiter at once and inform him that the Hamburg workers were taking up arms and would revolt
unless the town were peacefully surrendered. The Antifa distributed leaflets among the Volkssturm and posted a public announcement in the
Gaensemarkt (Goose Market) to the effect that the town was to be surrendered without resistance. The declaration was torn down by
SS men, but not before its contents had become publicly known.

This document, titled "The Size and Composition of the Anti-Nazi Opposition in Germany," was found among the reports of the United States
Strategic Bombing Survey (USSB) of the U.S. Air Force in the National Archives. The finder was Professor Karl-Heinz Reuband of the Institute of
the Social Sciences of the Heinrich Heine University of Dusseldorf, who was engaged in research on German attitudes during the Nazi period.
The report was identified in handwriting, "Technical Report, G. Almond." There is an illegible set of letters and numbers, designating its
location in the National Archives. Professor Reuband notified me of his find, and sent me a copy.

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 21:29

30 April 1945: Heinrich Himmler sent a directive to the Reich Defence Commissars, ordering local authorities to hand over fit male members to the armed forces or Volkssturm & destruction of material that might be of interest to the Allies

EWw6nKsWoAISOHl.jpg ... 03?lang=en
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 22:19

Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 069, folder 30: Oskar Haaf

Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers - Series The Last Battle

Commander, Volkssturm Company
Assistant to General Director of Reichs-Broadcasting Company
HAAF, Oskar
Box 69, #30




Haaf joined Reichs-Broadcasting Company in 1935, worked out of Broadcasting House in Masurenallee. From '39 until 1943, fought on the front as a first lieutenant, wounded twice in France and in Russia, discharged, sent back to Berlin, became assistant and right-hand man of Dr. Glasmeier, General Director of the Reichs-Broadcasting company. Dr. Glasmeier had been relieved of his post as head of the political department in
1942, and was from then on in charge of administrative management,. Hans Fritsche had taken over the political department; Hans Hinkel that of entertainment.

Haaf had moved his wife and two young sons to Bad Mergentheim, in Southern Germany, where the large radio transmitting station for all of
Europe was installed. At the end of January 1945, a Volkssturm batallion was formed, made up of members of the ministry of propaganda. Dr. Naumann was commander of the batallion. Haaf, because of his long military experience, was commander of the fourth company of the
Volkssturm .


At the end of January 1945 a Volkssturm batallion was formed and trained,made up of members of the ministry of propaganda. Dr. Naumann
was the commander of the batallion, which consisted of four companies, each made up of between 500 ant 550 men. First, second and third company were made up of members of the ministry of propaganda and the ministry of culture. The fourth company was made up of members
of the Reichs-Broadcasting Company, many artists, such as musicians, actors etc. among them. Haaf, because of his long military experience, was the commander of this fourth company. Two or three times every week these companies would hold training courses in the Grunewald.
According to Haaf, these hours of training pleased everybody, since they were held in the beautiful Grunewald, since every member of the Vookssturn received an additional food allowance and since the fact that they wore the uniforms of the Todt organization helped save their
civilian suits from wear and tear.

According to Haaf, his company had great stocks of submachine guns and ammunition. While an ordinary company consisted of three units, each
made up of roughly 150 men, Haaf soon formed a fourth unit. He saw that most of his men were old, many of them [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] no longer [crossed out] have [end crossed out] had the physical strength to carry out the required training exercises and that others were invalid. He nevertheless kept them in his company and they still "participated" in the Grunewald exercise by simply stitting or walking
around, but they still were entitled to their additional food allowance, and since they had papers stating they belonged to a Volkssturm outfit, no other para-military organization could grab them. Haaf finally ended up with three units that numbered less than 100 men each, while the fourth unit had between 380 and 400 men. Haaf says that nobody in his Volkssturm company believed that Berlin could be held against the Russian onslaught, though nobody ever talked about it. Even though all of them realized that soon Germany would be defeated, they felt happier and
safer in their Todt uniforms, since doing what everyone else does always give a sense of security to the average person.

Around April 10th Naumann gave the order that Haaf's company had to remain at readiness. This meant they were no longer allowed to leave the Broadcasting building on Masurenallee. They all ate and slept there from this date on. On April 22nd Naumann gave the order that all
Volkssturmmen of Haaf's company had to leave the studio and push through to Wilhelmsplatz, to take up position at the Ministry of Propaganda.
Haaf immediately started to count out a great many men of his company, writing them off as "indispensable to the functioning of the broadcasts." What remained were 76 men and himself. Shelling was heavy, but the route to Wilhelmsplatz was still free of Russians, and therefore it was not
too difficult for Haaf and his men to get there. On their way, Haaf was accosted by a pretty little boy of about twelve. The boy saluted and said: "First Lieutenant, please give me a Panzerfaust. " Haaf was amazed . "What on earth would you do with a Panzerfaust," he asked. "I have to take revenge," the little boy said gravely. Haaf: "Go home to your mother. Be a good boy and go home." The little boy replied: "I can't go home to
mother. She is dead. She was standing at the pump to get some water and a shrapnell killed her. My father was killed on the front and my
brother is on the missing list. I have to take revenge." Haaf was touched and gave the little boy some chocolate and a piece of bread. He knew
that the boy would keep asking for a Panzerfaust until somebody would give him one and then he would probably get killed.

The night of April 22nd to that of the 23rd they spent at the Thuringenhaus (House of Thuringia). Next morning, they moved to the Ministry of Propaganda, where already several hundred Volkssturmmen were quartered . Naumann was in charge of all troops stationed in the basement
of the Ministry. He sent out little groups of soldiers all day and all night to find out where the Russian positions were. Haaf did not send out
any of his men, although he received orders to do so. He says that shelling was so heavy by this time that one had nine chances out of ten [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out]of getting killed almost immediately after leaving the building. Since reconnaissance was needed, Haaf went himself. What he saw was depressing: they were completely encircled and greatly outnumbered by the Russians.

Haaf remembers that around April 24th or 25th, the Army bulletin, broadcasted daily, announced that Wenck and his army had reached the
Potsdam area and were advancing towards Berlin. The peculiar thing which created some astonishment at the Ministry of Propaganda was the fact that the Americans had not attacked Wenck's troop movements at all from the air, in spite of the easiness of such attacks. Fritsche's comment to Haaf about this was: "The Americans are leaving Wenck alone, so he can clean Berlin of the Russians for them." A few hours later, Fritsche came
to see Haaf in a very excited state: "The most incredible thing has just happened. We have received a radio message from the German Embassy
in Bern. They say that the British and the American Embassies have gotten in touch with them, asking them to please take the necessary steps for the following news broadcast over the German radio within the next few hours: 'Wenck is incessantly attacked by Western planes. A 1000 bomber
air-raid has destroyed the town of Kiel.'"

Fritsche did indeed broadcast these two bits of information in the following news bulletin. Haaf does not know to this day whether it was a
German propaganda trick or whether England and America did indeed make such a request to make the Russians believe they were fighting the Germans as fiercely as they did. At the Ministry this message achieved one thing among all people who knew its curious origin: they were filled
with hope that finally the Western Allies would help the remains of the German army to destroy the Red Army and chase the Russians out of Germany. [inserted] April 25 or 26 [end inserted]During the following day, Haaf heard at the Propaganda Ministry that Schorner was pushing
towards Berlin and was gaining ground every hour, while Wenck had reached Steglitz. Haaf could hardly believe this, but he wanted to go and
see for himself. He dressed up in civilian clothes and was ready to take leave of Naumann. Naumann told him that already a captain had been
sent out on such a reconnaissance trip. In fact this captain had very much played the hero when leaving the Ministry, talking about his
sacrifice, etc. It was later learned that he had taken advantage of his civilian clothes and papers and had disappeared to the West.

Haaf was happy to be able to stay in the shelter of the Ministry. First of all, things were very tough outside, secondly he could not walk very far
due to a vertebral injury inflicted in Russia. On either April 30th or May 1st, Haaf received orders to launch a counter-attack towards the East to keep the Russians from reaching the bunker area. The order was signed by SS General Barenfanger, and Haaf learned that a breakout from the bunker towards the North to reach Steiner's troops was planned. Therefore, the Russians had to be held back while this movement was carried
out. Haaf looked at the order and knew immediately that carrying it out meant death for himself and his men and would do no good anyway.

He showed it to Naumann, without comment, to see what Naumann's reaction would be. Naumann looked at Haaf and said: "Haaf, this
is crap. If you refuse to carry out this order, I'll cover you. But you will have to leave here, otherwise someone might shoot you
for disobedience." Haaf was deeply grateful to Naumann for his reasonable attitude, difficult to expect from a high Nazi like Naumann.
Haaf had of course heard of Hitler's and Goebbel's death on April 30th. To him it really meant the end. His first reaction was: "Finished. Over. Shit, how am I going to get out of here together with my men? It wouldn't be worthwhile to get killed at this point." Haaf's last hope of an alliance between the Western allies and Germany crumbled. Nothing but emptiness remained. "It was like a blank, empty space." No Wenck, no Schorner existed any more for him. Haaf said: "It was at this point that I noticed for the first time how desolate, how utterly destroyed Berlin looked.

During the nights from May lst to May 2nd Haaf, with Naumann's acquiescence, sent home all the men under his command, between 300 to 400 in
all. To spare the men all difficulties with possible SS patrols, he stamped their personal record booklets with "Discharged by order of
SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Naumann" and signed them. While he did this, he could not help thinking that it was thanks to Naumann that all these men were still alive and ready to go home. When all the men had left, Haaf himself was ready to go home. When he met Fritsche, Haaf said:
"Why don't you come with me? What is the use of staying here any longer?" Fritsche looked grave: "Since the last high-ranking officers have left
the Fuhrerbunker tonight, I am the only important official in this sector who could possibly negotiate with the Russians. I have to stay here; and I
will need you as my spokesman." Haaf had no desire to talk to any Russians: "I have had it," he said. "I am going home. Find yourself some general.
I don't think that any civilian would be accepted by the Red Army as a negotiator." Fritsche was desperate: "But I have looked all over to find some general. They have all gone. Nobody is here any more. But somebody has to be here. Please,Haaf, tell my wife that I stayed here as the last
man on the commando bridge and that I am trying to stop this horrible blood spilling."

Haaf then left the Propaganda Ministry. At a tramway garage nearby he found civilian clothes and put them on. Shortly afterwards, a Russian
patrol took him prisoner and he spent a few days at Plotzensee jail. He knew that if he told them his true identity, he would get "special"
treatment. He therefore told them that he used to be a bookkeeper at a clothes manufacturing plant. Since he had a friend who owned such a factory, he was able to [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] give the Russians the telephone number, exact location, approximate size and output of the factory. The Russians believed him, since he was so well informed. A few days later, Haaf was lined up together with about 6,000
more German prisoners, and they marched towards the East, heavily guarded by Russian soldiers. Near Kustrin, Haaf managed to disappear
behind a bush without being seen by the Russians. When all was clear, he started out on foot towards Bernau, Oranienburg, Magdeburg.
He reached Magdeburg in a state of complete exhaustion and undernourrishment. Luckily, he found work on a farm, where at least he was
fed in exchange for working on a field during the day. Towards[inserted] /the [end inserted] end of May, he managed to smuggle himself into a
home transport of foreign laborers, mostly Dutch and Belgians, and thus crossed the Elbe. ... 7410/rec/1

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 22:31

Title Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 069, folder 35: Karl R. Von Halt

Von Halt, Karl Ritter

Respondent- rank

Respondent- formation

Interview with Dr. Karl von Halt

Von Halt was born on the 2nd of June 1891. He is, and has been active for years is athletics and is a bank directors. He was also the president
1936 Olympis Games in Germany. He was five times the German decathlon champions. He is a tall man, over 6 ft. and must have been quite handsome in his youth.

Von Halt was the commander of a Volkssturm battalion which fought in Berlin. By the end of 1944 von Halth was then a director or board
member of the "German Bank" was ordered into the Volkssturm. As he had been an officer in World War I he was made a battalion commander.
he says: "We got absolutely no training.As we worked during the week, we met on Sundays, and then we only met a few times before we were actually called up. We got no ammunition or weapons during this training."

At the beginning of 1945 von Halt and his battalion were called up. "By the time the battle for Berlin began I was given the order to occupy the
area of Berlin Olympic Stadium," he says. "We really felt at that time that the high command was already mixed up. Our battalion was placed
on the west side of the Stadium along the raod which led to Spandau and down to the Havel. The east side of theStadium was held by Hitle Youth."

"My commander, a regular officer from the Reichswehr, was a certain colonel Eder. he was an excellent officer but you could feel that the orders
that were passed on to him were not too clear either. Everythign seemed to indicate that his superiors did not quite know what was to the done
with us. Indeed, even after he had been given our positions we still had no rifles or ammunitions."

Then the battle began in Berlin, and suddenly von Halt's battalion was "moved out to the east of Berlin.We were sent to Erkner and there we were
told to stop a Russian panser regiment that was driving towards our direction. What we were to stop them with I never really did find out. We
had no rifles, no pnazerfausts, nothing. WHen I asked what we should stop them with I was told: "Oh, we have done more difficult things before."
So I said:"Please tell your commanders that I'm not going to through my battalion unarmed against a Russian panzer unit"

I was then told:"Just see what happens to you if you continue to talk like that." Then without any explanations whatsoever, the battalion was
told to march back again to the Oympic Stadium "There" says von Halt, " we were told to hold until Wenk arrived."

"When the Russians attacked the Olympic Stadium from the north, the Hitler Youth took terrible losses. By this time we did indeed have rifles - German rifles but Italion ammunition that would not fit. The situation was ludicrous. I sent my men home, there was nothing else that they
could do. I honestly believed that they wanted us to throw stones at the panzers and stop them that way." "Everyone knew it was senseless to
fight, the only person who did not realize this was Hitler.

Von Halt remained at the Stadium with his adjutant and then went through the subway all the all the way to the Zoo station.
After the capitulation of Berlin he was ordered to report to the Russians and possibly, although he did not tell me possibly because he was a
Nazi, he was sent to Buchenwald, a Russian dentention camp which it was then being used for.

He says that the average age of his men in the Volkssturm battalion was between 50 and 60. He says that he remembers once when
[crossed out] he returned from Erkner that colonel Eder was ordered to the bunker and came back saying : "Hitler is shaking like an old man,
he is no longer normal."


Dr. Karl Ritter von Halt Mtinchen 2, February 28, 1963 Lenbachpl.2 Tel. 22 85 31 Dear Dr.Korbs! I am not able to answer your kind letter of
February 19, 1963 until today, as I was in Schwabing hospital as a result of a heart attack. I cannot make any reliable statements about the events
of the last days of the Second World War, since I was a small Volksturm battalion leader and had no insight into the orders of the higher command.
I was only able to establish, and with only one of my closest collaborators, Herr von Mengden, that higher leadership had completely failed in the final phases of the Second World War. My Volkssturrnbataillon was originally deployed on the western edge of the Reichssportfeld and was then driven neck-over-head in omnibuses to the east of Berlin in order - as I was told - to face a Russian tank regiment with my men. In the presence of Herr von Mengden, we explained to the armed forces that our people were too old and untrained to be able to solve such a task. In addition, we were thrown out with rifles for which the ammunition that was administered to us was not at all suitable. Herr von Mengden explained to the gentlemen that it would be irresponsible to give such an order to a troop that had not received any training. The officers replied that they had
quite different tasks to solve during the war. After the first collision with the Russian tanks, many soldiers in my Volkssturm battalion were
captured and some fell. Shortly afterwards, the order was revoked and we were returned to our old positions in the west of the Reichssportfeld. Here, too, our efforts were pointless.
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 23 Oct 2021 22:47

Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 069, folder 34:

Heinz Rose

1. Dec. 15, 1944 - April 30, 1945

2. Major and batallion commander of Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/218

3. 40 years old

4. married, no children

5. In 1941 discharged from military service on account of
injury. Since then at home.

6. against the Russians, Berlin/Preussenpark

8. I knew of the Yalta decisions, believed the Russians would take the city , and in front of my batallion, denied the Wenck story, which was a [crossed out] er [end crossed out] larg personal risk for me.

9. Only Wenk, which I denied

10. Documents are in my possession; rather, they can be obtained again from the Berlin Senate at any time.

11. remember exactly commander conferences with the military section commander SA Brigadeoberfuhrer Mesmer, Kreissturmbannfuhrer
Rutkowski, and others.

I took part in the Battle of Berlin as a leader of battalion 3/218, NSDAP district Halensee, and led the battalion from November 16, 1944 to May 2, 1945. My section of the battle was Brandenburgishce Strasse in Wilmersdorf between Kurfurstendamm and Preussen Park and on April 16, 45 .
I myself [crossed out] was under [end crossed out] collaborated with the air force leadership staff of air force general Eberhard Baier. On April 8th and 16th I had to perform tactical reconnaisence trips in the area Beeskow-Bugh- Storkow, the center of the last enclrclement battle
(Kesselschlacht ) (staff Gen. Remer, Saarow = Pieskow, as well as Colonel Bieler, Commander Frankfurt / O.), etc. to be carried out.
It is not possible to present everything here in brief, because I saw these things not only as a trained officer, but also as a trained reporter, ie
with completely different eyes. ... 7310/rec/7

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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 24 Oct 2021 00:05

Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 069, folder 27: Waldemar Bruschke

Volkssturm-Kompanie leader in Volkssturm-Bataillon Dr. Drager

Interesting information about the two-day battles from April 20th to April 22nd, only then did the Russian break through with his armored
spearhead in the Schoneiche-Friedrichshagen area

Reference to Pi-School = Karlshorst pioneer school in this report.

The Volkssturm was called together here in Berlin in about October 1944. Men who had participated in the 1st or 2nd World War - and when
possible had been non-com officers - were especially sought out by the party and its affiliates. [crossed out] organizations. [end crossed out]
The first organization was under the direction of the party groups; in my opinion, there was little enthusiasm, for the training and practice of
the otherwise civilian men presented their difficulties.

The First Batallion was set up for the section Oberschonweide, Niederschonweide, Karlshorst, and Friedrichsfelde - the directly east side of
Berlin. Each district provided one company. Practice, that is, instructions and lectures, took place on Sundays, or once a week on a weekday evening. The beginning of December 1944, I took over the post of Zugfuhrer (platoon commander) in the 1st company. Enthusiasm and action
came too, for from the [crossed out] pioneer [end crossed out] [inserted] Engineer) [end inserted] school in Karlshorst, at the time an impressive cornerstone of the Wehrmacht and the site of the capitulation through Gen. Keitel in May 1945, we received the first modern hand weapons,
often officers of the "[crossed out] Pi- [end crossed out] [inserted] ENGINEERS [end inserted] school attended the [crossed out] [illegible]
[end crossed out] [inserted] practice [end inserted] sessions, so that now one could speak of a certain degress of training.

In December I had to attend a week-long course for company leaders with a troop unit between Wannsee and Kladow. After my return, the
company leader of the Karlshorst unit left for training as a batallion leader and was transferred to Grafenwor. I was appointed company leader.
We were all still working at our professions, so our practice and training sessions continued to be held on Sundays and in the evenings. No
uniform was worn, just an armband which was worn at [crossed out] a [end crossed out] lectures and training indicated Volkssturm membership.

In the early afternoon of Jan. 30, 1945, a dark and foggy, wet-cold day, The Volkssturm was called out in our districts, more or less mobilized .
I received the news at my place of business via telephone and I hurried at once home to Karlshorst and then [inserted] to [end inserted] the local group. I sent messengers to all the members of the company and at 7 PM the company met at the station square. We marched to the designated meetingplace - the high bunker at the railroad repair yards. There we met the other Volkssturm units of the neighboring districts. During the
night there were conferences and in the early morning hours the fight batallion Dr. Drager (a district court official from Berlin-Kopenick) was formed. One company each from Karlshorst, Oberschonweide, Niederschonweide und Friedrichsfelde. Headquarters of the batallion staff was an empty villa at the corner of Waldow Allee. My Karlshorst company I settled in the school in the Treskow Allee and in the former fire station
in the Donhoffstrasse.

While at first my people had been half in uniform and half in civilian dress, now Wehrmact uniforms were delivered at once, along with two armbands for jacket and coat. At the same time we were removed from being under so-called party orders and put under the command of the Wehrmacht. The "Pi-school" assigned two younger officers and a non-com officers to each company as special teachers. Our company
now increased to 110 men, [crossed out] the [end crossed out] plus the two Wehrmachtsofficers, the non-com, 3 platoon leaders of the
Volkssturm unit and myself as company leader.

My company was assigned its own field kitchen. Our food came from the "[crossed out] Pi [end crossed out] [inserted] ENGINEERS [end inserted] -school" so our stomachs were always full. Training and practice alternated at top speed. Almost every day I had to go to the "Pi-school" for
two or three hours to get orders, attend briefings. There were about 50 to 75 of us leaders, belonging to all the units of the division
[crossed out] s [end crossed out] set up here east of Berlin. The division leader, Col. Hansen, an old Wehrmacht officer, an excellent man and professional soldier, knew how to get his way in matters. For participating in these briefings, etc. were usually the current commander of Berlin - who changed often - and the party district leader. Also, we officers were often taken to the so-called Bayerisch-viertel (Bavarian district,
so-called because it is near Bayerischer Platz) in Schoneberg where there were the largest number of burned out ruins (due to heavy bombing -
one major raid [inserted] in 43 or 44 [end inserted] hit the subway shaft, killing those who had sought refuge there; large number of casualties).
Here house and street fighting was demonstrated to us. Here we were to absorb training technics.

In addition, there were often practice session during the night when the subway was not running, especially in the tunnel of the subway at the Friedrichsfelde station.

It was always clear to us that we would be fighting aginst the Russians only and our Col. Hansen often repeated his statement:
"We are standing here in Berlin with our faces toward the east;- what goes on behind us is of no interest to us; the enemy is standing in the east
and he will come from there! " As was the case elsewhere, our divisional staff had its so-called liaison man to the party too. Personally, he was
an excellent man; whenever once in a while he would start to announce party policies during the briefings, the Col. Hansen would always
interrupt him with the above statement.

Rumors about the relief of Berlin through Wenck ' s army raged through the town, also rumors of the approach of the army from West Prussia.
But also rumors that this army could have intervened successfully had it not been robbed of its effectiveness through sabotage acts, that is,
through misshipments of fuel and ammunition.

Once all the leaders were ordered to the county town of Teltow. There we were to see a demonstration of the newest and most accurate
defense weapons.

On a wide-open field there stood about ten pieces of launching equipment - very simple machinery, capable of being operated by anyone [crossed out] after [end crossed out] following instructions. They were shells of heaviest calibre, about 50 centimeter in diameter and 125 centimeter
long - type of rocket.

These shells were simply released from the [crossed out] muzzle and [end crossed out] barrell, and they drifted like a heavy [crossed out]
mine [end crossed out] [inserted] shell [end inserted] from the 1st World War. One could follow their path. I estimate their height to have
been about 500 meters. Their distance was [crossed out] a [end crossed out] probably only a few kilometers. When they hit there was a terrific cloud of smoke, the explosive strength as such was said to be especially strong and spread over a large area. With this weapon,
troup concentrations were to be combatted successfully in close fighting. A ring of a thousand such launching pads was to be built up around
Berlin. The weapon that was to save Berlin. We never heard anything of it again! Never saw anything of it again!

The division in question under Col. Hansen was composed exclusively of groups of Landesschutzen (elderly members of the Wehrmacht who were
no longer fit for front duty - like the Landssturm in the 1st World War) and the Volkssturm. Belonging to this division were all the [crossed out]
units [end crossed out] armed units in [crossed out] from [end crossed out] the east of Berlin as far as Erkner and beyond. Whether
artillery or other special weapons were available, that I don ' t know. I only knew that we in the "Pi-school" had a small special unit at our

About 6 or 8 manouverable Panzerspahwagen [inserted] (armored scout cars) [end inserted] were equipped with a special small cannon,
with which tanks of even the heaviest type were to be destroyed easily at close or moderate range. Later as I lay in positions with my company, several times such vehicles rattled past my battle stand (young officers from the Pi-school drove these vehicles). The heavy Russian tank hidden
in the woods about 300 - 400 meters away opposite our trench was not destroyed. At the Russian attack there were no [crossed out] t [end crossed out] more such Panzerspahwagen to be seen!

During February and March 1945, under the supervision of fortifications officers, a trench system was dug in my batallion district, that is,
beginning at the station Wuhlheide, on to the point where the Friedrichsfeld district limits cut across, close past the eastern side of the Pi-school. This trench system was a main trench with "Igelstellungen" (hedgehog positions) at those points where good roads and streets coming from the
east crossed the trench. To help dig this, elderly fellow citizens were called upon, but also at times women were called upon by the party to
help. The party also provided its party officials, who worked then on Sundays especially. As far as they were not need for other duties,
the members of my Volkssturm company were also put to work. Col. Hansen and a fortifications officer of the Pi-school personally inspected the work every day and the company leader in charge of each section had to be present.

I would like to remark that after the so-called mobilization of the Volkssturm and the organization of the so-called battle companies, each
available little man, youth and school child of suitable age were put together in Volkssturm units and considered then to the so-called [inserted] shovel [end inserted] shovel-bridgades. I didn't learn anything more about this, as I actually was on duty myself day and night.

The end of March 1945, after the Russians had crossed the Oder and Kustrin, we were called out one night at about 1 AM. The Pi-school put
trucks at our disposal and at 1.30 AM I left with my company to take up the assigned position on the south side of the Muggelsee (lake).
As we were unloading, I learned from a fortifications officer of the school that this was only a practice exercise and not active duty.
In spite of this, everything down to taking position as assigned had to be carried out as in battle. Officers of the division and Col. Hansen
followed every action of the Volkssturm leaders and sub-leaders. This manouver ended at about 11 AM, the individual formations were permitted
to return to their quarters, while the division staff and batallion staff held a big conference with us company and [crossed out] bata [end crossed out] platoon leaders. Each was given plus and minus points.

After the Russians had advanced the beginning of April as far as Seelow, Col. Hansen transferred his headquarters to Muncheberg,
about 50 kilometers east of Berlin. We were now expecting daily to be called for duty. We were on alert. No one was allowed leave over night; even when it was a matter of importance, then leave was granted only for a few hours and one had to state [crossed out] e [end crossed out]
where he could be reached at any time. This continued until April 19th.

On April 20, at 8.35 AM, I received telephone orders in the Pi-school to take position with my company at the crossroads [crossed out] of in [end crossed out] of the forest roads Friedrichshagen-Munchehofe and Schoneiche-Dahlwitz. I had to direct my field kitchen with its supplies,
the truck with weapons, reserve weapons, about 50 Panzerschreck [inserted] (ANTI-TANK) [end inserted] weapons and gun and machine gun ammunition under proper guard to the defense point Ravensteinermuhle.

Already during the first preparations there came air raid alarm. The Pi-school could provide no transportation. Departure was delayed by the air
raid alarm. Right after the all-clear, at 11 AM, I managed to get a suburban train engine and a passenger coach from the repair yards
Rummelsberg - [crossed out] the [end crossed out official Bolter was a good friend of mine. Thus I transported my entire
company as far as Friedrichshagen station. The caravan from Karlshorst departed at the same time for the Ravensteinermuhle.

My company of 89 men, armed with about 80 Panzerschreck weapons, three light, one heavy and one [inserted] v [end inserted] revolvable
airplane machine guns and a [crossed out] a [end crossed out] generous supply of ammunition for 89 guns, continued on foot and in a half an
hour reached its destination. Our section was from the Chaussee house on the Schoneicherstrasse in a half-circle to the foresters' house
Neu Krummendahl and was about 2.2 kilometers long. It lay about 100 yo 300 meters within a transparent forest of pine trees, some of them 80 years old. In front were several kilometers of farm land, that is the Rieselfelder area (sewege purification or [crossed out] d [end crossed out]
water purification area). To the side began a thick pine forest which went back for about three kilometers. This corner of the position was very disadvantageous. And here began the position of the neighboring battallion. This was the Friedrichshagen company Koch, whose company leader was killed in a Russian attack on April 22. He is buried in the Friedrichshagen cemetery, right to the left of the entrance.

After briefing the company and assigning them their positions, I moved into the company battle station, about 1100 meters back
of the trench at an easily reached clearing in the woods. The shack of former woodcutters provided a reasonably good shelter
and guaranteed good conditions for receiving and giving orders. During the day I personally inspected the trench and the men
several times. On the same evening there was a Russian air attack upon Friedrichshagen, especially upon the advanced fortifications
Ravensteinermuhle. The field kitchen and supplies of the company remained undamaged. The next day, at about 1 PM, my
battle stand is hit by about 10 - 12 shells which land close by but cause damage only to the trees. Apparently these shells come [crossed out] s
[end crossed out] from a heavy tank. We were rather safe from normal shelling, as around the place there were five foxholes of about one
meter diameter and 1.50 meter depth. I ordered two scout teams of two men each to scout along beside the Chaussee to Schoneiche, and
if possible, through Schoneiche and beyond the eastern borders of the town to see how far the Russians have advanced in the mean-
time. I ordered them to shoot only in the case of extreme danger, but to return as soon as possible with exact information.
Both teams return without having met the enemy nor gotten any information. Even the patrols sent out at about midnight
could not find any Russians at the eastern perimeter of the town.

Instead, late in the evening, a mass of [crossed out] SS u [end crossed out] retreating SS units occupied the right wing of our position.
Thus I could pull my men closer together and I joined them in the trenches. Here I received the message to report to the Chaussee house at
3 AM. At this time SS General Huntermann (or something like that) would arrive and take over the command of all troops, declare this
section to be a Main Battle Line, extend it and defend it. This SS unit consisted of men of Russian extraction (Wassileff people?) and
scattered units.

I didn't go myself to the Chaussee house but instead sent an orderly, who, after waiting in vain for two hours, returned with-out
having accomplished anything. Now I took up contact at once with the SS units on the right; an SS Fuhrer was just about to make a forceful reconnaisance of the field in front as he believed that he had heard sounds in the totally dense area. I [crossed out] heard at on
[end crossed out] hurried at once to the left wing of the position in order to be able to attack with my company if necessary.

Now we heard loud yells of Hurra and a few shots. But after a few minutes all was quiet again. Not one shot came from
the Russians. So we could assume that the Russians were not in front of us yet. Then I received the report that the reconnaisance patrol had advanced about 75 meters, was discontinued in view of the density and darkness, especially since no shots came from the enemy. But still the situation was still very unpleasant and attention and observation should be increased as far as [crossed out] ppssiible. [end crossed out] possible.

In view of the fact that since the evening of April 21, I had been cut off from all communication with the division and batallion staff,
I was compelled to act independently, and to seek contact toward the right in order to protect my own troops, for each was conscious of the confused situation in which we stood.

At about 8 AM, the leader of the SS unit asked that I come over to him for briefing. Accompanied by one of the officers
assigned to me by the Pi-school, I went to keep the appointment. To get there [inserted] k [end inserted] quickly, we did not go through the trenches, which were interrupted by three built-in Igelstellungen each, but instead we went at a respectful distance behind the trenches
in a straight line, in order to shorten the 1.5 kilometer distance of the semi-circle. We had a conference of about 15 minutes on the situation
and future strategy. I could convince myself of the accuracy of the reconnaisance, for about 200 meters away, activity behind and in a thick
cluster of trees was well covered by the underbrush. With a field glass I could see two or three Russians in the treetops, and the
contours of a heavy tank were also visible. In any case, the noises of the preceeding night were real and Russian advance tanks probably
advanced early in the morning beyond Schoneiche, while the mortar troops advanced from Monchehofe directly south over the Rieselfelder
(water purification) and so stood opposite the right flank of my trench [crossed out] es [end crossed out]; the heavy tank stood
slightly to the right, in front of the trenches. After a few machine gun salvos reached the observation post, then all was quiet over there.
They asked me to leave my accompanying officer behind to reinforce the right flank and to take charge alone of the defense of the left trench
area with my company, for this area didn't seem to be in such great danger. I agreed, promised my fullest cooperation in case of need and said goodbye to my accompanying officer and the SS leader. In order to reach my group as fast as possible, I used the same route again,
behind the trenches.

I had progressed at the most about 20 meters when heavy machine gun fire began. Due to the nearness of the trenches I could't
determine who was shooting. I ran from tree to tree and tried to move as far away from the trench as possible. But at once there began a
terrific racket, bullets whizzed by from all directions, and shells exploded all around. They exploded in the tree tops which had the effect of strewing them. Tank shells exploded in the midst of all this and there was a battle noise like I had experienced in the 1st World War outside of
Verdun and at the Somme. Always looking for new cover, I dashed from tree to tree; protected by the thicker tree trunks,
I would often have to catch my breath. Sometimes I had to remain lying under the trees. Was also handicapped by the heavy coat I was wearing.

Suddenly a shell exploded very close to me and covered me with schrapnel. A big piece of schrapnel hit my steel helmet right at the right temple.
But it didn't penetrate it, only made a dent in it. I was dazed and I cannot say how long I lay there. When I opened my eyes and looked towards
the right, about 300 - 400 meters away I saw heavy thick clouds of smoke rising from the area where the young trees were planted.
There were dull explosions and 8 or 10 Russians appeared at our right trench area, carrying Panzerschreck weapons which they had apparently obtained from the neighboring Kompanie Koch, mentioned before. The machine gun fire stopped but there must have been terrible action on
the right flank of our trench. Now several smaller troops of Russians were moving behind the trenches and three men saw me
lying on the ground. They came up to me, probably assuming that I was dead. As I raised my gun and took aim, they pulled out their machine
pistols and indicated through gestures and mimic that I was to put the gun away. Two of the men approached me with cocked guns, the third took my gun away from me and tried to [crossed out] a [end crossed out] destroy it by banging it against a tree stem. I got up with difficulty.
They at once searched me for my watch, which I had in the watch pocket of my trousers. I wore no wrist watch. They ignored my pistol and field glass, these were taken away from me only when I was delivered to the tank commander. The chart of the area which I was carrying was of
special interest for them. In any case, the officer was no dragon; at my interrogation he even offered me a cigarette. I couldn't tell him much about the area, the map gave him much better information.

The soldiers guarding me and bringing me to Monchehofe, often raised their guns, also other Russians passing by did the same.
I met a large number of Russians with bandages on hands and head. Apparently many of them must have been wounded in this fighting. What I especially noticed while I was being taken prisoner and afterwards, was the uneasiness and the shyness of many of the Russians. Were they
afraid of meeting strong resistance and large units? ... 328/rec/11

Posts: 1816
Joined: 04 Jun 2009 13:26
Location: Shell Cove NSW Australia

Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 24 Oct 2021 00:21

Fascinating insight into the Volkssturm Medical situation.

Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 069, folder 32: Edmund Heckscher

Edmund Heckscher

Hospital corps Feldwebel with the Volkssturm (between Lichtenrade and Hallesches Tor)

Heckscher was inducted in the Volkssturm from his job at the Chemische-Technische Reichsanstalt around January 15th, 1945.
He was given the job of medical orderly with the rank of sergeant (Feldwebel) and assigned to the Volkssturm group covering the area from
Lichtenrade to Hallesches Tor. He remembers nothing about the size of the group of its commander, except for the fact that he was a Nazi party official.

The group's equipment was quite poor; they were given Italian rifles with Greek ammunition, but since this ammunition did not fit the rifles,
it had to be run through a special machince so that it could be fired. Heckscher's main job was to tour the various improvised military hospitals
which had been set up by the Volkssturm group in schools, restaurants and other available places. The patients were all Volksturm men and
Heckscher gave them basic medical aid. His supplies came in the form of medical kits from some central supply depot, but the supplies were not
very adequate. He remembers that he did not even have a syringe at one time and was forced to administer morphine by mouth to a patient
who was in great pain.

Heckscher's immediate superior was a doctor named Urban who lived on Emilienstrasse in Marienfelde. This doctor, also a Nazi party member,
remained in his house but generally supervised the activities of the medical orderlies in the area. Heckscher would report to him every few
days on conditions in the various military hospitals and get instructions from him. During the final days of the battle however it was impossible
for Heckscher to report to the doctor and he was left on his own. He was constantly underway and got home only when he happened to find
himself in his [crossed out] mee [end crossed out] immediate neighborhood in the course of one his tours. Otherwise he slept anywhere he
could find a place.

Around April 18th or 20th Heckscher was working in an improvised military hospital set up in a large restaurant on Ankogelweg. It had been set up
as a reception station for wounded Volkssturm men, and some 20 patients were lying on the ground floor and in the cellar. There were only two
or three medics to take care of them. While there they received orders to withdraw from that area in the northerly direction toward Hallesches
Tor. The wounded were told that trucks would be sent to fetch them and bring them to a hospital, but no transportation ever arrived. Heckscher
heard later that almost all of them had died.

Over the next few days Heckscher began withdrawing slowly toward the north, although he does not recall the exact stages of this slow retreat.
He remembers however that on April 26th he returned to his home accompanied by a friend of his, Dr. Martin Jacob, who was also in the

Heckscher's wife hurriedly made a red cross armband for Jacob and the two of them set off again between 8 and 9 p.m. in a northerly direction.
They crossed the Stubenrauch bridge over the Teltow canal near Ullstein house and continued northward. Heckscher had heard previously that
the bridge was mined and would be blown up when the last units were across. They had barely gotten to the other side and reached
Friedrich-Karl- Strasse, when the bridge was in fact blown up. He heard later that it had been done by a special Volkssturm demolition squad.

Heckscher and Jacob were joined by two other men, one of whom was a Volkssturm group leader named Wodke. The four of them spent that
night in a cellar on the corner of Albrecht-Strasse and Friedrich-Franz-Strasse, and set off again early next morning for their assembly point at Hallesches Tor. Near the cellar was the Wenkebach hospital, known as reserve military hospital No. 122, where he had been a medical orderly
before the start of the battle. On the street near the hospital they unexpectedly came upon four horses which had been used to transport
Volkssturm supplies.

They loaded the horses with their own belongings and set off again but a few minutes later a heavy Soviet artillery barrage suddenly smashed
into the area of the park in back of the hospital. The men dashed for cover, but the four horses were killed by the shelling. When the firing
stopped one of the Volkssturm men dashed out and cut a chunk of meat of one of the horses, even though the animal was not yet quite dead.
Then they set off again under the leadership of Wodke toward the Reichsbahn building near Schoneberger Strasse. The artillery fire had started
again and Wodke told the group to take cover in the building, althoug it seemed to Heckscher that the building was one of the chief targets.
He was also afraid because he had heard that the Reichsbahn building was partly an ammunition dump. When he saw that the group was being
led into an intense fire (which was coming from the south) he decided that Wodke didn't know what he was doing and set off by himself. ... 378/rec/15

Posts: 1816
Joined: 04 Jun 2009 13:26
Location: Shell Cove NSW Australia

Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 24 Oct 2021 00:39

American Propaganda Dropped on Germany

American Propaganda Dropped on Germany (1)_Page_02.jpg
American Propaganda Dropped on Germany (1)_Page_03.jpg
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