- Posts: 334
- Joined: 19 Jan 2004 01:44
- Location: Australia
- Posts: 37
- Joined: 12 Feb 2014 18:50
Some estimates now indicate that this number may be greater than 80,000 (dead, missing or killed by subsequent injuries, and, those who were captured but not taken as prisoners, but shot by the Russians, there is a considerable amount of evidence about of that). In the Latvian legionaries? Cemetery in Lestene in Kurland, Latvia (where Latvians and Germans made their last resistance literally), there are only about 20,000 recorded names of dead Latvian legionaries. For a small nation, it is an incredible number in the loss of personnel, especially after we also add the Latvian prisoners of war that were taken by Soviet Russia; most of these prisoners of war perished in the Soviet slave labor camps in the Russian Gulag in Siberia.
I will add that on December 16, 1944 the units of the 15 Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS "Lettische I" had a total of 16,800 men. While the 19 Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS "Lettische II" that had suffered very hard combats during one of the Soviet attempts to eliminate the bag of Kurland, had about 9,400 men. At the end of March, beginning of April 1945, after the fighting in Pomerania, the personnel of all the units of the 15 Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS, amounted to approximately 11,000 or 12,000 men (after having been placed at their charge new recruits).
Later approximately 2,000 men were placed under the command of the veteran Vilis Janums, inside a Kampfgruppe that had to be placed under command of the XI SS-Panzerkorps in the vicinity of Fürstenwalde (southeast of Berlin). Their units tried to maintain a defensive line, but the overwhelming Soviet advance destroyed between the days 21 and 22 any possibility or attempt of defense. All that remained was to survive, and its commander, Vilis Janums, ordered its units withdrawn and avoided the Soviet siege. On April 27, 1945, of those 2,000 men, only about 824 combatants remained. A number of about 350 were separated from the combat group and ended up fighting in Berlin. The separate group was the former rifle battalion of the 15th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS, commanded by the SS-Hauptsturmführer Wally, and would end up succumbing in Berlin.
I also add this link:
[http://old.historia.lv/alfabets/L/la/la ... egions.htm]
There you will find interesting information about the beginnings of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS, and about the divisional units to which it would result. It only covers the period from 1943 to mid-1944. But it is particularly interesting, since they are units, in which many officials are known, but not where their regimental units, or their battalions, were.