Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

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Volyn
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Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 21 Jun 2019 20:46

I have read that there was a garrison of about 1,000 soldiers defending the Chancellery during the Battle of Berlin. Supposedly they were a composite mix of Kreigsmarine and SS, I believe 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS was there.

Is it known which German units were actually fighting to defend this building in the final days of the battle?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 05:01

The SS-Begleit-Kommando was one of the SS units present. As with all aspects of the battle for Berlin the rest would have been ad-hoc formations. As far as I know the 33rd SS was in the Reichstag, not the Chancellery, though they could have been in both.

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 22 Jun 2019 19:08

I have questions wrote:
22 Jun 2019 05:01
The SS-Begleit-Kommando was one of the SS units present. As with all aspects of the battle for Berlin the rest would have been ad-hoc formations. As far as I know the 33rd SS was in the Reichstag, not the Chancellery, though they could have been in both.
Yes, the SS-Begleitkommando were in charge of the security for the Führerbunker. The 33rd SS "Charlemagne" had about 300 soldiers at the Chancellery.

The 11th SS "Nordland" also seems to have had elements present at the Chancellery during the battle. Anyone know which Kriegsmarine units were fighting there?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 19:39

It is doubtful that there was an organized Kriegsmarine outfit present, it was likely a mix of guys who had been rounded up and thrown into the fight as infantry because they had no other use. As for the 11th SS, again from what I know they were in the area of the Reichstag as of April 27th. But again, it is likely they were all over the city, the remnants of the 11th SS-Panzer-Abteilung-"Hermann von Salza" were taking part in the battle for the Reichstag. If it helps at all, in the book "Armor Battles Of The Waffen-SS 1943-45" between pages 317-342 there is info on the units fighting around the Reichstag area, I know you are looking for the Chancellery but this may help you eliminate possibilities of what units were where.

-Max

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 20:01

After conducting some more research I have discovered that the 1st Marine Division was in Berlin in April, but it was quickly destroyed by the Red Army. It is likely that the remnants fought around the Chancellery. For a little more info on that unit (and the source that I used) see: German Order Of Battle Volume 1, pages 36-37.

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 22 Jun 2019 21:18

I have questions wrote:
22 Jun 2019 20:01
After conducting some more research I have discovered that the 1st Marine Division was in Berlin in April, but it was quickly destroyed by the Red Army. It is likely that the remnants fought around the Chancellery. For a little more info on that unit (and the source that I used) see: German Order Of Battle Volume 1, pages 36-37.
Great info. I found a forum thread about the Kriegsmarine in the Battle of Berlin, however, it does not mention the events at the Chancellery. viewtopic.php?t=200515

Kampfgruppe Mohnke was headquartered in the Chancellery, so they must have been part of the battle as well. Another forum thread I found specifically for this unit. viewtopic.php?t=77762

So far the following units have been identified:

1. 11th SS "Nordland
2. 33rd SS "Charlemagne"
3. Kampfgruppe Mohnke
4. SS-Begleitkommando
5. Kriegsmarine, possibly remnants from 1. Marine-Infanterie-Division?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 21:58

ya, Berlin was a mess of ad-hoc/smashed units. The list you have seems realistic, another source of information I have is Chapter 25 of "The Battle For Berlin 1945" by Antony Beevor, the title being Reich Chancellery and Reichstag, which seems to confirm the presence of some elements of the 11th SS,

"Mohnke also told Krukenberg that morning of his fears that Soviet troops would enter the U-Bahn tunnels and come up behind the Reich Chancellery. ' As a first priority,' wrote Krukenberg, 'I sent a group of Nordland sappers through the U-Bahn....(370-371)".

The whole chapter likely has more information, but this part seems like it would be more of an immediate help. If you would like I could give further details from the chapter.

-Max

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 22 Jun 2019 22:06

I have questions wrote:
22 Jun 2019 21:58
If you would like I could give further details from the chapter.
Yes, please add as much as you want.

I found another unit that was also present in the Chancellery, Begleit-Bataillon Reichsführer-SS which had 600 men at the start of the Battle of Berlin, but I doubt that many were present during the final battle.

Updated list:

1. 11th SS "Nordland
2. 33rd SS "Charlemagne"
3. Kampfgruppe Mohnke
4. SS-Begleitkommando
5. Kriegsmarine, possibly remnants from 1. Marine-Infanterie-Division?
6. Begleit-Bataillon Reichsführer-SS

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 22:45

you are probably right, the Begleit-Bataillon-Reichsfuhrer-SS likely wasn't 600 men strong (wasn't that Himmler's personal guard unit?). Found some more info on units around the Chancellery:

"In Berlin during the afternoon an order came through from the Reich Chancellery that the last Tiger tank supporting Nordland was to pull back 'to be at the immediate disposal of General Mohnke'. No explanation was given. Presumably without telling Goebbels, who categorically refused any suggestion of surrender, Bormann and Mohnke had started planning their escape from Berlin.....(379)"

"The Danmark was a few hundred meters east, round the Kochstrasse U-Bahn station on the Friedrichstrasse, while the Norge defended their left rear round the Liepzigerstrasse and the Spittelmarkt. (380)"

edit: my knowledge of the Berlin area is minimal so if none of this is close to the Chancellery then I am truly sorry :?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 22 Jun 2019 23:19

I have questions wrote:
22 Jun 2019 22:45
you are probably right, the Begleit-Bataillon-Reichsfuhrer-SS likely wasn't 600 men strong (wasn't that Himmler's personal guard unit?).
Yes it originally began as his personal escort in 1941, here is another thread from the forum about the unit. viewtopic.php?t=79697

I also read that there was a Hitler Youth "Division" operating somewhere in the area, but were they involved in this battle?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 23:28

I don't believe there was a "division", and if there was, it probably was only a couple hundred strong. It is also more than likely that it was scattered very early on and fought with other units instead of as a cohesive unit. So as far as confirmation goes we have:

11th SS Nordland
SS-Begleit-Kommando
Kampfgruppe Mohnke

Much more work to be done my friend! :|

-Max

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 22 Jun 2019 23:41

There is another tid-bit I found, again not sure how near the to the Chancellery this is but:

"The renewed bombardment had made communications with Krukenberg's detachments even more difficult. The wounded Fenet and his Frenchmen were still defending Gestapo headquarters in the Prinz-Albrechtstrasse. (379-380)"

if this is close to the Chancellery then that confirms the 33rd SS' presence.

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 23 Jun 2019 00:47

I have questions wrote:
22 Jun 2019 23:41
There is another tid-bit I found, again not sure how near the to the Chancellery this is but:

"The renewed bombardment had made communications with Krukenberg's detachments even more difficult. The wounded Fenet and his Frenchmen were still defending Gestapo headquarters in the Prinz-Albrechtstrasse. (379-380)"

if this is close to the Chancellery then that confirms the 33rd SS' presence.
I believe the 33rd SS was really 350 soldiers that were called Sturmbataillon Charlemagne and they were attached to the 11th SS Nordland upon arrival in Berlin.

Also, Fenet was fighting with some Hitler Youth at Halensee bridge, maybe these were the remnants of the Youth "Division"?

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by I have questions » 23 Jun 2019 01:52

that is odd, it said very specifically in the book "Fenet and his Frenchmen". I still can't find evidence of the Youth Division. Also, if it was only 350 men, where was the rest of the unit? Aside from the element at the Reichstag, was that all that remained after the fighting in Pomerania? As far as more info, I can't get much, the Kriegsmarine unit is still ambiguous as I can't get anything from the books other than "it fought in Berlin". The list has slightly expanded though:

11th SS Nordland
Kampfgruppe Mohnke
33rd SS Charlemagne
SS-Begleit-Kommando
Begleit-Bataillon-Reichsfuhrer-SS

obviously from our previous list this leaves only the Kriegsmarine unit out.

-Max

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Re: Battle for the Reich Chancellery - 1945

Post by Volyn » 23 Jun 2019 04:16

I have questions wrote:
23 Jun 2019 01:52
that is odd, it said very specifically in the book "Fenet and his Frenchmen". I still can't find evidence of the Youth Division.
Fenet was fighting with the French SS, and at some point they must have merged with the Hitler Youth group at the bridge. Either way we know some element of Hitler Youth were at the Halensee bridge.
I have questions wrote:
23 Jun 2019 01:52
Also, if it was only 350 men, where was the rest of the unit? Aside from the element at the Reichstag, was that all that remained after the fighting in Pomerania?
I read that most of the unit wanted to fight in Berlin, but they lacked sufficient transport so they could only get about 330 men to the battle. Upon arrival they effectively took over command of the 11th SS and began directing their operations. The remaining forces from 33rd SS who did not travel to Berlin (about 400 of them), were sent to a construction battalion.
I have questions wrote:
23 Jun 2019 01:52
As far as more info, I can't get much, the Kriegsmarine unit is still ambiguous as I can't get anything from the books other than "it fought in Berlin".
It is strange that for such a famous battle there is limited information about who was actually fighting there. My only reference that the sailors were at the Chancellery was from a documentary, but I cannot remember the name of it.
Last edited by Volyn on 23 Jun 2019 14:14, edited 1 time in total.

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