Brandenburg units in Finland?

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kmk24
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Brandenburg units in Finland?

Post by kmk24 » 09 Aug 2003 20:41

I know that they had some training here from finnish LPR men in 1942, and later did sabotage mission with finnish LPR men to Muurmansk railroad ?
at that same time few finnish ss men were send from front to Brandenburg all so teach finnish LPR doctrine and to get paratroop training.
There was going to be some airborne mission to cut the railroad by Brandenburg and finnish LPR men ?? but it was canceled and thay did smaller sobotage mission?
does anyone know more about this? or some other Brandenburg missions
in Finnish front??

thanks

Kaitsu

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 10 Aug 2003 10:09

This journey you mean is told in a book "Canoe Guerrillas" [Kanoottisissit] by Pentti H. Tikkanen (a shortened [?] version is also seen on his book "Guerrillas on Railways" [Sissejä rautateillä]). If someone thinks he has seen this somewhere else he is right because this is based on my post I wrote for The Nordic Wars 1939 - 1945 forum.

Some background:
- 6 Finnish NCOs came from the volunteer SS battalion, led by SS-S.Sgt. Kaarlo Paananen
- trained Germans came from "Kompanie Tromsdorff" (/ Regiment Brandenburg at Berlin) since February 1942; Commander of Gebirgs-Jäger-Bataillon / Rgt.Brandenburg was Major Weigheister
- another group of Germans was trained in Lapland by 13 Finnish NCOs from Finnish LRP guerrilla unit "Detachment Paatsalo" (at Rovaniemi) under the command of Hauptmann Tromsdorff (number of men not mentioned, any more info on him?)
- Germans trained in Lapland were volunteers gathered from the German troops in Norway and Finland (for example the Austrian Champion of 50 km skiing was with them; does anyone know who he was?)
- patrol used Soviet camouflage suits although Finns were against it

Mission and targets:
1.) cutting of Murmansk railway
2.) destroying of Soviet field guard at Mossajärvi
- travelling using special two-seat canoes (about 100 pcs)

The date the "journey" started was between midsummer and the end of June 1942 (exact dates not mentioned in the book). The raid took only a few days, thanks to canoes.

About troops and men mentioned in book:
- Haupmann Tromsforff did not partisipate in this journey because he was "not in good enough physical condition" and was banned by the Finns
- Commander of the group was German Lt. Hettinger who led also back-up group of 60 men + 75 mm mountain gun (type is not mentioned but probably it was either 7.5cm leGebIG 18 [modified version of leIG 18] or 7.5cm GebG 36, also recoilless model is possible)
- Leader of mining group was SS-S.Sgt. Paananen (number of troops not mentioned)
- German platoon leader (with Paananen) mentioned: Lt. Sölder
- one of volunteer Germans was Sgt. Vogel (German champion in boxing, heavy weight, any more info on him?)

The meaning was to mine 2 km railway using many kinds of special mines but shooting accident stopped mining before it was completed and patrol escaped immediately away from the railway. Mossajärvi field guard was succesfully demolished by another group led by Lt. Hettinger.

Strike was a partial failure. It was the biggest mutual guerrilla operation of Finns and Germans. A few canoes (and men) were lost due to hard wind.

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kmk24
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Post by kmk24 » 10 Aug 2003 10:58

Thanks Harri,

Do you know why the airborne mission was change into "canoe patrol"?

Kaitsu

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 10 Aug 2003 11:33

According to book mentioned Finns considered it too risky business because earial landing operation would have alarmed all Soviet units in that area at once and patrol had anyway walk back to Finland. Canoes were devised when Finnish SS NCOs thought what would be the fastest way to go both ways. Germans studied their suggestion and noticed it an excellent (and very surprising) idea. Also suitable canoe model was found easily after trials. The producer also added small extra "pontoons" to canoes to make them more stabile.

The main reason why there were only a few such mutual journeys is that Germans couldn't do things like Finns would have wanted or did: methods of acting were so different. Even keeping the high speed in the forest was impossible for Germans because they got lost easily and used weapons too eagerly. Finns usually operated in secrecy without disturbing anyone (not even Soviet guards :lol: ) until it was time to strike - and run.

Does anyone have some more info on Hauptmann Tromsdorf(f)? I think he was a kind of the leading person in guerrilla warfare in Germany and had even wrote book(s) on guerrilla warfare.

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Post by Andreas1984 » 19 Aug 2006 12:58

Harri wrote: Gebirgs-Jäger-Bataillon / Rgt.Brandenburg was Major Weigheister
There was no Gebirgs-Jäger-Batallion from Brandenburg zbV800. 8O
Best regards,

Andreas

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Post by Harri » 21 Aug 2006 10:57

Can't help it. That's how it is told in Finnish literature. Maybe it was just "Jäger-Battalion" and it has accidentally became "Gebirgs-Jäger-Battalion" for some reason? The book where the information comes from is a novel based on true happenings with real person names. So, there may be such mistakes in details. They may be taken directly from the interviews of the partisipants. I think "Kompanie Tromsdorff" was anyway mostly manned by Gebigsjägers?

Any information on Leutnant Sölder (Soelder), Leutnant Hettinger, Hauptmann Tromsdorff and Major Weigheister?

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Post by Andreas1984 » 21 Aug 2006 11:44

Harri wrote:Any information on Leutnant Sölder (Soelder), Leutnant Hettinger, Hauptmann Tromsdorff and Major Weigheister?
The Leutnant Hettinger, Leutnant Sölder and Hauptmann Tromsdorff existed in reality. The other I don't know.

My sources say that only a Brandenburg-Kompanie was in Finnland (named "Kompanie-Tromsdorff"). In the end of 1941 Tromsdorff was Leutnant. He was the first company-leader. Sölder and Hettinger were his successors (I think Tromsdorff became ill, but not sure). Sölder became the company-chef in April 1942.

Because of the Gebirgsjäger-Batallion:
According to Helmuth Spaeter's the "company Tromsdorff" got during its first commando action help by a Gebirgsjägerbatallion (under the commando of the later Knight's cross holder Otto Stampfer) and a finnish Kampfgruppe.

Maybe it helps.
Best regards,

Andreas

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Post by Harri » 21 Aug 2006 12:14

Does anyone know something about German Brandenburger Major Weigheister? Perhaps there is a spelling error?

----

Just clarify that the "Gebirgs-Jäger-Battalion" / Rgt.Brandenburg was mentioned to be in Germany. As far as I have understood Kompanie Tromsdorff was one of its companies or at least trained within this battalion in Germany.

According to Finnish sources Hptm. Tromsforff was still the leader of the company when the raid was done (in the summer 1942). I think he was already well above 30 years old and not in as good physical condition as was needed. That's why he despite of being company chief didn't lead the "canoe-trip" but Lt. Hettinger took the command and eventually led the German group that raided and destroyed Soviet field guard at Mossajärvi.

In a good Finnish style the most experienced man led the guerrilla group despite of ranks. Finnish SS man SSgt K. Paananen was the actual leader of the group which advanced to the railway. German Lt. Sölder was with that group as a platoon leader. In spring 1942 he has probably been an acting company chief during the illness of Tromsdorff only. Company tested its training, methods and equipment a few times before the "canoe raid" and Tromsdorff was told by the Finns to have been very exhausted during these test missions and possibly got sick.

I think something about the Kompanie Tromsdorff is mentioned also in the book "Kampf Unter dem Nordlicht" by Schreiber.

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Post by Andreas1984 » 21 Aug 2006 12:54

Harri wrote:Does anyone know something about German Brandenburger Major Weigheister? Perhaps there is a spelling error?

----

Just clarify that the "Gebirgs-Jäger-Battalion" / Rgt.Brandenburg was mentioned to be in Germany. As far as I have understood Kompanie Tromsdorff was one of its companies or at least trained within this battalion in Germany.
Ähm...according to Helmuth Spaeter's "Die Brandenburger zbV 800" the Gebirgsjägerbatallion under Stampfer fought with the Finnish Kampfgruppe and the "Company Tromsdorff". They didin't train together but special qualified people (climbing and skiing) came to the "Company Tromsdorff" before it had been moved to Finnland.

According to Franz Kurowski's "Deutsche Kommandotrupps im zweiten Weltkrieg" Oberleutnant Hettinger became Company-leader in June 1942. He came fdrom the 5./Lehr.Rgt. Brandenburg. In the middle of June Tromsdorff was ordered to come back to Berlin. Sölder became his successor.

Best regards,

Andreas

P.S.: I have never read about a Major Weigheister. 8O

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Post by Harri » 21 Aug 2006 13:48

Andreas1984 wrote:Ähm...according to Helmuth Spaeter's "Die Brandenburger zbV 800" the Gebirgsjägerbatallion under Stampfer fought with the Finnish Kampfgruppe and the "Company Tromsdorff". They didin't train together but special qualified people (climbing and skiing) came to the "Company Tromsdorff" before it had been moved to Finnland.
Fought were? All Finns were experienced LRP soldiers, basically instructors (because they all were NCOs) who trained Kompanie Tromsdorff in Finland. 13 of them came from the Finnish long-range patrol unit "Detachment Paatsalo". They didn't took part in normal combat duties except in special cases only. There were also six Finnish SS volunteers. The total number of Finns was thus only 21. AFAIK Finns didn't form any separate "Kampfgruppe" there.

Kompanie Tromsdorff did take part also in "ordinary" combat duties.
Andreas1984 wrote:According to Franz Kurowski's "Deutsche Kommandotrupps im zweiten Weltkrieg" Oberleutnant Hettinger became Company-leader in June 1942. He came fdrom the 5./Lehr.Rgt. Brandenburg. In the middle of June Tromsdorff was ordered to come back to Berlin. Sölder became his successor.
Well, maybe Tromsdorff was "unnecessary" because he could not participate in the planned raid. Anyway the book I mentioned is largely based on what Finnish partisipants have told later to the author. There hardly is lots of archive materiel available on that raid for checking details. I think especially German ranks and names may be thus "close to the truth". Note also that the exact days of the raid are not mentioned either.
Andreas1984 wrote:P.S.: I have never read about a Major Weigheister. 8O
I think there is a more serious spelling mistake. Probably the name is written like someone has remembered it. That should be asked from the author of the Finnish book.

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Post by Bjørn from Norway » 21 Aug 2006 13:50

Hello!
I can confirm that 15th (Light)Company (Leutnant Trommsdorf) from 3rd Btl (Hauptmann Jacobi) were in Finland. They did another mission, dressed in Russian uniforms they managed to destroy a large soviet ammunition depot.

B

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Post by Andreas1984 » 21 Aug 2006 15:11

Harri wrote:Fought were.
In end of March 1942 began the Unternehmen "Lutto" (name of a river). The Brandenburger should attack the Sowjets behind the frontline and they should prevent the enemy to transport supply to its troops. But "Lutto" had no succes because of the mass of snow, who made it heavy, to come forward fast.
Best regards,

Andreas

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Post by Harri » 22 Aug 2006 08:01

Bjørn from Norway wrote:I can confirm that 15th (Light)Company (Leutnant Trommsdorf) from 3rd Btl (Hauptmann Jacobi) were in Finland. They did another mission, dressed in Russian uniforms they managed to destroy a large soviet ammunition depot.
Yes, company had that name too: 15. leichte Kompanie.

BTW which one is correct:
- Trommsdorf
- Trommsdorff
- Tromsdorf or
- Tromsdorff
I have seen all mentioned variations. What was his first name?

As far as I know company or more likely parts of it had also many other missions but not of that scale. Some of them were pure training and test missions. Finns didn't take part in all missions of Kompanie Tromsdorff because they operated in full Soviet uniforms which Finns didn't accept. Finns did use special uniforms too, even the Soviet ones, but they only tried to hide their nationality if seen far away. They never tried to play Soviet soldiers.
Andreas1984 wrote:In end of March 1942 began the Unternehmen "Lutto" (name of a river). The Brandenburger should attack the Sowjets behind the frontline and they should prevent the enemy to transport supply to its troops. But "Lutto" had no succes because of the mass of snow, who made it heavy, to come forward fast.
At Lutto area was a Finnish battalion-sized "Separate Detachment P" which was a Frontier Jäger unit specialized in long-range patrolling. Kompanie Tromsdorff was most likely supported by it. IIRC these missions of Kompanie Tromsdorff are handled also in the book by Franz Schreiber like I told in my previous message.

There were really loads of snow in winter and spring 1942. Germans needed the help of Finnish ploughing units even to keep the Petsamo airfield clear of snow.

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Post by Andreas1984 » 22 Aug 2006 15:40

Trommsdorff is correct.
Best regards,

Andreas

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