Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

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Edward L. Hsiao
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Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 30 Sep 2020 08:20

What were the battles and operations did Brandenburg paratroopers participated during WWII?

Edward L. Hsiao

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Sep 2020 11:22

Hi Edward,

The only one I can think of was when the Brandenburger Parachute Battalion tried to land on Romanian airfields in late August 1944 in order to destroy German aircraft previously delivered to Romania. The operation was a total failure and the entire battalion was wiped out by the Romanians in short order.

It is a feature of special forces operations that the successes are massively hyped, but the failures find little place in the historiography.

I mentioned this incudent to you three years ago in your thread "Brandenburgers in the Russian Front".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 30 Sep 2020 11:33

Were the Brandenburg Paras not used in the Aegean in September/October 1943 ?
Alan

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Poot
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Poot » 30 Sep 2020 15:42

'Swastika Over The Aegean' explores the Dodecanese campaign by German forces to capture Rhodes and Leros, you might be thinking of that. I haven't read the book nor can I comment on its quality, but the author mentions that airborne units from both the Luftwaffe and the Brandenburgers were involved.

It appears that this campaign involved a higher than typical variety of special operations units on both sides. The SBS and LRDG were also involved, as was a free Greek raiding unit.
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Tamari
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Tamari » 30 Sep 2020 20:06

Hello,

Lawrence Paterson mentioned in his book "Hitler's Brandenburger's" in detail parts of the Dodecanes operations with names of officers and the units actions and so on. It's a good read, informative and not that dry :D
Best regards

Robert

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Sep 2020 22:57

Hi Guys,

Most of the Brandenburgers weren't paratroops. They had several different units with different specializations.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Poot » 02 Oct 2020 16:52

Were they airborne qualified based on mission set alone? That would seem to fit, but I haven't researched this. The British SOE inserted some agents by parachute, but I'm not aware of all of them being airborne qualified, either.
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 02 Oct 2020 18:37

Poot wrote:
30 Sep 2020 15:42
'Swastika Over The Aegean' explores the Dodecanese campaign by German forces to capture Rhodes and Leros, you might be thinking of that. I haven't read the book nor can I comment on its quality, but the author mentions that airborne units from both the Luftwaffe and the Brandenburgers were involved.

It appears that this campaign involved a higher than typical variety of special operations units on both sides. The SBS and LRDG were also involved, as was a free Greek raiding unit.
His other, much more easily found, book "Churhill's Folly" covers their use in some detail.
Alan

1813
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by 1813 » 02 Oct 2020 21:53

I have met a Brandenburger that jumped over Narvik in 1940.

Peter

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Oct 2020 08:47

Hi 1813,

Are you sure?

I have never heard of Brandenburgers being present at Narvik. However, some Luftwaffe paratroops were there.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 Oct 2020 08:58

Hi Guys,

As the Luftwaffe initially had a monopoly on paratroops, was it resistant to the German Army acquiring its own paratroops? Was this one of the Nazi regime's internal turf wars?

The Brandenburgers were technically part of the Army. Their para battalion seems to have been formed quite late in the war.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Poot » 04 Oct 2020 18:45

Alanmccoubrey wrote:
02 Oct 2020 18:37
Poot wrote:
30 Sep 2020 15:42
'Swastika Over The Aegean' explores the Dodecanese campaign by German forces to capture Rhodes and Leros, you might be thinking of that. I haven't read the book nor can I comment on its quality, but the author mentions that airborne units from both the Luftwaffe and the Brandenburgers were involved.

It appears that this campaign involved a higher than typical variety of special operations units on both sides. The SBS and LRDG were also involved, as was a free Greek raiding unit.
His other, much more easily found, book "Churhill's Folly" covers their use in some detail.
Thanks, Alan!
Best,
Pat
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

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Poot
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Poot » 05 Oct 2020 00:57

Sid Guttridge wrote:
04 Oct 2020 08:58
Hi Guys,

As the Luftwaffe initially had a monopoly on paratroops, was it resistant to the German Army acquiring its own paratroops? Was this one of the Nazi regime's internal turf wars?

The Brandenburgers were technically part of the Army. Their para battalion seems to have been formed quite late in the war.

Cheers,

Sid.
Good questions, I wish I knew the answers. I've never understood the Luftwaffe branch of service affiliation for the Fallschirmjagers. The aircraft were simply the method of delivery. It doesn't seem to make any sense to have any other branch other than the Heer to teach small unit tactics, employment of crew served small arms and mortars, fire and movement, ambushes, et al. during the pre-war period. My own personal guess: Goring wanted his own troops, and got them.

Weren't the Brandenburgers essentially an operational unconventional warfare unit of the Abwehr?

Pat
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Tamari
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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Tamari » 05 Oct 2020 04:52

Hello Pat,

the Brandenburgers were a brainchild of Abwehr officer Theodor Hippel and had its roots in the irregular Forces of Sudetendeutsches Freikorps 1938 and its Polish equivalents 1939 which were formed/ used by Abwehr II (Oberst Helmuth Groscurth and later Erwin Lahousen).
But the connection was far more complex.

Abwehr II used irregular forces to foment trouble and to secure vital installations in Wehrmachts campaign in Czechslovakia and Poland. But these volunteers were often untrained and not integrated in a military chain of command which caused unnecessary losses. So the idea was to transform the potential of German Volksdeutsche and experienced officers often with an engineering background into a military unit in Abwehr II structure. The resistance members in Abwehr like Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz and Hans-Albrecht Herzner saw also the potential to use such a unit in a possible coup d'etat against the regime.

German Recruits from all over the world (South Africa, Brazil and often Palestine) were send to the Brandenburgers and were trained in their trainings structures at Quenzgut at Brandenburg an der Havel and later in the so called Regenwurmlager at Meseritz. So Abwehr II had a standing pool of soldiers which had been handpicked for Abwehr II own operations.

But the operations of the Brandenburgers and its goals/ were planned by the Wehrmacht. Per example the use of Brandenburgers for Operation Sealion was coordinated by special Liaison officers of Abwehr II (Wolfgang Abshagen and others) with the Ic/ AO of 6th Army Oberst Rudolf Karl Paltzo.
https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/ ... rid/zoom/1

Year for year Abwehr lost more grip on the Brandenburgers which were later transfered to Wehrmachtführungsstab of OKW. Old Abwehr Officers like Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz (who lead a Brandenburg Regiment on the Balcan) also criticized that Admiral Canaris and Hans Oster had lost relatively early interest in the Brandenburgers and that the fighting efforts of these units.

So the Brandenburgers were from Abwehr II point of view more or less a pool of valuable trainees for Abwehr's own planned and conducted operations.

That was a complex topic tried to explain in very short and easy terms :roll:

Best regards

Robert

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Re: Paratroopers of the Brandenburg Unit

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 05 Oct 2020 07:08

There were parachute drops of the Brandenburgers from low flying aircraft,in order to overrun enemy installations from the air. I'm talking about these drops during the start of "Operation Barbarossa" the attack on Soviet Union's military installations in 1941.
I got that information from page 47,Chapter 2 "Brandenburgers in the East" from the book "The History of the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland Vol.3" by Helmut Spaeter.
Edward L. Hsiao

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