An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

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Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 16 Jan 2022 23:59

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945 - David K. Yelton

Earlier attempts at creating the Volkssturm and how it came into being.

"Facing the prospect of Götterdämmerung, the Reich’s political leaders conducted a thorough re-evaluation of the war effort that led them to
conclude that mastering the desperate situation required the NSDAP to lead a complete military and psychological mobilization of all Germans.
As a part of this total war strategy, Hitler dropped his long-standing opposition and allowed the establishment of the NSDAP-supervised militia ultimately called the German Volkssturm.

The Volkssturm, although clearly an improvisation in many of the details of its implementation, was part of a consistent—though
ideologically influenced—strategy intended to turn the tide of the war in Germany’s favor.

The German military had long planned on creating a militia to meet home defense contingencies, the NSDAP had done virtually nothing to
prepare for raising a national militia, yet Hitler awarded the Party control of this new force
.

Even in the war’s early phases, Wehrmacht planning for tactical emergencies and for local defense within Germany included creating
and deploying militia formations. The field army often used so-called alarm units, which typically included furloughed soldiers, stragglers,
units and individuals in transit, and convalescents; but the Army High Command (OKH) had instructed that “even the last German man,
regardless of his training or position, is to be enrolled [in the alarm unit] and, in emergencies, to be committed to battle.” Alarm units
were weak, limited stopgaps with no formal, systematic mechanism for mobilizing civilian men on a broad and/or permanent basis; but
they do reveal the Wehrmacht’s basic willingness to employ hastily conscripted civilians in combat.

There are other clear examples of Wehrmacht willingness to utilize civilians in more permanent auxiliary formations. During preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Replacement Army established so-called alarm companies to supplement its local defense and security forces.

Each contained up to 150 German men aged forty-five or younger who were fit for—but occupationally exempt from—military service. They lived
in the vicinity of, or were employed by, an important installation to which they were assigned to provide security. To prepare these men for their duties, the Replacement Army mandated that each company hold monthly training drills scheduled around its members’ work.

Armed with rifles and light machine guns provided by the Wehrkreis (the Replacement Army’s regional commands), alarm company members were
identifiable on active duty by regulation field caps and yellow armbands bearing the words Deutsche Wehrmacht in black letters. In case of commando raids, sabotage, prisoner-of-war or foreign worker uprisings, or even enemy invasion, alarm companies would mobilize and fight as soldiers under Wehrkreis command.

In 1942, changing home security needs prompted transfer of the alarm companies to police control. They were subsequently expanded,
reorganized, and renamed the Stadtwacht in urban areas and the Landwacht in the countryside. With the diminished threat of
attack by enemy land forces and the growing number of foreign workers and prisoners of war in Germany, police (especially rural
gendarmes) required augmentation more than did Wehrkreis forces.

By mid-1943, the Stadt- und Landwacht had developed into a valuable security auxiliary that had apprehended 6,556 prisoners of war
(escapees and downed airmen), 12,346 wayward foreign workers, and 1,345 criminals. By year’s end, the Stadt- und Landwacht numbered
nearly 1 million men and possessed enough Italian weapons, pistols, hunting rifles, and other miscellaneous arms to equip about half its members
.

As the military situation worsened in the summer of 1944, the Stadt- und Landwacht—its limited firepower notwithstanding—began
assuming additional duties such as combating small groups of airborne commandos and spies.

Furthermore, Wehrkreis emergency defense plans continued, as with the earlier alarm companies, to call for its use as combat-ready
militia units.

Other evidence plainly illustrates the Wehrmacht’s intention to expand militia forces should Germany actually be invaded. In September 1942, shortly after the disastrous Anglo-Canadian raid on Dieppe, Wehrmacht High Command (OKW) chief Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, authorized the
call-up of “all German males . . . for short-term military service” in any area threatened by invasion.

Keitel did not specify whether these men would serve in separate militia formations or as auxiliaries in existing army units, but he emphasized
they would be legally considered soldiers, would be equipped with helmets, weapons, and armbands by the Wehrkreis, and would be used in
combat if needed.

Indeed, as the war situation worsened, the army began actually establishing substantial regional militias. In mid-1943, Major General
Adolf Heusinger, chief of the OKH Operations Section, proposed that the eastern Wehrkreise organize and train part-time auxiliary formations
to defend fortified areas and cities and to provide rear area security. Though little is known about Heusinger’s plan, Hitler, fearing adverse
effects on public morale, flatly rejected it.
*

[OKM/SKL, “KTB,” Aug. 18, 1943, BA-MA, RM 7, Nr. 51, 325; Heinz Guderian, Erinnerungen eines Soldaten (Heidelberg: Kurt Vowinckel, 1951), 327.]

Nonetheless, by February 1944, Wehrkreis XXI (Posen) had established eighteen so-called Grolmann militia battalions consisting of
reliable, draftexempt, or deferred German men for use against Polish partisans or, if necessary, the Red Army. Wehrkreis XXI pressed forward
with this plan against local NSDAP opposition until the Volkssturm’s creation mooted the whole issue.
**

[WK XXI Kdr. Gen. Walter Petzel, “Militärische Vorbereitungen für die Verteidigung des Warthegaues,” BA-Ko, Ost Dok 8/400; & “Volkssturm Wehrkreis XXI,” BA-Ko, Ost Dok 8/402.]

The Wehrmacht also moved to create similar militia formations in other areas. During July 1944, General Walther Warlimont of the OKW
Operations Section, seeking troops to occupy newly constructed positions in the Alpine foothills, ordered the expansion of the largely
ceremonial Tirolean Standschutz (previously little more than marksmanship clubs) into a militia of about 30,000 men under the supervision
of a Major von Reichel.


About twenty Standschutz mountain infantry battalions of 1,125 men each existed when the Volkssturm absorbed this organization
in late 1944.


On September 30, 1944, Oberbefehlshaber (OB) West, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, invoking Keitel’s September 1942 order, instructed his
town battle commanders (Kampfkommandanten) in Germany to enroll “all men capable of bearing arms regardless of age . . . to strengthen
[their] defense forces.” Clearly, these actions show that the Wehrmacht as a whole perceived that properly organized, trained, and led militia units could effectively contribute to Germany’s defense.

While the army broadly favored using militia forces, Hitler and other top NSDAP leaders had typically opposed them. The Reich’s political
leaders allowed police auxiliaries like the Stadt- und Landwacht or the ethnic German paramilitary “self-defense” forces in occupied or
annexed territories to deal with criminals, partisans, or internal unrest; but preparing civilians to combat enemy soldiers was another matter entirely. Top Party leaders not only opposed Heusinger’s plan and Wehrkreis XXI’s “Grolmann” action but squelched even Party-controlled militia schemes.

In late 1941, the Party Chancellery flatly rejected a proposal from Gau Hesse-Nassau to incorporate all armed Nazi units into the framework of the Wehrkreis alarm companies.

On July 14, 1943, Swabian Gauleiter (NSDAP regional chief) Karl Wahl reported his effort to form in his Gau a so-called Heimatschutztrupp of
15,000 to 20,000 loyal Nazis as a means of combating potential internal disorders or Allied attack.

This met fierce objections from Party Chancellery chief Martin Bormann and Reichsführer SS (RFSS, Reich Leader of the SS), and chief of the
German Police Heinrich Himmler, who ultimately thwarted Wahl’s plan.

Viennese Gauleiter Baldur von Schirach’s similar proposal found no more success than did Wahl’s. ***

[Wahl to Bormann, “Abschrift von Schreiben,” Sept. 30, 1943, BA-Ko, NS 19, Nr. 798; Bormann to Wahl, “Schreiben,” Oct. 18,
1943, BA-Ko, NS 19, Nr. 798; Wahl to Himmler, “Schreiben,” Dec. 22, 1943, BA-Ko, NS 19, Nr. 798.]

[Dietrich Orlow, The History of the Nazi Party 1919–1945, vol. 2, 1933–1945 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973), 437,
473.]

Militias inside Germany represented a potential avenue for encroachment into police matters, that is, Himmler’s domestic power base.

Furthermore, Bormann feared that a Gauleiter (e.g., Wahl) could parlay a regional militia into a national organization, thereby giving him a
source of authority independent of Party Chancellery (i.e., Bormann’s) control.

Given these concerns, Himmler and Bormann used their considerable influence to block the creation of Nazi militias prior to the late summer of 1944.

Hitler’s personal biases formed the other factor behind Nazi hostility toward militias. With the arrogance of a proud former Frontkämpfer,
Hitler considered part-time civilian soldiers ineffective in and undisciplined for the rigors of combat.

More important, the Führer suspected that creating even a substantial regional militia could damage or even collapse civilian morale. Firmly convinced that Germany’s defeat in 1918 had resulted from a disintegration of the home front’s will to fight, Hitler refused to contemplate
forming a militia under anyone’s control for fear that this could prompt history to repeat itself.

In the summer of 1944, however, the political leadership’s adamant opposition to militias began to shift as the military situation deteriorated.

Guderian, on the suggestion of his Operations Section head, General Walter Wenck, revived Heusinger’s 1943 militia proposal. Sometime
between September 3 and 6, Guderian proposed forming a Landsturm from eastern German men who, for reasons of occupation, age, or
health, were exempt or deferred from military service. These Landsturm units, once organized, trained, and deployed by the eastern
Wehrkreise, would substitute for the transferred fortress battalions. Hitler, however, flatly rejected the suggestion.

Desperate for troops and convinced of the utility of a properly prepared militia, Guderian subsequently modified his Landsturm proposal in hopes
of overcoming Hitler’s preconceptions and fears.

Overall command would remain with the Wehrkreise, and military experience would be required for all unit leaders, but to ease the Führer’s
mind, the SA—whose chief, Wilhelm Schepmann, Guderian considered competent and “Wehrmachtfreundlich”—would supervise raising and
training the Landsturm.

As with so many of the Führer’s major decisions, no written record exists of either the proposal or Hitler’s response, but Guderian’s claim that
the Führer approved his modified proposal on or around September 6 seems accurate.

Indeed, Goebbels’s diary records a meeting with Schepmann on September 8 concerning a proposed SA-led Landsturm.

On September 11, OKW apparently referred to a militia in a message which stated that “the highest German leaders have made a radical
decision that will win time and above all manpower [Kräfte] for the security and defense of the Reich,” while a Foreign Office memorandum
referred to the founding of a “type of Landsturm” comparable to the army-controlled militia that existed in World War I.

Finally, in a September 18 teletype to Bormann, East Prussian Gauleiter Erich Koch stated his opposition to the formation of a Wehrkreis-led Landsturm, claiming that only the NSDAP had the necessary authority, leadership, and “ability to inspire” the German people for the coming
“holy people’s war.”

Although Guderian apparently did win Hitler’s approval, the army-SA Landsturm never came into being.

By September 14, Hitler had shifted control of the militia to the NSDAP.

On that date Bormann informed his staff that Hitler had decided to create a national, rather than regional, “Volkswehr” to be organized by the Gauleiters and employed on security tasks in conjunction with the Wehrkreise.

He [Bormann] added that further instructions would be forthcoming from the Party Chancellery and the Replacement Army command; this clearly
indicates Bormann and Himmler—not the army—would run this enterprise.

By September 18, Bormann had the basic organizational structure in place, and on September 21 Himmler publicly used the name “German Volkssturm” for the first time.

On September 25, 1944, Hitler formally announced the Volkssturm’s creation to high ranking officials in a Führer Decree granting Himmler
control of military matters and Bormann administrative and organizational issues.

What prompted Hitler’s sudden changes of heart, first in dropping his opposition to a militia, then in shifting control of it to the NSDAP?

The former seems to have stemmed, at least in part, from the desperate military situation; but his decision to award significant powers to the NSDAP sprang from the broad reassessment of the German war effort that the summer’s military disasters and the July 20 Plot had necessitated.

National Socialist perceptions, it should be noted here that for Hitler and other convinced Nazis, July 20 proved that defeatist and
traitorous elements in the officer corps and elsewhere had undermined the war effort.

Indeed, in the Nazi Weltanschauung, treason and sabotage formed the most logical explanation for how the Reich’s enemies—degenerate, mongrelized Aryans (i.e., the Western Allies) and subhuman Slavs (i.e., the Soviets) led by racially inferior Jews—could have inflicted such
severe defeats on the biologically superior German Volk.

Furthermore, to ardent Nazis the key to victory was equally obvious: root out the traitors and restore the confidence, morale, and will to resist
of the German people, soldier and civilian alike.

For the die-hard National Socialist, such a task was not unlike that which faced them in the Kampfzeit (the “period of struggle,” i.e., the years
prior to 1933 when the Party was seeking to gain power in Germany); now as then, only the NSDAP could quickly and effectively mobilize the
German people body and soul to meet the racial enemy’s threat.

Although the process had already begun by July 20, the NSDAP’s role in all but the most technical aspects of the war effort greatly expanded after the assassination attempt.

One of the first steps in this process was a purge of the Replacement Army leadership. Its commander, Colonel General Friedrich Fromm, had
been implicated in the July 20 Plot.

Hitler assigned Himmler the task of restoring the Replacement Army’s loyalty and spirit through genuine Nazi leadership. Although at the time
this had nothing to do with the creation of a militia, the knowledge that the trusted Himmler would be involved, as either Replacement Army commander or Chief of German Police or both, certainly may have made Hitler look more
favorably on the idea when it was later raised.

Obviously, Himmler’s opposition to militias ended with this appointment, which, coupled with his post as Chief of German Police, assured him a major role in any such force.

Other changes confirmed Hitler’s belief that only the NSDAP could master the crisis facing Germany. The Führer assigned another loyal Nazi associate, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, the task of tackling the Reich’s manpower problems as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War.

Armed with sweeping powers to reduce draft exemptions and deferments, Goebbels relied on a small staff and the Gauleiters, a decision that significantly increased these regional officials’ mobilization powers.

Hitler believed this exemplified the Kampfzeit spirit and would enable Goebbels to eliminate the bureaucratic delay and infighting that had previously characterized German manpower policy.

Again, Goebbels’s initial enthusiasm for this task buoyed the self-confidence of the Party leadership and may have encouraged Hitler and Bormann
to try this approach with the new militia.

Expanding NSDAP influence over the war effort was not confined to the national level. Prior to summer 1944, regional Party officials
controlled only civilian matters—morale, evacuation, and recruitment for antiaircraft work, police auxiliaries, and civil defense. This
changed in July as Hitler broadened the Gauleiters’ powers as Reich Defense Commissars (RVKs) into the area of home defense. He
authorized them to assume full executive power over all Reich government branches, including all armed police auxiliary and Party
formations, in any region declared an Operational Zone (i.e., any Gau within twenty kilometers of the front).

In areas immediately behind the front, the socalled Combat Zone, the military commander’s authority remained supreme, but even here Keitel
had declared that the army would confine its activities “to purely military tasks.”

In particular, one of the Gauleiters’ new duties, the so-called People’s Levy (Volksaufgebot), seems to have confirmed predictions that the
regional bosses would respond energetically to their tasks and would compete with one another to fulfill the Führer’s wishes.

During the summer of 1944, many Gauleiters even began expanding their existing armed Party formations into larger militias.

The People’s Levy began on July 13, when East Prussia’s Koch took the initiative to mobilize fully one-quarter of his Gau’s populace for
border defense construction. For Koch, the People’s Levy was exclusively a Party task; he even refused military advice in technical matters.

Throughout the summer, thousands of Hitler Youth and members of other Nazi organizations labored alongside East Prussians from all walks of
life—as well as foreign forced laborers—constructing antitank ditches, bunkers, and similar defensive works in the so-called East Wall.

The apparent success of the People’s Levy led Hitler to order its adoption in other frontier areas; on September 1, Hitler instructed Bormann to
authorize any Gauleiter to use “all means” within his Gau for constructing necessary fortifications.

Emboldened by their new powers and inspired by Koch’s success, independent-minded Gauleiters began not only to prepare fortifications but also
to create their own militias in order to man the new defenses.

Small SA and Party formations had long existed both within the Stadt- und Landwacht and in separate auxiliaries, called SA Special Purpose Units
(SA Stürme zur besonderen Verwendung) or Political Leader Squadrons (Politische Leiter Staffeln) for emergency use against internal unrest.

As the Allied armies approached the borders, some Gauleiters, particularly the fanatic Koch, began to assign these units military duties such as combating partisans, acting as military police, and even securing the newly built defensive fortifications.

By September, Gauleiters in Carinthia, Hamburg, Lower Silesia, Steiermark, Westmark, Westphalia South, Westphalia North, and
Württemberg-Hohenzollern—and perhaps elsewhere—had undertaken formation of loyal Nazis into substantial armed units.

Koch, who had instructed members of the People’s Levy “to bring firearms and ammunition with them,” was in the vanguard of this
movement.

Party officials had also begun enrolling men for militia service in Schleswig-Holstein, East Hannover, and Munich–Upper Bavaria, where Gauleiter
Paul Giesler had ordered all males aged eighteen to sixty to sign up at the local Wehrkreis registration offices.

These Gauleiters, particularly those in the border regions and perhaps others, all seemed to want a loyal praetorian guard under their command
as protection against the threat of internal unrest and Allied invasion.

On July 13, a Propaganda Ministry staff member, perhaps inspired by Koch’s efforts, suggested that the Party create its own volunteer home guard, with units commanded by veterans and registered through the Wehrkreise.

About the same time, Hitler Youth chief of staff Helmuth Möckel was pondering the merits of establishing Hitler Youth “self-protection” units nationwide; and German Labor Front (DAF) head Dr. Robert Ley suggested a DAF led militia. National Socialist Kriegsopfer Versorgung (NSKOV)
chief Hanns Oberlindober unsuccessfully sought to form veterans into “Landwehr and Landsturm formations” under his command.

Clearly, many Nazi officials had concluded that some type of militia was needed to counter the kind of internal unrest they believed had
caused the home front collapse in 1918.

This widespread conviction, coupled with the enthusiasm and energy with which national and regional Party officials undertook their new home
defense assignments, must have impressed Hitler, steeled his conviction that the NSDAP’s fanatical leadership could bring victory, and made him reconsider the idea of a Party-led militia.

Martin Bormann’s personal intervention seems to have been the final and decisive factor in Hitler’s decision to shift control over the militia
from the relatively well-prepared Wehrmacht to the very Party leaders who had stymied earlier militia proposals.

Like Hitler, Bormann’s vehement opposition to militias had begun to soften because of fears of internal unrest from the large number of foreigners (slave laborers and POWs), concerns about declining public morale, and the reliability of the army in the aftermath of July 20. During August, Bormann had in fact begun moving in the direction of creating a dependable armed force that could counter internal uprisings by launching an
effort to arm all Political Leaders.

Furthermore, on August 16, Bormann sent each Gauleiter, Reichsleiter, and Unit Leader three copies of the Prussian Landsturm Ordinance of
April 21, 1813, with instructions merely indicating the Führer’s desire that these men read the document.

He did not even request a response. While Bormann’s intent is unclear, it seems that at the very least he was fathoming the level of
support among Nazis for total war measures, perhaps including a home guard.

Given the fact that during August, militias—both proposed and real—were blossoming like desert flowers after a rain, Bormann must have
recognized his two options: gain control of the movement and enhance his power, or oppose the militia and risk having a rival such as Himmler
or one or more Gauleiters gain political influence at his expense. Under these circumstances, and with Guderian having convinced Hitler to form
a substantial regional militia, Bormann chose the former course of action.

Bormann’s reactions during August and September to the militia issue parallel his course of action with the Gauleiters’ newly enhanced war
powers.

As with Wahl’s Heimatschutztrupp episode a year earlier, Bormann did not want some Gauleiter parlaying his new duties into an independent position.

For example, on August 29 Hitler had granted Hamburg Gauleiter Karl Kaufmann control of the entire fortification effort, including the
People’s Levy, on Germany’s North Sea coast. This gave Kaufmann authority over parts of three Gaue other than his own.

On September 1, Hitler, “on the suggestion of the Leader of the Party Chancellery,” shifted course and awarded each of the four Gauleiters in the area the responsibility for fortification work inside his own region only. Even more important, he granted the Party Chancellery supervisory powers over all Gauleiters’ fortification construction efforts nationwide.

Bormann used his considerable personal influence with Hitler to interpose himself between the Führer and the Gauleiters, thus making them
dependent on him for their authority in this case.

Bormann, a master player in the social Darwinian political world of the Third Reich, effectively repeated this performance with the Volkssturm.

While there is no record of what Bormann did to change Hitler’s mind about Guderian’s Landsturm, the most likely explanation is that
Bormann employed ideological arguments to play on the Führer’s suspicions, doubts, and prejudices about the war situation while appealing to
his faith in the NSDAP’s ability to master all difficulties.

Bormann probably pointed out that the number of Gauleiter-initiated defense forces proved the Party’s zeal, efficiency, and ability to mobilize civilians for the war effort; but that these efforts, like the People’s Levy which he now supervised, would be most effective if coordinated
nationally by the Party Chancellery.

Most important, Bormann certainly contrasted the Party’s obedient enthusiasm with the defeatism and disloyalty that Hitler believed had undermined the Wehrmacht. Guderian’s army controlled Landsturm would, in his view, be infected with pessimism, would lack the will to fight,
and thereby might even bring about the collapse of morale Hitler had always dreaded.

By contrast, the NSDAP, Bormann argued, had always been sensitive to public morale and could, through its propaganda expertise and
inspirational leadership, minimize any potentially negative fallout following the militia’s proclamation.

Over time, it could even use the new force to educate and indoctrinate German civilians and thus actually strengthen public morale.

Furthermore, the NSDAP could overcome what Hitler perceived as the weakness inherent in all militias—poor discipline—by directly instilling its
will and devotion to National Socialism in each and every German man, which would improve the force’s combat potential.

In the wake of the military defeats and July 20, these arguments would have had particular resonance with Hitler. In his view, although the Wehrmacht, particularly Himmler’s Replacement Army, could provide technical expertise and advice, only the Party could awaken the fighting
spirit of the average German.

Although there is no direct evidence as to precisely what Bormann did to convince Hitler to turn the Landsturm into the nationwide, Party-led Volkssturm, it is apparent that his personal influence proved decisive.

The Volkssturm’s creation clearly illustrates the decision-making process in the Third Reich. Ideas percolated up from a variety of lower-level regional and national sources but could be thwarted or championed by those in the upper echelons of power.

For something to become official policy, however, the Führer’s approval was ultimately required.

This necessitated that someone who had direct access to Hitler and was adept at explaining how a proposed policy supported National Socialist ideological goals had to endorse the idea, generally for his own benefit.

Martin Bormann performed this role perfectly in the case of the Volkssturm.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, Hitler’s decision to grant control of the Volkssturm to the Party and not the Wehrmacht was to have
far-reaching implications. All Wehrkreise had an existing infrastructure, thinly stretched though it had become, to enroll and train the militia.

Since at least Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht had been the Reich’s main proponent of militia forces.

The NSDAP, on the other hand, had typically displayed a hostile attitude toward militias until the summer of 1944.

The July 20 Plot destroyed any confidence the Party leadership might have had in the Wehrmacht’s ability to head the war effort and confirmed
Nazi suspicions that the Reich’s reversals were due to defeatist, traitorous officers. The Reich certainly could not trust such unreliable men with
the delicate task of forming a national militia.

On the other hand, regional and local NSDAP leaders had responded to the home defense duties awarded them in the summer of 1944 with
energetic confidence, loyalty, and apparent effectiveness.

Martin Bormann exploited these attitudes to convince Hitler that an NSDAP-controlled Volkssturm not only would prevent a collapse of morale but also it could be the means through which the Party could infect the entire populace with National Socialist fervor, and thereby kindle a new enthusiasm for the war effort throughout the Reich.

While this logic convinced Hitler to end his long-held opposition to militia forces, the decision to award the Volkssturm to the NSDAP and not the army meant that the enterprise would be handicapped from the start by substituting hasty improvisation for preparation and planning."

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945
University Press of Kansas
David K. Yelton
Last edited by Germanicus on 17 Jan 2022 21:10, edited 1 time in total.

Germanicus
Member
Posts: 2184
Joined: 04 Jun 2009 13:26
Location: Shell Cove NSW Australia

Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 00:20

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945 - David K. Yelton

Propoganda Ministry creates its on Volkssturm-Bataillones.

Goebbels formed 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees into two Levy II battalions, and furthermore declared that these men did not need
deferment cards (Zuteilungskarte). This enabled him to defer an additional 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees, who served as individuals in their regular neighborhood units. He also equipped his two “house battalions” with “flawless new uniforms” and other equipment donated directly to
them by the head of the NSKK’s Transport Corps “Speer.”

Military intervention to turn the Volkssturm into something other than what it became.

Major General Wilhelm Burgdorf, chief of OKH’s Personnel Office, to gain more influence over the appointment of Volkssturm unit commanders.
In October, the general submitted a list of qualified, inactive army officers, which Bormann forwarded to the Gauleiters with the caveat to
consider “only those officers who possess the necessary political vitality.”

In March 1945, Burgdorf sought to bypass the Party Chancellery altogether by asking Hitler’s permission to allow his office to nominate suitable
battalion leader candidates directly to the Gauleiters.

Even at this late date, Bormann resentfully blocked this intrusion by arguing—as usual—that the proposal would undermine NSDAP control and
thereby damage the Volkssturm’s critical political-motivational functions.

Other generals also mounted challenges. On October 8 1944, Guderian, without authorization and in a blatant effort to substitute
the Volkssturm for his defunct Landsturm, ordered eastern Gauleiters to organize 103 Volkssturm units along the lines of army fortress battalions
and to turn them over to OKH to replace the units transferred to the west.

Bormann blocked Guderian’s initial effort— as well as the general’s attempts on January 14 and 16 1945 to gain control of all Volkssturm units in
eastern Germany—as detrimental to Party control in this region.

Similarly, OB West Rundstedt, fearing a potential Allied airborne assault on the Rhine bridges, unsuccessfully sought command of all auxiliary
forces, including the Volkssturm, within the jurisdictions of Wehrkreise VI (Münster), XII (Wiesbaden), and V (Stuttgart).

Finally, in February 1945, Army Group North commander Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner failed to convince Hitler to give him control of the
entire Volkssturm in his area.

In most cases such proposals made sense militarily, but Bormann successfully opposed them, ultimately issuing instructions refusing to
allow the army to induct Volkssturm personnel, as either units or individuals, directly into its ranks without express authorization.

Bormann feared the army, if allowed carte blanche, would merely cannibalize Volkssturm units for replacements and labor.

Furthermore, he believed that the generals failed to recognize the importance of the Volkssturm’s psychological and propaganda role.

He insisted that the Volkssturm retain its separate identity, even under Wehrmacht command, and feared that morale would suffer
irreparable damage if everyone considered the force nothing more than a second-rate militia.

Moreover, if the Volkssturm became a purely military force, the justification for Bormann’s authority, the Party’s ability to carry out the
political-motivational function, would be severely diminished, if not eliminated outright.

The NSDAP and The Volkssturms agreed use by the Army

Bormann did not attempt to exclude Wehrmacht influence, and he fully acknowledged the need for Volkssturm units to serve under army
operational command.

For example, when Guderian requested the mobilization of eastern Volkssturm units through proper channels instead of seeking control
over the entire apparatus, he had no problem procuring fresh battalions for specific tasks.

Rundstedt’s proposal was eventually settled by allowing the Wehrkreise to assume command of all military forces in its region, but only when an enemy air landing had actually begun.

This compromise apparently considerably cooled Rundstedt’s initial ardor over the potential of the Volkssturm, again proving how Bormann’s insistence on domination stifled his rivals’ enthusiasm and willingness to cooperate.

Nonetheless, far from excluding the Wehrmacht from the Volkssturm—as Keitel asserted at Nuremberg—Bormann welcomed the generals’ involvement so long as they acknowledged his political control and confined themselves to military matters or supporting his initiatives.

He realized that army participation would help improve the Volkssturm’s potential while simultaneously diminishing Himmler’s importance in the force.

Many generals were keenly interested in developing and exploiting the Volkssturm’s military potential and did so through their technical and logistical assistance, their operational supervision of active Volkssturm units, and, when possible, their personal political efforts.

In the aftermath of July 20, the Volkssturm shows that the generals could—and did—still participate in national policy making, but only in cooperation with significant political figures like Martin Bormann. Had the affiliates and other special interests gained the right to maintain
their own units, the Volkssturm would have been nothing more than a collection of private armies.

Most important, Bormann’s control of Volkssturm personnel issues enabled him to exert influence, in conjunction with the army, on
recruitment and conscription allocations through Levy III’s control of the 1928 recruiting class, the Reich’s last major military manpower
prize.

From the very start Bormann tenaciously insisted that “the Volkssturm is a Party matter”; and excepting Himmler’s military capacity as
Replacement Army Commander, only he and Hitler had authority to issue orders to it. He even privately referred to the organization as “my Volkssturm.”

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945
University Press of Kansas
David K. Yelton
Last edited by Germanicus on 17 Jan 2022 21:10, edited 1 time in total.

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 08:10

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945 - David K. Yelton

Kreis Karlsruhe

Although the Kreisleiter’s authority, by Bormann’s design, was primarily executive, the Kreis was somewhat remote from direct Party Chancellery supervision. As a result, some officials used this independence to pursue their own interests. For example, Karlsruhe’s Kreisleiter defied orders by forming his own staff into a special Shock Troop Kreisleitung and allowed city government employees to do the same. Both units were well
equipped and formed the Kreisleiter’s personal deferred reserve.

Kreis Treuburg (East Prussia)

Treuburg’s (East Prussia) Kreisleiter flouted several orders by combining his six Volkssturm battalions into a regiment (officially, the Volkssturm’s
largest unit was the battalion), by naming himself regimental commander (Kreisleiters were to have no unit commands), and by swelling his “regiment’s” ranks with large numbers of invalids who clearly should have been exempt. Apparently his aim was to impress Gauleiter Koch with his diligence.

Kreis Schönlanke (Pomerania)

Not all Kreisleiters deviated from policy for personal gain; some simply sought to adapt the Volkssturm to specific local circumstances,
purportedly a benefit of Party control. For example, rather than organizing his units on the prescribed Ortsgruppen structure, the Kreisleiter
of rural Schönlanke (Pomerania) based his formations on towns with good road connections so as to speed mobilization of men living in
scattered farming communities.

Kreis Vilshofen (Gau Bayreuth)

These officials, however, could not ignore national directives with impunity, even for legitimate reasons, as demonstrated by a series of
incidents in Kreis Vilshofen (Gau Bayreuth). Here, the local Kreisstabsführer, SA Hauptsturmführer and former First Lieutenant Hans Schedlbauer, initiated a number of programs designed to make his units more effective, but his efforts were negated by decisions made at higher levels.
First, he organized his nine Volkssturm battalions into a regiment under his command and, in hopes of increasing the combat potential of his
troops, had each battalion place its healthiest veterans in an elite assault platoon and the members of the Landwacht in a reserve platoon.

Orders from Berlin forced him to abandon this plan by forbidding the Kreisstabsführer any independent command authority, banning elite
units (particularly for the Stadt- und Landwacht), and mandating strict adherence to members’ place of residence as the criterion for
unit assignments. Also, Schedlbauer made Levy assignments quickly and energetically only to have Bormann’s subsequent directives force him
to reallocate virtually everyone.

Finally, he discovered that confiscating hunting weapons, done to facilitate marksmanship training, was forbidden. Logically, Schedlbauer’s
enthusiasm diminished quickly, an illustration of why Kreis officials often showed initiative only when it promised personal rewards.

Reichsgau Schwaben

Ultimately, given the lack of superfluous German male labor, any mobilization or extraoccupational activity was bound to have an
impact. For example, Swabia’s Armaments Commission reported its labor pool was so shallow that no more than one Volkssturm
battalion could be mobilized, and it for no more than two weeks, without undermining production.

Freikorps Sauerland // Gausturm Ruhr

Although other improvised Volkssturm formations existed, they were not partisan units but attempts to improve local defensive capabilities or to allow someone to retain control over his personnel.

In many areas, officials redesignated the old Political Leader Squadrons or SA Special Purpose Units as select Volkssturm alarm units; but they
usually remained the Kreisleiter’s personal showpiece, his ready reserve against civil unrest or sudden enemy attacks, or merely enabled his employees and/or cronies to avoid more onerous duties. Furthermore, they were generally organized as standard Volkssturm companies and battalions and did nothing to prepare for guerrilla warfare.

The best example of this is Gau South Westphalia’s “Freikorps Sauerland,” which predated the Volkssturm but was amalgamated into the
Gau’s First Levy as several elite volunteer battalions.

The success of Freikorps Sauerland—which received top priority for equipment in Gau Westphalia-South—in raising fourteen new
volunteer battalions after October 18 proved there were Germans willing to serve if properly armed and clothed.

Volkssturm East Prussia

The East Prussian Volkssturm further demonstrated its potential when a Red Army thrust began on October 16 and temporarily captured Goldap
and Ebensrode. In the push, Soviet troops mauled at least four of the twenty-two poorly equipped and largely unsupervised (i.e., Party-controlled, not army-controlled) Volkssturm battalions on duty here. Other units, however, fought adequately around Treuburg, Gumbinnen, and along the Angerapp River.

Their bitter holding action helped sap Soviet momentum and bought time until German mobile reserves could arrive. After the enemy
offensive was halted, Volkssturm units remained in the front, enabling Fourth Army to muster its reserves for a successful counterattack that restored the front to its previous position. Overall, the army rated Volkssturm performance as adequate, despite its high casualties.

These apparent Volkssturm successes prompted both OKH and the NSDAP to expand the militia’s role in eastern Germany’s fortified areas. Koch mobilized an additional eighty-five Levy I combat and labor (i.e., armed and unarmed, respectively) battalions and instructed all remaining formations to prepare for local defense.

Although Koch feared that military influence would undermine his personal authority and the Volkssturm’s spirit, many of his subordinates,
including some in the Gauleitung and most—though not all—Kreisleiters and unit leaders, welcomed greater Wehrmacht involvement. And generally, the Wehrmacht was plainly anxious to become more involved with the Volkssturm in the east.

Gau Pomerania

Pomerania, where the Red Army surprised and mauled many of the sixty hastily prepared Volkssturm battalions there by taking them in the flank
and rear.

The best example of Volkssturm local defense success occurred in Pyritz in southwestern Pomerania. Just before dawn on February 2, Pyritz’s Volkssturm Battalion II, an HJ antitank team, and an antiaircraft battery rebuffed the weak vanguard of the 12th Guards Tank Corps. Regrouping
and calling in air and artillery support, the 12th Guards mounted a ferocious combinedarms assault supported by up to eighty tanks.

The Germans initially lost two thirds of Pyritz, but they successfully counterattacked and, reinforced on February 4 by a battalion-sized alarm
unit, held the Soviets at bay until the 4th SS Police Division arrived on February 7. During this battle, the Pyritz force—commanded by a Luftwaffe colonel named Weiss—destroyed at least twenty Soviet tanks and inflicted heavy casualties.

This victory enabled the Germans to build a new defensive line, preserve land contact with eastern Pomerania, and strengthen defenses along the lower Oder and helped buy time to prepare a counteroffensive called Operation Sonnenwende (which was ultimately unsuccessful).

Kreis Lüdinghausen [4 x Volksturm-Bataillones]

Gau Westmark

Although Volkssturm units served throughout the West Wall, the main focus of activity remained in the southern sectors, where by the
end of November nineteen Gau Westmark battalions—many virtually unarmed—occupied rearward portions of the West Wall in the
Saarland and Lorraine

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gau Bayreuth

Bayreuth.JPG


Volkssturm Leadership!!

The main reason for the low overall quality of Volkssturm leaders was that the pool of potential officers was virtually gone. In a desperate
effort to replenish its ranks after the summer disasters, the field army had recalled practically anyone even marginally fit for command, yet it remained 10,499 officers short of full strength in mid-October. Any ex-officers not reactivated were either superannuated, not physically fit, or otherwise unsuited.

Furthermore, the Volkssturm required at least half a million leaders, just over double the nearly 240,000 officers in the combat divisions
in mid-1944! Even after excluding squad leaders, the Volkssturm still needed around 175,000 commanders at the platoon level or above.

Given this situation—and the immense difficulty of their task—it is no shock that many Volkssturm leaders were ill suited to lead a combat
unit; what is in fact surprising is that many of these men had fairly extensive military backgrounds to complement their prominent
political and social positions.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Volkssturm and The Army

In early February, Volkssturm members constituted half of Ninth Army’s 52,000 men; and Army Group Vistula reported at least forty-seven
Volkssturm battalions on combat duty. These units’ exact deployments are also significant.

XL Panzer Corps’ February 7 situation map shows at least fourteen —of its seventeen total—Volkssturm battalions in the front lines. Two
even held a small bridgehead on the Oder’s east bank at Crossen, the corps’ most exposed position.

Similarly, on March 23, Army Group Vistula—then reportedly withdrawing and demobilizing Volkssturm units—still listed at least twentyone of
twenty-eight total Volkssturm battalions holding a wide variety of the most forward positions and representing approximately one-fifth of the
Army Group’s frontline units.

Armed and trained under OKH supervision, thirty-two Brandenburg battalions mobilized on February 9 and repelled heavy Soviet attacks
at Forst and Guben ten days later. With army reinforcements, they defended the Neisse River for two months.

Although precise determination of the total number of Volkssturm men who actually served is impossible, evidence suggests substantial
mobilizations in the east. Approximately 175,000 Volkssturm men nationwide served long enough under army command for their personnel
records to be deposited at the Wehrmacht Information Bureau.

Moreover, at least 139 eastern Volkssturm battalions (approximately 70,000 men) received Field Postal Numbers, indicating long-term service
and full incorporation into the Wehrmacht administrative structure.

Red Cross MIA lists mention Volkssturm formations from nearly 3,000 eastern communities, suggesting extensive short-term employment of the
area’s Volkssturm. With East Prussians constituting 30 percent of all eastern Volkssturm MIAs and an estimated 200,000 men serving in East Prussia
in January 1945, one can estimate that upwards of 650,000 Volkssturm men saw action on the Eastern Front.

----------------------------------------------------
Volkssturm in the West

In Gau Westmark, better Volkssturm-Wehrmacht cooperation began yielding benefits in early 1945. In January, Volkssturm units
participated in Army Group G’s offensive, Operation North Wind, in Alsace-Lorraine.

Some units even constituted part of the force covering the complicated withdrawal of the 10th SS and 21st Panzer Divisions at the close of that effort. The Westmark Volkssturm’s real test began with renewed American attacks in the Saar Basin during February and March 1945. Some formations—for example, Trier’s “Porta Negra” Battalion—simply collapsed when surprised by American troops.

On the other hand, Volkssturm troops fought well at Hamm, Serrig, Saarbrücken, Saarburg, Forbach, and elsewhere along the Saar River. Some
even continued fighting while surrounded, which allowed regular formations to withdraw.

Volkssturm deployments were even more extensive along the Upper Rhine. In fact, the German army stationed there became so
dependent on the militia that it was jokingly known as the Nineteenth “Volkssturm” Army. Volkssturm units began mobilizing here in late
November as a security occupation force to ensure that the Allies’ rapid advance through northern Alsace did not carry them across the
Rhine.

Realizing its dependence on the Volkssturm, Army Group Upper Rhine worked diligently to improve the militia’s training, equipment, and morale.

By early January, active Volkssturm battalions here were adequately armed; some even had heavy machine guns and medium mortars.

To overcome problems imposed by limitations on individual Volkssturm men’s terms of active service, Army Group Upper Rhine
and Gaue Baden and Württemberg developed personnel rotation systems. Württemberg battalions (in another example of deploying
Volkssturm units outside their home Gau) shifted as complete units, first to the Swiss border for four weeks’ training with AOK 24, and
then to the Upper Rhine for a month. Baden’s Volkssturm rotated in companies, with each serving a nine-week tour of active duty.

To ensure that no Baden battalion was completely green, every three weeks each battalion demobilized one company’s personnel, who
turned their equipment, uniforms, footwear, weapons, and supplies over to the replacements. Having Baden’s battalions on active duty
permanently enabled the Army Group to standardize the unit’s structure along military lines. This, however, meant raising the units
only in the more populous Kreise.

These Volkssturm units saw their security occupation duties on the Upper Rhine end in early February as Franco-American assaults
eliminated the Colmar Pocket. Army Group G reassumed control of the Upper Rhine on January 24 and planned to replace Volkssturm
and other scratch units there with the AOK 19 regulars withdrawing from Alsace. The massive Allied push to and across the central and
Lower Rhine—plus the collapse of the Eastern Front—however, repeatedly demanded the transfer of army units from the stable front
in Baden. In turn, this forced AOK 19 to rely even more heavily on the Volkssturm for combat troops.

As early as February 1, Volkssturm battalions formed 40 percent of XVIII SS Army Corps’ frontline infantry.

By early April, nearly two-thirds (20 of 31) of the army’s frontline battalions were Volkssturm, with an additional three
militia battalions in reserve.

As on the Oder, Upper Rhine Volkssturm battalions served as substitutes for regular infantry in the main line of resistance (even conducting
patrols on the Alsatian bank), while the Wehrmacht combat formations with counterattack capability formed tactical reserves.

The army also relied heavily on the Volkssturm to flesh out its engineer units and rear echelon, for example, as cooks, paymasters, and smiths.

Keenly aware of its dependence on Volkssturm troops, AOK 19 made determined efforts to improve their combat potential. It established a permanent liaison with Baden’s Gauleitung to ensure NSDAP cooperation. To simplify the chain of command and improve military supervision of
all non-Wehrmacht troops, the army reorganized all its miscellaneous units into Upper Rhine Grenadier Regiments and further standardized
battalion organization. As done elsewhere, it also established a system for removing incompetent Volkssturm leaders. Wherever possible,
AOK 19 provided its militia units with artillery support and reserves.

The Army and Gau Baden set up Volkssturm replacement and training companies. Fearing possible desertion, dereliction of duty, or even
potential subversion or espionage, AOK 19 instructed subordinate commanders to punish active militiamen for any infractions and to
purge their Volkssturm personnel of any Alsatians.

Furthermore, to develop fallback positions, AOK 19 planned an extensive deployment of Levy II units in fortifications along both the
border and the crestline of the hilly Black Forest. Several army staffs supervised the Volkssturm units slated to improve and man
these defenses; and Gaustabsführer Burst ordered each of the twenty-eight battalions assigned to the Black Forest Border Position
to set up a headquarters there, lay out fire plans, and conduct Sunday training in their assigned sectors. All other armed Volkssturm
units were to prepare for local defense of their hometowns.

For its part, AOK 19 instructed each town’s military commander to establish immediate, permanent liaison with the local Party headquarters and
to do everything possible to supervise, coordinate, and improve his area’s Volkssturm units. Despite these efforts, Party-army relations
at the lowest levels were not always smooth, and AOK 19 simply could not adequately arm, uniform, supply, or train all the region’s
Volkssturm units, particularly the Levy II battalions slated for deployment in the unfinished Black Forest positions or in local defense.

The Nineteenth Army’s extensive preparations deterred a direct assault, but on March 29 the French First Army’s Rhine crossings at
Speyer and Germersheim flanked the army’s defenses. The French advance forced AOK 19 to abandon its prepared positions and
rehearsed tactics, thus putting its Volkssturm units at a distinct disadvantage.

Further complicating matters was Württemberg Gauleiter Murr’s effort—ultimately squelched by Hitler himself—to withhold promised Volkssturm reinforcements for use in his own Gau. Finally, AOK 19, lacking reserves and regular troops, faced a hopeless struggle that prompted widespread desertion and led some Volkssturm units to surrender quickly, as happened at Lichtenau and Balzhofen.

None of this is surprising; AOK 19’s commanders themselves harbored no illusions about Volkssturm combat capabilities. What
is interesting is how well a number of Volkssturm units did, especially considering that they lacked extensive support from regular troops
and were fighting a fluid defensive action for which they had not trained extensively. Resistance from outnumbered Volkssturm
battalions and antitank teams in the Pforzheim-Ettlingen-Rastatt area prevented the French from quickly rolling up the army’s entire Rhine
front, while other units fought well at Offenburg, Zell, and elsewhere.

This performance resulted from the fact that Volkssturm units on the Upper Rhine had long been under army supervision, and their
armament, training, self-confidence, and capabilities had improved as a result. Furthermore, being fully integrated into the army’s
defensive plans, Volkssturm men were as well supplied, supported, and supervised as anyone in the Army. Although certain Party
officials caused problems, Baden Gaustabsführer Burst worked closely with AOK 19 in preparing his Volkssturm for combat. All of
this combined to enable Volkssturm units to handle a large portion of the Upper Rhine’s defense, freeing regular units for use elsewhere
and thus accomplishing the western Volkssturm’s most strategically significant feat.

The Wehrmacht also used Volkssturm battalions to substitute for regular frontline infantry elsewhere along the Rhine. Initially,
Wehrkreis XII planned only to employ Volkssturm units from Gaue Moselland and Hesse-Nassau’s river towns to guard bridges; but by
March 1945 the U.S. Third Army’s rapid advance forced deployment of these Volkssturm units—along with whatever training personnel
and antiaircraft gunners (both with and without their artillery) were available—to defend the central Rhine’s entire eastern bank.

In the Rhine Gorge, however, Volkssturm units put up fierce resistance at Rhens, Boppard, St. Goarshausen, and Kaub against the U.S.
89th and 87th Infantry Divisions’ crossing attempts. Lacking adequate support—particularly readily available reserves—these units inflicted
casualties on the assaulting units, but their best efforts only temporarily contained the American bridgeheads.

Some Volkssturm units on the Lower Rhine also performed adequately as frontline infantry. Battalion 38/20—a Levy I unit from the Isselburg-Anholt area in Gau Westphalia North—initially mobilized in November for three weeks’ training and then served during the winter as a security
occupation force constructing field fortifications and drilling to combat armored or airborne attacks.

Around March 1, the unit left its Gau to enter the front along the Rhine at Dornick (between Rees and Emmerich in Gau Essen).

Battalion 38/20’s commanding unit, 6th Parachute Division, reinforced it with a platoon of veterans to increase its combat effectiveness. The Volkssturm unit demonstrated its capabilities by conducting nocturnal reconnaissance patrols on the Rhine’s west bank, manning listening and observation posts, laying mines, directing artillery fire, and providing its own limited mortar and antiaircraft machine gun support. One German officer even remarked that the battalion’s men were “high standard personnel” who were “imbued with the best intentions and a sense of duty.”

On March 1, U.S. troops encountered stiff resistance precisely at the Bergheim unit’s assigned sector and were soon hit by regular infantrymen, armor, and artillery (retiring remnants of 363rd Volksgrenadier and 9th Panzer Divisions) who either reinforced or relieved the Volkssturm
men. The Americans cleared the area only late on March 2 after taking relatively heavy casualties.

Bergheim illustrates how Volkssturm local defense success required immediate support from regular units. There are other examples as well.
On April 1, Volkssturm units blunted the British advance near Ibbenbüren, which enabled troops from an NCO school and an antiaircraft unit to
hold the town until April 4. This facilitated First Parachute Army’s withdrawal to the Weser River and also allowed the Germans to evacuate a large supply depot.

At Crailsheim on April 6, a few Volkssturm men supported by an antiaircraft unit put up just enough resistance to allow 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division to counterattack and not only retake the town but also stall the American advance in the area and force a pitched battle that lasted
nearly two weeks.

On the other hand, on Bremen’s outskirts, at Kempten, Kicklingen, and Passau, Volkssturm-HJ troops effectively held up Allied forces but lacked
the Wehrmacht support needed to give their resistance any real meaning.

In Nuremberg over 1,000 Volkssturm men—including Karl Holz, acting Gauleiter of Franconia, who died in the battle—plus SS, RAD, HJ,
and army troops engaged U.S. troops in bitter fighting for five days in mid-April.

At Aschaffenburg, the Volkssturm blunted the initial American assault on March 25 and participated, both in combat and in the rear areas,
in the vicious ten-day struggle for that small city.

Why? Partly because the fanatical Kampfkommandant, a Major Lamberth, unblinkingly used the harshest measures to maintain obedience.

One element that contributed to some Volkssturm units’ willingness to fight was opposing French troops.

Long-standing animosity may have inspired some Volkssturm men in Baden and Württemberg to resist the French advance in 1945.

Furthermore, propaganda from both world wars portrayed French soldiers—particularly the colonials—as looters, rapists, and murderers.
Some Badenese and Württemberger Volkssturm men may have believed their resistance would protect their homes and families against such
a fate.

Volkssturm men also may have feared the traditional French enemy would treat them harshly in revenge for the German occupation. Indeed, although Germans could not have known it, the French did send all captured Volkssturm men—whether or not they had fought—to POW camps and held them there longer than did the other Western Allies. The fear, hatred, and desperation felt by Volkssturm men fighting the French was not comparable to that of their compatriots facing the Soviets, but it seems that the traditional enmity between France and Germany played some role in encouraging Volkssturm resistance in southwestern Germany.

Generally, however, the most common ingredient in the western Volkssturm’s poor overall performance was low morale.

The western Volkssturm was not a total failure militarily; but as a means to inspire Germans to fanatic resistance—the Nazis’ primary goal—
it clearly fell far short of its objective.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loses in the West

On the Western Front, the Allies took, however briefly, upwards of 1 million Volkssturm men prisoner by the war’s end.

Only a small proportion of them actually fought, though. MIA lists show only nineteen battalions (fewer than 12,000 men) served long enough to
acquire Field Postal Numbers; and the lists name only 590 men from thirty-four battalions and 246 communities as having ended up as MIAs.

Thus, it would be surprising if the total number of Volkssturm men committed to combat for an extended period of time in the west exceeded
150,000 —although this is little more than a guess.

[See Günther Bischof and Stephen E. Ambrose, eds., Eisenhower and the German POWs: Facts Against Falsehood (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1992). Page 24 reproduces an August 1945 report showing that 663,576 men, mainly Volkssturm
members, had already been released from POW camps.]

[ DRK, Vermißtenbildliste and Leitverzeichnis nach Einheiten, 226–280. The figure is arrived at assuming each of the 246 communities,
mainly Kreise, mobilized a 500-man battalion and estimating the thirty-four battalions mentioned at 500 men each.]

Western Volkssturm troops also tended to fight better in urban areas (e.g., Nuremberg, Cologne, Würzburg, Aschaffenburg, Bonn),
although not on the scale seen in eastern Fortresses.

Among the most extensive, bitter, and surprising instances of Volkssturm resistance against the Western Allies occurred in April in
Halle, Merseburg, Leipzig, Greiz, Zwickau, and other central German cities.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hitler Youth in the West

A more common source of fanaticism was the Hitler Youth, whose resistance in such places as Nuremberg, Leipzig, Diesdorf (west of Magdeburg), Kirchborchen, Aschaffenburg, Zeven, along the Jagst and Neckar, and elsewhere caused some American units to cite HJ fanaticism as
“one of the stumbling blocks in mopping up operations.”

[Quotation from U.S. 4th Armored Div., “G-2 Periodic Rept. (Special) #87,” Apr. 27, 1945, NA, RG 407, Entry 427, Box 15183.
On HJ resistance see U.S. V Corps, “G-2 Periodic Rept. #316,” Apr. 20, 1945, in U.S. 1st Inf. Div., “G-2 Journal 19–24 Apr., 1945,” NA,
RG 407, Entry 427, Box 5752; U.S. 3rd Armored Div., Spearhead, 143; John Colby, War from the Ground Up: The 90th Division in World War
II (Austin, Tex.: Nortex, 1991), 447; Alfons Heck, A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika (Frederick, Colo.:
Renaissance House, 1985), 165–68, and chaps. 10–11; Saft, 101, 430; Richard E. Schroeder, “The Hitler Youth as a Paramilitary
Organization” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1975), 278–79; Schwarzwälder, vol. 2, 51–52, and vol. 3, 161–62.]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More Units identified

Volksturm-Bataillon 19/XVI (München-Ost)
Volksturm-Bataillon 24/29 (Unterlüß, Kreis Celle)
Volksturm-Bataillon 38/20

Volksturm-Bataillon Braunsberg II
Volksturm-Bataillon Metz
Volksturm-Bataillon Pyritz II
Volksturm-Bataillon Rastatt VII
Volksturm-Bataillon Saarbrücken I

Fourteen Nuremberg Railway Directorate Volksturm-Bataillones *

* RB Dir. Nürnberg, “Übersicht über die Gliederung der Betriebsgebunden Einheiten des Deutschen Volkssturms,” undated, StA Bamberg,
M30, Nr. 838.

Volksturm-Bataillon 16/37 (Brieske)
Volksturm-Bataillon 16/374 (Ludwigsfelde)
Volksturm-Bataillon 32/27 (Eger)

Volksturm-Bataillon Brieske Levy I
Volksturm-Bataillon Eger Levy II
Volksturm-Bataillon Ludwigsfeldeb Levy II
Volksturm-Bataillon München-Ost Levy II
Volksturm-Bataillon Rötz Levy I
Volksturm-Bataillon Schaumburg-Lippea Levy I

Volksturm-Bataillon Propagandaministerium

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945
University Press of Kansas
David K. Yelton
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Last edited by Germanicus on 17 Jan 2022 21:09, edited 11 times in total.

Halfdan S.
Member
Posts: 2475
Joined: 08 Oct 2007 02:02
Location: Copenhagen

Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Halfdan S. » 17 Jan 2022 12:51

Germanicus wrote:
17 Jan 2022 00:20
Propoganda Ministry creates its on Volkssturm-Bataillones.

Goebbels formed 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees into two Levy II battalions, and furthermore declared that these men did not need
deferment cards (Zuteilungskarte). This enabled him to defer an additional 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees, who served as individuals in their regular neighborhood units. He also equipped his two “house battalions” with “flawless new uniforms” and other equipment donated directly to
them by the head of the NSKK’s Transport Corps “Speer.”

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945
University Press of Kansas
David K. Yelton
Is the first bit about Goebbels from this book?

Regards
Halfdan S.

Germanicus
Member
Posts: 2184
Joined: 04 Jun 2009 13:26
Location: Shell Cove NSW Australia

Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 19:28

Halfdan S. wrote:
17 Jan 2022 12:51
Germanicus wrote:
17 Jan 2022 00:20
Propoganda Ministry creates its on Volkssturm-Bataillones.

Goebbels formed 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees into two Levy II battalions, and furthermore declared that these men did not need
deferment cards (Zuteilungskarte). This enabled him to defer an additional 1,300 Propaganda Ministry employees, who served as individuals in their regular neighborhood units. He also equipped his two “house battalions” with “flawless new uniforms” and other equipment donated directly to
them by the head of the NSKK’s Transport Corps “Speer.”

Hitler's Volkssturm: The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945
University Press of Kansas
David K. Yelton
Is the first bit about Goebbels from this book?

Regards
Halfdan S.
Dear Halfdan S.

Dr Yeton footnotes this very point from the following and YES it is from this Book.

Most respectfully

Germanicus

45. RMfVuP Personnel Abt. Chef Stock to Goebbels, “Meldung,”
Dec. 13, 1944, BA-Ko, R 55, Nr. 914, 39; Stock, “Schreiben,” Dec.
29, 1944, BA-Ko, R 55, Nr. 914, 29–30; Stock, “Meldung II 076,” Jan.
2, 1945, BA-Ko, R 55, Nr. 914, 23; Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft to
Stock, “Vermerk,” Jan. 4, 1945, BA-Ko, R 55, Nr. 914, 28; Kofü., IV
Komp. to Btnfü., Btn. Wilhelmplatz I, “Schreiben,” Feb. 12, 1945, T-
580/667/502; Tagebücher von Goebbels, pt. 2, vol. 14, 184.

Halfdan S.
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Halfdan S. » 17 Jan 2022 19:38

Cheers, my interest because I've read somewhere that it was Generalmajor Wilhelm Nagel that donated the uniforms, would have to check up though.

Regards
Halfdan S.

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 21:49

Halfdan S. wrote:
17 Jan 2022 19:38
Cheers, my interest because I've read somewhere that it was Generalmajor Wilhelm Nagel that donated the uniforms, would have to check up though.

Regards
Halfdan S.
Thank you Halfdan S

I will check into this.

Most respectfully

Germanicus

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 22:18

Volkssturm Sauerland

The People's Army (Volkssturm) Sauerland has its historical roots in the formation of "Freikorps Sauerland" in the 1920's. The "Free Corps"
(Freikorps) was a military force of World War I veterans who served to quell uprisings in Germany following the Nation's defeat in 1918. Units
were formed throughout Germany in an effort keep order in a country deprived of international support and reeling from heavy unemployment.
The beginnings of the Freikorps eventually lead to the militarization of the National Socialist Party in the early 1920's leading to the creation of
the Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung-SA) or "brown shirts" as they were often called.

Freikorps Sauerland was established by order of the National Socialist Area Leader (Gauleiter) of Gau Westphalia-South. The unit maintained an
elite status by only accepting volunteers. Freikorps Sauerland continued to serve as a militia group for the Sauerland region through October
1944. After official constitution of the Volkssturm on 25 September 1944, the Freikorps Sauerland was fully established and incorporated into
the Volkssturm.

Its strength consisted of several battalions including a regimental staff which was something of an exception within the Volkssturm structure.
For every district within Sauerland one battalion of Volkssturm was raised. These factors coupled with the desire to accept only volunteers was a
way of maintaining elite status within the larger Volkssturm structure. As a unit the Volkssturm Sauerland maintained its former title "Freikorps Sauerland" in keeping with its historical roots.

Members of Volkssturm Sauerland were issued field grey or brown uniforms from the Organization Todt or those from the National Labor Service (Reicharbeitdienst-RAD). A special insignia was established for the Volkssturm Sauerland units which consisted of a white cuff title bearing the inscription "Freikorps Sauerland."

A cloth sleeve insignia was also produced and worn in combination with the uniform. This insignia was also reproduced as a helmet decal that
was sometimes worn on the left side of steel helmets. Like all Volksstrum units, the leadership and recruitment of "Freikorps Sauerland" was
directly under the control of local National Socialist Party leaders as well as members of the General-SS (Allgemeine-SS).

http://german-helmets.com/VOLKSSTURM Saurland History.htm

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 17 Jan 2022 22:23

New find

Volkssturm­-Bataillon Wangen

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangen_im_Allg%C3%A4u

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 01:19

die Deutsche Wochenschau No. 741 1944 "contents" "The defense of the Volkssturm in various places"
"Dr Goebbels take the oath on the Führer and the freedom of the Reich"

https___images.memorix.nl_pgl_nbm_thumb_fullsize_234e9b55-5fa8-8fba-c15f-783a2801cd2d.jpg.jpg

Letter to Mr Drescher in Reasfeld "letter from the Landrat Borken" "November 18, 1944" "letter regarding the call to Mr Drescher to
participate in the Deutschen Volkssturm Borken-Bocholt"

https___images.memorix.nl_pgl_nbm_thumb_fullsize_f47c1520-a2bb-c99d-fbe2-426ac7ece81f.jpg.jpg

die Deutsche Wochenschau No. 748 1945 "content" "in the Wochenschau a film about the Volkssturm can be seen"
"a unit of the Volkssturm has taken office in a factory, in the background the Eiserne Kreuz"

https___images.memorix.nl_pgl_nbm_thumb_fullsize_a56d620d-7a8a-2125-af54-e342417f04fa.jpg.jpg

die Deutsche Wochenschau nr. 750 1945
die Deutsche Wochenschau nr. 750 1945 "inhoud" "een aantal titels van duitse licht-bild-Bühne" "Der wille zum leben"
"Die Bewährung des Volkssturms"

https___images.memorix.nl_pgl_nbm_thumb_fullsize_ed9de642-1e96-2bd5-e191-5c1ab28fe84f.jpg.jpg

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/bronnen?t ... oto%27s=19
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Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 02:09

the emergency program

The production of those weapons that I have specified in the emergency program is currently more important than recoveries from them for the Wehrmacht, for the Volkssturm, for the people or for other purposes. I therefore order that all specialists employed in the emergency program, with the exception of those born in 1928 and younger, be exempted from any confiscation unless they can be fully replaced, especially by specialists from decommissioned companies. This arrangement also applies to those productions that are necessary as basic industry and supply for the production of the emergency program (iron-making industry, supply industry as well as for the companies that manufacture the equipment for this: optics, electrical engineering, etc.). Regardless of this protection, the planned or planned recoveries must be made by the rest of the defense industry.
EYI6-pUWsAEPrPy.jpg
https://twitter.com/TheRealDanSharp/sta ... 84/photo/1
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Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 02:51

Volkssturm-Bataillonen in Breslau [update]

Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/21 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/22 V // Volkssturm-Bataillon 22 V
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/23
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/24
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/30 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/30 V // Volkssturm-Bataillon Bannwitz (Waldenburg)
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/31 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Goebel Breslau
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/32 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/32 V
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/33
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/34
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/35
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/36 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Strauss
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/37 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Torzewski
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/38
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/40
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/41 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 41 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Klose // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/41 V
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/42 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 42 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Stephan
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/43 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/43 V mot // Volkssturm-Bataillon Stemmler
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/44 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/44 V mot
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/45 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/45 V mot // Volkssturm-Bataillon Schönwolf
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/46 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Peschke
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/48 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/48 V mot
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/49 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/49 V mot // Volkssturm-Bataillon 49
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/50 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/50 V mot
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/51 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/51 V mot // Volkssturm-Bataillon Buhr
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/52 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 52 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 52 Breslau
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/54
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/55 (III.Aufgebot) // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/55 V // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/55 V mot. // HJ-Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/55 // HJ-Kampfgruppe Festung Breslau

Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/56 (III. Aufgebot) // HJ-Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/56
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/59
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/66 // Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/66 V
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/67 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Breslau
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/68 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Breslau
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/69
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/71
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/72 // Kampfgruppe Speckmann
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/73 // Arbeits-Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/73
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/74 (II. Aufgebot) // Volkssturm-Bataillon Eisb
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/75 // Volkssturm-Bataillon Bischoff
Volkssturm-Bataillon 21/76 (II. Aufgebot) // Volkssturm-Bataillon Herpischböhm

https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... &pageNo=17

Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 03:42

A Post by Halfdan S. » 22 Sep 2021, 05:10 YAY

GM Walter Spannenkrebs
#11Unread post by Halfdan S. » 22 Sep 2021, 05:10
On 15.2.1945 Spannenkrebs was Kommandeur of (Verteidigungs-)Abschnitt E in Berlin - on 9.3.1945 it was Oberstleutnant Römhild,
wonder what became of Spannenkrebs, when and where was he a POW?


Uden navn.png

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/111

RH53-3-51-19[4870].jpg
https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... -hoffmann/


Verteidigungs-Abschnitt Berlin

Verteidigungsbereich.jpg


Volkssturm-Bataillon Schünke "A"
Volkssturm-Bataillon Fischer "A"
Volkssturm-Bataillon Wositzka "A"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/309 "C"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/511 "C"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/517 "C"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/521 "C"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/303 "D"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/316 "D"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/215 "E"

Volkssturm-Bataillon /Kampf-Gruppe Förster

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/181 "F"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/609 "F"

Volkssturm-Bataillon Radeland "F"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/403 "G"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/407 "G"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/421 "G"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/569 "G"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/603 "G"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/713 "H"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/813 "H"
Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/869 "H"

Rundfunkeigene-Volkssturm-Kompanie "Z"

Volkssturm-Bataillon 3/103 "??"

Volkssturm-Bataillon Ritter von Halt "??"

https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... post697189
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Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 03:45

Tiroler Standschützen
Standschützen.jpg
II753ea.jpg

https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... C3%BCtzen/


Dr David Yelton in his Book Hitler’s Volkssturm The Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944–1945

States the Following:

This author uncovered information on forty-one of the forty two men (all but Tirol-Vorarlberg’s) who were Gaustabsführer in October 1944.

The nominees of Wien, Schwaben, and Mainfranken are included, although Bormann expressly opposed their candidacy because there is no
evidence as to who, if anyone, replaced them. A list is in PK, “Verzeichnis,” undated (probably early Oct. 1944), T-580/53/Gruppe VIII/285.

Biographical information on the nominees comes from this folder and from BA-Ko, NS 6, Nrs. 313–14 and 763.

Also useful in this regard was Great Britain, Ministry of Economic Warfare, Who’s Who in Germany and Austria (London: Ministry of
Economic Warfare, 1945);


The complete Who’s Who in Germany and Austria (London: Ministry of Economic Warfare, 1945) can be found at this link in PDF Format.


http://www.lamoth.info/index.php?p=crea ... tor&id=337
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Germanicus
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Re: An extensive list of Volkssturm-Bataillons?

Post by Germanicus » 18 Jan 2022 04:04

Volkssturmeinheiten mit Stärkeangabe der Heeresgruppe Weichsel mit Stand 1.April 1945 rein. Quelle

9.Armee

V. SS-Gebirgskorps

391. Sicherungs-Division
Volkssturm-Bataillon 8/16 (Stahlhut)

32. SS-Gruppe
Volkssturm-Bataillon Thüringen

Division Raegener
Volkssturm-Bataillon Dresden
Volkssturm-Bataillon Mainfranken
Volkssturm-Bataillon Oberdonau

XI. SS-Panzerkorps

712. Infanterie-Division
Volkssturm-Bataillon 7/108

CI. Armeekorps

Infanterie-Division Berlin
4 Volkssturm-Bataillone

Festung Frankfurt

Festungs-Grenadier-Regiment 2 -> davon 1 Volkssturm-Bataillon
Festungs-Grenadier-Regiment 3 -> davon 2 Volkssturm-Bataillone
Festungs-Kampfgruppe 5 ->1 Volkssturm-Bataillon

3. Panzer-Armee

Armeekorps Oder
Gruppe Major Klossek
Volkssturm-Bataillon Gennsen

32. Armeekorps

Division z.b.V. 610
Volkssturm-Bataillon Brandenburg
Volkssturm-Bataillon ???

281. Infanterie-Division
Volkssturm-Bataillon Hessen-Nassau

549. Volksgrenadier-Division
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/11
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/29
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/70

Gruppe Generalmajor Voigt

Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/62
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/52
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/50
Volkssturm-Bataillon 26/244 [??]

https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... post641307

Volkssturmeinheiten mit Stärkeangabe der Heeresgruppe Weichsel mit Stand 21.April 1945

9.Armee

V. SS-Gebirgskorps

337. Volksgrenadier-Division

Volkssturm-Bataillon 8/16 (Stahlhut)
Volkssturm-Bataillon Thüringen

226. Infanterie-Division

Volkssturm-Bataillon Dresden
Volkssturm-Bataillon Mainfranken
Volkssturm-Bataillon Oberdonau

XI. SS-Panzerkorps -> direkt unterstellt zwei Volkssturm-Bataillon aus Berlin

712. Infanterie-Division

Volkssturm-Bataillon 16/93
Volkssturm-Bataillon 16/95

"Nederland"

2 Volkssturm-Bataillone

Armee-Abteilung Steiner (III. SS-Panzerkorps)

5. Jäger-Division
4 Volkssturm-Bataillone

Festung Frankfurt

Volkssturm-Bataillon 34/5
Volkssturm-Bataillon IV
Volkssturm-Bataillon V
Volkssturm-Bataillon VI

3. Panzer-Armee

XXXXVI. Panzerkorps

547. Volksgrenadier-Division
Volkssturm-Bataillon Gennsen

Armeekorps Oder

Gruppe Oberst Wellmann

Regiment Klossek
Volkssturm-Bataillon Hamburg
Volkssturm-Bataillon Brandenburg

https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/4

https://www.forum-der-wehrmacht.de/inde ... post641297

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