Axis units in Berlin 1945

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KASHANKA
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Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by KASHANKA » 13 Feb 2009 21:12

I'm looking for info on the volkssturm in defence of Berlin in 1945. OOB would be best, although I know this is already asking very much. Any info on the number of VS in Berlin will be appreciated.
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Sewer King
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Re: Volkssturm in Berlin 1945

Post by Sewer King » 14 Feb 2009 05:51

From David K. Yelton's well-researched Hitler's Volkssturm: the Nazi Militia and the Fall of Germany, 1944-1945 (University of Kansas Press, 2002), pages 125-127:
Wehrmacht reliance on the Volkssturm as substitute infantry increased still further after the massive Soviet offensive against the Oder-Neisse position began on April 10. Volkssturm units here often fought bravely and inflicted heavy losses on the Soviet attackers, but they could not hold due to the Germans' lack of reserves. Intent on keeping the Soviets as far east as possible, Hitler authorized sending Berlin Volkssturm battalions and some 6,000 boys in HJ antitank teams as reinforcements to defend the Seelow Heights and other positions behind the Oder. Although fierce fighting here generated heavy casualties for both sides, these improvisations only delayed but could not halt the Soviets. Furthermore, much like their special purpose battalion comrades at Zielenzig, many hastily dispatched Volkssturm units were dispersed by air attacks (against which they had no protection) or quickly overrun before they reached their assigned positions.

The decision to fight at the Oder also upset Berlin's defense preparations to some extent. The Berlin Volkssturm not only lost a substantial proportion of its better-equipped battalions, but Hitler also required it to turn over weapons to help arm thirty battalions of Luftwaffe and naval personnel. In spite of these reductions, Volkssturm units still constituted about half of Berlin's defense force; but what remained were generally poorly trained and ill equipped. In fact, one officer reported his zone's Volkssturm units had fifteen different rifle and ten different machine gun models.

On the positive side, however, army-Volkssturm relations in Berlin had been largely cordial since defense preparations commenced in late January. Since then, Party-army efforts had improved fortification construction efforts, logistical arrangements, and Volkssturm unit and leader training -- particularly in antitank and street-fighting tactics. As in Breslau, the Party and army had reorganized units to create battleworthy formations, scrutinized unit leader appointees for competence, replaced those found lacking with able former officers, and attempted to assign men to familiar geographic areas. Some units also received a stiffening of police to increase their combat potential. Wehrkreis officials even sought to ensure that rear-echelon soldiers treated Volkssturm men respectfully. These efforts led Berlin's military commanders to report on April 15 that the Volkssturm was willing and somewhat able to fight.

Several Volkssturm battalions did indeed contribute to the city's bitter, if futile, defense by holding the Teltow Canal, protecting quiet sectors, ambushing Soviet reconnaissance patrols, and in street fighting. As always, however, Volkssturm units were brittle and poorly supplied, frequently reduced to procuring essential items by scavenging the battlefield, looting warehouses, or begging from sympathetic civilians. Many Volkssturm men recognized the futility of the struggle and either never reported for duty or threw away their armbands, paybooks, and equipment (if indeed they had any) and went home when they tired of fighting or ran out of ammunition or other necessary supplies.

Hitler Youth military exploits in Berlin -- and indeed throughout Germany -- have been highly publicized, overshadowing the fact that they were only a fraction of the capital's substantial Volkssturm contingent. The fanatic HJ defense of the Pickelsdorfer bridges over the Havel did delay Soviet encirclement of the city for two days and was on e of the most important Volkssturm successes in Berlin. HJ forces also fought, primarily as antitank teams, in other areas of Berlin and in the defenses west of the Oder ...
Although making fine use of German archival materials and sources, Yelton's book leans more toward study of the Volkssturm in motivational, political, administrative, leadership, and statistical matters. While he does not list order of battle, his statistical detail reports 2,691 Volkssturm men of Berlin Gau missing in action.

-- Alan
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Re: Volkssturm in Berlin 1945

Post by KASHANKA » 14 Feb 2009 12:39

OK, thanks for the information.
That seems to be the common practice - Volkssturm is studied and discussed "as a whole" and rarely if ever as a military organisation with its own OOB and individual battalions.

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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by KASHANKA » 15 Feb 2009 22:16

As my research on the Reich's last stand continues, I decided to change the topic of this thread to "Axis units in Berlin 1945" as I wanted to ask more questions about not only the Volkssturm.

1) I found some confusing info that there was a reserve or guard battalion from the Grossdeutschland division that took part in the battle inside Berlin. Can anyone confirm this?

2) An old pre-1989 communist publication states that the Berlin Technical University complex was defended among other units, by at least 5 tanks. Is this true? If yes, then what tanks were they and what unit were they a part of?

3) How many battalions of the 1st SS divison LSAH took part in the battle inside the city?

EDIT: Some old info I dug up seems to point that there were 2 guard battalions of the LSAH inside the city, still I'm not so sure of the source and I'd appreciate a confirmation of this 2 battalions.
Also, I already found the necessary information about Hermann von Salza Abtielung.
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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 15 Feb 2009 22:35

Pelase take a look in the many, many Berlin 1945-topics here at AHF :wink:

Jan-Hendrik

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KASHANKA
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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by KASHANKA » 15 Feb 2009 23:33

Jan-Hendrik wrote:Pelase take a look in the many, many Berlin 1945-topics here at AHF :wink:

Jan-Hendrik
Thanks, several threads here provided me with valuable data, albeit not the answers to the questions asked here.
If you have a specific thread in mind, I'd appreciate it if you could provide a link.

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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by FireFoxy » 16 Feb 2009 02:41

Hi. You may what to look at this book here- Bloody streets,the soviet assault on Berlin 1945.

These are the units that fought in 1945 in Berlin!
German LVI Panzer Korps.
Volkssturm.
Hitlerjugend.
Waffen-SS.
Foreign Volunteers.
V = VICTORY

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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by KASHANKA » 16 Feb 2009 20:22

FireFoxy wrote:Hi. You may what to look at this book here- Bloody streets,the soviet assault on Berlin 1945.

These are the units that fought in 1945 in Berlin!
German LVI Panzer Korps.
Volkssturm.
Hitlerjugend.
Waffen-SS.
Foreign Volunteers.
Yes, I'm aware of the large scale units like the LVI Pz Korps, my questions are mostly related to battalion scale reserve and guard units, such as the LSAH guad battalion/battalions used to protect central Berlin and the goverment district.

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Re: Axis units in Berlin 1945

Post by RFPB » 17 Feb 2009 16:25

There were some hundred Indians that fought the Soviets when the city was surrounded. They were part of the "Azad Hind" radio network and decided they'd rather die in battle.

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