15 th Latvian Waffen SS Division

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15 th Latvian Waffen SS Division

Post by e.polis » 10 May 2004 01:22

I am looking for any info on the 15 th Latvian SS Division, my deceased father served with them, 1943-45 and I have many photos of him and some have commanding officers with him. I know that he was a senior NCO and I have his Iron Cross 2nd class and pay book. also his POW ID card when he was in a British PW camp after the war.

Many thanks


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Post by Greyfinn » 10 May 2004 04:40

Try there:
...and maybe You'll share photos on forum...

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Post by Necros » 10 May 2004 21:16

I found some links that maybe will be of some assistance

Latvijas Valsts prezidenta kanceleja

/Mikael Sundholm
Last edited by Necros on 12 May 2004 08:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Daniel L » 10 May 2004 22:04

Necros wrote:I found some links that maybe will be of some assistance
Latvian Nazis
I would skip that one, it's not helpful at all.

Best regards/ Daniel

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Post by KalaVelka » 11 May 2004 05:45

D. Löwenhamn wrote:
Necros wrote:I found some links that maybe will be of some assistance
Latvian Nazis
I would skip that one, it's not helpful at all.

Best regards/ Daniel
Makes me sad :(


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Post by Michate » 11 May 2004 07:34

That mentioned site seems to be a tool in the Russian PR fight against the Baltic states.

I stumbled across the iraqwar.ru web site that is linked there during the last Iraq war last year. It was a magnet for conspirationists, anti-Semites and anti-Americanists of all colours.

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Post by VJK » 11 May 2004 13:06

Hi E.Polis!

If you speak Latvian, I can recommend the 11 volume series "Latviešu karavīrs otrā pasaules kara laikā" issued by the Daugavas Vanagu Centrala Valde in 1977 (Vol. 3 - 6 have the most pertinent information about the 15. Div.). I'm sure that it should be quite widely available in Latvian circles in Australia. Otherwise you can try Arthur Silgailis' book "Latvian Legion" in English, issued by R. James Bender Publishing.



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Post by Necros » 12 May 2004 20:32

OK, I have removed the before mentioned link, guess I could have read it more critically before linking to it. Thank you Daniel for making me aware of it.

/Mikael Sundholm

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15 wss

Post by e.polis » 13 May 2004 12:02

VJK........ thanks for the info

My latvian is about as good as what they speak on Mars, but my mother who was born in Latvia in 1925, in Ventspils and it is still her primary language, so I will seek her help. I can always remember my father saying that they always considered that they were fighting for Latvia's freedom and not for Hitler and his ideals, after all no other country was willing to help stop the Russian invasion. It was just a question of geography and from that came the history.

Many thanks, e.polis

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Post by AAA » 01 Jun 2004 17:35

The following site summarises info from several sources on various Latvian units in WWII (including Silgailis "Latvian legion" and "Latviešu karavīrs otrā pasaules kara laikā":


There is some in english, but unfortunately most pages are only in Latvian.

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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 06 Jun 2004 02:32

Hi e.polis:

Here's some information for you:

15th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS (lettische Nr 1)

Alternate Names:
Lettische Division
Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Legion
Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Infanterie Division
Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier Division
Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division
15. Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division
15. (latv.) SS-brivpratigo divizija

Brigadeführer Peter Hansen 02/1943 - 05/1943
Gruppenführer Carl Graf von Pückler-Burghauss 05/1943 - 02/1944
Brigadeführer Nikolas Heilmann 2/1944 - 7/1944
Brigadeführer Herbert von Obwurzer 7/1944 - 1/1945
Oberführer Dr. Eduard Deisenhoffer 1/1945
Oberführer Arthur Ax 01/1945 - 2/1945
Oberführer Karl Burk 02/1945 - 05/1945

Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 32 (lettisches Nr. 3)
Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 33 (lettisches Nr. 4)
Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 (lettisches Nr. 5)
Waffen-Artillerie Regiment der SS 15
Waffen-Füsilier Battalion der SS 15
Waffen-Flak Abteilung der SS 15
Waffen-Nachrichtung Abteilung der SS 15
Waffen-Pionier Battalion der SS 15
Waffen-Panzerjäger Abteilung der SS 15 SS-Sanitäts Abteilung 15
SS-Nachschub Truppen 15
SS-Feldpostamt 15
SS-Veterinär-Kompanie 15
SS-WirtschaftsBtl. 15
SS-Bau-Regiment 1 der 15. SS-Division
SS-Bau-Regiment 2 der 15. SS-Division
SS-Feldersatz-Battalion 15
SS-Waffen-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 15
SS-Dinafü (Kodina?)


June 1941: June 22: Germany invades the Soviet Union.

January 1943: Germans recruit Latvians into internal security units called "Schuma Batallione."Several of the Latvian Schuma Battalions become the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Legion; some police units posted to front to gain combat experience.

February 1943: Feb 26: RFSS Himmmler authorizes the raising of the Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Legion (Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division?). Troops are raised from new volunteers, conscripts, Latvians in other branches of the German Wehrmacht, and 1,000 partially trained troops from the 2nd SS Latvian Brigade. The number of estimated volunteers for the unit reach up to 32,000.

March 1943: Unit name changed to "Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Brigade" to reflect an infusion of German cadre from the 2nd SS Infantry Batallion
Mar 9: Latvian Minister of War, General Rudolph Bangerskia appointed Gruppenführer.

May 1943: 2nd SS Latvian Brigade (stationed at the front) sustains such heavy casualties that 700 of its troops allocated for the newly-forming division are sent to the front as replacements.
May 3: Waffen-Grenadier Regt. 32 formed Paplaka

June 1943: Waffen Grenadier Regt 33 formed Vainode
July 1943: Waffen Grenadier Regt 34 formed Cesis
August 1943: training
September 1943: Sept 22: Each regiment (WGR 32, 33, 34) reduced in size from 3 battalions to 2.
November 1943: Nov 20: Waffen-Grenadier Regiment der SS 34 experiences first combat Novo Sokolniki; in action at Nevel attached to 281st Infantry Division (Heer).

December 1943: Division strength: 20,291; the division's troops are sent to the front in small kampfgruppe attached to veteran units to gain combat experience.

January 1944: Division posted to Kamenka, releiving the 21st Luftwaffe Field Division

February 1944: battle of Narva begins
Feb 13: Soviet Forces attempt to outflank Narva defences with landing at Mereküla; Soviet landing force annihilated
Feb 16: Infiltrating Soviet troops attach the division's rear at Sokolji
Feb 17-27: Division falls back to Poljiste & Veljikaja, suffering heavy casualties from Soviet & Partisan attacks.
March 1944: March 2: Unit assigned to VI SS-Freiwilligen-Armeekorps (Lettisches); divisions classified as "Waffen-Grenadier" (sort of a "3rd-string" SS classification)
March 15: Massive Soviet attack at Sapronovo; 15th & 19th divisions supposedly fight together for the first time (the date later becomes a Latvian holiday - "National Soldier's Day")
April 1944: April 6: some divisional units withdrawn from front line for rest & refitting; the rest of the division continues to suffer from Soviet probes and incessant shellfire.
June 1944: Division strength: 18,413
June 22: Soviets launch Operation Bagration. Soviets attack unit along the Velikaya river positions.

July 1944: July 10: Soviets renew assault on Latvian positions, which begin to crumble.
July 12: Divisional CO Heilmann order several weaponless Latvian SS stragglers shot as an example. Latvian morale plummets; within a couple of days Heilmann is relieved by Herbert von Obwurzer.
July 15: Division troops retreating in small kampfgruppe and suffer heavy casualties; for example "Kampfgruppe Aparats" is practically wiped out with only 12 out of 800 troops reaching German lines. WGR (Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment) 32 almost completely destroyed at Ostrov
July 20: Remnants of division withdrawn from front for refitting.
August 1944: Aug 3: Many 15th SS troops recycled as replacements for the 19th SS, other troopers formed into labor battalions building defensive fortifications on the left bank of the Dina river.
Aug 20: Division sent to West Prussia for refitting; training complicated by shortages of weapons & equipment.
September 1944: Unit strength: 16,870

October 1944: Oct 13: Latvian captial Riga recaptured by Soviets

November 1944: Division withdrawn via Kurland to Pomerania, detatched from the VI SS-Korps.

December 1944: Division strength: 16,870; reforming Torun, Poland.

January 1945: Jan 22: Division sent to front to retake Nakel.
Jan 23: Defensive positions, Netze River
Jan 24: Soviet 19th Army attacks divisional component "Gruppe Ax" Jan 25: Division repulses Soviet attack
Jan 26: CO von Obwurzer KIA; 23rd SS-Freiwilligen-Panzer-Grenadier-Division Nederland covers division's retreat; division assigned to XVI SS Armeekorps
Jan 31: Division morale sapped, no ammunition, retreating

February 1945: Feb 24: Soviet 19th Army attacks divisional component "Gruppe Ax" at Hammerstein Training Area
Feb 26: Heavy combat against III Guards Tank Corps at Baldenberg
Feb 28: Soviets renew offensive in western Pomerania

March 1945: March 4-12: "Kampfgruppe von Tettau" - remmnants of the 15th & 33rd SS divisions and 48th SS regiment breakout of Red Army encirclement in a "wandering pocket" and head to the coast at Horst.
March 15: Division abandons Holt
March 15: (circa) "Kampfgruppe von Tettau" evacuated by sea

April 1945: Part of division surrenders to Americans on Elbe; elements of division participate in Battle of Berlin
April 24: Battalion of 15th SS troops under SS-Obersturmbannführer Nielands arrive at Berlin.

May 1945: Unit remnants surrender to Red Army at Neu-Ruppin
May 1: Many Berlin defenders attempt to infiltrate westward through Soviet lines towards US forces; 15th SS Obersturmbannführer Neilands & his 80 men barricade themselves in at Berlin's Civilian Air Ministry, preparing to defend it to the death, but instead withdraw to Pankow and disband.
May 2: General Weilding, commander of Berlin, surrenders unconditionally to Soviet forces.

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Post by VJK » 06 Jun 2004 09:19

Hi Rob!

Thanks for some very detailed info on the 15. Div. That must have taken some time just to write!! Just a small correction - Neilands was Obersturmführer and not Obersturmbannführer.



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Post by courlander » 04 Jun 2005 04:17

The problem in posting replies is that wrong ones get posted
lacplesis.com is one that tries to present the facts about Latvia .
If I find facts contradicting anything I will post for I believe that history should be true.

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Post by Panzermahn » 04 Jun 2005 04:29


I would like to add that Obersturmfuhrer Neilandis was the interpreter that accompany General Hans Krebs and Colonel Theodor von Dufving during the first round of negrotiations with the Russians although General Krebs spoke excellent Russian

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » 29 May 2006 06:28

May 1945: Unit remnants surrender to Red Army at Neu-Ruppin
Accoeding to Stöbers history of VI.SS-Korps the remants of this unit ( about 5000 men ) surrenderd to the Western Alliies south of Schwerin :wink:


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