WIKING RUF Europäische Freiwilligen in der Waffen-SS
What did happen in 1941?
SS-Brigadeführer Steiner visits Inf.Rgt. Westland
The SS-Oath is adapted to the wishes of foreign volunteers, most of whom refused to receive the German citizenship.
Dutch volunteers were again given the possibility to return to The Netherlands by Himmler.
The regiment 'Westland' takes their oath, finally.
Unterführer Lehrgang in Bad Tölz for the NCO's of the 'schweren Kompanien' - 4th, 8th and 12th. Other regimental units had field training exercises in the Ingolstad area.
Division assembles around TruppenÜbungsplatz (TrÜbPlatz) Heuberg, near Sigmaringen, Germany and taken into active service.
An 8 weeks trainings course follows.
Every infantry regiment has its 'own' Artillerie Abteilung, with which it cooperated.
I./Abt. served with Germania, II./Abt. with Westland and III./Abt. with Nordland; the regiment's heavy weapons were often divided between the Abteilungen or complete in action on the several hot spots.
The Art.Rgt. 5 was formed by 3 Abteilungen and a 4th schweren Abteilung.
Order of Battle I-III./Art.Abt. 5
1st, 2nd and 3rd Battery with 4 le.FH18 (10,5cm - max. range 9,150m),
4th heavy Abteilung had 3 Batteries with the schw.FH17 (15cm - max. range 13,325m)
At the beginning of 1942 an additional 4th Batterie with the schwere Kanone 18 (10,5cm - max. range 18,990m) was added to the 4th Abteilung.
Placed under command of Armygroup C, XXXX-Pz.Korps under General Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg.
Deployed into assembly areas (AA) in the Breslau area, between the cities of Oels, Militsch and Wohlau.
Later on taken under command of 1.Panzer Armee of Generaloberst Ewaldt von Kleist part of the XIV.Panzerkorps of General Gustav von Wietersheim.
SS-Freiwilligen Bataillon 'Nordost' activated with Btl.Kdr. SS-Hstuf. Hans Collani.
Crossing the German-Polish border near Groβ-Wartenburg and after a 3 days march ending up in the staging area (SA) near the Polish-Russian border, south-east of Lublin.
Now under command of the Panzergruppe 1.
March from the SA's near Cholm to southern area of Zamosz, 3./Westland spearheaded the advance of the division.
Wiking arrives at Lemberg... Where it finds thousands of civilians murdered by GRU and/or NKVD-troops in prisons and cellars...
Inf.Rgt. Westland encounters strong enemy forces (32nd Guards Division) around Zamosz for the first time in its young history.
No one will have ever thought that the division remains at the eastern front where it encounters numerous battles without a pause until Germany's unconditional surrender in May 1945...
SS-Standartenführer Hilmar Wäckerle , Rgt.Kdr. Inf.Rgt. 'Westland', was the regiment's first soldier who was killed by a Russian sniper in the Lvov area.
He is succeeded by SS-Oberführer Artur Phleps on 3rd July.
SS-Freiw. Bataillion Nordost is transfered by train to Stralsund.
I./Westland crosses the river Slucz, followed by III./Westland and II./Westland follow.
Kompanie Chef 5./Westland, SS-Hstuf. Alfred Miklos is killed in action near Husyatin (Gusyatin).
After fierce battles, Biala-Zerkow is captured. At the 16th July, II./Germania almost collapses during heavy Russian attacks, until Aufklarungs Abteilung 5 reïnforces them.
Heavy fighting continues till the dawn 17th July, when Russian troops advanced within 500 meter of the Divisional HQ! During the morning 'Westland' arrives and was immediately sent in the Taraschtscha area where is was joined by 'Nordland' later that afternoon.
Division HQ at Skwira.
Inf.Rgt. Westland reaches its final objective, the Kotluga depression.
KIA: 10 officers - 12 NCO's - 70 men,
WIA: 8 officers - 52 NCO's - 300 men.
During following actions Westland, now south of Talnoye/Swerdlikowo, Ukraine - in order to close the Uman pocket - witnesses one of the first recorded war crimes.
About 25 men of 1st platoon 1.Kompanie, with their platoon leader SS-Untersturmführer Franz Weisswasser were found dead and severely mutilated after their position was overrun by Russian forces.
Regiment Westland, together with paratroopers of the Luftwaffe 'Hermann Göring' regiment endured heavy fighting around Korsun and Schandorowka. During the early morning hours, Stubaf. Günter Ecke was killed in an ambush. All vehicles were marked with a big white 'K' next to the yellow sun wheel, the tactical sign of Wiking. Later diverted over Kirowograd to Dnjepropetrowsk.
A small bridgehead was made on the eastern bank of the Dnjepr by 'Nordland'. Fighting lasts till mid September...
SS-Freiw. Battalion Nordost is transferred to Truppenübungsplatz Gross-Born in Hinterpommern.
Training on platoon, company and battalion level.
SS-Hstuf. Alfred Schade, Kompanie Chef 1./Westland was killed in the Dnjepropetrowsk area.
Kompanie Chef 15./Westland, SS-Hstuf. Kreutzer is KIA during the heavy and continuous battles in the Dnjepropetrowsk-Kamenka bridgehead. Break out of the pocket.
During the night, the rest of the division managed to cross the Dnjepr.
After a brief consolidation the division attacks and Inf.Rgt. Germania attacks Kamanka. Over 5,000 POW's were taken after heavy concentrated German artillery-fire landed in the ranks of 3 Russian divisions and scattered them.
III./Nordland renamed in Finnisches Freiwilligen Batallion der Waffen-SS.
Formation of Wiking's Sturmgeschütz (StuG) Batterie (Assault Gun) under command of SS-Ostuf. Hermann Lange.
The attack on Pawlograd by Nordland was halted and the regiment was relieved in place by the 198. Inf.Div.
Wiking advances to Konskije-Rasdony, meanwhile Nordland marched to Stara-Konstantinowka.
Russian forces were too late to escape the encirclement, after German troops close the pocket on the heights next to railway of Melitopol-Stalino.
The new Legion 'WALLONIEN', formed out of French speaking Belgians under command of SS-Stubaf. Lucien Lippert arrives in Russia.
Re-assigned from III. Panzerkorps to XIV. Armee Korps, advancing to the Melitopol-Stalino railway.
Periods of heavy rain hamper the all supply units. Over 65,000 POW's, 125 tanks and 500 artillery piece were captured by the Germans forces.
More bad weather, storms and rain with some snow.
Roads are turned into mud trails.
Russian officers and political officers have fled or have been shot by own troops. Russian POW's were send to the west, often without guards.
Near Ignatijewka, only 15 km(!) advanced in the last days. Wiking stopped due to a lack of fuel.
With no fuel, the division orders a Kampfgruppe (KG) together with some Pioniere, which has to take the town Krynka, 8 miles south-east of Uspenskaja.
KG von Scholz together with the reinforced Nordland-regiment reaches Mokri-Jelantschik. Wiking has reached a column length of 125km!!!
Weather: fog, rain and mud...
Wiking has finally enough fuel to start an operation into Krynka.
Nordland throws back a Russian cavalry-division and reaches the Mius river, a small bridgehead has established near Golodajew.
Due to sub-zero temperatures, roads become drivable again. I./Nordland reaches the road Uspenskaja-Amrosiewka and takes the town.
Inf.Rgt. Westand crosses the Mius river and advances north-eastwards towards Perwomaisk-Oktjabrisk in order to reach the road to Astachowo.
For the first time I./Westland recieved massive artillery fire by the new Katucha or 'Stalin Organ'. Substantial losses were reported.
After heavy rain, temperatures dropped far below zero and it starts snowing. Roads are frozen, supply routes getting useable for transport. Further attacks on Bischlerowka and Uspenskaja. Target becomes Schachty, north-east of Rostow on the Don.
Russian counterattacks forces Inf.Rgt. Westland to give up the line Popwka-Darjewka-Nowoaksai during night and setting up a defensive position west of Bolsche-Klopinskaja on the Tusloff.
During the night XIV.Korps retreats to the west. Strong Russian forces plunges into the abandoned positions. Heavy rear guard fighting by Wiking.
SS-Stubaf. Kurt Albert, Btl.Kdr. Pionier Battalion 5 and several of his officers are killed in the Barabanow area.
Regiment Commander SS-Oberführer Arthur Phleps reports the losses suffered by the Westland regiment between July 1 and November 30, 1941:
KIA: 29 officers - 65 NCO's - 347 men,
WIA: 21 officers - 138 NCO's - 920 men,
MIA: 29 men.
Totalling 1,549 men - nearly 50% of its original strength within 5 months!
Positions on the Tusloff were unfavorable, so the Inf.Rgt. Westland withdrew during the night back to the Mius river. Regiments Gefechtsstand was established in Uspenskaja.
It was the hardest for the troops in the frontline, ground frozen to a depth of one meter with no winter clothing yet, so they improvised. Their dugouts were about 1 meter high in the days of December 1941 and January 1942. Temperatures dropped to minus 40° C.
A relative calm month, some X-mas trees and little alcohol were transported to the frontline. The withdraw didn't have a negative influence on the Wiking men. They had become self-aware and knew they had fighting an enemy which was 5 times as strong as their own forces. On many occasions the Russians had been deflected with very heavy losses...
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