WIKING RUF Europäische Freiwilligen in der Waffen-SS

 
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.:: Wiking Ruf - Europäische Freiwilligen in der Waffen-SS ::.

 

What did happen in 1945?

1.1.1945
As a part of Operation Konrad I, the 5.SS-Pz.Div. Wiking was committed to action on evening of 1 January 1945, fighting alongside the Totenkopf. Near Táta, the advance columns of Wiking slammed into the Soviet 4th Guards Tank Army. In three days Wiking and Totenkopf's panzer spearheads had driven 45 kilometers over rugged terrain, over half the distance from the jump-off point to Budapest.

Division spearheads first relief attack of BUDAPEST, involved in heavy fighting in BICSKE and PILIS mountains. SS-Ostubaf. Fritz Darges' Pz.Rgt. 5 broke through the lines, immediately followed by Dorr's Germania regiment. The industrial areas of Felsögalla and Alsógalla Wiking had back-up on the southern flank by the 'Gruppe Pape'. Totenkopf and the 96. I.D. did the same in their area, although both SS-Pz.Divisions weren't even on full strength while parts were still dribbling in by train.

I./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz III: 4 authorized, 0 assigned.
Pz IV: 73 authorized, 10 combat-ready
StuG IV: 0 authorized, 4 combat-ready
Total: 77 authorized, 14 combat-ready

II./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz V: 75 authorized, 22 combat-ready

Regimental Total: 152 authorized, 36 combat-ready...


Slowly the attack halted and on 5th January it stopped at the road junctions of Zsámbek and Bickse. Secondary attack by the 711. I.D. rushed in from The Netherlands with replacements from the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe still in their blue uniforms were successful enough for a simultaneous attack by Pz.Rgt. 5 and Fritz Vogt's Norge batallion which amounted a second success. The 711. I.D. was comanded by Jesef Reichert and it was more or less by coincidence that it managed to conquer the city of Esztergom.

By destroying a Russian convoy of twelve trucks, six pieces of artillery and a number horse-drawn vehicles Darges has finally earned recognition and thus his Ritterkreuz. In those days, the value of the Ritterkreuz had been greatly inflated.

Within IV.SS-Pz.Corps losses had risen to 525 killed with another 2,605 wounded and 400 men missing.


7.-12.1.1945
The second relief attempt, to be known as Operation Konrad II, got underway. The 711. I.D. continued marching on alone to Pillissentlélek. There they had to wait for the Westland regiment.
In atrocious conditions, the Wiking advanced southwards towards Budapest. At 20.10 hours on the 11th Hitler ordered to stop the attack and start the attack to the south (i.e. 'Paula' which was renamed Konrad III). Several hours later, at 23.40, Gille reported that Pillisszentkereszt had been seized by Pz.Gren.Rgt.10 Westland, barely 20 kilometers from Buda. That morning the Panzergrenadiers spotted the church spires and turrets of the distinctive Budapest skyline poking through the morning fog. Radio contact was made with the soldiers of 'Florian Geyer' and 'Maria Theresia'.

At 00.35 hours, Gille contacted the Reichsführer-SS but, as usual the had gone to bed early. SS-Ostubaf. Werner Grothmann, only 29 years old did not dare to disturb Himmler.
This was how Konrad II ended.

Konrad III planned for the cleansing of the entire western bank of the Danube and thus holding on the Budapest. The main objective was to get the IV.SS-Pz.Corps to advance towards Budapest from the north of lake Balaton. After this mission had been successfully completed - i.e. after Hungary had been cleansed from the region to the north of lake Balaton to the Danube - operation 'Süd' would then be initiated, in effect a variation on 'Frühlingserwachen'.


16.1.1945
Germania losses its Kommandeur, SS-Ostubaf Hans Dorr, when a Russian grenade hits its regimental HQ. Dorr, already wounded fifteen (15) times before was wounded again but this time the wounds proved to be fatal. he died in an hospital in April 1945.

17.1.1945
A third attempt, Operation Konrad III, launched in cooperation with the veteran III.Panzerkorps took place 100 kilometers to the south. This attack resulted in a 15 mile gap being torn in the Soviet lines and the destruction of the 135th Rifle Corps. Only the quick redeployment of more troops by the Russians prevented a German breakthrough.

20.1.1945
Division moves into VESZPREM area and takes part in second relief attack of BUDAPEST and advances towards the Danube.

Waffen-SS units (including Wiking) mentioned in Wehrmacht Bulletin of the Day for breaking through the strongly-built Soviet positions east of the Platensee and advancing as far as the Danube.
Between the 18th and 21st January the Red Army had lost 193 tanks, 229 pieces of artillery, 257 PaK and 1,175 POW's!


21.-31.1.1945
A massive counter-attack at the village of Pettaend finally put paid to any illusions that mounting attack on Budapest might be fruitful. An estimated 200 tanks of the Russian 23rd Tank Corps rolled towards the thin German lines. The attack was fended of by some combined units, four Königstigers (sPz.Abt.509) a couple of StuG's (Sturmartillerie Brigade 303), units of the 1.Pz.Div. and the 'Norge' battalion.

The IV.SS-Pz.Corps suffered almost 300 men a day. Wiking was left with 14 tanks, Totenkopf with nine! The losses (dead, wounded and missing) had risen 4,350 for Totenkopf and 3,079 for Wiking. Both had lost 51 officers in the Konrad battlefields and 157 officers were wounded. By the end of January 1945, the entire Army Group South had lost a total of 35,000 men.

Through great secrecy, the majority of the elite Waffen-SS divisions were assembled in Hungary. IV.SS-Pz.Corps (Totenkopf and Wiking), remnants of IX.SS-Gebirgs Corps (Florian Geyer and Maria Theresia), I.SS-Pz.Corps (Leibstandarte AH and Hitlerjugend) under SS-Gruf. Herman Priess and II.SS-Pz.Corps (Das Reich and Hohenstaufen) under SS-Ogruf. Wilhelm Bittrich. In addition, there was also, where the 2.Pz.Army was stationed, the 13.Waffen Gebirgsdivision der SS 'Handschar' and the 16.SS-Pz.Gren.Division 'Reichsführer SS'.


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1.2.1945
I./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz III: 4 authorized, 0 assigned.
Pz IV: 73 authorized, 3 combat-ready
StuG IV: 0 authorized, 0 combat-ready
Total: 77 authorized, 3 combat-ready

II./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz V: 75 authorized, 6 combat-ready

Regimental Total: 152 authorized, 9 combat-ready


17.2.1945
Just four days after the fall of Budapest, operation 'Südwind' starts, I.SS-Pz.Corps attacking the Gran bridgehead.

22.-25.2.1945
Army Group South conquers the cities Bart and Beny which signified the end of the Russian bridgehead. Although German reports claimed that Russian losses were as much as 20,000 men, German losses were also substantial. Leibstandarte statistics mention both divisions in the I.SS-Pz.Corps lost around 1,200 soldiers. The Leibstandarte had gone into batlle with thirty Pz.IV, thirty-five Pz.V Panther and twelve Jagdpanthers in the I./SS-Pz.Rgt.1. After the battle the numbers had been substantially reduced and the division was left with twelve Pz.IV, eleven Pz.V and four Jagdpanthers.

Hitlerjugend had also got a beating, deployed on the right-hand side during the fight. It lost one of its leading officers, SS-Ostubaf. Bernhard Krause who was commandant of the SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt.26 and was killed at Muszla. He was succeeded by SS-Stubaf. Kostenbader.

Both divisions were reliefed as soon as possible, in order to prepare for the 'Frühlingserwachen' offensive. On 25 February, the first units were removed...


March 1945

Operation Frühlingserwachen
After the failure of Operation Konrad III, the corps was moved west to the area around Lake Balaton, where it was responsible for defending the left flank of Operation Frühlingserwachen (Spring Awakening), near Stuhlweissenberg.

I./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz III: 4 authorized, 0 assigned.
Pz IV: 73 authorized, 3 combat-ready
StuG IV: 0 authorized, 2 combat-ready
Total: 77 authorized, 5 combat-ready

II/SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz V: 75 authorized, 9 combat-ready

Regimental Total: 152 authorized, 14 combat-ready

IV.SS-Pz.Korps consists out of:

3.SS-Panzer-Division Totenkopf
5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking
356.Infanterie-Division
Werfer-Abteilung 104 / 504
Schwere SS-Artillerie-Abteilung 504
SS-Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung 104
SS-Sanitäts-Abteilung 104
Feld-Ausbildungs-Battalion IV.SS-Panzer-Korps
Kraftfahrzeug-Kompanie 504
Bekleidung-Instandsetzungs-Zug 504
SS-Feldpostamt 104


6.-16.3.1945
'Frühlingserwachen' started at 4 a.m. and about everything that could go wrong, went wrong...
After 10 days of fighting Army Group South had lost 14,818 soldiers, 2,451 of whom were killed. Forty-eight tanks had been destroyed and about 1,000 men were missing. According to German sources, the Russian lost 5,100 soldiers killed, 1,300 were taken prisoner, 210 tanks and 407 pieces of artillery had been lost.


16.-21.3.1945
Final Battle for the Reichsschutzstellung.
On the 18th March, the northern arc of the Red Army unfurled itsself along the Veszprém - Pápa - Tét - Menföcsanak line. 96. and 711. I.D. came under threat and were driven closer to the Danube. Meanwhile Totenkopf held its own in the Mór region, while Wiking remained in Székesfehérvár. Finally, when other German units were moving back to the Reichsschutzstellung and/or Vienna, the order for Wiking came to break-out with all its equipment and head towards Urhida.


22.-30.3.1945
Division conducts fighting retreat to the Reichschutzstellung near HEILIGENKREUZ. On the 22th March it was possible to withdrawl Gille's IV.SS-Pz.Corps and Karl Ullrich's Wiking division back as far as Papkeszi where Silvester Stadler, commandant of 9.SS-Pz.Div. Hohenstaufen and Hermann Breith, commandant of the III.Pz.Corps congratulated them on their escape.

On the 23rd March, Varpalota fell in Russian hands, followed by Veszprém on the 24th March.

For Wiking Papkeszi was just a mid point in this massive exodus. Barely a week later at 30th March at 14.30, Wiking reached the Reichsschutzstellung or Raabstellung which formed the boundary between the German Reich (now Austria) with Hungary.


31.3.1945 
Division takes part in defensive battles in the Reichschutzstellung and south of Fürstenfeld. At Jennersdorf on Wiking's right flank, the Russian broke through the front lines.

1.4.1945
Bulk of SS-Pz.Rgt.5 now fighting as infantry and continues to fight on foot; the Lehr element (app. 150 men) in Germany under Nicolussi-Leck, designated as leader of
SS-Panzerabholkommando SENNELAGER, involved in combat with American forces between VERSMOLD and HANNOVER using 7 Jagdpanthers and SPW's which they picked up in a depot.

I./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz III: 4 authorized, 0 assigned.
Pz IV: 73 authorized, 0 combat-ready
StuG IV: 0 authorized, 0 combat-ready
Total: 77 authorized, 0 combat-ready

II./SS-Pz.Abt.5 tank strength as follows:
Pz V: 75 authorized, 2 combat-ready

Regimental Total: 152 authorized, 2 combat-ready and 9 more being repaired (without those of K.Gr. Nicolussi-Leck)

2.4.1945
Wiking losses one of its controversial officers, Fritz Vogt who was badly wounded during an air raid on 2nd April. Wiking's commandant Karl Ullrich pinned his Ritterkreuz with Oakleaves on the dying Vogt before removing them again.

8.4.1945
On the morning of 8th April, a worker at Hanomag factory in Hannover, informs Nicolussi-Leck that there are several brand new tanks in the factory yard of the M.N.H assembly facility at Hannover-Laatzen.

Waffen-SS units (including the Wiking) mentioned in the Wehrmacht Bulletin of the Day for halting the Soviet advance at the German-Hungarian frontier in the vicinity of GRAZ in a day long defensive battle, which succeeded in closing the gaps in the front.

12.04.1945
The K.Gr. Nicolussi-Leck made it to the forest east of Sandlingen on the morning of April 12 with all its armored vehicles and the remaining 100 men, including a growing number of stragglers.

13.04.1945
On the morning of April 13 the SS-K.Gr. “Wiking” found itself deep behind enemy lines. With the US 333rd Regiment to the north and US 334th Regiment to the south, they were outnumbered on either side 20:1.

Epilogue
Nicolussi-Leck made his final command decision on the morning of April 16. When by Hauptsturmführer Nicolussi-Leck surrendered in Hohne and told his interrogators who he was and that it was his Kampfgruppe that had been a thorn in Major-General Bolling’s side, they did not want to believe him. They had expected to have been opposed by a tank regiment, or at least by a battalion, their opponent supposed to be a Lt.Colonel, not just a SS Captain. The SS-K.Gr. “Wiking” covered a total distance of 250 kms before ceasing to exist!

8.5.1945
Two Batteries of SS-Pz.Art.Rgt.5 giving support-fire to III./Westland under Hstuf. Schlupp near Gleisdorf.
The last Pz IV is blown up. 5.SS-Pz.Division Wiking forced to surrender along with rest of 6.SS-Pz.Armee. The division headquarters surrenders at RADSTADT, Austria.
Survivors of SS-Pz.Rgt.5 make their way in small groups or individually through American lines, where most of them are imprisoned in the POW Camp at RIEGSEE in Bavaria from June to September 1945...

9.5.1945
The 5.SS-Panzer Division Wiking - first mixed unit with european volunteers - officially surrenders after almost 4 years of continuous presence at the battlefields at the eastern front, to American forces near Furstenfeld, Austria.

16.5.1945
Last unit remnants of SS-Pz.Art.Rgt.5 surrender near Radstadt to American forces.

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.:: Wiking Ruf - Europäische Freiwilligen in der Waffen-SS ::.