|SS-Unterscharführer Markus Ledin|
ϟϟ-Unterscharführer der Waffen-SS Ledin
Markus Ledin was a Swedish volunteer who first served in 5.SS-Panzer-Division-Wiking and later in the SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 11 (Panzergruppe Saalbach) of the 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland. During the retreat from Estonia in September 1944, Ledin was cut off behind enemy lines together with two other Swedes (SS-Unterscharführer Sven Alm and SS-Unterscharführer Ingemar Somberg) when their SPW broke down. They camouflaged their half-track and managed to repair it and travelled westward. They reached the village Noarootsi near Haapsalu at the Estonian coast after three nights through enemy territory. In their haste they run into some 15 Soviet soldiers who were busy looting and murdering the local inhabitants of the village (the Soviets made it a policy to loot and rape civilians in Soviet occupied territories). The Swedes surprised the Red Comrades. After the attack, some Estonian civilians began to kill the still surviving, but wounded Soviets in revenge. These civilians then followed the Swedes in a fishing boat leaving Estonia on September 25 1944. When they reached the Finnish coast, they were all arrested by the Finnish Army (Finland was at this point no longer in war with the Soviet Union). SS-Unterscharführer Ledin and Alm had served in the Swedish Volunteer Corps during the Russo-Finnish Winter War (1939 – 1940) and showed their Finnish medals to their captures, who then released them. This Waffen-SS trio then continued their journey back home to Sweden. What became of the Estonians is unclear. Source: SS-Panzer-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 11: The Swedish SS-platoon in the Battles for the Baltics, Pomerania and Berlin 1943-45. Image: Courtesy of Wittenborn.
Labels: C:III Battle of the Baltics 1944