The Last Knights of Flanders (The Blue Hills)

27.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadierdivision Langemarck
The 27.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Langemarck was engaged in very heavy combat against the Soviets and the men of Flandern defeated major Soviet attacks alongside men of 2.SS-Panzer-Division Das Reich, 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland, 28.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Wallonien and several German formations during World War II. An example of the fighting spirit and tenacity of the Flemish volunteers can be seen by the actions of the Panzerjäger SS-Sturmmann Remi Schrijnen later promoted SS-Unterscharführer in 6.SS-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade Langemarck. When forces of the Soviet Leningrad Front began their assaults on the Blue Hills (Sinimägede lahing) near Narva between July 26 and August 12 1944 the Battle Group of the other Belgian formation 5.SS-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade Wallonien, personally led by SS-Standartenführer Léon Degrelle, and elements of Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 45 Estland of 20.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS were sent up to Orphanage Hill to bolster the defence. The men of Sturmbrigade Langemarck and Wallonien, the Dutch 4.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade Nederland and SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 23 Norge of 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland and Regiment 45 Estland saw extremely heavy fighting on the gentle slopes of Orphanage Hill. During these attacks, Remi Schrijnen single handedly knocked out over a dozen Soviet tanks while wounded and cut off from his unit. Over a 48 hours period, Schrijnen personally halted several Soviet tank attacks which threatened to encircle the Langemarck and the Estonian SS men fighting alongside them. Schrijnen was found unconscious and close to death the following day. He is also one of only a handful of privates to have received the Ritterkreuz des Eisern Kreuz (Knight's Cross). After World War II, Schrijnen returned to Belgium, was arrested, tried and received the death penalty. This was commuted to life-long imprisonment. He was released in 1950 on condition of good behaviour. However, he participated in so called "amnesty marches" (claiming amnesty for those who had fought on the Eastern front). He was arrested again and held in prison for almost two years. In 1962 Schrijnen emigrated to the Federal Republic of Germany and took German nationality. Credit: Remy Schrijnen; The Last Knights of Flanders. Image: Flemings of Waffen-SS are loading a MG34. Public domain.

No comments:

Post a Comment