Defeated by forces vastly superior in numbers after 2000 days of battle (II)

34.SS-Freiw.Gren.Div.Landstorm Nederland
Most of 11.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland along with a volunteer battalion of the French 33.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne fought to annihilation in the Battle of Berlin after the Soviet offensive of April 16 1945. A few survivors broke out of the city on May 2 1945. Scattered elements that avoided encirclement surrendered to Western Allied forces along the Elbe River. Most were handed over to their respective countries and tried as traitors, some serving prison time and a few even receiving the death penalty. Danish volunteers were branded as traitors by the post-war Danish government, despite having had permission to serve in the Waffen-SS granted by the Danish government and the king during World War II. Others were shot upon capture, for example, the French General Philippe Leclerc was presented with a group of 12 captured French volunteers of the Charlemagne division. General Leclerc asked them why they wore German uniforms, according to Company Commander Fritz Hall, one of the volunteers replied by asking the General why he wore an American uniform. General Leclerc ordered the group of French Waffen-SS men to be executed without any form of military tribunal procedure. The main body of the Charlemagne surrendered in May 1945 to Allied forces near Salzburg in Austria. The Belgian 27.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Langemarck of Flemish background had fought itself to virtual extinction as a part of SS-Obergruppenführer Steiner's SS-Panzer-Armeeoberkommando 11. Reduced to a SS-Kampfgruppe it surrendered to the Soviets at Mecklenburg on May 8 1945. The Belgian 28.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Wallonien of Walloon background held as best they could during the final Soviet offensives in April 1945, but after several unsuccessful counterattacks, SS-Standartenführer Léon Degrelle ordered his troops to make it to Lübeck, where they eventually surrendered to British troops. The final Soviet Berlin offensive on April 16 1945 broke the lines of communication between the two SS-Kampfgruppen of the Dutch 23.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nederland. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 de Ruyter was attacked by a large number of Soviet tanks. In heavy fighting, the SS-Kampfgruppe halted the enemy attack before it broke out to the west, surrendering to the U.S. Army. Meanwhile, elements of SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 48 General Seyffardt withdrew south of Berlin, cought in the Halbe pocket. The remnants of General Seyffardt were absorbed into SS-Kampfgruppe Vieweger of the Latvian 15.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS. During the hellish fighting in Battle of Halbe, the General Seyffardt was annihilated. The survivors surrendered to American forces along the Elbe in May 1945. After the war, the volunteers were tried and imprisoned in the Netherlands, and several were murdered by Dutch Communists in acts of revenge. Individual Dutch Waffen-SS veterans joined the French Foreign Legion after World War II, and several hundred regained some measure of their rights by volunteering to fight with the Dutch Army in Korea. The much reduced 4.SS-Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Division fought its way across the Elbe were it surrendered to U.S. forces in May 1945. Although greatly reduced in numbers, 17.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Götz von Berlichingen took part in the defense of Nürnberg, where its SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 38 was destroyed by April 20 1945. About 200 Grenadiers were captured and subsequently killed by the U.S. 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow) on April 19 – 20 1945. The rest of Götz von Berlichingen continued fighting until May 6 1945 when it surrendered to the U.S. 101st Airborne Division south of Kufstein. 6.SS-Gebirgs-Division Nord (SS Mountain Division) remained on the western front after the Nordwind offensive, fighting the Americans. Destroyed as a division the survivors fought on with elements of 38.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Nibelungen before surrendered to U.S. forces in Bayern in May 1945. Image: SS-Untersturmführer Evert Verton marches with his company into Canadian captivity, Netherlands May 11 1945. The soldiers belonged to 34.SS-Freiwilligen-Brigade Landstorm Nederland. Fair use.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous15/10/11

    Robert Lee, your blog's URL has been credited appropriately, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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  2. Keep up the good research.13/2/15

    The general reader will find this the most informative and honest site on the Waffen-SS. It should spur the reader to learn more about the topic. A huge thank you to all the contributors!

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