38th SS Division Nibelungen

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38th SS Division Nibelungen
38divss.gif
Insignia of the 38th SS Division Nibelungen
Active March - May, 1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Allegiance Adolf Hitler
Branch Flag Schutzstaffel.svg Waffen SS
Size Division
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Richard Schulze-Kossens

The 38th SS Division Nibelungen was formed in March 1945 from the staff and students of the SS-Junkerschule at Bad Tölz.

It was first given the title of the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz Division, but was renamed the SS-Division Junkerschule and finally the 38th SS Grenadier Division Nibelungen. This name was selected by the commander of the cadet school Richard Schulze-Kossens and comes from German mythology, where it was the name of a lineage of dwarves who were defeated by Siegfried.[1] [2]

Formation[edit]

The Division never consisted of more than around 6,000 men, the strength of a normal Brigade.[1][2]

Alongside the men of the Junkerschule, the division also received some additional units, one being the SS special use Begleitkommando-SS and two Zollgrenzschutz (Customs Border Guards) battalions. Soldiers from the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord, a company from 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen, officers from the 30th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Russian), 600 Frenchmen with their Swiss Major Hersche and a battalion of Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) were also taken on strength.[1][2]

The first Divisional commander was Richard Schulze-Kossens, who at the time was the Commanding officer of the SS-Brigade Nibelungen and the Junkerschule at Bad Tölz.[1][2] He was followed by Martin Stange on 12 April, (Heinz Lammerding and Karl von Oberkamp were also assigned as commanders, but never took up the post).[1][2]

The division had two Grenadier regiments; the 95th, under the command of Sturmbannführer Markus Faulhaber and the 96th, commanded by Obersturmführer Walter Schmidt.[1][2]

The division's 38th Panzerjäger (Tank Hunter) Battalion received the majority of its men from the Prinz Eugen division and officers from Nord.[1][2] The Abteilung (detachment) received about 10 Jagdpanzer 38(t) tank destroyers on 15 April, it also had some 75 mm towed PaK 40 anti-tank guns (the Abteilung served under 17. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Götz von Berlichingen from 17 to 24 April, until it came under its parent division).

Active service[edit]

The 38th SS division was ready for battle on 24 April 1945, when it entered the ranks of the XIII SS Army Corps on the Danube river Front, facing American forces on the southern bank.[1][2]

The Nibelungen was supposed to hold the Corps right wing from Vohburg to Kelheim, but the line was too long for the Divisions' strength, so it withdrew to a new front on 26 April, which it held until the 28th.[1][2] On 29 April it had to retreat again across the Isar river to a new position south of Landshut, while coming under strong pressure on its flanks.[1][2] The next day the Division retreated once again, this time to a defensive line northwest of Pastetten and on 1 May it had to withdraw almost 20 km to Wasseburg.[1][2] The US 20th Armored Division then breached the division's front on 2 May, forcing the Nibelungen to retreat once more to Chiemsee.[1][2] The remains of the division regrouped on 4 May and established a new line west of Oberwoessen. It surrendered to the American forces on 8 May 1945.[1][2]

The German actor Hardy Kruger was among the members of the Hitler Youth battalion that was incorporated into the division. He was later captured by advancing units of the US Army.

Commanders[edit]

Order of battle (Apr 1945)[edit]

  • 95th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment
  • 96th SS Panzer Grenadier' Regiment
  • 38th SS Artillery Regiment
  • 38th SS Panzerjäger Battalion
  • 38th SS Pioneer Battalion
  • 38th SS Flak Battalion
  • 38th SS Information Battalion
  • 38th SS Ausbildung Reserve Battalion
  • SS Polizei Battalion Siegling
  • 38th SS Wirtschafts Battalion [1][2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "waffenss". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "junkerschule".