26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Hungarian)
|26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Hungarian)|
Insignia of 26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Hungarian)
The 26th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (2nd Hungarian) (German: 26. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (ungarische Nr.2.)) was a short-lived infantry division of the Waffen-SS, an armed branch of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II. Established in November 1944 following the German overthrow of the Hungarian regime of Miklós Horthy, it was never properly formed, trained, or equipped, and after being evacuated from its training camp in the face of the advancing Soviet Red Army, it surrendered to the United States Army in Austria in May 1945.
The division was authorised in November 1944, following the German overthrow of the Hungarian regime of Miklós Horthy, and was designated 26. Waffen Grenadier Division der SS (ungarische Nr.2.) on 27 December 1944. By the time it was given this designation, it had reached a strength of 8,000, comprising 3,000 former Royal Hungarian Army troops, along with 5,000 civilian conscripts. The division was sent to be trained and equipped at Schieratz in Reichsgau Wartheland (German-annexed Poland). By this time, it had a "paper" strength of 13,000, of which 10,000 were civilian conscripts yet to be issued weapons or uniforms. In early January 1945, it was issued with some heavy weapons, but these were confiscated by elements of the German 9th Army to help them oppose the Soviet Red Army Vistula–Oder Offensive launched in mid-January. Around the same time, while scavenging for food, members of the division came under occasional attack by elements of the Polish Home Army. According to some sources, the division was granted the title Hungaria on 29 January 1945.
With the approach of the Russians, the division withdrew behind the Oder, losing around 2,500 casualties. The division then joined its sister division, the 25th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Hunyadi (1st Hungarian) at its training camp, Neuhammer. Further Soviet advances resulted in the division being evacuated, along with its sister division, to Austria. Elements of the division joined a kampfgruppe left behind as a rearguard at Neuhammer, which was destroyed. During 3–5 May 1945, the remaining elements of the division surrendered to the U.S. Third Army near the Attersee. No special insignia was manufactured for the division.
The division was commanded by the following officers:
- November 1944 – January 1945
- January – March 1945
- March – May 1945
Order of battle
The division consisted of the following principal units:
- 64th Waffen-Grenadier Regiment of the SS
- 65th Waffen-Grenadier Regiment of the SS
- 66th Waffen-Grenadier Regiment of the SS
- 26th Waffen Ski Battalion of the SS
- 26th SS-Panzer Battalion
- List of Waffen-SS units
- Table of ranks and insignia of the Waffen-SS
- Waffen-SS foreign volunteers and conscripts
- Keegan, John (1970). Waffen SS: The Asphalt Soldiers. London, United Kingdom: Pan/Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-09768-2.
- Stein, George H. (1984). The Waffen SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War, 1939–45. Ithaca, New York: Cornell UP. ISBN 0-8014-9275-0.
- Williamson, Gordon (2004). The Waffen SS (4): 24. to 38. Divisions, & Volunteer Legions. Oxford, Oxfordshire: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-592-1.