Thursday, February 19, 2015
German Units identified at the Battle of Berlin. April-May 1945.
20th Panzer Grenadier Division
18th Panzer Grenadier Division
9th Fallschirmjager Division
Muncheberg Panzer Division
11th SS Panzer Grenadier Division ’Nordland’
15th SS Grenadier Division’Latvian No 1’ (SS Volunteers)
33rd SS Grenadier Division’Charlemagne’? (SS Volunteers)
Sturmgeshultz Brigades; 249, 243, Stug-Lehr-Brig.I, II, III.
Guard Regiment’Grossdeutschland’ (2 Battalions)
SS Chancellery Guard Battalion-this unit designated either Wachtbattalion (mot) ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’ or SS Fuhrer Begleit Kommando ‘Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler’
Some small units from the Naval School- ‘Gross Admiral Donitz’ Marine Battalion
Various Volksturm units. (92 battalions)
24,000 regular troops.
60,000 Volksturm men.
6 plus Tiger II Tanks
Some French Tanks either Somua and/or H-35, One Russian T-35
Some Panthers and Pz IVH/J, with some Tiger I
StuG IIIG and StuH IIIG, with some JgPz IV
Estimate of German forces.
LVI Pz Kps as 13-15,000 men, the equivalent of two (2) divisions, Waffen-SS forces under Mohnke as half (1/2) a division, and the remaining miscellany of units as equating to some two (2) to three (3) divisions, a total of four (4) to five (5) divisions in all, with about 60,000 men and some fifty (50) to sixty (60) tanks.
1966 Estimate: 44,630 soldiers, 42,531 Volkssturm, 3,532 Hitlerjugend, RAD and Org Todt on the 23rd April.
Notes on Unit condition:
1. 18th Pz Gren Div(MG Rauch)- relatively intact
2. 20th Pz Gren Div-severely reduced
3. ‘Muncheberg’ Pz Div-one-third (1/3)strength
4. 9th Para Div (Col Herrmann)-severely reduced
5. SS ‘Nordland’ Pz Gren Div-reasonable shape
For artillery-integral units of 18th, 20th Pz Gren and ‘Muncheberg’ Pz Divs, city Flak batteries, local units(seven(7) light and seven(7)heavy batteries of foreign guns manned by Volkssturm and soldiers of all arms; and six(6)batteries of training artillery. 408th Volks Artillery Corps.
Artillery sited in Tiergarten and larger squares, such as Lutzowplatz, Belle-Alliance Platz, the Lustgarten, Alexanderplatz, and railway cuttings between the Potsdamer and Anhalter stations in the centre of the city. Mortars at Belle-Alliance-Platz, Lutzowplatz and Steinplatz, and guns on the railway tracks. 15cm battery in the Botanical Gardens. Artillery command from Zoo Flak-tower.
Ammunition Depots: Jungfernheide Volkspark next to the Siemensstadt complex, War Academy site in the Grunwald, Hasenheide Volkspark next to Tempelhof Airfield. Smaller one in the Tiergarten. All 80% full-all quickly overrun.
SS Brigadefuhrer Dr Gustav Krukenberg brought 350 volunteers, mainly French, from his old command, SS ‘Charlemagne’ Pz Gren Div, when this had been disbanded on 24th April.
20th Pz Gren Division was defending (24th April) Teltow and Stahnsdorf bridgeheads but was forced back on to the Wannsee ‘island’ where it was effectively isolated from the rest of the defence, although it continued to preoccupy the 10th Guards tank Corps until the end of the battle. 18th Pz Gren Division had to take over SW defence from Wannsee Havel river to Westkreuz S-Bahn station at the northern end of the AVUS (race-track). 9th Para Division around the Humboldthain Flak-tower. ‘Muncheberg’ Pz Division armour dispersed, it fought at Tempelhof Airfield. 11th SS ‘Nordland’ Pz Gren Division in Neukollin and the east end of Kreuzberg.
5,000 boys from the Hitlerjugend Regt were sent to defend the two southernmost of the three bridges leading over the Havel River into Spandau, with the primary aim of keeping this route open for Wenck’s 12th Army’s entry into the city.
All Russian armies seem to have had to fight independently. The 3rd Shock army’s three corps for example.
79th Corps separated by the Schiffahrts Canal.
7th Corps on Alexanderplatz was isolated from the 12th Guard Corps in the centre.
Revised LVI Pz Korps Disposition 25th April
A & B (East) MG Mummert-Later MG Erich Barenfanger These sectors mainly Volkssturm and Grossdeutschland Regt
C (Southeast) SS‘Nordland’ Pz Gren Div
D (astride Tempelhof Airfield) Corps Artillery Col Wohlermann
E (Southwest and Grunwald Forest) 20th Pz Gren then 18th Pz Gren MG Rauch. Note that two days later (27th April) 20th Pz Gren transferred to Army Detachment ‘Spree’
F (Spandau and Charlottenberg) Lt-Col Eder-Commandant of Alexander Barracks, Ruhleben.
G & H (North) Col Herrmann 9th Para Div
Z (Zitadelle) Lt-Col Seifert then MG Mohnke
Tempelhof Airport is roughly one mile square, with a massive arc of concrete hangars and administrative buildings in the northwest corner covering a complex of underground hangars and cellars where aircraft were known to be on stand-by to fly out the remaining Nazi leaders.
Airport defence (on 25th April) consisted of:
Bulk of the ‘Muncheberg’ Pz Div
Strong Flak units with DP guns
Hitlerjugend Pzjagers in Kubelwagens armed with Panzerfausts.
Normal base personnel organised as infantry.
Tanks dug in along the southern and eastern edges of the perimeter.
‘But also, here and there, women with Panzerfausts, Silesian girls thirsting for revenge.’
By 1500hrs ‘Muncheberg’ has only a dozen (12) tanks and thirty (30) APC’s.
11th SS ‘Nordland’ Pz Gren Division reduced to brigade size before the battle: 23rd ‘Norge’ and 24th ‘Danmark’ Pz Gren Regts down to 600 and 700 men each. Div HQ at Hasenheide.
Luftwaffe Aircraft from Rechlin(including Helicopters) had been trying to supply ammunition via the Airfields-Gatow and Tempelhof. This was not possible after the 25th April and the emergency airstrip in the Tiergarten was used. Mainly Ju 52/3m transports with Bf 109’s dropping containers of ammo on the 26th April.
Further on this day (26th April) Six Fiesler ‘Storch’ aircraft flown in under fighter escort from Rechlin were all shot down, as were twelve(12) Ju 52/3m transports bringing SS reinforcements (approx. 170 men).
On the 26th April the last telephone links were finally severed.
Gatow Airfield Defence on the west bank of the Havel continued to hold out by the 26th under command of Luftwaffe MG Muller. Gatow finally fell on the 27th April.
By the 28th April, 1945. The defense was in a sausage-shaped area extending from Alexanderplatz in the east some eight and half miles to the banks of the Havel in the west, but barely a mile wide in places. There was about 30,000 combatants and a handful of tanks and guns still fighting.
Position on the 30th April, 1945
City centre defence: 10,000 troops, police and Volkssturm, many of the troops being foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS, including the SS ‘Nordland’ Pz Gren Div and the 15th SS ‘Latvian’ Fusilier Battalion.