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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Governments & Organizations

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Governments & Organizations Unit histories, OOB, political parties, OSS, Waffen-SS; if it has anything to do with the functioning of military or government organizations, this is the place for it.

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Old 04 Jan 11, 16:28
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Well what do you expect from a rag-tag collection of rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists…Led by Oskar Dirlewanger whom even the SS thought was ‘’too evil’‘.

And you don't think that's a correct description of the troops of the Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger? You'll really freak out at the POW interrogation transcripts!

"How did you get into that unit?"

"Rape, murder, arson, and rape."

"You said 'rape' twice."

"I like rape."

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Old 29 Jan 11, 13:18
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Okay I've something new about the First Special Service Force Or Devil's Brigade and it staes that they were hunters , trappers , lumberjacks and woods men who knew how to survive out in the wild . They did not all come from the stockade , that was an invebtion of the liberal in Hollyweird. A lot of them and their famlies sued the movie company about distoring their image so unless some one has definate proof i'm wrong I will have to go with that . In fact does anybody know were I can buy a Devil's Birgade Patch ( Red Arrow shaped with U.S.A and Canada on it ?
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Old 18 Aug 17, 10:40
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The SS had an idea to use military service to rehabilitate convicts, beginning with poachers. It was felt that these men could be made into good soldiers, mainly because they were experienced at riflery and wood craft. It was felt that poachers were in possession of skills which would make them excellent scouts and anti-partisan troops. On June 15, 1940, the Wilddiebkommando Oranienburg (Poacher's Command) was formed.. By July 1, 1940, the unit numbered 84 men.

By the end of the year the unit was composed of increasing numbers of military criminals drawn from the so called 999 penal battalions and the SS Military Prison Camp at Matzlau near Danzig (nowGdansk in Poland). These were soldiers who had committed burglary, simple assaults and the like. While these men were to have been rehabilitated, they were in fact provided them with the ability to continue committing criminal acts with no repercussions. Desertion was common as these criminals often released themselves on their own recognizance. Some of the volunteers were kept locked in buildings while away from the front because of their unreliability! As the news spread of the unit, hundreds of concentration camp prisoners applied for service. It grew to a strength of some 700 men by 1941 and was sent to perform anti-partisan duties in occupied Poland. It was renamed after its new commander Oskar Dirlewanger.

While there it was answerable only to the head of the SS- Heinrich Himmler, himself. During the battalion's service in Poland, it was involved in numerous cases of corruption, looting, rape, indiscriminate slaughter, and beatings. The military governor of the area, General FW Krüger, was disgusted with the behavior of Dirlewanger and had the unit transferred from Poland to Russia. Its conduct in Russia, rather than improving, worsened and atrocities were epidemic. From the summer of 1942 till the summer of 1944 Dirlewanger troops were based in Logoisk (now Belarus) .The battalion participated in the antipartisan punitive operations code named "May-bug", "Nordsee", "Karlsbad", "Frida", "Horgnung", "Jacob", "Magic flute", "Kottbus", "Gunter", "German" and others. In these operations over 200 villages were destroyed by the battalion and more than 120,000 civilians were killed. While in Russia, Dirlewanger's replacements came from the entire Nazi prison system and included homosexuals, increasing numbers of political prisoners (communists, socialists, trade unionists, and anarchists who applied in hope of defecting to the Soviets), patients from psychiatric hospitals and, as well as others considered unfit to serve in normal military units.

The battalion tripled in size and was designated SS-Sonderregiment Dirlewanger. In May 1943, the ability to volunteer for service in the regiment was extended to all criminals, even those convicted of the most heinous crimes. Fifteen hundred men convicted of the most severe crimes including sex crimes, murder and arson were absorbed into the regiment. On December 30, 1943, it was wiped out in combat with the Soviet army, reporting strength of only 200 men left. Rebuilt to a full regiment of 2000, it resumed anti-partisan operations in Byelorussia which reduced the regiment's strength in half again by June1944. Withdrawn from Russia to rebuild it went into back into combat in August as part of the notorious effort to raise Warsaw and put down the rebellion of the Polish Home Army. There in the Wola district, the regiment took part in the execution of tens of thousands of civilians. The unit was then rebuilt to brigade strength (4000 men) from new criminal drafts and designated SS-Sonderbrigade Dirlewanger. It fought against the Slovak uprising in October. The unit was then sent to the frontline again which was by then in Hungary. There the political prisoners held by the unit deserted in mass to the Soviets. Little did they understand that the Red Army did not accept prisoners in SS uniforms and they were -more often that not -killed in brutal manner.

In February 1945, plans were put in action to expand the brigade to divisional status, however before this could begin it was sent north to the Oder line to attempt to halt the Soviet advance. It was designated the 36.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS. The disgraced former commander of the 4.SS-Polizei-Division, SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Schmedes, was given command as Dirlewanger was sent to the rear, suffering from his 12th war wound. The new division had many regular German troops assigned including a Pioneer and a heavy Panzerjäger component. Desertion was rampant and when Schmedes attempted to reorganize his division on 25 April in th face of a fresh Soviet offensive, he found it basically didn’t exist. The thin dicipline of the units broke down and near anarchy ensued. Men of the 73rd Regiment even lynched their commanding officer (the repulsive SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Ewald Ehlers former commandant of the Dachau concentration camp).

The remaining elements of the unit disbanded south of Magdeburg and attempted to reach the western allies. Most of the men were captured and executed by the Soviets; however Schmedes and his command staff managed to reach the Americans and surrendered on 3 May, 1945. Tragically the legacy of this unit of butchers did not in fact die there. Today a Swedish neo-Nazi band is named Dirlewanger and the Crossed grenades patch of the 36th Division has become a hate symbol with skinhead groups.
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Old 19 Aug 17, 05:12
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Interesting. Sven Hassel stuff ?
"I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
Samuel Johnson.
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Old 04 Sep 17, 18:57
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I heard that a man named Bruno Gescher who commanded the close escort group that protected Hitler was almost sent this unit just before WW2 ended.
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