Obscure Combat Formations of the SS

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by spidge, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. spidge


    Organizational Histories

    Quite interesting reading. There is part of an example listed below which is quite extensive:

    Obscure Combat Formations of the SS

    Wilddiebkommando Orienburg

    Sonderkommando Dr. Dirlewanger (Jul 1940)

    SS-Sonderbataillon Dirlewanger (1 Sep 1940)

    SS-Regiment Dirlewanger (Sep 1943)

    SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger (19 Dec 1944)

    36. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (14 Feb 1945

    10 Apr 1940 Ordered formed at Sachsenhausen concentration camp pursuant to Hitler's wish to form a unit of convicted poachers for service at the front as "Poacher Command Orienburg" Jun 1940 began formation at company strength
    Sep 1940 transferred to Poland and attached to SSPF Lublin
    29 Jan 1942 assigned to Kommandostab SS-Reichsführer for refitting for service in Russia
    10 Feb 1942 transferred to Russia and attached to HSSPF C (later HSSPF Russland-Mitte, General-Kommissariat Weissruthenien) for anti-partisan duties
    Apr 1942 antipartisan operations under Polizei-Regiment Mitte with Polizei-Bataillone 32, 307
    Jul 1942 - Apr 1944 various anti-partisan operations

    Read more of this unit at the site.
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Senior Member

    More correctly, the various Dirlewanger units should be described as a roving pack of criminals. It was probably the most singularly evil "combat" unit to see service in World War 2.
    Formed by Dr. Oskar Dirlewanger at the request of Gottlöb Berger head of SS recruiting and Direlwanger's drinking buddy as way to keep the dear doctor out of trouble. It seems the German police knew Dirlewanger fairly well as he was variously a rapist, murderer, pedophile, etc. Of course, in Nazi Germany someone so well connected posed a problem for the police in what to do when they caught him.
    So, Dirlewanger was tasked with forming an "anti-partisan" unit from "suitable" prisoners and criminals like say, poachers. What Dirlewanger did was take the expedient method of simply emptying the prisons. Unit officers were usually cashiered from regular service. Discipline was often at the point of a gun.
    The unit spent most of its time on the Eastern Front where it was repeatedly moved after higher local commanders threatened to shot the lot as they were causing more trouble with the locals than they solved. In the Warsaw uprising one author stated that Brigade Dirlewanger "brought seens to Europe not witnessed since the Middle Ages." Their brutality and disregard for anything approaching humanity was such that they once again had to be withdrawn.
    Dirlewanger ended his days wounded in a hospital where he died from "complications" most likely brought on by lead poisoning or some similar violently fatal end. The unit itself was captured at the end of the war by the Red Army who massacred them on the spot upon learning who they were.
  3. cpstu1

    cpstu1 Junior Member

    A few things you might be interested to know spidge:

    Direlwanger was convicted of sex with a minor as part of a local party feud, (he probably had done it though, the court charge was later overturned as was the Nazi party sentence and he was re-instated)......?

    The Dirlewanger unit though based on recruits from the SS punishment camps and Concentration camps always had a large volunteer component, and at least a third was of Russian or Ukrainian origin, explaining in part why they behaved so badly toward the white russian population!

    If you count the SS 'Ost' Regiment, (composed of soviet muslims, who had volunteered to join the SS) which was placed under Direlwangers command during the summer of 1944, the units was almost 95% volunteer!

    Not a purely criminal unit, it never the less committed what we'd describe as terrible war crimes, (Dirlewanger also made money from his so called 'anti-partisan' operation, trading 'slaves' and stolen property).

    SS Office'sr from the admin side of the SS often joined the unit to earn medals.......who had no criminal charges against them........when they finsihed their tour they went back to Germany with a 'reputation'......

    Only during late 1944 was a large influx of communists from the concentration camps, (not prisons as the justice department did not allow civilian prisoners to join the Army of SS, (Civilian convicts were only allowed in the 999 units and occasionally the 500 units) accepted in to the expanding unit, (also they accepted Army convicts as the reserve army was now under the head of the SS's command).

    Though 'criminals' in the eyes of the german goverment, many of these men were opponents of the regime, who when they could, deserted the Brigade, (this was a problem in the 'Ost' Regiment too).

    Direlwanger probably died during french Army imprisonment after the war, from ill treatment......quite ironic eh!

    The 'Division' surrendered in the Halbe pocket, though some were executed the 'soldiers', (most were cadets, home guard and Army recruits, not prisoners or convicts, men who had been ordered to join the unit, not volunteered or had served prison sentances.....certainly not poachers) and were not treated any differently than other german soldiers, to the Red Army soldier, they were all scum........A senior Regimental commander and some NCO's were executed though...allegedly beheaded...... 8)

    A terrible unit all round, but its ranks rarely had many more than a couple of hundred convicts, they're were never enough SS convicts or KZ volunteers to fill its ranks........

  4. cpstu1

    cpstu1 Junior Member

    If you want to find out more about the SS 'Ost' Regiment, click this link:


    and then click: rules and articles

    then finally click: 'The Devils shadow'

    The Direlwanger was never removed from White Russia for being troublesome, interestingly, it kept open an escape route for Kampgruppe Gottberg as the police unit escaped the battle for Minsk. It boarded one of the last trains to Prussia and had a short rest before transferring to the battlefield in warsaw, along with the Ost Regiment. Here it was expanded with both Army, SS and convict SS men.

  5. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    Sven Hassel talks of the absolute CONTEMPT that his 'penal' unit had for the pathetic people of the Dirlewanger SS unit....their atrocities he describes in Warsaw alone are enough to put you off....he describes Dirlewanger himself as an ex psychiatric patient with perverted sexual tendancies, given blank cheque by the regime for his unit to carry on in any fashion that pleased them....


    Sven mentions casually shooting Dirlewanger members when they got in the way, and having no compunction WHATSOEVER about doing so.........

    Kaminski was another brigade that was a complete DISGRACE to DAS HEER
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Christos, I wouldnt be quite so keen to use Hassel as a source of reference in the discussion of WW2 events. Whilst amusing and entertaining they're not exactly real -life experiences, a bit like the Leo Kessler Series. For Example, the Book SS General describes the Stalingrad pocket and their encounter with an SS General. At no stage were the SS involved in Stalingrad, at least no SS Generals were in the pocket. Similarly the book The Commissar describes a "Kellys Heroes" style traipse behind Russian Lines to obtain some Gold Bullion. Whilst a rollicking read you can hardly use it as a reference because it is a work of fiction.

    BBC - h2g2 - Sven Hassel - Writer

    Here is a link to the group Christos refers to in his post, the Kaminski Brigade.

    Axis History Factbook: Bronislav Kaminski and the RONA
  7. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    I refer to Sven only a a secondary sorce of dubious reliabiltiy....but the fact remains that his first book, "Legion of the Damned", describes his actual experiances as the only other survivor of a two thousand man unit to survive the war ( the other was in an asylum)...

    All other novel of Svens fall strictly into the faction mould...

    But....nevertheless, Hassel was a genuine Eastern Front veteran, making a living by writing of his experiances.....there is so much authentic detail its hard to ignore as a sopurce, but DEFINATELY NOT a primary sorce....but it does add 'polish'
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sven Hassel is not acceptable source material of any kind for any historical discussion here.
    He is neither primary nor secondary, and only a hint of a claim could be made as tertiary accounts of members of SS Wiking in POW camps.

    Whatever side of the 'controversy' (If there even is one, which I doubt) you stand on it is plain the novels are a pastiche of some sort, I would have thought that each main character's multiple deaths would be some sort of clue.

    If you wish to discuss him or use him to back up an argument please do it in the books section on one of the threads that relate to him Christos. It is fiction and belongs there.

    End of.

  9. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    OK.....In my articles you will not find a single reference to Sven....period....I agree that his writings are NOT good history, and are self serving biographical tomes that Sven could make a living from....message revieved and understood....

    It is good that your site has such high standards for its research and articles posted therein....that makes my historians heart "GLAD"...!!!
  10. Christos

    Christos Discharged

    Spidge...could you please list the organizational lkevel of these formations?....where would they fit in to our list?

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