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38.SS-Grenadier-Division "Nibelungen"

Lineage

  • SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz
  • SS-Division Junkerschule
  • 38.SS-Grenadier-Division "Nibelungen"

Traditions

This unit was given the title Nibelungen from the famous medieval poem, the Nibelungenlied, most well known for being put to music by Richard Wagner in his opera Ring des Nibelungen. The original medieval poem and Wagner's opera both revolve around themes of epic German mythology.

Campaigns

  • West 1945

History

WW2 German 38th SS Grenadier Division Emblem Formed 4.45 from SS-Junkerschule Bad Tölz. Few details available. In the order of battle for the 19. Armee on 7.4.45, only a SS-Brigade Nibelungen is mentioned (with 2 regiments). But the schematische Kriegsgliederung mentions a 38. SS-Grenadier-Division Nibelungen

The 38.ss, although a very obscure formation that never achieved anything near full division status, did actually see some combat, although nearly all written accounts of the divsion don't seem to mention this. The 38.ss was at first named "Junkerschule" because of its formation from the members of the SS-Junkerschule Bad Tolz. It was then renamed to "Nibelungen" from the medieval poem of the name "Nibelungenlied" made famous by Richard Wagner in his opera "Ring des Nibelungen".

The so-called division first saw action in the Landshut area of Upper Bavaria. The engagment was against American troops with the 38th actually overrunning a few American positions. The 38th then saw brief action in the Alpen and Donau areas. The 38th then was taken by the Americans on May 8th, 1945, in the area of the Bavarian Alps. An interesting fact about this unit from Richard Landwehr is that although this division was very under its allotment of troops (3-6000 vs 10-15,000), the number it held in its ranks at the end of the War was actually greater then the number in the ranks of most other elite SS-Divisions such as the Hitlerjugend and Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler!

Chronology

April 7th, 1945: Nibelungen was alerted for action while assembling around Bad Tolz. At the time that is was alerted, it consisted of 7 battalions of which only 2 were at full strenght, 3 were at medium strength, one was fairly weak, and the last was very depleted. Over the next few weeks, the 38th ss Division took on many soldiers from the disbanded 30.ss Division "Weissruthenien" and thus increased its ranks a great deal. More soldiers were added from the 6.SS-Gebirgs-Division "Nord", while an entire battalion was formed from Hitlerjugend members.

April 9th, 1945: The "Special Use" Escort Battalion of the Reichsfuehrer-ss was sent to the 38th and added to its ranks.

April 24th, 1945: The 38th was determined to be fully ready for battle and sent to the Danube River Front in Southern Bavaria. It was placed under the command of the XIII SS Korps.

April 25th, 1945: The 38th entered the frontlines of the XIII SS Korps, and was given the task of holding down the right wing of the Korps along the Danube River Front. The area the 38th was assigned to was from Vohburg to Kelheim, a distance of almost 20km. Later, the 38th was forced to extend its frontage 35km to the area of Regensburg. The 38th was stretched so thin, it could hardly resist the lightest attack.

April 26th, 1945: The 38th withdrew against heavy Allied pressure and attempted to establish another line of defense, still nearly 35km long but now 10km south of the Danube River.

April 27th, 1945: The Division was engaged with American forces while the divisions to is left and right were put under very heavy pressure as well.

April 28th, 1945: The 38th was forced to retreat another 12km.

April 29th, 1945: The 38th moved across the Isar River and through Landshut. The Division then established another defensive line, this time to the south of Landshut. Also at this time, two American armor task forces were pressuring the 38th right and left flanks.

April 30th, 1945: The 38th fell back 18km more to another defensive line, this time about 17km long and 18km northwest of Pastetten

May 1st, 1945: More retreating, this time 12km to an area southwest of Pastetten which could only hold for a few hours. Later that afternoon and evening, the 38th fell back even more against very heavy American pressure, again withdrawing nearly 20km to northeast of Wasserburg.

May 2nd, 1945: The 38th SS managed to stop the American advance in extremely fierce combat, but the small pause in the American advance was only short-lived, as the US 20th Armor Division hit the 38th in a weak link and managed to smash the entire 18km long defensive line.

May 3rd, 1945: More fighting withdrawl, this time 20km to the area of the Chiemsee where much of the Division began to break apart.

May 4th, 1945: The remains of the 38th managed to regroup and established another defensive line, this time to the west of Oberwoessen. In more fierce fighting here, the 38th managed to push back an American attack into the City from the east, and then from the northwest. The 38th Division managed to put up determined resistance even in this, its last hours.

May 5th, 1945: Light fighting took place before a ceasefire was called

May 8th, 1945: The 38.SS-Grenadier-Division "Nibelungen" surrendered to the Americans.

Organization

General Composition
SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 95
SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 96
SS-Artillerie-Abteilung 38
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 38
SS-Pioneer-Abteilung 38
SS-Ausbildung und Ersatz Abteilung 38
38th Divisional Support Units

An SS-Grenadier-Regiment 97 is mentioned in various works, but it is doubtful if it actually existed

Commanders

Standtenführer Hans Kempin, 3.01.45 - 3.15.45
Obersturmbannführer Richard Schulz-Kossens, 4.06.45 - 4.??.45
Brigadeführer Heinz Lammerding, 4.??.45 - 4.??.45 (Assigned, but never posted)
Brigadeführer Karl Reichsritter von Oberkamp, 4.??.45 - 4.??.45 (Assigned, but never posted)
Gruppenführer Martin Stange, 4.??.45 - 5.08.45

War Service

Date Corps Army Army Group Area
4.45 forming - OKW -