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German Armed Forces Research 1918-1945

23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Kama" (kroat.Nr.2)


  • Waffen-Gebirgs-Division
  • 23.SS-Gebirgs-Division
  • 23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Kama" (kroat.Nr.2)


Like its sister formation, the 13.SS, this unit was given its name from the word for a traditional/regional weapon, in this case, a short Turkish sword otherwise known as a kama - which is in fact a sort of shorter fighting knife.


  • Balkans 1944


Approval was given for the raising of a 2nd Croatian Waffen ss division on June 17, 1944. The new division was given the honorary title "Kama". Actual recruitment for "Kama" had started on June 10th 1944, and a sizeable number of German officers and NCO's were made available to the division. Croatian officers and men from the 13.SS were also transfered to "Kama", including the entire Reconnaissance Battalion. To this core of troops was added a new batch of Croatian and Croatian-Muslim recruits.

Interstingly, "Kama" was never formed at anything near divisional level. At its peak strength in September 1944, it had 3,793 men within its ranks total. Fearing Partisan disruption of the new division in training, the assembly site chosen for the division was the Backa Region. Backa had been annexed by Hungary following the invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, and was far enough from partisan influences on the troops.

The division began to take shape in July and August of 1944, but during the month of September 1944, the Red Army made dangerous advances into the Balkans and Hungary. The training bases for the "Kama" Division were suddenly precariously close to the front lines. The SS-FHA attempted to get the division ready for combat, citing the unrealistic date of September 24th as when the unit would be ready for frontline service. The training state of the recruits was still in the basic stage, however, and the unrealistic date of committal passed. Thereafter, the SS-FHA realized that no time was left for the "Kama" Division to form. As the Red Army moved into Hungary, German military leaders decided to disband the unit and make as much use of the already formed personnel as possible by transferring them as replacements to other divisions. The decision was made in October, 1944, and most of the divisional elements went to help form the 31.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division.

The Muslims of "Kama" were ordered to report to the 13.SS. Some of them deserted on the way to the 13.ss headquarters, but most reported for duty. The divisional number 23 was then handed over to the newly forming Dutch Panzer-Grenadier-Division.

"Kama" was originally envisioned as an anti-Partisan unit, but the worsening German military situation required that the division's organization be aborted and it never was fully formed, trainied or employed in combat.


General Composition
Waffen-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment der SS 55 (kroat.Nr.3)
Waffen-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment der SS 56 (kroat.Nr.4)
SS-Gebirgs-Artillerie-Regiment 23
SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 23
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 23
SS-Flak-Abteilung 23
SS-Pionier-Bataillon 23
SS-Gebirgs-Nachrichten-Abteilung 23
SS-Feldersatz-Bataillon 23


Standartenführer Helmuth Raithel 7.01.44 - 9.28.44
Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard 9.28.44 - 10.01.44