35.SS und Polizei-Grenadier-Division
|The formation of this division began on March 16, 1945, when SS-Polizei Regimenter 29 and 30 were transferred to the Waffen-SS. These units had been part of the Ordnungspolizei (whose regiments had been retitled as SS-Polizei Regiments in 1943), serving in Polizei Brigade Wirth.|
The former SS-Polizei Regiment 14 joined the other two in this new division. The 29th regiment became 89.SS-Polizei-Grenadier Regiment, the 30th became 90.SS-Polizei-Grenadier-Regiment, and the 14th became 91.SS-Polizei-Grenadier-Regiment. The division order of battle was rounded out with an artillery regiment, and fusilier, panzerjaeger, pioneer, and nachrichten battalions. It is not clear that all of these supporting elements were actually formed, but the fusilier, nachrichten, panzerjaeger, and one artillery battalion were organized at the Polizei Waffenschule II at Hellerau.
The division commander was Ruediger Pipkorn, then serving as a temporary SS-Standartenfuehrer. In 1943, as Oberstleutnant IG (on the Generalstab), Pipkorn had accepted a wartime transfer to the Waffen-SS. He became Chef des Stabes forII.SS-Panzerkorps, serving at that post through the Normandy campaign. He won the German Cross in Gold on August 19, 1944, in recognition of his conduct at this position. Because Pipkorn had not accepted a permanent transfer, he did not have an SS number. He was not a Nazi Party member.
By mid-April 1945, the 35.SS-Polizei-Grenadier Division occupied positions along the Neisse River near Guben, southeast of Berlin. The Soviet Berlin offensive began on April 16. On April 20 elements of the division were detached to the rear to contain a Soviet breakthrough along the Spree River. The main body was relieved from its positions along the Neisse on April 26, to form part of 9.Armee’s assault force to push the Soviets out of Halbe, in the Armee’s rear. The 9.Armee was quickly becoming encircled, with its rear area situation quite chaotic.
On April 27 the headquarters of 35.SS-Polizei-Grenadier Division was overrun near Halbe. Pipkorn was killed, and his staff scattered. The various German units in the Halbe encirclement became intermingled. The men of the 35.SS Division attached themselves to battlegroups of the 23.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division “Nederland”, 32.SS-Grenadier-Division “30.Januar”, 36.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS “Dirlewanger”, 502. SS-Panzer-Abteilung, and assorted Heer divisions.
The 9.Armee fought through Halbe and out of its initial encirclement on April 28, achieving its goal by the morning of the 29. The army now moved west as a”Swandering pocket”, heading for the Elbe River and the safety of the American position sixty kilometers away. The units of the army remained intermingled and most did not reach the Elbe. Only a few small elements of 35. SS-Polizei-Grenadier Division surrendered to the Americans between May 1 and 3. The rest of the division went into Soviet captivity, some men as late as May 7. The brief history of the division was over.