4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
Lineage of 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
History of 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
|The 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division was formed 1.10.39 at Truppenübungsplatz Wandern as a Polizei-Division.
On 17.1.41, came under the SS and was taken officially over by the Waffen-SS on 24.2.42 (ordered 10.2.42), now as the SS-Polizei-Division.
On 4.43, began conversion to a motorized division, when Polizei-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 and 2 were formed in Cracow on 1.6.43 these two regiments were redesignated 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, while the SS-Polizei-Division still remained in Russia under its old designation.
Both regiments moved to the Balkans in mid 7.43, under Heeresgruppe E. The SS-Polizei-Division finally moved to Saloniki in 12.43 and now truly became a Panzergrenadier-Division with the two new regiments. A Kampfgruppe Polizei-Division would, however, remain in Russia to 4.44, and was then united with the rest of the division.
This Division was formed and composed of members of the Ordnungpolizei in October 1939. The unit was trained at Truppenübungsplatz Wandern and completed its training in February 1940. The Division was not considered to be an elite SS Division because of the manner that members of the unit were allowed to join, resulting in the wearing of the Ordnungpolizei uniform with a Heer Eagle on the arm. At the time, SS uniforms were not provided for the unit.
In June 1940, the Division was initially held in reserve for the opening of the Campaign in France. On June 9th and 10th, 1940 the Division first saw action in the crossing of the Aisne River and Ardennes Canal. The Division was heavily engaged during this time, and after securing its objectives, moved to the Argonne Forest. In the Argonne Forest, the Division was heavily engaged again, fighting in rear-guard actions with the French, until it managed to capture the town of Les Islettes. In late June 1940, the unit was pulled out of combat and placed into reserve.
On June 27th, 1941, the Division was transferred to the Eastern Front and put into Army Group North reserve. In August 1941, the Division saw action near Luga. It was during heavy fighting for the Luga bridgehead held by a number of Soviet Divisions that the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division lost over 2000 soldiers in bloody frontal assaults. The fighting was very difficult being across swamp and forest land. After a number of blood assaults the 4th SS Division, along with the help of other Divisional units, managed to fight into the Northern edge of Luga and encircle and destroy the Soviet defenders. After the battles for Luga, the Division was moved to fighting around Leningrad.
Finally, in January 1942, the Division was given “official” Waffen-SS status, and its title was changed to the SS Polizei Division. All of the Divisions sub-units were then renamed as SS such-and-such, now being a part of the Waffen SS itself.
From January to March 1942, the Division saw action along the Wolchow River and helped in the encirclement and destruction of the 2nd Soviet Assault Army. In January and February 1943, the Division saw action south of Lake Ladoga during a number of Soviet offensives, with the Division retreating to the west of Kolpino where it held.
Also in February 1943, the Division was reduced to Kampfgruppe SS-Polizei while portions of the unit were transferred west to train and upgrade to a Panzer Grenadier Division. The Kampfgruppe SS-Polizei was disbanded in May 1944, after serving defensively on the Eastern Front since April 1943.
The Division itself was reformed as the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division, and after training and forming, was sent to the Balkans area. Elements of the Division saw action in Greece on anti-partisan duties, and the Division also fought near Belgrade. In January 1945, the Division was pushed into Slovakia, and from there it was moved North to the Pommerania area where it once again saw action attempting to hold the Soviets back. Soon after, the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division was moved to Danzig where it was trapped by Soviet forces. After a dire battle, the Division was shipped across the Hela Peninsula and over the sea to Swinemude. From there, the Division rested and then moved to position itself to surrender to the Americans near Wittenberge-Lenzen.
Organization of 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division
|Generalleutnant der Polizei Konrad Hitschler, 9.01.40 – 9.08.40
Obergruppenführer Karl von Pfeffer-Wildenbruch,9.08.40 – 11.10.40
Gruppenführer Arthur Mülverstadt, 11.10.40 – 8.08.41
Obergruppenführer Walter Krüger, 8.08.41 – 12.15.41
Generaloberst der Polizei Alfred Wünnenberg,12.15.41 – 4.17.43
Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag, 4.17.43 – 6.01.43
Brigadeführer Fritz Schmedes, 6.01.43 – 8.18.43
Brigadeführer Fritz Freitag, 8.18.43 – 10.20.43
Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock, 10.20.43 – 4.19.44
Brigadeführer Jürgen Wagner, 4.19.44 – 5.??.44
Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock, 5.??.44 – 7.5.44
Brigadeführer Hebert-Ernst Vahl, 7.5.44 – 7.22.44
Standartenführer Karl Schümers, 7.22.44 – 8.16.44
Oberführer Helmuth Dörnder, 8.16.44 – 8.22.44
Brigadeführer Fritz Schmedes, 8.22.44 – 11.27.44
Standartenführer Walter Harzer, 11.27.44 – 3.01.45
Standartenführer Fritz Göhler, 3.01.45 – 3.??.45
Standartenführer Walter Harzer, 3.??.45 – 5.8.45
* Kampfgruppe SS-Polizei-Division: