|Formed in May 1943 as the SS-Sturmbrigade “Langemarck” from the SS-Freiwilligen Legion “Flandern”.|
In May 1943, the SS-Freiwilligen Legion Flandern had been withdrawn fromthe front, north of Leningrad. By order of the SS-Führungshauptamt, onMay 31st, 1943, the SS-Freiwilligen Legion Flandern was to be reformedinto the SS-Freiwilligen Sturmbrigade “Langemarck”. For this theLegion was sent to the SS-training ground at Debica.
A Finnish volunteers battalion, a contingent of Flemish volunteers, andnew recruits were added to the forming Sturmbrigade. APanzerjäger-Kompanie, a Sturmgeschütz-Bataillon, and aFlak-Bataillon were also formed and added to the new Sturmbrigade.
In October of 1943, the newly formed SS-Freiwilligen Sturmbrigade”Langemarck” was redesignated as the 6.SS-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade”Langemarck”.
The new 6.SS-Freiwilligen Sturmbrigade “Langemarck” was, in December of1943, ready to be moved to the front. On the 26th of December,1943, the Sturmbrigade was transported to the front in the region of theUkraine. In the next few weeks the Sturmbrigade was involved in heavydefensive battles. Together with 2.SS “Das Reich”,the Sturmbrigade was trapped in the region of Shitomir and Jampol. In theattempt to break the siege, the unit lost many of its men andequipment.
In the end of April 1944, the Sturmbrigade was transfered to the region ofBöhmen for regrouping. It was during this period that theSturmbrigade formed a seperate fighting-unit for use elsewhere onthe front. On the 19th of July, 1944, Kampfgruppe “Rehmann” wasformed from elements of the Sturmbrigade and sent to the front at theNarva River.
The Kampfgruppe became a part of the III.SS-Germanische Panzerkorps “Steiner”.The Kampgruppe was formed with 4 Kompanies and was commanded byHauptsturmführer Rehmann, as Stubaf. Schellong was still recoveringfrom wounds at this time. It was sent to the Narva front shortly afterits formation.
The Battle for Narva was preceeded on the 22nd of June, 1944, when theRussians launched the largest and most devastating offensive in history.Over a front of 400Km, the Russians pushed forward. After only a few daysthe German divisions in the path of the offensive were for the most part,completely crushed, and the front was on the verge of collapse any moment.On the 10th of July, 1944, the lines between Heeresgruppe “Mitte” andHeeresgruppe “Nord” were lost. 29 Russian infantry divisions and one tankbrigade had punched a 25Km long gap in the front-line between the two ArmyGroups, and now rushed along the Duna river towards Lativia and Lithuania.This meant that Heeresgruppe “Nord” was trapped, sealed off from the restof the front by this break in the front line.
On the 23rd of July, 1944, German troops cleared the city of Narva andthe forced bridgeheads over the Narva Rvier. Kampfgruppe “Rehmann”arrived in Lithuania, and the 24th of July, 1944, Kampfgruppe”Rehmann” arrived in Estonia and linked up with the 5.SS-Freiwilligen Sturmbrigade “Wallonien”.Bt this time, the Russians had occupied Hungerberg and Riigi. The 3rdBaltic Army, consisting of 20 divisions, now faced the German forces inthe region of Narva, and the entire Northern front was ready to explode.Then, in a pincer movement, the Soviet forces attempted toencircle the III.SS-Panzerkorps “Steiner”, in an attempt to destroyit.
On the 25th of July, 1944, Kampfgruppe “Rehmann” received orders todig-in on the area on the Narva battlefield known as the”Kinderheim-Höhe”. At 22.30 hours, the Narva and the Narva bend werebeing evacuated and troops were taking up position along theTannenbergstellung. To the right was the “Nordland”Division, to the left was the brigade “Nederland”, and in the center position wasKampfgruppe “Rehmann”.
Then on the 26th of July, 1944, the Narva front exploded. The Sovietlaunched attacks everywhere. Russian artillery laid a tremendous volleyof fire on the Kinderheim-Höhe postions. A shell managed to hit thecommand bunker of the Kampfgruppe, and the commanders of the 1./ and2./Kompanie were killed, and Rehmann was heavely wounded.This shell hit was devastating for the Kampfgruppe, as it lost more thanhalf its leading officers. After the massive Soviet heavy artilleryattack, the fighting strength of the Kampfgruppe was greatly reduced.Untersturmführer D’Hease took command of the Kampfgruppe, afterRehmann was injured.
On the 27th of July, 1944, the 3 small hills of the Tannenbergstellung(Tannenberg Postion), became increasingly important because theycontrolled the whole region. The German positions onand around the Kinderheim-Höhe, Grenadier-Höhe andHöhe-69.9, were cut in two by the main road between Narva and Reval.In the North was the Brigade “Nederland”, and from there along the coastwas the 20.SS-Waffen.Grenadier-Division der SS(estnische Nr.1), the Pi.Batl.54, and I/49 and II/49 with connectionsto the Division “Nordland” around the main road. To thesouth were the III/24, II/24 and III/23, with connection to the11.Infanterie-Division. Kampfgruppe “Rehmann” had now taken positions onthe Kinderheim-Höhe, and the Grenadier-Höhe and Höhe-69.9 weretaken by Estonians(??) and 2 companies from the SS-Pi.Batl.11. In thesouth stood “Norge”.
On the 28th of July, 1944, the Russians stood before theTannenberg Position with 11 infantry divisions an 6 tank brigades.Steiner had only 4 divisions to defend with, and they could not hold muchlonger.
On the 29th of July, 1944, German artillery laid a heavyfire on the attacking Russians, hoping to force them to pull back.Panzers and Sturmgeschütze from the “Nordland” Division mangageto clear the left flank of Russian troops and put pressure on theretreating Russian tanks. German troops had managed to retake thepositions. The battle on the Narva had ended, and in 3 days, 113 Russiantanks were destroyed.
Later in June of 1944, the Sturmbrigade raised a second PanzergrenadierAbteilung, and the Sturmgeschütz-Batterie became an Abteilung, butdid not actually increase its strength.
Then, in September of 1944, the remains of Kampfgruppe “Rehmann” wereevacuated over Sea to Swinemünde, and later, on the 18th ofOctober, 1944, the Sturmbrigade was redesignated as the 27.SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division “Langemarck”.