In Final Defense of the Reich: The Destruction of the 6th SS by Stephen M. Rusiecki

By Stephen M. Rusiecki

In April 1945 the yankee 71st Infantry department exacted the ultimate vestiges of lifestyles from the Reich's sixth SS Mountain department in principal Germany. This research of the conflict demonstrates that the Wehrmacht's final gasp at the Western entrance was once something yet a whimper, as a few historians cost. as a substitute, Stephen Rusiecki argues, the Wehrmacht fought to extract each final little bit of discomfort attainable. The ebook follows the histories of either the German and American divisions from their inception till their fateful disagreement in April 1945 and serves as a testomony to the human adventure in battle, either from the viewpoint of the warriors and from the civilians who suffered the brunt of the struggling with. This ebook is released in cooperation with the organization of the U.S. military.

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The Nord Division—minus the 11th Regiment—began preparing for the long foot march out of Finland. Before departing Kuusamo, the commander of the 12th Regiment, SS-Standartenführer Schreiber, suspected that the Russian units pursuing the withdrawing German forces would occupy and raze the recently evacuated village. Still feeling a strong kinship with the Finnish people, Schreiber believed that the ultimate fate of the village at the hands of the Red Army was too terrible to contemplate. The seventeenth-century Lutheran church that stood in the town’s center served as the centerpiece of the village community, and the two bells in the church (the larger one a gift from the Swedish king in 1698) meant a great deal to the local populace.

At 0530 the group paused to rest briefly at a small inn. During this respite Burgstaller learned to his dismay that his 1st Battalion had only six officers and 110 enlisted soldiers remaining; likewise, the 3rd Battalion could only muster three officers and 107 soldiers. 30 He also learned that—on the battle group’s return— SS-Standartenführer Schreiber wanted the 3rd Battalion to occupy positions in the Rothbach Valley while the 1st Battalion remained in reserve. Burgstaller told Kreuzinger that the 3rd Battalion should lead.

S. 5 Hitler amended the plan and further directed that the 21st Panzer and 25th Panzergrenadier divisions remain in reserve. Blaskowitz could not employ these armored formations before seizing the Wingen-Ingwiller road well to the south. Hitler added one last item—a name for the operation. Germany’s last offensive in the west would be known as Nordwind, or North Wind. Grudgingly, von Rundstedt and Blaskowitz accepted the meddling Führer’s changes. On 25 December Blaskowitz informed the man responsible for carrying out Operation Nordwind, General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder, the 1st Armee commander, of the plan.

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