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The 6. Gebirgs-Division was formed in 1940 and served as an occupation force in France before being transferred to Poland. It then took part in the invasion of Greece and remained there until September 1941 when it was transferred to Norway. It took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union and the offensive towards Murmansk, it remained there until late 1944 when it retreated to Norway following the Finnish withdrawal from the war.

A sled dog unit was set up by the Swedish volunteer Åke Aspegrén and attached to the division. He was a well-known dog breeder in Sweden and his sled dog teams were featured in several magazines during the inter-war era.
He volunteered for the Swedish volunteer unit serving in Finland during the Winter War but arrived too late to take part in the war. When Finland was again at war he once again volunteered but due to his interest in winter warfare he joined the German forces assigned to the northern sector of the front and late in 1941 he was accepted and arrived in Finland early 1942. The concept with sled dogs were first tested within the Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 141 and when it was shown successful a separate sled dog unit was set up under Aspégren. The unit was used primarily to support raids behind enemy lines and was as far as known the only one of its kind in the Wehrmacht.

On 27 April 1945, the Republic of Austria was proclaimed with Karl Renner of the Socialist Party named the president and chancellor of the provisional Austrian government. In early May, he broadcasted a message that all Austrian soldiers of the German Armed Forces were to surrender. The broadcast was heard by the soldiers in the 4th Battery of Mountain Artillery Regiment 118 of the 6th Mountain Division based near Signaldalen. Oberst Josef Remold, the division commander, immediately issued the order: “6th Mountain Division do not obey this order, and do not capitulate. It is strictly forbidden to listen to the radio. The German salute is to be used! Oberst Remold. Heil Hitler!
However, the artillerymen of the 4th Battery killed their officers, Hauptmann Dirmbacher and Oberleutnant Fromm, and led by Obergefreiter Bruckner, they split into two groups, one of 48 men, and one of 11 men. The large group reached Sweden where they were interned while the smaller group was captured by the Germans. On 10 May 1945, four of the 11 mutineers were executed upon the approval of the death sentence imposed by General der Gebirgstruppe Ferdinand Jodl, the Commander-in-Chief of Army Detachment “Narvik.” The executed were Rudolf Zatsch, Josef Wenzl, Leopold Wickenhauser and Hartmut Feyertag.
This is known as the Signaldalen Mutiny and was one of the mutinies that took place in the Wehrmacht.

Commanders

Generalmajor Ferdinand Schörner (31 May 1940 - 15 Jan 1942)
Generalleutnant Christian Philipp (17 Jan 1942 - 20 Aug 1944)
Generalleutnant Max Pemsel (20 Aug 1944 - 5 Apr 1945)
Oberst Wilhelm Rademacher (5 Apr 1945 - 26 Apr 1945)
Oberst Josef Remold (26 Apr 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Operations Officers (Ia)

Major Georg Gartmayr (4 June 1940 - 22 Jan 1943)
Hauptmann Walter Rudolph (22 Jan 1943 - 21 Feb 1943)
Major Hans Bucher (21 Feb 1943 - 14 Mar 1943)
Major Franz Steinhart-Hantken (14 Mar 1943 - 26 May 1943)
Hauptmann Otto Auswöger (26 May 1943 - 12 July 1943)
Major Franz Steinhart-Hantken (12 July 1943 - 12 Oct 1943)
Oberstleutnant Werner Vogl (12 Oct 1943 - 13 Nov 1943)
Major Rall (13 Nov 1943 - 15 Feb 1944)
Hauptmann Mungai (15 Feb 1944 - 25 Feb 1944)
Oberstleutnant Werner Vogl (25 Feb 1944- 25 Mar 1945) (from 26 Feb 1945 also Führer Gren.Brig. 388)
Major Johann Brandner (25 Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Nicknames

Edelweiß in gelb

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (2)
- Hesselbarth, Rudolf, 27.12.1944 (5067), Oberst, Kdr. Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 141
- Schulmeister, Karl, 05.02.1945 (5183), Major, Kdr. I./Geb.Art.Rgt. 118
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (36)
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (8)
- Hohenwarter, Hubert, 27.12.1944, Hauptmann, 7./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 143
- Mayer, Max, 15.02.1945, Major, I./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 143
- Niederegger, [first name not listed], 28.03.1942, Oberjäger, 13./Geb.Jäg.Rgt.143
- Pinsker, Wolfgang, 00.00.1945, Oberleutnant d.R., 8./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 141
- Pöschl, Franz, 15.02.1945, Major, Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 143
- Rudolph, Walter, 08.02.1943, Feldwebel, 14./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 141
- Seume, Helmut, 17.12.1944, Oberleutnant d.R., 12./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 141
- Walser, Heinrich, 28.03.1942, Gefreiter, 13./Geb.Jäg.Rgt. 143
Holders of the Knight's Cross (13)
Holders of the Finnish Order of the Cross of Liberty, 1st Class with Swords (1)
- Philipp, Christian, 28.03.1942, Generalmajor, Kdr. 6. Geb.Div.
Unit-Level Commendation Certificate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army for Shooting Down Aircraft (2)
- 14./Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 141
-- Date/Place of Downing: 10.05.1944 bei Belchen
-- Award Date: 01.08.1944 (526)
- Attached:
-- II./Grenadier-Regiment 388
--- Date/Place of Downing: 13.12.1943 an der Murmanfront
--- Award Date: 01.02.1944 (466)

Order of battle

Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 141
Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 143
Gebirgs-Artillerie-Regiment 118
Aufklärungs-Abteilung 112
Gebirgs-Pionier-Bataillon 91
Feldersatz-Bataillon 91
Panzerjäger-Abteilung 47
Gebirgs-Nachrichten-Abteilung 91
Gebirgs-Nachschubführer 91

Beute-Panzer-Zug 219 (attached)

Notable members

Åke Aspegrén (Swedish volunteer, well known for his dog breeding and sled dogs. Set up a sled dog unit supporting raids behind enemy lines)
Franz Kutschera (SS-Brigadeführer, Gauleiter of Kärnten, Reichstag deputy, SS und Polizeiführer Mogilew 1943, SS und Polizeiführer Warsaw 1943-1944, killed by the Polish resistance Armia Krajowa, AK, 1944, served in the division in 1940)
Helmuth Raithel (Served in Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 143, later division-commander in the Waffen-SS)
Ferdinand Schörner (The last living German Field Marshal, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds)

Swedish volunteer Åke Aspegrén with his sled dog unit
gebirg-div-6-aspegren
(Courtesy of Stefan)

Generalmajor Ferdinand Schörner in a discussion in Bulgaria in March 1941
gebirg-div-6-schorner-bulgaria
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Sources used

Lars Gyllenhaal & Lennart Westberg - Svenskar i krig 1914-1945
Lars Gyllenhaal - Tyskar och allierade i Sverige
Anders Ole Hauglid & Knut Erik Jensen - Til befolkningen! Brannhösten 1944: gjenreisingen etterpå
Thomas L. Jentz & Werner Regenberg - Panzer Tracts No. 19-1: Beute-Panzerkampfwagen
James Lucas - Hitler's Mountain Troops: Fighting at the extremes
Georg Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht 1933-1945
Gordon Williamson - German Mountain & Ski Troops 1939-45

Reference material on this unit

Karl Ruef - Gebirgsjäger Zwischen Kreta und Murmansk: Die 6.G.D. im Einsatz

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