The 23. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS Kama (kroatische Nr. 2) was founded in 1944. It consisted of volunteers from Croatia (both volksdeutsche, ethnic Germans, and anti-communist Croatians) around a German cadre.
The Soviet forces were getting close to the training grounds of Kama in the end of 1944 and it was decided to disband the division. The (still untrained) soldiers were transferred to the Handschar division and the staff was used to form 31. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division.

The number 23 was given to the Nederland division.

A mutiny occured in the Kama SS Division on 17 October 1944. The division commander quickly regained control of the unit. One German officer was allegedly murdered.

Commanders

SS-Standartenführer Helmuth Raithel (1 July 1944 - 28 Sep 1944)
SS-Oberführer Gustav Lombard (28 Sep 1944 - 1 Oct 1944)

Quartermaster

SS-Hauptsturmführer Ernst Fritscher (1 July 1944 - 1 Oct 1944)

Area of operations

Yugoslavia (July 1944 - Oct 1944)

Manpower strength

June 1944 2.199

Honor titles

This division was the sister formation of the “Handschar” division and, like “Handschar” named after a traditional local weapon, in this case a short, Turkish sword.

Order of battle

Waffen-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment der SS 55 (kroatische nr 3)
Waffen-Gebirgsjäger Regiment der SS 56 (kroatische nr 4)
Waffen-Gebirgs Artillerie Regiment der SS 23
SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 23
SS-Flak-Abteilung 23
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 23
SS-Nachschub-Abteilung 23
SS-Pionier-Bataillon 23
SS-Nachrichten-Abteilung 23
SS-Feldlazarett 23
SS-Feldersatz-Bataillon 23
SS-Sanitäts-Abteilung 23
SS-Verwaltungs-Abteilung 23

Officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen and Concentration Camps

Concentration Camps 5
(includes officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen or Concentration Camps either prior to or after service in this unit)

Insignia

A collar insignia with a sunflower was produced but not issued.
A felt fez was used instead of the regular visored caps, a field-grey fez was used with the battle dress and a maroon fez with the dress uniform.

Sources used

Christopher Ailsby - Hitler's Renegades: Foreign nationals in the service of the Third Reich
John R. Angolia - Cloth insignia of the SS
Georges M. Croisier - Waffen-SS (PDF)
Terry Goldsworthy - Valhalla's Warriors: A history of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945
Jill Halcomb & Wilhelm P. B. R. Saris - Headgear of Hitler's Germany, Vol 2
Steve Kane - Waffen-SS Forces in the Balkans: A checklist (in World War II Journal, Vol 7)
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
David Littlejohn - Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, vol 3
James Lucas - Hitler's Mountain Troops: Fighting at the extremes
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
Antonio J. Munoz - Forgotten Legions: Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen-SS
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
George H. Stein - The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939-1945
Gordon Williamson - The Waffen-SS: 11. to 23. Divisions
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

Antonio J. Munoz - Forgotten Legions: Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen-SS

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