wss-30

In February 1944 the Generalkommissar Weißruthenien Curt von Gottberg ordered the formation of the Belaruskaja Krajova Abarona (BKA, Byelorussian Home Guard) to help the German fight against the partisans. On 27 June the German liaison staff to the BKA left Minsk as part of the German withdrawal and the men of the BKA units were faced with the choice of withdrawing together with the Germans or remaining at home, few of them decided follow if the Germans. The BKA soldiers and other collaborators in Schutzmannschaft (Schuma) battalions who withdrew west were used to form the Schutzmannschaft-Brigade Siegling under SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Siegling in July. The brigade had four infantry regiments and also artillery and cavalry support units. 
This Brigade was transferred into the Waffen-SS on 1 August 1944 and at the same time ordered to be expanded to 30. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (russische Nr. 2). While the majority were Russians (with German officers), it also included Belorussians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Tatars, Poles and at least one from Czechoslovakia.

The division suffered from low morale and repeated desertions. 27 August two mutinies occured, one in II./1st Regiment and I./2nd Regiment (the regiments did not recieve the numbers 75, 76 and 77 until 19 October) and the mutinieers killed all the German officers and NCOs they could find before the munities were put down. The ringleaders were killed, II./1st Regiment was disbanded and 2.300 men regarded as unreliable were removed from the division and transferred to construction units.

On 28 August Oberbefehlshaber West Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model complained about the division:

30th SS-Panzer-Grenadier Division (sic!) runs over in battalions (battaillonsweise) to the bands, kills German officers, completely unreliable. Division should be disarmed. The immediate shipping off into the Reich for work assignment is necessary. (2)


It was sent to France in August with the first elemets arriving 17 August. The French resistance were informed about the poor morale and equipment of the division and promtly began making attacks on the troops. Some elemts of the division did not put up much of a fight, while others fought bravely winning several battles against the resistance. It suffered large losses, both in the fighting and through desertions.

It withdrew along with the rest of the German forces and in October it, apart from the time spent on training the still not battle-worthy unit, guarded brigdes along the Rhine. Soon however it saw action agaist the Allied forces, the first action being against a Glider unit that landed 26 October near Grussenheim.
In November it saw action against the 1st French Army with elements of the division fighting bravely against the 1st French Armored Division despite a lack of anti-tank weapons.

After suffering heavy losses in these battles, it was withdrawn from the front and ordered to the German-Swiss border. In January 1945, many of the officers were transfered to the Nibelungen division and most of the less reliable Russian volunteers to general Vasslov's Russkaya Osvoboditel'naya Armiya, the remaining volunteers (those seen as most reliable) formed what was now redesignated Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS (weißruthenische Nr. 1) in January when it had less than 4500 men but in February it was again a division in name, now with the title 30. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (weissruthenische Nr. 1), even though it was nowhere near divisional size.

Known war crimes

Soldiers of the division killed 39 civilians in Etobon, France, 27 September 1944 in retaliation of the support given by villagers to the French partisans. An additional 27 were taken from the village to Germany, of them seven were shot 10 days later. (1)

Commanders

SS-Obersturmbannführer Hans Siegling (1 Aug 1944 - ? Apr 1945) 

Chief of Staff

SS-Hauptsturmführer Albert Löffler (? -31 Dec 1944) 

Quartermaster

SS-Sturmbannführer Franz Henningfeld (? Nov 1944 - ? Dec 1944) 

Area of operations

East Prussia (Aug 1944 - Sep 1944) 
France (Sep 1944 - Oct 1944) 
Germany (Oct 1944 - Apr 1945) 

Manpower strength

Dec 1944 4.400 

Order of battle

Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- I./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- II./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- III./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 76
- I./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 76
- II./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 76
- III./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 76
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 77
- I./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 77
- II./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 77
- III./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 77
SS-Artillerie-Abteilung 30
- 2 x Batteries with captured Soviet 122mm guns
- Rocket launcher battery
SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 30
SS-Füsilier-Kompanie
SS-Pionier-Kompanie
SS-Nachrichten-Kompanie
SS-Sanitäts-Kompanie
SS-Panzerspäh-Kompanie
SS-Feldersatz-Bataillon

Order of battle (brigade)

Staff
Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- I./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- II./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
- III./Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment der SS 75
Artillerie-Abteilung
Panzerjäger-Abteilung
Reiter-Schwadron

Officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen and Concentration Camps

Concentration Camps 2
(includes officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen or Concentration Camps either prior to or after service in this unit)

Insignia

The vehicle insignia was a white steel helmet on a black square.

Footnotes

1. "Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44" by Peter Lieb.
2. "Untermenschen in SS uniforms: 30th Waffen-Grenadier Division of Waffen SS" (Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 20, 2007) by Leonid Rein, page 339-340.

Sources used

Philip H Buss - Divisional signs of the Waffen-SS (Military Advisor, vol 19, number 4)
Georges M. Croisier - Waffen-SS (PDF)
Terry Goldsworthy - Valhalla's Warriors: A history of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Peter Lieb - Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg?: Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich 1943/44
David Littlejohn - Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, vol 4
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
Tadeusz Piotrowski - Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947
Leonid Rein - Untermenschen in SS uniforms: 30th Waffen-Grenadier Division of Waffen SS (Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 20, 2007)
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
Gordon Williamson - The Waffen-SS: 24. to 38. Divisions and Volunteer Legions
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference Material on this unit

Rolf Michaelis - Russen in der Waffen-SS
Antonio J. Munoz - Forgotten Legions: Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen-SS

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