wss-23

The 23. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nederland (niederlandische Nr. 1) consisted of Dutch volunteers and was formed 10 February 1945 when SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade Nederland was upgraded.
Nederland was given the number 23 when the Kama division was disbanded.
It fought on the Eastern front seeing action on the Oder and south of Berlin where it was caught in the Halbe pocket, before surrendering to US forces at the end of the war.
The Dutch soldiers were planned to be a part of the Nordland division but after protests from the Dutch nazi-party, Nationaal Socialistische Beweging (NSB), it was decided that they would form their own division.

Lineage

SS-Freiwilligen-Verband-Niederlande (July 1941 - Aug 1941)
SS-Freiwilligen-Legion-Niederlande (Aug 1941 - Oct 1943)
4. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade Nederland (Oct 1943 - Oct 1944)
SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Brigade Nederland (Oct 1944 - Feb 1945)
23. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nederland (niederlandische Nr. 1) (Feb 1945 - May 1945)

Commanders

SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Wagner (10 Feb 1945 - 1 May 1945)

Chief of Staff

SS-Sturmbannführer Jürgen von Bock (10 Feb 1945 - 1 Mar 1945)
SS-Sturmbannführer Reinhard Wörner (? 1945 - ? 1945)

Quartermaster

SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Beister (10 Feb 1945 - 1 Mar 1945)

Area of operations

Berlin (Mar 1945 - Mar 1945)

Manpower strength

Dec 1944 6.000

Honor titles

“Nederland” is Dutch for “The Netherlands”, as this division was composed of Dutch volunteers.
The division was authorized to wear a cuff title bearing its name, although even after its introduction, some personnel who had previously served with the “Freiwillige Legion Niederlande” continued to wear that cuff title.

Two of the division’s regiments were also named:
SS-Frw. Pz. Gren. Regt. 48 „General Seyffardt“
The honor title was carried over from the 1st Company of the “Freiwillige Legion Niederlande” and refers to General Hendrik Alexander Seyffardt (1 Nov. 1872 – 6 Feb. 1943), the pro-Nazi former Chief of the Dutch Army’s General Staff and later commander of Dutch Volunteer Legion, who was assassinated by the Dutch Resistance.
SS-Frw. Pz. Gren. Regt. 49 „De Ruiter“
Michael Adriaanzoon de Ruiter (1607 – 1976) was a Dutch admiral who had fought the English in Guinea and the Channel and was also famous for having led his fleet up the Thames in 1666 to attack London.

Holders of high awards

(entire lineage, from legion to division)
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (30)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Lange, Heinz, 14.10.1944, SS-Sturmbannführer, Brig.Int. (IVa) SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Brig. “Nederland”
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Waffen-SS (2)
- Täubl, Johann, 17.12.1944, SS-Oberscharführer, 5./SS-Art.Rgt. 54
- Unger, Gerhard, 00.00.1945, SS-Sturmbannführer, I./SS-Frw.Pz.Gren.Rgt. 49
Holders of the Knight's Cross (23, including 2 unofficial/unconfirmed) (20 RK + 3 EL)

Order of battle

SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 48 General Seyffard
SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 de Ruyter
SS-Artillerie-Regiment 23
SS-Nachrichten-Abteilung 23
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 23
SS-Pionier-Bataillon 23
SS-Flak-Abteilung 23
SS-Feldersatz-Bataillon 23
SS-Nachschubtruppen 23

Officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen and Concentration Camps

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

Insignia

The "Legion Niederlande" cuff title was authorized for this unit, it was replaced by "Frw. Legion Niederlande", "Frw. Legion Nederland" and finally "Nederland".
The "De Ruiter" cuff title was authorized for SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 49 de Ruyter.
The "General Seyffard" cuff title was authorized for SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 48 General Seyffard.
A collar insignia showing a wolfsangel (wolf hook) was first used in an unofficial vertical format and later authorized in a horizontal format.
collar-wss-niederlande
(Courtesy of The Ruptured Duck)

Dutch national sleeve shield 
sleeve-foreign-nl
(Courtesy of The Ruptured Duck)

Recruitment poster "Your Place is Still Vacant in the Waffen SS"
wss-legion-nl-propaganda4
(Courtesy of Imperial War Museums)

Sources used

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
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
Frank Thayer - SS Foreign volunteer collar insignia and their reporductions (in The Military Advisor, Vol 4 No 2)
Gordon Williamson & Thomas McGuirl - German military cuffbands 1784-present
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

Massimiliano Afiero - Nederland: 23.SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier Division Nederland
Perry Pierik - From Leningrad to Berlin: Dutch Volunteers in the German Waffen-SS

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