wss-31

31. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division was formed in October 1944 from conscripted volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans), mainly from the Batschka region of Hungary, around a cadre from the disbanded Kama division.
It fought briefly against the Soviets in Hungary in November 1944 where it suffered heavy losses. After refitting with the addition of manpower from SS-Polizei-Regiment Brixen it saw action in Silesia during the final months of the war.

Known war crimes

In the village of Tscherwenka (Czervenka), Hungary (present day Serbia), 1944 soldiers of this division took part in the killing of Jews previously used as slave labour in the mines. (1)

Commanders

SS-Brigadeführer Gustav Lombard (1 Oct 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Operations Officer (Ia)

SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Reuter (1 Oct 1944 - 1 Mar 1945)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Marzel Reichel (1 Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945)

Quartermaster (Ib)

SS-Obersturmführer Ernst-Friedrich Fritscher (1 Oct 1944 - 5 Nov 1944)
SS-Obersturmführer Anton Büntgen (5 Nov 1944 - 1945)
SS-Obersturmführer Johann Lehner (1 Mar 1945 - 1945)

Area of operations

Hungary & Czechoslovakia (Oct 1944 - May 1945)

Manpower strength

Dec 1944 11.000

Nicknames

Kukuruz Division (Corn Division – a reference to the many farmers of the cornfields of Hungary’s Batschka region who served in the division)
Division Lombard
Division Batschka

According to some sources this division was named Böhmen-Mähren while others claim that the name was Batschka. Both names are incorrectly applied – the division never possessed an honorific title or a subtitle in its name indicating ethnic origin. Batschka was, however, used informally as a nickname.

Order of battle

SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 78
- I./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 78
- II./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 78
- III./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 78
SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 79
- I./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 79
- II./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 79
- III./SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 79
SS-Freiwilligen Grenadier Regiment 80
SS-Artillerie Regiment 31
- I./SS-Artillerie Regiment 31
- II./SS-Artillerie Regiment 31
- III./SS-Artillerie Regiment 31
- IV./SS-Artillerie Regiment 31
SS-Füsilier-Bataillon 31
SS-Nachrichten-Abteilung 31
SS-Nachschub-Truppen 31
SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung 31
SS-Pionier-Bataillon 31
SS-Kranken-Transport-Kompanie 31
SS-Veterinär-Kompanie 31
Feldpostamt

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)

Footnotes

1. "Valhalla's Warriors: A history of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945" by Terry Goldsworthy and "Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes" by James Pontolillo, page 40-41..

Sources used

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
Antonio J. Munoz - Teutonic Magyars: Hungarian volunteers in the Waffen-SS (in The Hungarian Army and its military leadership in World War II by Andris J. Kursietis)
Rudolf Pencz - For the Homeland! The History of the 31st Waffen-SS Volunteer Grenadier Division
James Pontolillo - Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes
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

Rudolf Pencz - For the Homeland! The History of the 31st Waffen-SS Volunteer Grenadier Division

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