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Iron Fist

Unit Cuff Title, reads Götz von Berlichingen

Iron Fist

Unit's Inception

WWII Combat History

WWII Unit Commanders

WWII Unit Composition



October 1943: Division raised in Southern France
3 October, 1943: Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler gives unit the honor title "Götz von Berlichingen". Unit raised from training, replacement units and some Balkan volksdeutsche.

November 1943: Werner Ostendorff promoted to SS-Brigadeführer & division CO
26 Nov: division forming Tours, France, possibly as SS-Kampfgruppen 1-3

December 1943: division forming; strength at 4,000.

January 1944: SS-Brigadeführer Ostendorff joins the Division's HQ at Thouars, France.

February - March 1944: division training, France

April 1944: April 10: Division's formal activation ceremony, Thouars, France. Attendees include Reichsführer-SS Himmler and "Sepp" Dietrich. Himmler awards cufftitle to division members.

May 1944: France. Division strength at 14,000+

June 1944: June 1: GvB station at Thouars, France with no tanks; only assault guns; division only has 22-25 weeks of training, suffers from a lack of vehicles and is 40% below strength for officers & NCO's. Unit strength 17,321
June 6: Allied invasion, Normandy
June 10: GvB Division posted to Normandy to counter allied landing, some troops have to bicycle to the front.
June 11: first combat Carentan; between Saint Lô and Coutances; SS-Kampfgruppe 1 sent to Demark to relieve 363rd Infantry Division; SS-Kampfgruppe 3 sent to Jutland
June 12: US paratroopers capture Carentan
June 13: combat Coutances; unsuccessful counterattack by SS-Pz.g Regt 37 (against the US 101st Airborne?)
June 16: SS-Brigadeführer Ostendorff WIA ; SS-Oberführer Eduard Diesenhoffer becomes division CO.
June 18: SS-Kampfgruppen 1 & 3 become SS-Panzergrenadier Regt.s 49 & 51 respectively
June 30: combat Carentan; SS-Kampfgruppe 3 strength: circa 2,900

July 1944: division strength at 8,500; combat Carentan
July 25: US Army breaks through at St. Lô.

August 1944: Aug 4: 51st Regt. sent to Troyer, France
Aug 6: GvB participates in "Mortain Offensive" (a.k.a. Operation "Luttich") - the assault on Avranches; briefly assigned to the 2nd SS-Panzer Division
August 7: Operation Luttich
Aug. 10: 49th Regiment reclasified as "26.SS-Panzer-Division" (originally named 25th SS Panzer Division by the SS-FHA before they realised that they had already given out the number to a SS division of Hungarian recruits) & 51st Regiment as "27.SS-Panzer-Division" (26th divsion?) - to confuse allied intelligence.
Aug 13: 49th Regt. transferred to France; attacked by the Danish Resistence and Allied "Jabos" (fighter-bomber aircraft) the unit suffers heavy casualties and loses much of its equipment.
Aug 15: "Mortain Offensive" fails and becomes Falaise pocket. GvB split into 4 Kampsgruppe:
Kampgruppe Braune
Kampgruppe Gunter
Kampgruppe Fick
Kampgruppe Wahl
Aug 16: Regt. 49 arrives Calais, worse for wear & tear.
Aug 28: 1st Battery 17th SS Flak Battallion covers retreating German troops at Loire river bridge
Aug 22: Regt. 49 transferred to Meaux
Aug 23: Regt. 51 attacked by US 4th Armored Division, Troyes
Aug 25: Regt. 51 remnants flee Troyes; unit subordinated to GvB (some accounts say this occured Sept 7-8); 49th Regt. combat Romilly; then retreats to Verdun
Aug 29: remnants of GvB withdraw to Chartres forest for refitting.
Aug 31: Regt 49 abandons Verdun
September 1944: Sept. 1: GvB refitting Metz.
Sept 5: stationed Arnaville
Sept. 7: 49th SS Panzergrenadier and 51st SS Panzer ("Mersig"?) brigades incorporated in to GvB (some accounts say Sept 8; SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 37 defends Dornot against US troops.
Sept. 8: US 5th Infantry Division creates bridgehead over Moselle River at Dornot; GvB strongly counterattacks; 26th & 27th SS "Divisions" disbanded
Sept. 9: US 5th & 80th Infantry Divisions create new bridgehead over Moselle River at Arnaville; GvB stongly counterattacks
Sept. 13: GvB counterattacks fail; US 5th & 80th Infantry Divisions maintain & expand the Arnaville bridgehead;
Sept. 14: GvB in action Saar area, defending Metz.
Sept 15: division strength 16,832
Sept 17: Americans liberate Foret De Facq
October 1944: Combat Saar area;
Oct 31. division badly depleted

November 1944: GvB assigned to SS-Gruppenführer Max Simon's XIII. SS-Korps.
Nov 8: USAAF bombs GvB division HQ
Nov 16: Hitler authorizes the withdrawl of GvB from Metz
Nov 19: stationed at Maginot Line, Faulquemont
Nov 22: US troops liberate Metz.
December 1944:
Dec 4: GvB strength at 4,000 men and 20 AFV's
Dec 24: GvB sent to rear for refitting. Panzergrenadier Regiments brought to full strength with the addition of many Volksdeutsche replacements.
Dec 26: GvB receives 57 new sturmgeschultz
Dec 31: As part of XIII SS-Armeekorps, GvB participates in Operation Nordwind the last German offensive in the west. Attack against US Seventh Army (XV Corps) 44th and 100th Infantry Divisions in the eastern Saar.

January 1945: Jan 1-6: Heavy combat, Operation Nordwind, near Gros Réderching and Rimling.
Jan 3: Much of division staff relieved.
Jan 4: Heer officers
Jan 5: Army Group G abandons breakthrough attempt with GVB, shifts focus towards Alsatian Plain. Heavy fighting nevertheless continues against US 44th and 100th Infantry Divisions and reinforcements from US 63rd Infantry Division and French 2nd Armored Division.
Jan 10: Division CO, Standartenführer Hans Linger, captured.
Jan 13: GvB withdraws towards West Wall

March 1945: Mar 18: GvB retreats from Rimlingen; German West Wall broken
Mar 22: Division abandons all vehicles; divisional CO Oberführer Fritz Klingenberg KIA.
Mar 25: GvB retreats across the Rhine into Germany.

April 1945: April 1: Division strength at 7,313.
April 18: GvB assigned to defence of Nürnberg
April 20: Nürenberg falls
[ in an interesting note, Antonio Munoz in his book Iron Fist (see bibliography) alleges that US troops of the 42 Infantry Division masacred 200 SS grenadiers from the 1st Batallion, 38th Regiment, GvB., dumping the corpses in a mass grave. Some human remains were positively identified in 1976.]
April 24: division retreats to Donauwoerth on the Danube river.

May 1945: May 7: surrenders to US forces near Achensee