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III SS (Germanic) Panzer Corps

 

III SS (Germanic) Panzer Corps

The III (Germanic) SS Panzer Corps (III. (germanische) SS-Panzerkorps) was a German Waffen-SS armoured corps which saw action on the Eastern Front during World War II. The (germanische) (lit. Germanic) part of its designation was granted as it was composed primarily of foreign volunteer formations.

History

The Panzerkorps was formed in April, 1943 as a headquarters for the 5th SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking and 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. The corps was placed under the control of former Wiking commander SS-Obergruppenführer Felix Steiner. After training, the corps took part in anti-partisan operations in the Balkans against Josip Broz Tito's forces, enjoying some successes. The corps then was sent to a quiet sector in Army Group North, now made up of the Nordland Division and the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands. By this stage, the Wiking had been sent south and came under the control of Army Group South's Eighth Army. Forced back by the Russian winter 1944 offensive, the corps took a leading role in the defense of the Narva salient in the summer of 1944, in what was then characterized by some Germans as The Battle of the European SS. It then withdrew with the rest of the army group across Estonia and into the Courland Peninsula, fighting several actions there until the end of January. Brought back to the Oder Front and placed under Steiner's Eleventh SS Panzer Army, the corps participated in Operation Sonnenwende before being assigned as the reserve corps to Third Panzer Army. The 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands was renamed 23d SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division "Nederland" and was attached to XI SS Panzer Corps. The 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland was attached to the LVI Panzer Corps and became involved in the defense of Berlin during the Battle of Berlin where it was destroyed. The remnants of the XI SS Panzer Corps got trapped in the Halbe Pocket around April 28, 1945. Together with the remnants of the German 9th Army and 12th Army, the remnants of the 23d SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division "Nederland" surrendered on 4 May 1945 to US troops across the Elbe near Tangermünde, Germany.

Commanders

Orders of battle

June 15, 1944 - Narva Front

September 16, 1944

Notes

References

  • Tieke, Wilhelm - Tragedy of the Faithful: A History of III. (gemanisches) SS-Panzer-Korps

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