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Although much has been published about the Waffen-SS in English, coverage of the majority of its units is patchy, inaccurate or even non-existent. This carefully-researched study from Rudolf Pencz records the complete history of one of these rarely-covered W-SS formations, the 31st W-SS Volunteer Grenadier Division. The division, established in Autumn 1944, was mainly composed of ethnic Germans living in Hungary. After a brief period of training, the division was soon sent into action against the Red Army in Hungary, late 1944. At the end of the year it was withdrawn from the front rest and refitting, before participating in the bitter fighting against the Soviets in Silesia until the end of the war. The remnants of the division surrendered to the Soviets in May 1945. For the Homeland! is a detailed and complete history of the division; the text features a large number of personal accounts and eyewitness reports from former members. Detailed appendices include divisional officer lists, and a complete order-of-battle. The book also features a selection of previously unpublished photographs drawn from the collections of the division's former members.
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The author was born in 1967, in the Barschka region of southern Hungary, into a family of ethnic German uncestry. He became interested in WWII history as a child; two of his uncles served with the Hungarian Army during the war, and two more with the 31st W-SS division. He has a degree in economic sciences, and works in business administration. He is married, and has a daughter aged 8, and a son aged 1.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From Ch 14 Deployment of the Division in the Jauer area, March 1945
On that sector of the front there was changing fighting, during which the villages of Wolfsdorf, Prausnitz and Haasel were lost. Particularly heavy fighting took place for the Sargberg near Konradswaldau, in which the units of SS Volunteer Grenadier Regiments 80 and 78 that had been brought up lost and re-took the mountain several times. By May 1945 the Sargberg would have changed hands seven times. Along the whole line continual, often very fierce, fighting was going on. Many villages changed hands several times, but the main line of resistance was always essentially restored.
SS Panzerjäger Abteilung 31, too, went into action successfully several times in these sectors. This however always depended on not having to turn back from pursuing the Soviets because of a shortage of petrol, as happened from time to time.
Two eyewitness accounts recalled this fighting. First the account of A. Gl., at that time Pioneer Section, SS Volunteer Grenadier Regiment 80: "The command post of our regiment was in Neukirch. Our pioneer detachment was also there as intervention reserve. We were always thrown in at the hot spot at any given time. So we were immediately prepared to counter-attack when the Soviets broke through at Süssenbach. The Soviet armour was already in fairly deep behind our lines. One of our Tigers, which was standing carefully camouflaged in waiting, knocked out their advance unit and forced it to turn back. Then we were able to re-take Süssenbach in a counter-attack. In the village we found that an old man and two young women, who apparently had not let themselves be evacuated earlier, brutally murdered. Apart from them, there was not a soul.
"Our detachment also went into action many times at the Sargberg. This mountain, not too high but commanding the landscape, was long, in the shape of a coffin and really deserved its name – and not only because of its shape! It was even attacked several times daily, lost, and then re-taken in a counter-attack."
SS-Rottenführer Heini Knauer, armourer II/79, gave this account: "Our first action took place in the Jauer area. From our first standpoint I could see into the town of Jauer. We, the ‘fighting impedimenta’, were always located fairly close to the main line of resistance, now 1 to 2km, now only 500m behind it. But I would often stop at advanced observation posts to test the newly received, newly collimated equipment. The fighting changed a lot. Many villages changed hands several times. Often we suspected that the Soviets were withdrawing deliberately, in order to catch us in a trap by enticing us from behind."
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Book Description Helion and Company, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111874622019
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