Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring
The Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring (1st Paratroop Panzer Division Hermann Göring - abbreviated Fallschirm-Panzer-Div 1 HG) was an élite German Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 armoured division. The HG saw action in North Africa, Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Italy and on the Eastern front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. The division was the creation of Reichsmarschall
Reichsmarschall literally in ; was the highest rank in the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II after the position of Supreme Commander held by Adolf Hitler....

 Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 and increased in size throughout the war from an Abteilung
Abteilung is a German language word often used when referring to German or Swiss military formations...

 (battalion) to a Panzer corps.

Creation and early history

When Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's NSDAP swept to power in Germany in 1933, World War I fighter ace
Fighter Ace
Fighter Ace was a massively multiplayer online computer game in which one flies World War II fighter and bomber planes in combat against other players and virtual pilots...

 Hermann Göring was appointed as Prussian Minister of the Interior. In this capacity, all Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 units in Prussia came under Göring's control.

On 24 February 1933, with the intention of creating a police unit of unswerving loyalty to the NSDAP regime, Göring authorized the creation of Polizeiabteilung z.b.V. Wecke ("Police Battalion for special purposes Wecke"). The unit was named after its commander, Prussian World War I veteran and early NSDAP member Major der Schutzpolizei Walther Wecke. The Abteilung was based in the Berlin-Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg, a part of the combined Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough located south of Mitte since 2001, is one of the best-known areas of Berlin...

 neighbourhood, and quickly began to build a reputation as a ruthless and brutal Nazi enforcement unit. Working in conjunction with Göring's secret police, the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

, the unit was involved in many attacks against Communists and Social democrats
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

, and was responsible for the capture and arrest of many of those opposed to the Nazis.

In June 1933, Göring expanded the Abteilung and transferred control of the unit from the Berlin Polizei to the newly reformed Landespolizei
thumb|[[Germany|German]] police officer in [[Hamburg]]The Landespolizei are the main police forces of Germany. They are under the sole jurisdiction, funded and operated by the states of Germany.-History:...

 (State Police
State police
State police are a type of sub-national territorial police force, particularly in Australia and the United States. Some other countries have analogous police forces, such as the provincial police in some Canadian provinces, while in other places, the same responsibilities are held by national...

). The unit was correspondigly renamed Landespolizeigruppe Wecke z.b.V..

In January 1934, under pressure from Hitler and Himmler, Göring gave Himmler's SS
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 control of the Gestapo. To reinforce the position of his remaining unit, Göring increased its size and created the requirement that all members must pass a military training program. The reformed unit was called Landespolizeigruppe General Göring ("State Police Group General Goering"). When Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

's SA
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 began to make demands to the NSDAP leadership, Hitler ordered Göring's LPG Wecke and Himmler's Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler to take action. During the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, LPG Wecke and the Leibstandarte executed many major SA leaders, removing the formation as a threat to the NSDAP.

Luftwaffe control - early campaigns

In 1935, Göring was promoted to command of the Luftwaffe. Unwilling to leave his favourite unit behind, he ordered it transferred to the Luftwaffe, renaming the unit Regiment General Göring in September 1935.

The unit was now sent for re-training and re-equipping as a Luftwaffe unit. During this period, the
I.Jäger-Bataillon and 15. Pionier-Kompanie were sent to Döberitz for parachute training. These units were separated from the regiment in March 1938 and redesignated I./ Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1, the first of the Fallschirmjäger
are German paratroopers. Together with the Gebirgsjäger they are perceived as the elite infantry units of the German Army....

(airborne) units.

By early 1936, the regiment was again ready for action. By this time, all organised resistance to the NSDAP had either been crushed or left Germany, and so the regiment was put to work as a personal bodyguard for Göring and providing flak protection for Hitler's Headquarters.

When Germany annexed Austria in the
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

of March 1938, the regiment was one of the first units to cross the border. Similarly, during the invasion of the Sudetenland in October 1938 and the occupation of Prague in March 1939, the General Göring was among the first units in the German occupation force.

During the invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

, only a small part of the regiment was involved in the fighting. The majority of the unit was to stay in Berlin to continue their duties providing flak protection and guards for Göring and the NSDAP leadership. During the invasions of Denmark and Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

, elements of the regiment (a guard battalion, a motorcycle company and a flak component) took part in the campaign and acquitted themselves well.

The main body of the regiment had been moved west to the German-Dutch border using the cover designations FlaK-Regiment 101 and FlaK-Regiment 103. During Fall Gelb, this force took part in the invasion of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. The imposing fortress of Eben Emael was captured and neutralised by
fallschirmjägers, many of whom had previously served in the General Göring.

After the capitulation of the Netherlands, the regiment was broken up into several small Kampfgruppe
In military history and military slang, the German term Kampfgruppe can refer to a combat formation of any kind, but most usually to that employed by the German Wehrmacht and its allies during World War II and, to a lesser extent, in World War I...

n and these were attached to the Panzer divisions
Panzer Division
A panzer division was an armored division in the army and air force branches of the Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II....

 spearheading the advance. The regiment again acquitted itself well, especially the flak troops, who often operated in an anti-armour capacity. In an engagement at Mormal Wood
Forêt de Mormal
The Forêt de Mormal is a forest in France, near the Franco-Belgian border. It is best known to the British for its role in the retreat from Mons in August 1914. Its lack of passable roads forced I and II Corps of the British army to divide and the two corps did not reunite for some days.- External...

, heavy 8.8 cm FlaK 18s
88 mm gun
The 88 mm gun was a German anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery gun from World War II. It was widely used by Germany throughout the war, and was one of the most recognizable German weapons of the war...

 engaged French tanks at ranges of only a few yards. During this battle, the regiment gained a reputation for steadfastness under fire.

After the surrender of France, the regiment was stationed on the Channel coast, before being moved back to Paris to provide flak protection for the city. Late in 1940, the regiment was moved back to Berlin to resume its former duties as honour guards and flak protection.

Barbarossa - North Africa

In early 1941, the regiment was reorganized as a motorized regiment. During this time, it was redesignated Regiment (mot) Hermann Göring, as Göring had been promoted to Reichsmarschall
Reichsmarschall literally in ; was the highest rank in the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II after the position of Supreme Commander held by Adolf Hitler....

. After this restructuring, the regiment was moved east to take part in the invasion of the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...


When Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's disastrous invasion of Greece
Greco-Italian War
The Greco-Italian War was a conflict between Italy and Greece which lasted from 28 October 1940 to 23 April 1941. It marked the beginning of the Balkans Campaign of World War II...

 caused the delay of Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 and the German invasion of the Balkans and Greece, the regiment was stationed in the Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n oilfields near Ploieşti
Ploiești is the county seat of Prahova County and lies in the historical region of Wallachia in Romania. The city is located north of Bucharest....

 to provide flak protection.

Barbarossa got underway on 22 June 1941, and during the campaign, the regiment was attached to the 11.Panzer-Division
German 11th Panzer Division
The 11.Panzer Division was a German Panzer division which saw action on the Eastern and Western Fronts during the Second World War. The unit emblem of the 11'th Panzer was a ghost...

, a part of Army Group South
Army Group South
Army Group South was the name of a number of German Army Groups during World War II.- Poland campaign :Germany used two army groups to invade Poland in 1939: Army Group North and Army Group South...

. The regiment saw action around the areas of Radziechów
Radziechów may refer to the following places in Poland:*Radziechów in Gmina Zagrodno, Złotoryja County in Lower Silesian Voivodeship *Other places called Radziechów ...

, Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 and Brjansk, destroying many Soviet tanks with their 8.8 cm flak guns. At the end of 1941, the regiment was returned to Germany for rest and refit, having suffered moderate casualties in the campaign. The Schützen-Bataillon Hermann Göring remained at the front until May 1942.

In July 1942 the regiment was upgraded to brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 status and redesignated Brigade Hermann Göring. In October 1942, while the brigade was still being restructured, it was decided to further upgrade the status of the Hermann Göring to a full division
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

. The division would be organized along the lines of a Heer
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 Panzer division
Panzer Division
A panzer division was an armored division in the army and air force branches of the Wehrmacht as well as the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II....

. Göring arranged for veteran Heer panzer crewmen to be transferred to his division, and brought the mechanized infantry component up to strength with the addition of the 5. Fallschirmjäger-Regiment.

While the division was in formation, the Second Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 had forced Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

's Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

 to retreat from the Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n border back towards Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

. Still not fully formed, the Hermann Göring, under the banner of Kampfgruppe Schmid, under the command of Generalmajor Joseph Schmid
Joseph Schmid
Joseph Schmid was a German General serving in the Luftwaffe during World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

, was sent to Tunisia piecemeal in an attempt to bolster Rommel's force. KG Schmid surrendered along with the rest of Panzer Army Africa
Panzer Army Africa
As the number of German armed forces committed to the North Africa Campaign of World War II grew from the initial commitment of a small corps the Germans developed a more elaborate command structure and placed the now larger Afrika Korps, with Italian units under this new German command structure,...

. With this action, the division lost all of its combat units and many of its command units. Göring immediately ordered the division to be reformed.

Panzer Division - Sicily - Italy

Several units of the Hermann Göring Division which had been completing training or awaiting transfer to Tunisia were to be used for the basis for a reformed Division. The division was to be designated Panzer-Division Hermann Göring. By mid-June, the new division was ready for combat, and was shipped to Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 to defend against the expected Allied invasion. When the Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis . It was a large scale amphibious and airborne operation, followed by six weeks of land combat. It launched the Italian Campaign.Husky began on the night of...

 was launched on 10 July 1943,
Hermann Göring was in place to defend the island. The division was engaged at Gela
Gela is a town and comune in the province of Caltanissetta in the south of Sicily, Italy. The city is at about 84 kilometers distance from the city of Caltanissetta, on the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a larger population than the provincial capital, and ranks second in land area.Gela is an...

 and Priolo Gargallo
Priolo Gargallo
Priolo Gargallo is a comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily . It's located about 190 km southeast of Palermo and about 13 km northwest of Syracuse...

, but heavy Allied air and naval superiority forced the German divisions to retreat to Messina. During Operation Lehrgang, the German evacuation of Sicily, the
Hermann Göring formed part of the rearguard, being one of the last units to leave Sicily for the mainland.

When the Italian government agreed an armistice with the Allies, the division took part in the operations to disarm Italian troops
Operation Achse
Operation Achse , also called Operation Alaric, were the codenames of the German plans to forcibly disarm the Italian armed forces after their expected armistice with the Allied forces...

. When the Allies landed at Salerno on 9 September, the division, being stationed in the Salerno area, was thrown into the fight. When the German defence began to yield, the division executed a fighting withdrawal towards the Volturno
The Volturno is a river in south-central Italy.-Geography:It rises in the Abruzzese central Apennines of Samnium near Rocchetta a Volturno and flows southeast as far as its junction with the Calore River near Caiazzo and runs south as far as Venafro, and then turns southwest, past Capua, to...

Termoli is a town and comune on the Adriatic coast of Italy, in the province of Campobasso, region of Molise. It has a population of around 32,000, having expanded quickly after World War II, and it is a local resort town known for its beaches and old fortifications...

 line. After holding the line for as long as possible, the division fell back to the Gustav Line, where it was finally pulled out of the line for rest and refit.

Art rescue controversy

As the Allies pushed further north, towards the abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

 of Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

, the division's workshop detachment, under the command of Oberstleutnant Julius Schlegel, volunteered their services to the monks to remove the abbey's precious artworks. The monks agreed, and the division's vehicles were used to transfer the irreplaceable works of art, including paintings by Da Vinci, Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 and Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 and the remains of St. Benedict himself. The cargo was deposited at the Vatican
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and was so spared destruction in the Battle of Monte Cassino
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

. Because of Göring's reputation as a looter of artworks, a detachment of SS military police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 were sent to the abbey to arrest and execute Schlegel. It was only through the persuasion of the monks and the intervention by the divisional commander on his behalf that Schlegel escaped punishment, and the operation continued. In thanks, the monks of Monte Cassino celebrated a special mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, and presented Schlegel with an illuminated scroll
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

 recognizing his efforts. After the war, Schegel was arrested as a suspected war criminal and looter, and it was only after the personal intervention of British Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Harold Alexander
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis was a British military commander and field marshal of Anglo-Irish descent who served with distinction in both world wars and, afterwards, as Governor General of Canada, the 17th since Canadian...

 that he was released.

When the Allies landed at Anzio in February 1944, the division was rushed to the area and took part in the battles against the invasion force, and for a time was employed opposite the 1st Special Service Force
Devil's Brigade
The Devil's Brigade , was a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States...

. From February to April 1944, the division saw fighting at Cisterna
A cisterna comprises a flattened membrane disk that makes up the Golgi apparatus. A typical Golgi has anywhere from 3 to 7 cisternae stacked upon each other like a stack of dinner plates, but there are usually around 6...

, on the Rapido River
Rapido River
The Rapido is a short river which flows through the Ciociaria in the Italian province of Frosinone.Its source is close to border between Lazio and Molise on the slopes of the Mainarde mountains...

 and at Minturno
Minturno is a city and comune in the southern Lazio, Italy, situated on the north west bank of the Liris , with a suburb on the opposite bank c...


Transfer to the east

In April 1944, the division was pulled out of the line to the area around Toscana to be reorganized as Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring (1st Parachute-Panzer-Division Hermann Göring). The change resulted in no major change in the organization of the division, however during this time away from the front the division was refitted and received replacement troops and vehicles, bringing it back up to strength after over 8 months of continual combat. Arrangements were made for the division to be shipped to France to prepare for the expected allied invasion
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...


The allied offensive
Operation Diadem
Operation Diadem, also referred to as the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino was an offensive operation undertaken by the Allies in May 1944, as part of the Italian Campaign. It was launched at 2300 Hours on 11 May 1944 to break the German defenses on the western half of the Winter Line and open up...

 towards Rome that began on 12 May meant that these plans were canceled and the Hermann Göring was thrown back into the line. Executing a fighting withdrawal towards Rome, the division held off the allied forces while the last German troops were evacuated, and on 4 June fell back behind the Italian capital, which fell on that same day. The Hermann Göring settled in, defending against allied probing attacks towards Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. On 15 July the division was ordered out of the line to prepare for transport to the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...


During this period, several veteran cadres were drawn from the division for the formation of Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Division 2. Hermann Göring
Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Division 2 Hermann Göring
Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Division 2 "Hermann Göring" was formed on 24 September 1944 in the area of Radom.-Commanding officers:*Generalmajor Erich Walther, 24 September 1944 - November 1944*Oberst Wilhelm Söth, November 1944 - January 1945...

, the division's sister formation currently being formed in Radom
Radom is a city in central Poland with 223,397 inhabitants . It is located on the Mleczna River in the Masovian Voivodeship , having previously been the capital of Radom Voivodeship ; 100 km south of Poland's capital, Warsaw.It is home to the biennial Radom Air Show, the largest and...

. Also, the majority of the division's supply units were removed, as were many of its staff officers. These units were to go towards the creation of Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring, under which the two Hermann Göring divisions were to operate.

The division arrived at the Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 front in late-July and was immediately thrown into action, fighting alongside the veteran 5th SS Panzer-Division Wiking and the 19th Panzer Division on the Vistula River between Modlin
Modlin Fortress
Modlin Fortress is one of the biggest 19th century fortresses in Poland. It is located the town of Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki in district Modlin on the Narew river, some 50 kilometres north of Warsaw...

 and Warsaw. During heavy fighting, the division, along with the Wiking, completely decimated the Red Army's 3rd Tank Corps
Battle of Radzymin (1944)
The Battle of Radzymin was one of a series of engagements between the Red Army's 1st Byelorussian Front and the Wehrmacht Heer's XXXIXth Panzer Corps that occurred as part of the Lublin-Brest Offensive between August 1 and August 10, 1944 at the conclusion of the Belorussian strategic offensive...

. The advent of the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

 brought the Soviet offensive to a halt (probably intentionally on Stalin's order for the rising to fail), and relative peace fell on the front line as the underground Armia Krajowa defended the town alone against German forces throughout August and September 1944. In this period the division was notorious for using captured Polish non-combatant civilians as human shield
Human shield
Human shield is a military and political term describing the deliberate placement of civilians in or around combat targets to deter an enemy from attacking those targets. It may also refer to the use of civilians to literally shield combatants during attacks, by forcing the civilians to march in...

s when attacking the insugents' positions in Warsaw. Following the destruction of the town, the division was to be attached to the newly formed Heeresgruppe Weichsel, 24.1. 1945
Army Group Vistula
Army Group Vistula was an Army Group of the Wehrmacht, formed on January 24, 1945. It was put together from elements of Army Group A , Army Group Centre , and a variety of new or ad-hoc formations...

, currently defending the ruins of Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 turned into a fortress "Festung Warschau
Festung Warschau
Festung Warschau was the name applied in German language to Warsaw when the city was defended, which happened under various constellations in the course of history, with and without involvement of German-speaking troops....


East Prussia - defeat

The Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring was activated in early October 1944, and the Hermann Göring Panzer Division, along with its sister Panzergrenadier
is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry, as introduced during World War II. It is used in the armies of Austria, Chile, Germany and Switzerland.-Forerunners:...

 division, was transferred to the command of the corps. The Panzerkorps was then transferred to the East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

 region to halt the Soviet offensive which had already achieved the isolation of Army Group North
Army Group North
Army Group North was a German strategic echelon formation commanding a grouping of Field Armies subordinated to the OKH during World War II. The army group coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics.- Formation :The Army Group North...

 in the Kurland Pocket and was now aimed at the capture of East Prussia. The Panzerkorps was involved in heavy defensive fighting near Gumbinnen, and when the Soviet assault petered out in late November, the Panzerkorps set up static defensive lines.

The massive Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive
Vistula-Oder Offensive
The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre of World War II; it took place between 12 January and 2 February 1945...

 trapped the Hermann Göring Panzerkorps in the Heiligenbeil Pocket
Heiligenbeil Pocket
The Heiligenbeil Pocket or Heiligenbeil Cauldron was the site of a major encirclement battle on the Eastern Front during the closing weeks of World War II, in which the Wehrmacht's 4th Army was almost entirely destroyed during the Soviet Braunsberg Offensive Operation...

 along with the rest of the 4th Army
German Fourth Army
The 4th Army was a field army of Imperial Germany during World War I and of the Wehrmacht during World War II-World War I:At the outset of war, the Fourth Army, with the Fifth Army, formed the center of the German armies on the Western Front, moving through Luxembourg and Belgium in support of the...

. In February, the Heer's
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

Großdeutschland Panzergrenadier Division was attached to the corps.

Despite several breakout attempts, the Panzerkorps had to be evacuated by sea to Swinemünde in Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

. Upon landing, it was thrown back into combat, defending the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 against Soviet attacks through mid-March. To bolster the corps' strength, the elite
Brandenburg Panzergrenadier Division
The Brandenburgers were members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces unit during World War II.Units of Brandenburgers operated in almost all fronts - the invasion of Poland, Denmark and Norway, in the Battle of France, in Operation Barbarossa, in Finland, Greece and the invasion of Crete,...

 was attached to the unit.

In April, the remnants of the
Hermann Göring Panzerkorps was sent to Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

, and in heavy fighting was slowly pushed back into Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

. On April 22, the Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1.
Hermann Göring was one of two divisions that broke through the inter-army boundary of the Polish 2nd Army
Polish Second Army
The Polish Second Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944 as part of the People's Army of Poland. The organization begun in August under the command of generals Karol Świerczewski and Stanislav Poplavsky, and the formation under command of general Świerczewski entered active...

 (Polish People's Army or LWP) and the Soviet 52nd Army, in an action near Bautzen
Battle of Bautzen (1945)
The Battle of Bautzen was one of the last battles of the Eastern Front in World War II. It was fought on the extreme southern flank of the Spremberg–Torgau Offensive, seeing days of pitched street fighting between forces of the 2nd Polish Army and elements of the Soviet's 52nd Army and 5th Guards...

, destroying parts of their communications and logistics trains and severely damaging the Polish (LWP) 5th Infantry Division and 16th Tank Brigade before being stopped two days later.

By early May, the Panzerkorps was positioned near the Saxon capitol of Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

. The remains of the corps began breakout attempts to the west, in order to surrender to the Americans who were currently halted on the Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

. Despite valiant breakout attempts, the corps was encircled, and although several small groups successfully made it through to the west, the majority of the corps surrendered to the Soviets on 8 May 1945. As Luftwaffe men, along with the Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

 and Polizei units, were seen by the Russians as war criminals, due to their involvement in atrocities committed on Eastern Front, the majority of the survivors of the Panzerkorps would not return from the Gulags of the Soviet Union.

War crimes

According to a British Government report, the Hermann Göring Division was involved in several reprisal
In international law, a reprisal is a limited and deliberate violation of international law to punish another sovereign state that has already broken them. Reprisals in the laws of war are extremely limited, as they commonly breached the rights of civilians, an action outlawed by the Geneva...

 operations during its time in Italy . One of these occurred in the surrounding of the village of Civtella in Val di Chiana
Civitella in Val di Chiana
Civitella in Val di Chiana , often also Civitella di Val di Chiana, is a comune in the province of Arezzo, south of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the best-preserved of the network of Lombard fortresses of the 6th and the 7th century in central Italy, strategically placed to control the...

 on 6 June 1944 where 250 citizens were killed.

Around 800 soldiers from the division took part in fighting during the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

 in the Wola district, where mass executions of civilians occurred
Wola massacre
The Wola massacre was the scene of the largest single massacre in the history of Poland. According to different sources, some 40,000 to 100,000 Polish civilians and POWs were killed by the German forces during their suppression of the Warsaw Uprising...

 in connection with Hitler's orders to destroy the city . The units were:
  • II./Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiment "Hermann Göring" (20 PzKpfw IV tanks)
  • III./Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2. "Hermann Göring"
  • IV./Fallschirm-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment "Hermann Göring"

Polish sources claim soldiers of the Hermann Göring Division used civilians as human shields against tanks .


  • Oberst der Landespolizei Watlher Wecke, 23 February 1933 – 5 June 1934
  • Oberstleutnant der Landespolizei Friedrich Wilhelm Jakoby, 6 June 1934 – 12 August 1936
  • Major Walther von Axthelm
    Walther von Axthelm
    Walther Moritz Heinrich Wolfgang von Axthelm was a highly decorated General der Flakartillerie in the Luftwaffe during World War II who commanded the 1. Flakkorps. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

    , 13 August 1936 – 31 May 1940
  • Oberst Paul Conrath
    Paul Conrath
    General Paul Conrath was a German General der Fallschirmtruppe during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.-Awards:* Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class...

    , 1 June 1940 – 14 April 1944
  • Generalmajor Wilhelm Schmalz
    Wilhelm Schmalz
    Wilhelm Schmalz was a highly decorated Generalleutnant in the Wehrmacht during World War II, and one of only 882 recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield...

    , 16 April 1944 – 30 September 1944
  • Generalmajor Hanns-Horst von Necker
    Hanns-Horst von Necker
    Hanns-Horst von Necker was a highly decorated Generalmajor in the Luftwaffe during World War II who commanded the Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

    , 1 October 1944 – 8 February 1945
  • Generalmajor Max Lemke
    Max Lemke
    Max Lemke was a highly decorated Generalmajor in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

    , 9 February 1945 – 8 May 1945

Fallschirm-Panzer-Korps Hermann Göring
  • Generalleutnant Wilhelm Schmalz, 4 October 1944 – 8 May 1945

Unit lineage

  • Polizeiabteilung z.b. V. Wecke
  • Landespolizeigruppe Wecke z.b. V
  • Landespolizeigruppe General Göring
  • Regiment General Göring
  • Regiment (mot) Hermann Göring
  • Brigade Hermann Göring
  • Division Hermann Göring
  • Panzer-Division Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring

Regiment General Göring, 1939

  • Musikkorps
  • I. (schwere) Flak-Abt.
  • II. (leichte) Flak-Abt.
  • III. Scheinwerfer-Abt.
  • IV. (leichte) Flak-Abt.
  • Wachbataillon
    • Reiterschwadron
    • 9. Kompanie
    • 10. Kompanie
    • 11. Wachkompanie
  • Ersatz- Abteilung
  • (schwere) Eisenbahn Flak-Batterie
  • (leichte) Flak-Batterie

Division Hermann Göring, November 1942

  • Divisionsstab
  • Panzer-Regiment Hermann Göring
  • Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 Hermann Göring
  • Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2 Hermann Göring
  • Panzer-Aufklärungs- Abt. Hermann Göring
  • Flak-Regiment Hermann Göring
  • Panzer-Artillerie- Regiment Hermann Göring
  • Panzer-Pionier- Btl. Hermann Göring
  • Panzer-Nachrichten- Abt. Hermann Göring
  • Feldersatz-Bataillon Hermann Göring
  • Divisionkampfschule Hermann Göring
  • Nachschub-Abt. Hermann Göring
  • Instandsetzung-Abt. Hermann Göring
  • Verwaltungstruppe Hermann Göring
  • Sanitäts-Abt. Hermann Göring

Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1 Hermann Göring, May 1944

  • Divisionsstab
  • Stabskompanie
  • Feldgenerarmerietrupp
  • Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Regiment Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Füsilier-Bataillon 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Feldersatz-Bataillon 1 Hermann Göring
  • Feldpostamt 1 Hermann Göring

Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring, November 1944

  • Stab der Korps
    • Feldgendarmeriezug
    • Flugbereitschaft
    • Kriegsberichtertrupp
    • Fallschirm-Flakregiment Hermann Göring
    • Fallschirm-Panzersturmbataillon Hermann Göring
    • Fallschirm-Panzerkorpspionierbataillon Hermann Göring
    • Fallschirm-Panzerkorpsnachrichtenabteilung Hermann Göring
    • Nachschubabteilung Hermann Göring
    • Instandsetzungsabteilung Hermann Göring
    • Verwaltungsbataillon Hermann Göring
    • Sanitätsabteilung Hermann Göring
    • Korpsfeldpostamt Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier-Division 2. Hermann Göring


Report of British War Crimes Section of Allied Force Headquarters on German Reprisals for Partisan Activities in ItalyPolish government pageProfessor Peter K. Gessner State University of New York at Buffalo

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.