The 18. SS Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Horst Wessel was an SS panzergrenadier division that saw service with Germany during World War II. It was initially formed in 1944 and consisted mainly of recruits from the 1st SS Infanterie Brigade and most of these were Hungarian ethnic Germans. The division itself was named after the SA hero and poet Horst Wessel which why is it was initially planned to consist of recruits from the SA so that the division could truly live up to its name.
The first commander of the 18. division was Wilhelm Trabandt who served from his first position in 1944 to January 1945. Following came Josef Fitzthum, who served only for a few days before being replaced upon his death in his squad car by Georg Bochmann and finally Heinrich Petersen.
The 18. SS Panzergrenadier-Division consisted of the 39. and 40. Panzergrenadier regiments along with the 18. SS Artillery regiment and all the standard flak, medical, and other support units. These were the 18. Flak, Signals, Pioneers, Supplies, Sturmgeschütz, Reconnaissance, and Panzerjäger battalions.
The Division's first combat operation was conducting anti-partisan duties in the Eastern Front. Though, as the German frontlines receded, full scale combat operations against Soviet troops were inevetible. This eventually came when the division was sent down into Hungary in 1944. Heavy fighting was to ensue and severe casualties were taken by the division. The Horst Wessel division then fought to keep Budapest but was forced to retreat to Czechoslovakia. Once the Red Army had advanced thus far, it was only a matter of time before the division was then crushed in.
- ↑ http://www.eestileegion.com/?home/waffen-ss/waffen-ss-divisions/18th-ss-volunteer-panzergrenadier-division-horst-wessel.html
- ↑ http://desertwar.net/18th-ss-volunteer-panzergrenadier-division-horst-wessel.html