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Insignia of the Sonderverband z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“, the mask symbolizing the secrecy, the sword the martiality of the special unit.

The Brandenburgers (German: Brandenburger) were members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces unit during World War II. This elite division of the Abwehr is a shining paragon for Special Forces around the world even today. Units of Brandenburgers operated in almost all fronts – the Poland campaign, Operation Weserübung (Denmark and Norway), in the Battle of France, in Operation Barbarossa, in Finland, Greece and the Battle of Crete, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Some units were sent to infiltrate India, Afghanistan, Middle East countries and South Africa. They also trained for Operation Felix (the planned seizure of Gibraltar), and Operation Sea Lion (the planned invasion of Great Britain). The unit had stunning successes early in the war acting as advance units that captured strategic bridges, tunnels and rail yards in Poland and the Netherlands.

Origins and development

Wilhelm Canaris in Brandenburg an der Havel visiting the Brandenburgers 1940; with Stahlhelm Dr. Theodor von Hippel, to the left Major Kewisch, delegated with the leadership of the Bau-Lehr-Regiment z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“. Von Hippel was now to organize the 1st battalion of the new and larger Bau-Lehr-Regiment z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“, which he did until Oktober 1940.
A "shadow warrior" of the Brandenburgers. Their specialty: Camouflaging and Deluding
  • Bataillon „Ebbinghaus“ from the „Industrieschutz-Oberschlesien“, 1939
  • Bau-Lehr-Kompanie z. b. V. → Deutsche Kompanie z. b. V. → Bau-Lehr-Kompanie (D. K.) z. b. V. as of 15 October 1939
    • the (D. K.) z. b. V was established on the Truppenübungsplatz Bruck an der Leitha through Leutnant/Hauptmann d. R. Verbeek
  • Bau-Lehr-Kompanie z. b. V. 800 as of 25 October 1939 through Hauptmann von Hippel, OKW/Amt Ausland/Abwehr
  • Bau-Lehr-Bataillon z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“, as of 1 January 1940, Hauptmann von Hippel, OKW/Amt Ausland/Abwehr
    • Stabskompanie with battalion staff: Generalfeldzeugmeister-Kaserne in Brandenburg an der Havel, Oberleutnant Kutschke
    • 1. Bau-Lehr-Kompanie „Deutsche Kompanie z. b. V.“: Neustift-Innermanzing (Wienerwald), Oberleutnant Dr. Gottfried Kniesche
    • 2. Bau-Lehr-Kompanie: Generalfeldzeugmeister-Kaserne in Brandenburg an der Havel, Hauptmann Fabian
    • 3. Bau-Lehr-Kompanie, Bad Münstereifel, Hauptmann Rudloff (8 EK 1 and 84 EK 2 for the Western Campaign 1940)
    • 4. Bau-Lehr-Kompanie, for the time being Niederrhein (for Case Yellow), afterwards Brandenburg, Oberleutnant Walther
  • Bau-Lehr-Regiment z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“, as of 1 June/1 October 1940, OKW/Amt Ausland/Abwehr
  • Sonderverband z. b. V. 800 „Brandenburg“, as of November 1942, OKW/Amt Ausland/Abwehr
  • Division „Brandenburg“, as of 1. April 1943, OKW/Wehrmachtführungsstab
  • Panzer-Grenadier-Division „Brandenburg“, as of 15. September 1944, OKH/Generalstab des Heeres
  • Infanterie-Division „Brandenburg“ (motorisiert), towards the end of October 1944, OKH/Generalstab des Heeres
  • Panzerkorps „Großdeutschland“, as of middle / end December 1944, 4. Panzer-Armee/Heeresgruppe Mitte
  • Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment „Brandenburg“, 10 March until 10. May 1945, LIX. Armeekorps/1. Panzer-Armee/Heeresgruppe Mitte

Commandeurs (with last rank)

  • Hauptmann (E) Theodor von Hippel, 10. Oktober 1939 − Juni/Oktober 1940
  • Major Hubert(us) Kewisch (m. d. F. b.) from middle June until August/September 1940
  • Major d. R. Hubertus von Aulock (m. d. F. b.), 12 Oktober 1940 − end October/November 1940
  • Generalmajor Paul Haehling von Lanzenauer, 28/30 November 1940 − 8 February 1943
  • Generalmajor Alexander von Pfuhlstein, (9)/12 February 1943 − 10 April 1944
  • Generalleutnant Friedrich Kühlwein, 10 April 1944 − 20 October 1944
  • Generalmajor Hermann Schulte-Heuthaus, 20 October 1944 − 10 May 1945


Secret Unit of Brandenburgers--taking a break between missions
A Brandenburger in civilian clothes with paratroopers of the Luftwaffe after the daring and successful Operation "Dawn", May 1940
Paratrooper of the Brandenburgers, a Slavic volunteer in the uniform of a Fallschirmjäger with Maschinen Pistole 40 MP40.

During World War I, the legacy of German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck's superb guerrilla war in East Africa and T. E. Lawrence's use of Arab hit-and-run tactics to fight the Turks in the Middle East made a profound mark upon one of Lettow-Vorbeck's junior officers, a young captain named Theodore von Hippel. The unit was the brainchild of Hauptmann (Captain) Theodor von Hippel who, after having his idea rejected by the traditionalist Reichswehr, approached Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, commander of the German Intelligence Service, the Abwehr.

Finding a place in the German intelligence community after the war, Hippel proposed utilizing small, elite units to penetrate enemy defenses before hostilities or offensive actions had begun. However, the idea ran afoul of the stiff-necked Prussian sense of honor. Such units, the majority believed, would be an infringement of the rules of war, and furthermore, such saboteurs were not worthy of being called soldiers. Hippel persevered, however, and when he became an officer in the war ministry's intelligence agency, Abwehr, his ideas finally found a home.[1]

The Abwehr got its name from the compound of ab-, meaning away or off, and -wehr, which implies defense. This deceptive name was born in the days of the Weimar Republic during the 1920s, when Communists and dissidents were spied on to prevent uprisings. The Abwehr evolved over the years, first under Captain Konrad Patzig and then under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, to become an espionage agency that worked for the German military.

The German high command allowed Hippel to form a battalion to do what he had proposed–sabotage the enemy's ability to respond to German attacks by capturing roadways and bridges ahead of the main force and securing strategic targets before they were demolished. Known as the Ebbinghaus battalion, the unit performed magnificently during the Polish campaign, though it was dissolved shortly afterward.[2] It had not failed, however, to gain notice. Admiral Canaris gave Hippel the opportunity to form a unit like the Ebbinghaus group for the Abwehr. On October 15, 1939, the Lehr und Bau Kompagnie z.b.V. 800 (Special Duty Training and Construction Company No. 800), which consisted primarily of the former Ebbinghaus volunteers, was officially founded in the German state of Brandenburg, where it would adopt the shorter name of Brandenburg Company.

Recruitment methods for the elite Brandenburg commandos were almost directly contrary to those of another elite unit, the SS. Instead of seeking out soldiers with Nordic features, blonde hair and blue eyes, Hippel scoured Germany's borders to find Slavs or other ethnic groups. Every member of the Brandenburg Company had to be fluent in a foreign language, whether it be Czech, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Estonian, Polish, Ukrainian or Ruthenian, and they had to know the country's or region's customs as well. Instead of being more 'racially pure than their enemies, the Brandenburgers had to be the enemy–they had to blend in to be effective saboteurs. They had to know not only the customs of the area they were to infiltrate but also the local habits and the mannerisms of the natives. In the words of one Abwehr agent, a Brandenburger in Russia would have to know how to spit like a Russian.

The Brandenburgers would also receive extensive training for their missions. Self-reliance was the key, for they would often work alone (German: Einzelkämpfer).[3]

Operation "Dawn" (1940)

At the end of January 1940, officer cadet Feldwebel Hermann Kürschner from the special unit Bau-Lehr-Bataillon z. b. V. 800 "Brandenburg" was given the order by Dr. Theodor von Hippel to set up a squad for use in the west. Kürschner gathered volunteers from the Young German Bund and miners from the area because they knew the area particularly well. The Stoßtruppe or assault platoon ("Westzug") was led under the staff company. At the end of February 1940, Kürschner reported to Abwehr-Abteilung II and received detailed instructions from Lieutenant Colonel Lahousen and Major Stolze. A few weeks before the start of the campaign, Kürschner was promoted to lieutenant.

On 8 May 1940 (two days before Fall Gelb), commandos of the “Kürschner” unit were smuggled into France, Belgium and the Netherlands in half and full camouflage. With semi-camouflage, when approaching the object, enemy uniform parts or civilian clothes were worn over the German uniform. This camouflage was removed before the actual battle. One spoke of full camouflage when the enemy's complete uniform was also worn during combat. In the case of mixed camouflage, only some of the soldiers appeared in enemy uniforms, while the majority in German uniforms were escorted through enemy lines by the former, mostly as alleged German prisoners or deserters. The deportees then hid weapons and ammunition in or under their uniforms. Enemy weapons and vehicles were also used for camouflage purposes. How this equipment were used was left to the respective operational leaders, who were solely responsible for planning an operation. On 9 May 1940, the operational order of the XXVI. Army Corps (Army Group B, 18th Army) was received, whereupon camouflage clothing, weapons and equipment were issued to the task forces. At 11 p.m., all five squads began the march to their respective targets.

The actual Operation "Dawn" or Unternehmen „Morgenröte“ (Maas/Maas-Waal Canal) was the audacious capture of eight Maas bridges on the night of 9 to 10 May 1940 (before the start of the western campaign or the storming of Eben Emael) by less than 50 commandos of the Brandenburgers and Dutch combat interpreters (Kampfdolmetscher) of the right-wing nationalist Mussert movement. In particular, the capture of the railway bridge at Gennep was of immense importance. This bridge was taken by only seven men (five German "deserteurs" and two Dutch "gendarmes") in mixed camouflage and equipped with the appropriate legends.

The commando squad, led by Oberleutnant Wilhelm Walther, who later received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, succeeded in first eliminating or capturing a Dutch guard and then an entire platoon of Dutchmen and destroying three bunkers. Shortly thereafter, a German armored train appeared to finally secure the bridge. The capture of the bridge at Gennep was of great operational importance. The 9th Panzer Division was able to cross the Maas on it and a few days later established contact with the German paratroopers under the command of Captain Fritz Prager who had landed near Moerdijk.

Other commando operations against the Meuse bridges, e.g. the capture of the Heumen bridge under the command of Dietrich F. Witzel, who was wounded in the process and later received the Knight's Cross (code names Kirn and Wolf; platoon commander 1st platoon/4th company/Bau-Lehr Battalion, e.g. V. 800), also succeeded.

On the railway bridge near Buggenum (north of Roermond), the Brandenburger squad (six men) of NCO Hilmer (group "Haut" or group "Janowski", 2nd platoon of the 4th company of the Bau-Lehr-Bataillon z. b. V. 800), dressed in Dutch railway workers' suits and armed with shovels and pickaxes, was exposed and caught in a hail of bullets from the bridge's western security bunker. Nevertheless, four of the still unwounded Brandenburgers made it to the middle of the bridge, but then it was blown up with four large explosions. The elite soldiers died and the approaching German Panzerzug 5 could not cross the bridge as planned. Because the armored train had to stop right in front of the bridge, it was immobilized by a direct hit in the machine from the bunkers on the other side. Losses: 41 killed, 76 wounded (mostly seriously).

Overall, strategically important bridges at Maaseik (Belgium), Berg, Uromon, Obicht and Stein in the Netherlands were taken by surprise during Operation "Dawn". Responsible for the bridges in Maastricht was the Infanterie-Bataillon z. b. V. 100 under Captain Fleck from the Abwehrstelle Oppeln.


Troop badge, 2nd Regiment "Brandenburg" Special Unit; The sword stands for battle, the question mark stands for a secretive incognito
Coastal Raiders of the Meeres- und Küstenjägerabteilung during the Operation "Delphin", an anti-partisan operation (Bandenbekämpfung) in Croatia from 15 November until 1 December 1943 together with the 114. Jäger-Division (main force) of the Luftwaffe, the 264. Infanterie-Division (elements) and Kriegsmarine (Flak-cruiser "Niobe", 1 destroyer, several gunboats, 2 armed steamers, 3 Siebel ferries and numerous smaller ships, boats and landing craft). Objective: To mop up partisan elements on the Dalmatian islands facing Zadar and Sibenik in Central Dalmatia (Ugljan, Pašman, Iž, Sestrunj, Kornat, Zut, Dugi Otok and Molat). The Küstenjäger were the first to land during the dark, killing the guards and conquering tactical positions. The amphibious operation ran according to plan but most of the partisans avoided battle with the German forces. Some of them fleeing to the island of Vis farther out into the Adriatic. The rest were all killed.
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves
Sleeve stripe and Jägerregiment badge

The original battalion consisted of four companies, organised along ethnic 'Front' lines, as shown below. The battalion also included a Motorcycle platoon and a Fallschirm-platoon (Paratroopers).

  • 1. Kompanie (based in Baden bei Vienna), men from Baltic/Russian territories
  • 2. Kompanie (based in Brandenburg an der Havel), men who had lived in English-speaking territories and North Africa
  • 3. Kompanie (based in Bad Münstereifel), Sudeten Germans / Yugoslavia
  • 4. Kompanie (based in the Lower Rhine), Volksdeutsche ethnic Germans from countries such as Poland

As the battalion expanded further, it created more mixed units. The so-called Arabic Brigade was nominally connected to the Brandenburgers, took its orders from the German oriental mission, and was composed mainly of men from the Caucasus.

Regiment Brandenburg and later Division Brandenburg evolved out of the Abwehr's 2nd Department, and was used as a commando unit during the first years of the war. Initially the unit consisted mainly of former German expatriates fluent in other languages. Until 1944 it was an OKH unit rather than a unit of the regular army (Heer).

The unit steadily expanded until it was reallocated to Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz's Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland[4] and to Otto Skorzeny's SS-Commandos[5] (German: SS-Jagdverbände) to be used as a frontline combat or reconnaissance unit.

Orders of battle

Battalion Brandenburg - December 1939

  • 1. Company
  • 2. Company
  • 3. Company
  • 4. Company
  • Motorcycle platoon (German: Kradmelder)
  • Parachute platoon

Division Brandenburg – February 1943 to March 1944

  • Division staff
  • Jäger Regiment - 1 Brandenburg
  • Jäger Regiment - 2 Brandenburg
  • Jäger Regiment - 3 Brandenburg
  • Jäger Regiment - 4 Brandenburg
  • Tropische Einheiten Brandenburg
  • Coastal Raiders Battalion Brandenburg (German: Meeres- und Küstenjägerabteilung)
  • Parachute Battalion Brandenburg (German: Fallschirmjäger)
  • Signal Company Brandenburg (German: Fernmelder)
  • Independent Companies -
    • 14. Company
    • 15. Parachute Company (German: Sonder-Fallschirmjägerabteilung)
  • Auxiliary Units -
    • Lehrregiment Brandenburg z. b. v. Nr.800 (Training Regiment)

Panzergrenadier-Division Brandenburg – 1944 to 1945

  • Division Staff
  • Panzer Regiment Brandenburg
  • Jäger(mot) Regiment 1 Brandenburg
  • Jäger(mot) Regiment 2 Brandenburg
  • Panzerjäger Battalion Brandenburg
  • Artillery Regiment Brandenburg
  • Heeres Flak Battalion Brandenburg
  • Reconnaissance Battalion Brandenburg (German: Fernspäher)
  • Pionier Battalion Brandenburg
  • Signals Battalion Brandenburg
  • Supply Train


Among so many other Orders and Awards 18 members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces were recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, three of them also recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Recipients of the Knight's Cross

  • Hauptmann Afheldt, Eckart (de), 17.3.1945, Oberleutnant, Führer II./JägerRgt 2 "Brandenburg"
  • Oberstleutnant Bröckerhoff, Wilhelm (de), 8.5.1945, Major, Führer PzArtRgt "Brandenburg"
  • Oberst Brückner von, Erich (de), 11.03.1945 als Oberst,Kommandeur JägRgt 1 "Brandenburg"
  • SS-Sturmbannführer Fölkersam Baron von, Adrian (de),[6] 14.9.1942 als Leutnant d. R., Adjutant Stab I./LehrRgt z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
  • Major Kirn (Witzel), Dietrich F. (de), 12.12.1944, Hauptmann, Führer Front-Aufklärungs-Kommando 202
  • Rittmeister Knaak, Hans-Wolfram (de), 3.11.1942, Oberleutnant, Chef 8./LehrRgt z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
  • Oberstleutnant Koenen von, Friedrich (de), 16.9.1943, Hauptmann, Kommandeur III./4.Rgt "Brandenburg"
  • Hauptmann der Reserve Lange, Erhard (de), 15.1.1943, Oberleutnant d. R., Kompaniechef and Sonderkommandoführer of the OKW, Amt Ausland/Abwehr
  • Major der Reserve Lau, Werner (de), 9.12.1942, Leutnant d. R., Zugführer 5./LehrRgt z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
  • Leutnant der Reserve Leipzig von, Hellmut (de), 28.4.1945, Leutnant d. R., Zugführer PzAufklAbt "Brandenburg"
  • Hauptmann Müller-Rochholz, Friedrich (de), 8.5.1945, Hauptmann, Kommandeur PzSturmPiBtl "Brandenburg"
  • Leutnant der Reserve Prochaska, Ernst (de), 16.9.1942, Leutnant d. R., Führer 8./LehrRgt z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
  • Hauptmann der Reserve Röseke, Erich (de), 14.4.1945, Oberleutnant d. R., Führer 9./JägRgt 1 "Brandenburg"
  • Major der Reserve Steidl, Kurt (de), 26.1.1944, Hauptmann d. R., stellv. Führer I./2.JägRgt "Brandenburg"
  • Major Voshage, Werner (de), 8.5.1945, Major, Kommandeur HeeresFlakAbt "Brandenburg"
  • Oberstleutnant Walther, Wilhelm (de), 24.6.1940, Oberleutnant, Stoßtruppführer 4./BauLehrBtl z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"

Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

  • Major der Reserve Grabert, Siegfried (de), 10.6.1941, Oberleutnant d. R., Führer SonderKdo im BauLehrBtl z.b.V. 800 "Brandenburg"
320th Oak Leaves, 6.11.1943, Hauptmann d. R., Chef 8./LehrRgt "Brandenburg" z.b.V. 800
  • Oberstleutnant Oesterwitz, Karl-Heinz (de), 30.4.1943, Oberleutnant, Chef 7./LehrRgt z.b.V 800
734th Oak Leaves, 10.2.45 als Oberstleutnant, Kommandeur JägerRgt 2 "Brandenburg"
  • Major der Reserve Wandrey, Max (de), 9.1.1944, Oberleutnant d. R., Chef 11./JägRgt 1 "Brandenburg"
787th Oak Leaves, 16.3.45 als Major d. R., Kommandeur II./JgRgt1 "Brandenburg"

Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords

  • Leutnant Volkmann, Richard (de), 12.8.1944, Fahnenjunker-Oberwachtmeister, Fernaufklärer, Nachrichten-Fernaufklärungs-Kompanie 623 in the Division "Brandenburg"


Bergmann Battalion

Bergmann Battalion

The Special Group Bergmann or the Bergmann Battalion (German: Sonderverband Bergmann, meaning "highlander") was a military unit of the German Abwehr during World War II, composed of five German-officered companies of the Caucasian volunteers. The Bergmann battalion was formed of the émigrés and Soviet POWs from the Caucasian republics at Neuhammer in October 1941. Subordinated to the German commando battalion Brandenburgers and placed under the command of Oberleutnant Theodor Oberländer, the unit received training at Neuhammer and Mittenwald (Bavaria) with the Gebirgsjäger. Later a special 130-men-strong Georgian contingent of Abwehr codenamed “Tamara-II” was incorporated into Bergmann. By March 1942, there were five companies of some 300 Germans and 900 Caucasians:

  1. Georgian and German staff
  2. North Caucasian
  3. Azerbaijan and German staff
  4. Georgian and Armenian (Armenische Legion)
  5. Staff company, composed of 130 Georgian émigrés (Tamara I: interrogation specialists; Tamara II: sabotage experts) and some Germans; Company leader: Oberst Dr. Kramer (Abwehr)

In addition, two cavalry squadrons were deployed.

In August 1942, Bergmann went to the Eastern Front, where it saw its first action in the North Caucasus campaign in August 1942. The unit engaged in anti-partisan actions in the Mozdok-Nalchik-Mineralnye Vody area and conducted reconnaissance and subversion in the Grozny area. At the end of 1942, Bergmann conducted a successful sortie through the Soviet lines, bringing with them some 300 Red Army defectors, and covered the German retreat from the Caucasus. Bergmann went through a series of hard-fought engagements with the Soviet partisans and regular forces in the Crimea in February 1943 and was dissolved – like other Ostlegionen units – at the end of 1943. The significantly shrunken ex-Bergmann companies were dispatched to conduct police functions in Greece and Poland.[7]

The Bergmann group used as insignia a traditional Caucasian dagger (kindzhal) with curving blade, worn on the left side of the cap. Made of yellow metal, it was 7 cm long.[8]

Nachtigall and Roland Battalions

The Nachtigall Battalion (English: Nightingale Battalion), also known as Ukrainian Nightingale Battalion Group (German: Bataillon Ukrainische Gruppe Nachtigall), officially known as Special Group Nachtigall,[9] and the 'Roland Battalion (German: Battalion Ukrainische Gruppe Roland), officially known as Special Group Roland, were the subunits under command of the Abwehr special operation unit Brandenburgers (1st Brandenberg Battalion). They were the two military units formed February 25, 1941 by head of the Abwehr Wilhelm Franz Canaris, which sanctioned the creation of the "Ukrainian Legion" under German command. They were manned primarily by occupied Poland citizens of Ukrainian ethnicity directed to unit by Bandera's OUN orders.[10]

In May 1941, the German command decided to split a 700-strong Ukrainian Legion into two battalions: Nachtigall ("Nightingale") and Roland Battalion. Training for Nachtigall took place in Neuhammer near Schlessig. On the Ukrainian side, the commander was Roman Shukhevych and on the German, Theodor Oberländer. (Oberländer was later to become Federal Minister for Displaced Persons, Refugees and War Victims in the Federal Republic of Germany.) Ex-Brandenburger Oberleutnant Dr. Hans-Albrecht Herzner was placed in military command of the Battalion. The Nachtigall unit was outfitted in the standard Wehrmacht uniforms. Before entering Lviv, they placed blue and yellow ribbons on their shoulders.[11]

In comparison to Nachtigall - which used ordinary Wehrmacht uniform, the Roland Battalion was outfitted in the Czechoslovakian uniform with yellow armband with text "Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht" (In the service of the German Wehrmacht). They were given Austrian helmets from World War I.[12] The Battalion was set up by the Abwehr and organized by Richard Yary of the OUN(b) in March1941, prior the German invasion to Soviet Union and commanded by Yevhen Pobigischiy . Approximately 350 Bandera's OUN followers were trained at the Abwehr training centre at the Seibersdorf under command of the former Poland Army major Yevhen Pobiguschiy.

In Germany, in November 1941 the Ukrainian personnel of the Legion was reorganized into the 201st Schutzmannschaft Battalion. It numbered 650 persons which served for one year at Belarus before disbanding.[13] Many of its members, especially the commanding officers, went on to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and 14 of its members joined SS-Freiwilligen-Schützen-Division «Galizien» in spring 1943.[14]

Russian historian V. Chuyev states that despite the ending, OUN achieved its ultimate goals - 600 members of their organization had received military training and had battle experience and these men took positions as instructors and commanders in the structure of the newly formed Ukrainian Insurgent Army.[15] S. Bandera wrote:

"The end of OUN was such: the revolutionary columns were commanded by Roman Shukhevych with a small party of officers who had not only undergone military training, but had come to a clear understanding of military tactics. The most important, they brought with them – an understanding of organization, strategies and tactics of partisan fighting, and the German method of dealing with partisan groups. This knowledge was very useful in the formation and activities of the UIA and in its future conflicts."[15]

During its short history the Nachtigall Battalion had 39 casualties and 40 wounded soldiers.

See also

Ian Westwell: Brandenburgers - The Third Reich's Special Forces


  • Will Berthold: Division Brandenburg. Die Haustruppe des Admirals Canaris, 1959 (many editions until 2018)
    • English: Brandenburg Division, Published by Panther, London 1970
  • Spaeter, Helmut (c1990s). The History of the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland Vol I-III. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 978-0-921991-50-2. 
  • Westwell, Ian (2004). Brandenburgers: The Third Reich's Special Forces (Spearhead 13). USA: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-2979-8. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (c1990s). The Brandenburgers: Global Mission. ISBN 978-0-921991-38-0. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (2005). The Brandenburger Commandos: Germany's Elite Warrior Spies in World War II. ISBN 978-0-8117-3250-5. 
  • Spaeter, Helmut (1984). Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland: Panzergrenadier-Division Grossdeutschland, Panzergrenadier-Division Brandenburg und seine Schwesterverbände, Führer-Gren ... Träger des Ritterkreuzes : Bilddokumentation. ISBN 978-3-7909-0214-3. 
  • Lefevre, Eric (1999). Brandenburg Division: Commandos of the Reich (Special Operations Series). ISBN 978-2-908182-73-6. 
  • Lucas, James (1998). Kommando - German Special Forces of World War Two. ISBN 978-0-304-35127-5. 
  • Breuer, William B.: Daring Missions of WWII., ISBN 0-471-40419-5.
  • Mortimer, Gavin: The Daring Dozen: Special Forces Legends of World War II, Osprey Publishing (2012), ISBN 978-1849088428
  • Abramian, Eduard: Forgotten Legion: Sonderverbande Bergmann in World War II, 1941-1945.[16] Bayside, NY: Europa Books Inc., 2007. ISBN 978-1891227714

External links



  1. Hippel's vision was reminiscent of that of David Stirling, founder of the British SAS. Hippel proposed that small, élite units, highly trained in sabotage and fluent in foreign languages, could operate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc with the enemy's command, communication and logistical tails. When Hippel approached the Reichswehr, his idea was rebuffed. The traditionalist Prussian officers saw this clandestine form of warfare would be an affront to the rules of war, and claimed that men who fought that way would not deserve to be called soldiers. Undaunted, Hippel then took his idea to Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, commander of the German Intelligence service, the Abwehr. Hippel was employed in the Abwehr's 2nd Department, and given the task of making his vision a reality.
  2. The Ebbinghausers also had created confusion in the Polish rear by capturing or destroying major road and rail junctions, as well as helping the advancing troops by securing vital bridges and other strategic targets and preventing their demolition. Despite the success of the Bataillon Ebbinghaus, it was disbanded immediately after the campaign.
  3. The Brandenburg Commandos
  4. Panzerkorps "Großdeutschland": In November 1944, while the division retained its status as a Panzergrenadier division, several attached units were expanded to divisional status, and the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland was formed. The Corps was made up primarily of two Divisions - Großdeutschland and the Brandenburg Division, which had a lineage which was strongly linked to the Großdeutschland. By March 1945, the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland had been reduced to around 4,000 men. These escaped by ferry from the collapsing Memel bridgehead. They landed at Pillau and were put straight back into combat. By 25 April 1945, the division ceased to exist, having been completely destroyed in the battles around Pillau. Of the survivors only a few hundred were able to make their way to Schleswig-Holstein and surrendered to British forces. The majority of the men were left behind and were forced to surrender to the Russians where they often faced a fatal and indefinite amount of time in Russian Labor Camps (Gulags). Panzergrenadier Division Kurmark had been created out of Großdeutschland remnants in early 1945 and had fought throughout the last months of the war. Men of both the Brandenburg and Kurmark units were entitled to wear Großdeutschland insignia.
  5. Commando is a soldier or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations forces often specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting or rappelling. Originally "a commando" was a type of combat unit, as opposed to an individual in that unit. In other languages, commando and kommando denote a "command", including the sense of a military or an elite special operations unit.
  6. Baron Adrian von Fölkersam (20 December 1914 – 21 January 1945) was a German Brandenburger and Waffen-SS officer (SS-Jagdverband Mitte) in World War II.
  7. Hoffmann, Joachim (1991), Kaukasien 1942/43: Das deutsche Heer und Orientvoelker der Sowjetunion. Freiburg, S. 46–47, 56, 195, 267. ISBN 3-7930-0194-6
  8. Williamson, Gordon & Pavlović, Darko (2002), World War II German Battle Insignia, p. 43. Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1-84176-352-7
  9. Abbot, Peter. Ukrainian Armies 1914-55, p.47. Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84176-668-2
  10. І.К. Патриляк. Військова діяльність ОУН(Б) у 1940—1942 роках. — Університет імені Шевченко \Ін-т історії України НАН України Київ, 2004 (No ISBN) p.271-278
  11. І.К. Патриляк. Військова діяльність ОУН(Б) у 1940—1942 роках. — Університет імені Шевченко \Ін-т історії України НАН України Київ, 2004 (No ISBN)
  12. І.К. Патриляк. Військова діяльність ОУН(Б) у 1940—1942 роках. — Університет імені Шевченко \Ін-т історії України НАН України Київ, 2004] I.K Patrylyak. (2004). Military activities of the OUN (B) in the years 1940-1942. Kiev, Ukraine: Shevchenko University \ Institute of History of Ukraine National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine p.287
  13. І.К. Патриляк. Військова діяльність ОУН(Б) у 1940—1942 роках. — Університет імені Шевченко \Ін-т історії України НАН України Київ, 2004 (No ISBN) pp 371-382
  14. Боляновський А.В. Дивізія «Галичина»: історія — Львів: , 2000.
  15. 15.0 15.1 (Russian) Chuyev, Sergei Ukrainskyj Legion - Moskva, 2006 pp. 179-184
  16. Hardcover, with full color dust jacket, oversized, 140 pages, The complete history of this special formation of North Caucasian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian volunteers who served in the Abwehr as part of the Brandenburg commandos, in the Abwehr "Bergmann" commando unit and later as an entire mountain infantry regiment whose three battalions fought in such regions of Europe as Southern Russia, the Crimea, the Ukraine, Poland and the Balkans (Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia). A NEW study with 90 photographs, 24 battle maps, numerous tables, charts, diagrams, Orders of Battle, many color and black and white line drawings, plus five (5) full color uniform plates by renowned military artist, Darko Pavlovic!