3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

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kerica
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3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by kerica » 10 May 2020 15:54

Hi forum

In her book The Past is Myself Chris Bielenberg relates how in April 1945 [or thereabouts, she is rather vague about the date of events], the German Army retreated through Rohrbach their little village in the Black Forest near Furtwangen, led by 3 unnamed generals, who quickly alienated the population by executing a boy soldier alongwith the local electrician. She later says that this force was wiped out when the 3 generals attempted to push through a gorge 7 miles long where the allies were waiting for them. Can anyone identify these generals, the location of the ambush and the forces on both sides?

I believe that it was the 19th army that retreated through Baden to Bavaria, but it split into 3 parts. I think only 1 part retreated through the Black Forest, namely the 18th SS Corps led by General Keppler, and the other 2 generals might have been the commanders of the 405th and 810th infantry Divs. The allied forces might have been the American 2nd army and the French units under Lattre. I havnt been able to find out anything definite so this info might be incorrect. Does anyone know any authoritative
accounts of these events?

Thanks very much

Kerica

Mori
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by Mori » 10 May 2020 20:00

Hello,

Only French units could be involved in an action in the Black Forest, and more so if it took place in the southern half of the forest.

The bulk of the French army moved north of the forest or through the forest using the Freudenstadt road (45 north of Furtwangen). They did not bother with the southern half until later. A small force pushed to Fribourg and the Swiss border. They got to Furtwangen / Villigen am Schwartzbald about April the 25th. It was either the 9th Inf Div or a small troop called "groupe Lebel" which got there first.

A quick look at the unit histories does not point an ambush in a 10km long gorge, but it may not have been an action significant enough to be reported as such. There were still fights until the 25th or so, although not severe.

The German general commanding the SS 18th corps surrendered to the French on the 26th. There wasn't another German general with him on that day.

PS: by the way, there wasn't any US 2nd army in ETO. Even numbered armies were in the Pacific.

wwilson
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by wwilson » 12 May 2020 05:55

405th and 810th infantry Divs.
The latter would be the 805th, not 810th. Division Nr. 805 was subordinated to XVIII. SS Armeekorps in April 1945. On 14 April 1945, the division was retitled 352. Volks-Grenadier-Division.

wwilson
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by wwilson » 12 May 2020 07:37

Hi Kerica,

In looking at such recollections, it is sometimes the case the person recounting the events does so in such a manner as to suggest that various events are linked. This may be the case in what you have read. Amplifying the comments of Mori, here is some information regarding the situation and military forces.

Furtwangen: Occupied on 25 April 1945 by elements of the 1st Spahis Brigade and Groupement Bourgund, a task force of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division. Rohrbach (ca. 5 kilometers from Furtwangen) probably occupied the same day. (GUF V-III, page 772).

XVIII. SS-Armeekorps: During the night of 24 - 25 April 1945, the three divisions of the corps were already east of Furtwangen and attacked to the southeast in three columns to escape the French encirclement of the Black Forest:

1. 719th Volks-Grenadier Division (former Division z.b.V. 405) attacked on the axis Marbach - Bad Dürrheim - Immendingen.
2. 352d Volks-Grenadier Division (former Division Nr. 805) attacked on the axis Klengen - Aasen - Geisingen.
3. 89th Volks-Grenadier Division (rebuilt from Brigades 1005 and Baur) attacked on the axis Bräunlingen - Fürstenberg. (GUF V-III, page 767).

"Ambush": (?) Several thousands of German troops had progressed to an area about 8 kilometers northwest of Donaueschingen during the night. As the sun rose, they were bombarded by French artillery and attacked by aircraft. The Germans took serious personnel casualties and materiel losses, leaving behind vehicles and the bodies of the fallen. Thousands of the group were taken prisoner by the 4th Moroccan Division and the 9th Colonial Division that day and the next. Note this action is not described as having taken place in a gorge. (GUF V-III, page 772).

26 April 1945: The commanding general and the chief of staff of the XVIII. SS-Armeekorps are taken prisoner by elements of the 9th Colonial Division. (GUF V-III, page 774).

These events may be what the author described.

Clarification: "GUF V-III" refers to the the work, Les Grandes Unités Françaises, volume five, part three.

wwilson
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by wwilson » 12 May 2020 07:59

Other generals:

The commander of the 89th Division was Generalmajor Richard Bazing, who escaped to Switzerland and was interned until 27 November 1947.
The commander of the 719th Division was Generalleutnant Karl Faulenbach, who was not taken prisoner until 8 May 1945.
The commander of the 352d Division was Generalmajor der Reserve Rudolf von Oppen, taken prisoner on 29 April 1945.

Of interest, regarding Keppler, the commander of the SS corps. According to the German Wikipedia, he was not taken prisoner until 22 May 1945 at Seebruck near the Chiemsee (the English-language Wikipedia gives this date as 2 May 1945). So, I am not sure which general was captured by the French forces on 26 April 1945. The German Wikipedia article also states the Keppler disbanded the SS corps on 26 April at Blumberg, 10 kilometers south of Donaueschingen.

kerica
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by kerica » 13 May 2020 17:46

Other generals:

The commander of the 89th Division was Generalmajor Richard Bazing, who escaped to Switzerland and was interned until 27 November 1947.
The commander of the 719th Division was Generalleutnant Karl Faulenbach, who was not taken prisoner until 8 May 1945.
The commander of the 352d Division was Generalmajor der Reserve Rudolf von Oppen, taken prisoner on 29 April 1945.

Of interest, regarding Keppler, the commander of the SS corps. According to the German Wikipedia, he was not taken prisoner until 22 May 1945 at Seebruck near the Chiemsee (the English-language Wikipedia gives this date as 2 May 1945). So, I am not sure which general was captured by the French forces on 26 April 1945. The German Wikipedia article also states the Keppler disbanded the SS corps on 26 April at Blumberg, 10 kilometers south of Donaueschingen.
Thanks for all your replies. Perhaps it was these 3 commanders who were the ones who Bielenberg saw in Rohrbach? Was the 18th SS army therefore made up of SS men? Was that why 2 commanders were so anxious to avoid being taken prisoner? I believe Faulenbach had served in the Balkans and Bazing on the Eastern front. This is what I found on the net about them. These 3 'divisions' must have been very much weakened by the time of their final action.

kerica
------

Richard Bazing (1894 - 1987) is a German general from the Second World War. He is the last commander of the 89th Infantry-Division .

General Bazing was born on December 19, 1894 , in Thionville , a bustling garrison town in the Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen . Like his compatriots Helmuth Volkmann and Franz Vaterrodt , young Richard naturally turned to the profession of arms. The October 19, 1912 , when he was only 18 years old, he joined the imperial army. Richard Bazing is assigned, like Fahnenjunker , to the Pionier-Battalion Nr. 13 , where he is promoted Fähnrich in March 1913 , then Leutnant , second lieutenant, in February 1914 [ 1 ] .

First World War

At the start of the First World War , Bazing served in this regiment, where he was wounded from the August 19, 1914 . Back in his unit, he was assigned to a Werfer-Kompanie in December 1914 . He served as company chief at the 19th Granatwerfer-Kompanie , November 1915 at March 1916 . Appointed battalion chief in March 1916 , he has health problems. After a stay in the hospital, he was appointed chief of the Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 13 . Seconded to Berlin in June 1916 , he was promoted to Oberleutnant , lieutenant, on April 18, 1917 . He was appointed ordering officer to the staff of the 243rd Infantry-Division up to the Armistice [ 1 ] .
Between the wars

After the war, Bazing left the army to join the police on February 1 , 1920 with the rank of Hauptmann , captain. He will stay there until March 16, 1936 , date on which he reinstates the Wehrmacht , the new German army. Polizei-Major since 1932, he was appointed Major of the Wehrmacht in March 1936 , before taking command of Pionier-Battalion 33 in May 1936 . In this position, he was promoted to Oberstleutnant , lieutenant-colonel, in August 1936 . Replaced in November 1938 , he is promoted to Oberst , colonel, in April 1939 . Colonel Bazing was appointed commander of the 504th Infantry-Regiment on August 26, 1939 [ 1 ] .
Second World War

Colonel Bazing remains at the head of the 504 e Infanterie-Regiment until October 10, 1940 , not without having received the 2nd and 1st classes Iron Crosses . Bazing is promoted to Generalmajor , brigadier general, on November 1 , 1942 . The May 13, 1943 , General Bazing receives the Finnisches Freiheitskreuz I. Klasse mit Schwertern , the Finnish Freedom Cross , with sword. Of September 1943 at November 1944 , General Bazing served on the staff of Army Group F. Placed in the Führerreserve on November 15, 1944 , he was appointed head of the 352nd Infantry-Division on December 23, 1944 . The February 2, 1945 , General Bazing is appointed to head the 89 th Infantry-Division . Interned in Switzerland, he will be released 2 years later, in November 1947 [ 1 ] .

Richard Bazing will die on May 22, 1987 , in Bonn , Germany .

-----
Faulenbach, Karl

* March 21, 1893, Hanau

+ November 22, 1971, Stuttgart


Karl Faulenbach entered the 2nd Nassau Pionier Battalion No. 25 as a flag junker on March 21, 1912, in which he was promoted to ensign on November 19, 1912 and lieutenant on August 19, 1913. On August 2, 1914, he went to the field with his battalion. On October 15, 1914 he became adjutant of the replacement engineer battalion 25 and on November 8, 1914 adjutant of the general of the pioneers at the AOK 17. On October 7, 1915 he became the leader of the mine-throwing company 15 of the 15th Infantry Division . Promoted to Oberleutnant on October 5, 1916, Karl Faulenbach was appointed November 1, 1917 as 1st Ordonnanz officer in the staff of the 12th Infantry Division. After the war he was transferred to the provisional Reichswehr and transferred to the staff of the Reichswehr Brigade 8 as 1st Ordonnance Officer. On December 31, 1919 he was then commanded to inspect the infantry in the Reich Ministry of Defense and on May 16, 1920 auxiliary officer at Command VI. On October 1, 1920, he was transferred to Infantry Regiment 15 and commanded to the Reichswehr Ministry. On December 11, 1920, he was assigned to the 5th Division as an auxiliary officer and transferred to Reiter Regiment 15 on October 1, 1921. On October 1, 1922 he was transferred to the 15th Infantry Regiment. Promoted to captain on February 1, 1924, Karl Faulenbach took over the 3rd company of the regiment on July 1, 1924. From October 1, 1930, he served as a teacher at the infantry school. On September 15, 1931, he returned to the staff of the 5th division, where he was promoted to major on October 1, 1933. On October 1, 1934 he took command of the training battalion of the Tübingen Infantry Regiment and on October 15, 1935 of the 2nd Battalion of the 56th Infantry Regiment. On January 1, 1939 he was promoted to colonel. On June 1, 1939, he took command of Infantry Regiment 14, with which he relocated to the Western Front at the beginning of the war and took part in the 1940 campaign in the West. From October 5, 1940 he commanded the 419 Infantry Regiment, with which he participated in the Balkan campaign and from June 1941 on the Russian campaign. On March 10, 1942, he was transferred to the leadership reserve and on April 3, 1942, he was entrusted with the leadership of the 296th Infantry Division, whose command he became on April 20, 1942. On April 1, 1942, he was promoted to major general. On January 1, 1943 he was promoted to lieutenant general and on January 10, 1943 he was transferred to the OKH's reserve. On January 31, 1943, he was assigned to Army Group B staff to become the commander of the 82nd Infantry Division. However, he fell so seriously ill that on March 1, 1943 he was transferred back to the driver's reserve. On May 1, 1943, he took command of the 356th Infantry Division. From December 10 to 27, 1944, he was reassigned to the OKH's reserve, in order to then take command of Division 401. From February 9 to 20, 1945, he was finally reassigned to the OKH's reserve in order to become the leader of the unused parts of the 405 division. At the end of the war he was captured, from which he was released in October 1947.

----


von Oppen, Rudolf

* October 25, 1887, Koblenz

† November 7, 1954, Hugstetten in Baden


After training as a cadet, Rudolf von Oppen entered the Royal Prussian Army on January 27, 1905 with the character of a ensign. The officer's son came to the 1st Guard Regiment on foot. With this he was promoted to lieutenant after attending the war school on January 27, 1906. The patent was dated October 25, 1904. In October 1910 he was appointed adjutant to the 1st battalion of the 1st Guard Regiment on foot. On October 1, 1912, he was commanded to the War Academy. Before the First World War, he was promoted to first lieutenant there on September 18, 1913. Shortly before the First World War, he was part of the 1st Guard Regiment on foot. When the war broke out, he was transferred to the 1st Guard Reserve Regiment as a regimental adjutant. In this role, he was seriously wounded in December 1914. On March 22, 1915, he was promoted to captain. As such, he was then appointed company commander in his 1st Guard Reserve Regiment. On July 13, 1915, he was wounded again. He was then deployed as a battalion commander in the 1st Guard Reserve Regiment. From November 6, 1916 he was then employed in the general staff of the 4th Army. He had been married to Emily Henriette von Arnim since December 14, 1916. Later he was employed by some general staff other than Ia. On December 25, 1917, his daughter Valeska Felizitas was born in Potsdam. At the end of the war he was again on the general staff of the 4th Army. During the First World War he was awarded many other awards in addition to the Knight's Cross of the Royal Prussian House Order of Hohenzollern and two Iron Crosses. After the war, he was deployed to the General Staff of the Land Rifle Corps in January 1919. With this he was taken over as a captain with his previous seniority in the army. On March 20, 1920, before the formation of the 200,000-man transitional army, he was adopted from the Reichswehr. He was given the character of a major.

From 1921 to 1939 he was employed in a managerial function at the Siemens-Schuckert plants in Berlin.

In February 1936, after several reserve exercises with Infantry Regiment 9, he was promoted to major in the reserve. When mobilized for World War II in the summer of 1939, he was appointed commander of the new Infantry Replacement Battalion 178 . On January 1, 1940, he was appointed commander of Infantry Replacement Regiment 23 in Potsdam. In September 1940 he was commanded to the General Staff by General Command VIII Army Corps on the Channel Coast. In October 1940 he was transferred to the new Higher Command ZBV LX, also in northern France. In February 1941, he was appointed chief of the general staff of the Higher Command zbV LX in northern France. As such, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the reserve on May 1, 1941. The staff has now been stationed in St. Lo. On February 1, 1942, he was also promoted to colonel of the reserve. In May 1942 he became chief of the general staff of the general command LXXXIV by renaming his staff . Army Corps appointed. He was replaced in September 1942. He has now become chief of the general staff of general command LXXXIII. Army Corps also appointed in France. In mid-June 1943, he was replaced and transferred to the driver's reserve. Apparently he was also part of the military resistance around Carl-Hans Graf von Hardenberg in the Neuhardenberg manor. In October 1943, he was appointed chief of the general staff by the new general command Kniess in southern France. In February 1944, he was replaced. For this, he has now been placed in the driver's reserve. In September 1944, he was appointed commander of the Oppen Brigade. He led these in the battles at Belfort in October 1944. In early November 1944, he was appointed leader of the Belfort Fortress Brigade for ten days. In the same month he was assigned to lead the 338th Infantry Division . On January 1, 1945, he was promoted to major general of the reserve. As such, he was appointed commander of the new division No. 805 on January 7, 1945. In mid-April 1945, he was appointed commander of the 352nd People's Grenadier Division by renaming his staff. On April 29, 1945, he was taken prisoner by the Western Allies.

wwilson
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by wwilson » 13 May 2020 18:28

Hi Kerica,

In April 1945, the 18th SS Corps was primarily SS in name only, although an order of battle for 5 April 1945 shows SS-Brigade "Nibelungen" (see below) as part of the corps. As far as I know, the three division commanders mentioned were in the German Army, not the SS.

It is likely that the divisions were weaker than they were supposed to be by that late stage of the war (although one is sometimes surprised when actual reports can be consulted). Certainly, the units would have had difficulties obtaining fuel for motor vehicles.

SS-Brigade "Nibelungen": This unit shows on the corps order of battle, but from what I see it took part in combat in areas to the east of the Black Forest, and not in the Black Forest actions mentioned above. This brigade was enlarged into a "division" (likely not full strength). Among its members was the German actor Hardy Krüger.

hero.
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by hero. » 22 Jul 2022 14:38

Hello !

Very interesting discussion here, many thanks to all contributors.

I think the I found the solution to the puzzle, and it were three
othere General involved there :

- Generalleutnant Seeger (Kdr. Div.Nr. 405)
- Generalmajor Bader, Rudolf (at that time Kampfkommandant Freiburg)
- Generalmajor Dormagen (exact task unclear, possible leader of an Erkundungsstab)

The date must have been 21./22. April, 1945.

There exists a book by Herrmann Riedel, Ausweglos ...! dealing with the events
in April 1945 in the Blackforest area.

I'll attach the full excerpt below. A short summary in English:
The names of the 3 Generals mentioned above are remebered by various people in Rohrbach.
The report also confirms, that two persons were courtmartialed at that time.

1.) Eugen Wehrle was working at the postal office in nearby Furtwangen as telephone exchange operator.
On April 22nd, he was given order by the HQ of Div.Nr. 405, to switch some telephone lines
in the Furtwangen office for their own use. Wehrle first passed that order to someone else,
who obviously didn't do the job. After beeing called up a 2nd time, he refused to
go from Triberg (where he was living) to Feuchtwangen, because it was Sunday (his free day).
So field police went to his home and arrested him (because of Sabotage of the German war effort).

2.) The very young soldier was Gerhard Weise (or Weiss), born 17.09.1926.
(On the Volksbund page he is listed as Weise, same birthday but no further infos on the circumstances).
He was picked up by the same police patrol as straggler and arrested him too, for suspected desertion.
Both were first interrogated by Oberstabsrichter Dr. Boll and on the next day finally found guilty
and immediately executed. (It might be, that the main driving force might Richter Boll,
but that would need further research).

I hope that explains at least some of the initial questions by kerica.

Best regards,
hero.
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VanillaNuns
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Re: 3 Generals in the Black Forest Spring 1945

Post by VanillaNuns » 30 Jul 2022 23:42

Good research hero. 👍

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