29th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS

The 29th Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS was born March 9, 1945, according to SS unit to bring the number 29 for the conversion of units of lower rank whose original construction dates back to November 1943, the Waffen-Grenadier-Brigade der SS (italienische 1). The division is also called “Italian”.


The 29th Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS was officially founded as a division in September 1944, according to SS unit to bring the number 29. The first was the Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (russische No. 1), formed by Russian volunteers Waffen Sturm Brigade RONA unit commanded by the notorious Bronislav Kaminsky. This division was derived from the first Russian team who had fought for the Germans, and had the worst reputation that could have a SS unit. Was dissolved before its final formation might be fully known.

Englische Waffenverbände der SS

On September 18, 1943, with the birth of a new fascist Italian state (Italian Social Republic) in the areas not occupied by the Allies, the problem of formation of new combat units are immediately made ​​to feel. So Himmler ordered to gather all the Italian soldiers who wanted to still continue to fight on September 24, they were classified in the “Italian Waffenverbände der SS” (“Italian Legion SS”) units affiliated to the Waffen SS. Its function was to gather, organize and train all the Italians who wished to continue to be on the side of Germany. Official highly experienced and veteran of many fronts were called by other units of WaffenSS. Colonel Franz Binz took command of the first unit divisional Italian “panzer hunting.”

Waffen Miliz

Mussolini, in talks with Hitler, demanded the formation of two divisions of Italian volunteers in the Waffen SS to frame and use the front against the Allies. On October 2, 1943, Himmler issued a special order for the formation of the first militia units Italian, where they were partially accepted the demands of Mussolini before the formation of the first division would have had to form battalions, to be used immediately in the fight against partisans in northern Italy, the area pacified the battalions would be transferred back to the training camps to form the first regiments after their use on the Italian front would have formed the first division to be committed against the allies. The second division was to see the light a year later. Himmler decided that the volunteers of the Italian militia would have worn a uniform, with epaulettes and ranks of the SS on red background (instead of the normal black). Meanwhile, Allied forces occupied almost all of southern Italy, including the islands. He was immediately launched an extensive propaganda campaign to recruit as many volunteers as possible, bearing in mind that at the same time he was discussing about the birth of a new army for the Italian Social Republic. On October 9, 1943 to field Münsingen were already about 13,000 volunteers (soon to be arrived at about 15,000). They were various groups of volunteers from five locations:

•Italy, after the Italian armistice ni volunteers recruited from the “Italian Waffenverbande der SS” came to Münsingen, there were approximately 13,000.

•Trieste is an exception to the city itself with the ‘hinterland, as the capital of Operation Zone Adriatiches Kusteland, (up to 22 years before Littoral Adriatiches under the’ Austro-Hungarian Empire) volunteers of Trieste incorporated since July 10, 1942 in specific German 24.Gebirgs-Division der Waffen-SS “Karstjäger together with volunteers from the Slovenian language.

•Croatia, Split, here was allocated the 89th Legion Blackshirts under the command of the Militia Console Paolo de Maria. The Legion consisted of approximately 1,500 men divided into two battalions and a company of machine gunners. On September 8, the Legion was in Dernis, along the Dalmatian coast, aggregate tactically at the 15th Infantry Division “Bergamo”. On September 9, came from the command of “Bergamo” orders to fall back on Sibenik and withstand any attacks by the Germans. In the area there were departments of the 7th SS “Prinz Eugen” and the 114th Gebirgs-Jäger-Division (both divisoni mountain). After discussing with his men what to do, De Maria decided to go with all the Legion at the side of the Germans. On the same day of September 9 dealt with the terms of the transfer of his department in the German armed forces. The Legion became officially employed by the 114th Gebirgs-Jäger-Division. The militiamen fell in behind other groups and departments of the Italian “Bergamo” and other units in the area, bringing to about 2,900 the number of people who voluntarily chose to continue the war on the side of the Germans. They were all placed in a Polizei-Freiwilligen-Verbände (Police Troop voluntary) of the German Ordnungspolizei, orders dell’Oberst De Maria. The men continued to wear their old uniforms, with a white band on the left sleeve of the jacket with the words “Ordnungspolizei”. Waiting to go back to Italy and fight against the allies, the department continued to be pledged as security forces against the partisans. On September 27, the departments of Miliz Regiment De Maria moved from Drniš (using trains and trucks) towards Knin. Then they came to Bihac and from there arrived in Belgrade. From the capital of Serbia, departments, for a number of incorrect marching orders, finished first in Austria and then in Berlin, where they arrived on October 5. Here, despite the protests of the Italians, the members of the Regiment were transferred to a prison camp, where they were cataloged and arranged the best. On 15 October, the Regiment Miliz De Maria left for Münsingen, where he arrived two days later. Due to the overcrowding of the camp, the approximately 2,000 members of the department were housed in a nearby field. The department arrived in Italy in November 1943.

•Poland, from Debica near Krakow, where was located the SS-Troops-Übungsplatz Heidelager, a special school designed to the German SS. Here men suffered a hard training. For this they had the right to use the insignia black from SS. After training in Italy came under the command of Major Guido Fortunato. The battalion was called “Debica” taking its name from the Polish town where formerly stood.

•Greece, from Preveza, here was allocated 19 Battalion Blackshirts “Faithful” of the 27th Legion Blackshirts. In early September the Battalion was in the employ of the 33rd Infantry Division from Mountain “Capture”. The commander, the First Elder of the Militia Gilberto Fabris, the news of the armistice, he gathered his men to communicate his will to continue the fight on the side of the Germans. The department followed to complete his choice. Acted in the 1.Gebirgs-Division (mountain infantry), it was soon after contacted by Fabris to decide the fate of his department. The Battalion, transformed for the occasion into Bataillon “Fabris”, was transferred to the employ of Gebirgs-Regiment 98 and engaged along the coast as a security force against guerrilla bands and depending antisbarco. The department remained employed by the German mountain division until early November, when he began the move to Italy in the Waffen Miliz, which only ended on 1 December. The department became the eleventh Battalion of the Waffen Miliz.

A head of education and training was placed on Brigadeführer Peter Hansen (Brigade Commander). For health reasons he was replaced temporarily by Standartenführer Gustav Lombard (Regiment Commander). As Commander of the upper Assault Unit was designated the Obersturmbannführer Eugen von Elfenau. For the identification of these first units was chosen the name of Waffen Miliz (armored militia), the combat unit of the “Italian Waffenverbände der SS” (SS Legion Italian). Once you have finished the training, volunteers swore loyalty to Hitler and went back to Italy in November, where they were placed under the command of Karl Wolff (commander of the SS and Police in Italy) and Peter Hansen, the first commander of the Waffen Miliz.

Sturmbrigade der Englische Freiwilligen Legionen

In January 1944 the Legion was sent to Italy in Biella, here they had a second training. At the end of the training, in February 1944, as part of a reorganization decided Obergruppenfuhrer Karl Wolff, the Englische Waffenverbände der SS was transformed into a shock brigade and designated as 1. Sturmbrigade der Englische Freiwilligen Legionen. The soldiers usually retained the old uniform of the disbanded Royal Army, who added the double SS runes on a red background instead of black (black was only for the soldiers of the battalion Debica and volunteers who fought on the front line). In March 1944, the battalion “Revenge”, part of the regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Federico Degli Oddi was deployed to Neptune. The regiment fought hard against the Allies during the landing, taking a front of more than 4 km for 70 days and inflicting casualties on the enemy 20 times higher than their own. After the clashes 340 of 650 volunteers of the SS died. The legionaries Italian, for the high value shown, was allowed to bear the high command of the German SS runes on the classic black background that integrated them officially in the Waffen SS.

Waffen Grenadier Brigade der SS (Englische Nr.l)

After this campaign on the line Anzio and Nettuno, the SS back in anti-partisan operations of repression throughout the Italian Social Republic. In July 1944, the SS Italian also took part in the defense of the Gothic Line. On 7 September 1944 the division was renamed Waffen Grenadier Brigade der SS (italienische 1) and 23 of the same month the battalion commanded by Degli Oddi, meanwhile returned from the front of Neptune, was decorated with the Silver Medal of Military Valour ( the battalion “Revenge” was renamed to “Neptune” from the name of the area in which he worked bravely). In December 1944, when the Allies arrived a few kilometers from the Po Valley, was brought about an “cleaning” in the rear, to keep intact the roads. In this mission, the battalion took part in “Debica” and the battalion “Neptune” (the latter had participated in the defense of Rome on the front Anzio-Nettuno). The two battalions were merged to form the Combat Group Binz, named after the commander Franz Binz. The battalion settled in Piacenza, where he carried out operations of “relief” in the vicinity.

29th Waffen Grenadier-Division der SS (Englische No.1)

In March of 1945 the brigade becomes officially in the 29th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS (italienische No.1). On 25 April, following the breakthrough of the front line by the Americans, Colonel Binz ordered the retreat that took place in close contact with the enemy. The soldiers took refuge in the Lodi area until they reached Gorgonzola; here, completely surrounded by U.S. tanks, the division surrendered.

Other enlistments

After the armistice the Italian soldiers who wanted to continue fighting were classified in the “Italian Waffenverbande der SS” units affiliated to the Waffen SS, most of the soldiers was assigned to this body, but others took part in other German divisions:

•Waffen SS: not as affiliated units, but as a real SS. In fact, they had the privilege to bear the SS insignia, unlike the companions of the “Italian Waffenverbande der SS”. Many Italians became, in fact, part of the:

◦SS Division “LAH”

◦4. SS Division “Polizei”

◦7. SS Division “Prinz Eugen”

◦10.  SS Division “Frundsberg”

◦11. SS Division “Nordland”

◦16.  SS Division “Reichsführer”

◦17.  SS Division “Götz von

Berlichingen ”

◦24. SS Division “Karstjäger”

◦28. SS Division “Wallonien”

◦29. SS Waffen-Grenadier-Division Freiwilligen

•German Police: in South Tyrol began immediately enlistment of volunteers in the police force, especially among the German-speaking population. They were classified in:

◦SS-Polizei-Regiment “Bozen”

◦SS-Polizei-Regiment “Alpenvorland”

◦SS-Polizei-Regiment “Brixen”

◦SS-Polizei-Regiment “Schlanders”


Name Bars Beginning The End

SS-Brigadeführer  Peter Marinelli  (September 1944  September 1944)

SS-Brigadeführer  Peter Hansen  (September 1944  October 1944)

SS-Brigadeführer  Gustav Lombard  (October 1944  November 1944)

SS-Standartenführer  Constantin Heldmann  (November 1944  February 10, 1945)

SS-Obersturmführer  Erwin Tzschoppe  (February 1945  April 1945)

Order of Battle


•Company Directors

•Company Supplies

•Company Links

•Battalion Officers

•Company Health

•Company Vets

•Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment 81 SS

◦I. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion

◦II. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion “Neptune” (formerly “Revenge”) ”

◦III. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion

•Waffen-Grenadier-Regiment 82 SS

◦I. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion

◦II. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion

◦III. Waffen-Grenadier Battalion

Waffen-SS Artillerie-Regiment 29

◦I. Artillery Battalion

◦II. Artillery Battalion

•Füsilier-Battalion 29 “Debica”

Panzerjäger Battalion 29

•SS-Pionier-Kompanie 29

•SS-Nachrichten-Kompanie 29

Infantry divisions of the Waffen-SS

Italy in World War II

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