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7th Nazi SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen.
The 7th Nazi SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. was formed on March 1942 from Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) volunteers from Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Romania, it was initially called the Nazi SS-Freiwilligen-Division Prinz Eugen. (SS-Volunteer Division Prinz Eugen). It was engaged in anti partisan operations in the Balkans during World War II.
The Prinz Eugen was formed in 1942 from Volksdeutsche volunteers and named as a Gebirgs (Mountain) Division. They were issued with non standard German weapons but used captured equipment such as Czech machine guns and French light tanks.
When the Division was formed it was assigned to the Balkans as an anti-partisan mountain division.
The division's first action was in the Serbian-Montenegro border in the mountains east of the Ibar River and afterwards it took part in Fall Weiß in the Zagreb - Karlovac area, where together with Italian forces attempted to defeat the partisans commanded by Tito, the operation failed and most of the partisans managed to evade the main attack.
In May 1942 the division was involved in Fall Schwarz, against the Serbian guerilla forces under General Draža Mihailovic in Hercegovina and Montenegro.
The Division attacked Mostar in Hercegovina and also deployed units northwest of Sarajevo. The operation was successful and Mihailovic and his forces were forced to retreat to Serbia. In August 1943, Prinz Eugen became a part of the XV Gebirgs Armee korps and sent to the Dalmatian coast, to disarm the Italian forces in September 1943 after the Italian Government had surrendered to the Allies. It then occupied Hvar, Brac and Korcula islands and the Pelješac peninsula and participated in Operation Landstrum, another anti - partisan operation in Omis, Ploce and Biokovo.
The Division was reorganized on 22 October 1943 and was renamed the 7th Nazi SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. In November the unit was attached to the V Nazi SS Mountain Corps and took part in anti-partisan operations in Kugelblitz and Schneesturm in December 1943.
In March 1944 the Division was involved in more anti-partisan action Operation Maibaum (April 1944) and the next large offensive, Operation Rösselsprung the assault on Drvar, which began on 25 May 1944. this operation had the task of killing or capturing Tito, and the division was supported by the 500th Nazi SS Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon and the Brandenburg Regiment.
In May the Division also saw action in Operations Waldrausch, Operation Freie in June, Operation Jagd in July and Operation Rübezahl (12 Aug - 30 Aug 1944), which prevented the partisans escaping into Montenegro. During that time the Russian, Red Army had advanced to the Balkans and the Division had begun fighting Russian and Bulgarian units suffering heavy casualties in the process.
On 21 September 1944, Obergruppenführer, Artur Phleps, the division’s first commander was believed to have been killed when en route from Montenegro to Transylvania.
The Division's next action was together with the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the Nazi SS Handschar (1st Croatian) the 23rd Waffen Mountain Division of the Nazi SS Kama (2nd Croatian) and the 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the Nazi SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian) were given the task of creating a corridor which would allow the retreat of 35,000 German soldiers from Greece and the Aegean.
On 20 October 1944, the Russians captured Belgrade and Prinz Eugen was the rear guard for the German retreat.
In the beginning of November the Nazi SS 1st Albanian Skanderberg Division was disbanded and its remnants incorporated into the 14th Regiment of Prinz Eugen, which received its honor title Skanderbeg.
In January 1945 the Division was again in action against the Russians and Tito’s partisans at Otok and Vukovar. The retreat from Bosnia continued and Prinz Eugen retreated to Croatia in April 1945. On 10 May 1945 the Division retreated towards Celje in Slovenia where it surrendered on 11 May 1945 to Yugoslav forces.
The division is infamous for its cruelty and massive atrocities committed in the area of Nikšic in Montenegro:
Credit: Dr. Dušan Nedeljkovic, Yugoslav State Commission, Document D-940
Order of battle.
October 1943 - Croatia.
November 1944 - Balkans.
Print: Nazis 7th Nazi SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen.
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