Legion Military and Feldpost History
On April 1940, the Germans invaded Denmark with virtually no resistance
encountered by the defending Danes. With the events taking place
during Operation Barabarosa, the Germans started a recruitment
of Danish and Norwegian volunteers for the "Nordland Regiment."
This regiment was sent to the eastern front in June 1941 and remained
there until March 1943. Meanwhile a separate inclusive Danish
volunteer formation was in the plans by the Germans with the approval
of the Danish Government. The legion was officially authorized
and announced by the Danish government on 28 June 1941.
was open to men who were currently in the Danish armed forces
or who had completed their conscript service within a period of
ten years. Unlike other western European volunteers, the Danish
King and government granted equal veteran rights for all volunteers.
Those who were career soldiers were promised the retention of
their own military rank status.
A Danish Press release to allow
Danish men in joining the new formation was posted on 8 July 1941.
Immediately recruiting offices were placed all over Denmark with
the main office located in Copenhagen, on Rosenvaengets Alle 32.
An initial draft of 430 Danish soldiers were incorporated into
an SS battalion under the command of former Danish Army Colonel
Christian Peder Kryssing. These volunteers were sent for training
at Hamburg on 20 July 1941. In early August, a second group from
recruited Danish volunteers including 200 Danes transferring from
the "Nordwest Rgt." was formed at the Hamburg training facilities.
The new formation designated as the "SS Freiwilligen Verband Danemark."
In Denmark, it was commonly referred as the "Freikorps Danmark,"
thus evoking the memory of a Danish expeditionary force, which
fought in the White Army against the Bolsheviks during the post-1917
Russian Civil War.
It should be noted that a large contingent
of ethnic-German and Danish volunteers came from the Danish northern
region of North Schleswig.
Upon reaching the training grounds
in Hamburg, a special three legged collar tabs were issued. This
was also the emblem of the "Norwest Rgt." In addition "Freikorps
Danmark" Cuff Band were issued and worn by the volunteers. Interestingly
a "Dannebrog" (Danish flag) collar tab was also issued and wore
by the volunteers of the Replacement Company for a very short time
till April 1943.
On 15 September 1941 the Freikorps Danmark was
sent from Hamburg to the Posen-Treskau training camp. The training
of the Freikorps was not proceeding in order and Leg. Obersturmfuhrer
Kryssing was relieved of command on 8 February 1942. By April
1942, the command of the Freikorps was taken over by Count Christian
Frederick von Schalburg, who served in the SS Panzer-Grenadier
Division Wiking. Von Schalburg was promoted to Sturmbannfuhrer.
At this time "Freikorps Danmark" had 34 commissioned officers,
75 non-commissioned officers, 109 officers and 781 privates.
May 1942 the Freikorps men (four companies strong) were airlifted
into Demyansk salient in northern Russia. A replacement company
was left behind at the Graz-Wetzelsdorf barracks. These troops
were attached to the 3rd SS Panzer-Grenadier "Totenkopf" Division,
which was holding a bridgehead at the juncture of the Lovat-Robja
Rivers. Deployed on a 5Kms stretch of forested swampland along
the Robja River, the Danes learned on May 26 that Soviets had
crossed the river and were building a bridgehead. On the next
day the Danes under the command of Stubaf. von Schalburg mounted
an assault, which eliminated this bridgehead. On 2 June 1942,
von Schalburg who was with his reserve troops of 50 men took the
initiative to lend support to his bogged down assault troops that
were tasked to incorporate the bridgehead into the Danish defensive
lines. The assault group was pinned down by enemy fire, von Schalburg
stepped on an enemy trip mine and was badly wounded in the leg.
Three of his men came up to assist him but then enemy mortar shells
began plopping down around them, a mortar round scored a direct
hit killing von Schalburg and two of his men. The assault was
called off, the Danes lost a total of 28 killed. The Command then
passed to a German, von Lettow-Vorbeck, who was killed on June
11, during the fighting around Bolschoje Dubowizy. On that same
day 75 Danish men were killed in action. In September 1942, after
suffering 121 casualties (killed), the Freikorps returned to Denmark
with a combat strength of 299 out of the original force of 1200.
Feikorps Danmark Feldpost cover
Interesting cover with an Iron Cross label applied instead of the normal feldpost cancel.
The sender was SS Leg. Schutze Johannes P. Nielsen, FPN 46050D Reserve Staff/Freikorp
Danmark. Notice the file puncture hole on the cover. This cover was also censor with a
sealing tape and red SS handstamp.
The Freikorps was sent to Denmark for refitting and placed under the command
of SS-Ostubaf. Knud Borge Martinsen. In October 1942, the Freikorps
returned to the front near the town of Mitau for refitting. On
24 November, the Freikorps left Mitau by convoy and arrived in
the town of Bobruisk, where temporary quarters were set up. A
Danish reserve legion remained in Bobruisk, while the rest of
the Freikorps with a combat strength of 1000 men left to the Front
Lines located near the town of Nevel.
On 5 December, the Freikorps
was dispatched to the southern wing of the 1st SS Infantry Brigade.
The Freikorps was then tasked to establish defensive positions
and support German units defending Velikiye-Luki. On Christmas
Eve, the Russians launched a diversionary attack on a 7.5Kms defensive
line held by the Freikorps near the town of Kondratovo. The Christmas
clash at Kondratovo had cost the Freikorps 40 men killed and 70
wounded. Meanwhile the main Russian forces launched a massive
attack at the German strongpoint in the town of Velikiye-Luki.
The Russians were able to surround Velikiye-Luki, and block off
all relief attacks. As fighting raged near Velikiye-Luki, the
troops under the command of the 1st SS Infantry Brigade were moved
further north along with the Freikorps, Latvian Police units,
Luftwaffe Field troops and Russian Auxiliaries. By late December,
the Freikorps established its new positions near Medvekovo.
February 1943, Stubaf. Martinsen was relieved from command and
sent to the SS Main Leadership Office of Berlin, where he meet
with Himmler for the purpose of creating the "Schalburg Korps"
in Denmark. On 22 February, Hstuf. Neergard-Jacobsen succeeded
Martisen as Freikorps Commanding Officer. In mid-March, the Freikorps
was assembled in the villages of Lyszovo and Medkovo. The Freikorps
then began a motorized withdraw towards the west. Left behind
was the Freikorps Reserve Company stationed in Bobruisk, where
it saw some action against local Partisans. The Freikorps had
completed its withdrawal on April 1943. On 11 June 1943, the SS
Nordland Regiment and the Freikorps veterans were merged as the
"24. SS Panzer-Grenadier Regiment Danmark."
Danish Volunteer Feldpost cover
Wonderful rare feldpost from a Danish volunteer in the 11 SS Freiwilligen Panzer-Gren.
Division. The sender was none other than SS-Unterscharführer Fritz Ihle who was a
"Nordschleswiger" who was assigned to the Armoured Recce Det. 11, and was awarded the EKI.
History: On 22 May 1941, the Danish postal administration authorized
Feldpost mail to be received in-country free of charge from German
and Danish volunteers for mail weighing up to 250gms. A 20Rpf
fee was applied in Germany for packages weighing from 250 to 1000gms
for German recipients living in Denmark. An additional 25Ore postage
was applied to Danish recipients receiving Feldpost packages.
Danish volunteers had the same free airmail service as their German
compatriots. Domestic postal rates were charged to Danish citizens
sending mail to German soldiers. The Danish postal authorities
charge 15Ore postal fee for postcards and a 20Ore postal fee for
letters weighing up to 250gms. In 1942, the postal rates changed
to 20Ore for letters weighing up to 50 gms, and 30Ore for letters
and packages weighing from 50gms to 1000gms. All mail was examined
and censored by German personnel.
numbers assigned to the Freikorps Danmark
late 1941, the following Feldpost numbers were assigned to the
|1st. Rifle Co.
|2nd. Rifle Co.
|3rd. Rifle Co.
|4TH. Heavy Mortar Co.
cover mailed by a Danish Legionnaire FPN 46050A Battalion Staff/Freikorps
Danmark. Cover was mailed by Leg. Sturmann Flyge to Compenhagen,
Denmark. Cover shows Stumme (mute) cancel dated Jan. 16, 1942,
volunteer was in training at Posen-Treskau. The mute cancel was
used to hide the whereabouts of the legionnaires. The back cover
shows a German military sealing tape, which was applied to all
covers that were open by the German censors as well as red SS
all Danish volunteers joined the Freikorps. The cover was mailed
by a Danish volunteer who was in the German Marine Artillery Rgt
262, 3rd Battery as indicated by the FPN 31184C. Postage was not
required since it was mailed through the German Feldpost system.
The cover shows blue handwriting and handstamp "ZURÜCK" Return
to sender. Notice the word feltpost written in Danish. This cover
was also censored as shown. Also shown is another feldpost cover mailed
by a Danish in a German reserve motorcycle unit.
SS-Luftfeldpost cover mailed by SS-Uschaf. Kurt Larsen, FPN 33362, SS Pz-Gren Rgt. Danmark of the Nordland Division. Two military luftfeldpost airmail labels were applied. This cover was mailed via FPN 37826A, II Btl., 5th Co/24th Pz-Gren. Rgt. as shown in the unit seal and upon arrival it was re-applied with the Danish town cancel dated April 24, 1944. The back of the cover shows SS-Sealing tape and SS censor red handstamp. During April 1944, the div. was heavily engaged defending Narva in northeast Estonia.
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