Volkssturm: how to fight an army of old people with Hitler against the USSR

History 16/02/20 Volkssturm: how to fight an army of old people with Hitler against the USSR

After the assassination in July 1944 Hitler issued a decree of total war, which meant that all residents of Germany, not related to national minorities should take up arms. In September of the same year the führer mobilized the entire male population aged 16 to 60 years in the units Volkssturm. After September 1944 the militia was called and women aged 18 years.

At this time in Germany there was a joke: “in the Volkssturm will be those who already can’t walk and those who can still walk.” The head of the people’s militia was Martin Bormann, and subordinated it to the bodies of the Nazi party. Due to the lack of senior officers, the largest Union of the militia of the battalion was. Fighting with the advancing allies were called from 6 to 8 million Germans, in the absence of the man of the documents exempting him from conscription, the offender shot on the spot.

the Structure of the Volkssturm

All battalions of the Volkssturm was divided into 4 ranks. The first group enrolled 1.2 million people. Units recruited men from 20 to 60 years, with no restrictions for military service. Also in this category were local functionaries of the Nazi party, a public wing of the SS and other agencies of the Reich. Folksonomy were in barracks and were attached to the army.

the second category included 2.8 million men aged 20 to 60 years who were physically healthy but had restrictions on military service. Most often they were reduced to battalions in the factories and were used to fighting in their district. In the third category were 600 thousand young men aged 16 to 19 who were trained in the camps of the Hitler youth. Also, the battalions consisted of volunteers aged from 13-15 years old.

In the latter category was listed for 1.4 million peopleavec age from 20 to 60, and the volunteers and older years. They are not for health reasons could not actively participate in hostilities and they were used for protection, including concentration camps.

Volkssturm at the front

in Total it was planned to create 6 710 battalions, but due to the shortage of arms in may 1945 against the advancing opponents fought to 700 units. After the Red army broke into the territory of the Reich are poorly armed and have passed 48-hour training soldiers of the Volkssturm were “salicylate” holes in the defense. The militia were issued outdated weapons, among which were single-shot rifles of the second half of the NINETEENTH century.

General Helmut Reimann recalled that: “Their weapons were produced in all countries, with whom or against whom Germany fought in Italy, Russia, France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland, Norway and England. To find ammunition for no less than fifteen different types of rifles and ten types of guns were almost hopeless.” To destroy tanks, they used the Panzerfaust, which was effective only at a distance of 30 meters from the goal.

During the fighting the battalion of Volkssturm was located two lines. The first was the armed militia, and secondly, the men without weapons. When the losses on the front were critical, back the soldiers ran to positions, where they found weapons and joined the fight. In the battles against the red army, unarmed militia were in the trenches, to catch up to the weapon of a dead comrade. Due to effective action of Soviet artillery on the Eastern front, when using such tactics the losses were very large.

In the early days of the Berlin operation for every rifle was given five rounds to compensate for the lack of munitions like bazookas, but militias lacked training on their use. However, the German boys and old men, under the influence of propaganda Goebbels was able desperately to resist the offensive of the Sovietx and allied armies. They distinguished themselves in the defense of Berlin, held the city of Breslau, and surrendered only on may 6, 1945, and in the battles for Koenigsberg Ernst Tiburzy for one fight burned 5 tanks.

Alexander Brazhnik

© Russian Seven

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