Walther P38, MP18, Karabiner 98 Kurz, Kampfmesser 42, Support Vehicle: Junkers Ju 87
Leader of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, better known as the SS-Sturmbrigade "Dirlewanger" (often referred to as the Dirlewanger Brigade)
1936 - 1945
On Reserve, will fight General Konstantin Rokossovsky.
Oskar Paul Dirlewanger (Born 26 September 1895, Würzburg – Died 5 June 1945, Altshausen) was a World War II officer of the SS who commanded the SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger, a penal battalion composed of German criminals. Together with the German SS-Brigade Kaminski, the SS-Sturmbrigade Dirlewanger is regarded as one of the most notorious German military units due to its crimes against humanity, including mass murder of civilians in the Wola suburb during the Warsaw Uprising.
He was an infantry officer during World War I and won both the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Iron Cross 1st Class. His military service was seen as exemplary by German authorities, as he was known for his considerable bravery in battle (having been wounded over ten times) and always led his troops from the front. During World War II, he was awarded a host of additional medals including the clasp to the Iron Cross 2nd Class, The Balkan Cross, and the German Cross in Gold. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in 1944.
After the end of World War I, he joined different Freikorps volunteer militias and fought in Ruhr; Saxony; and Upper Silesia. Between his militant employment, he studied at the university in Frankfurt and obtained a degree in political science in 1922. The following year, he joined the Nazi Party. His party number was #1,098,716 and, later, SS #357,267
At the beginning of the Second World War Dirlewanger volunteered for the Waffen-SS and received the rank of Obersturmführer. He eventually became the commander of the so-called Dirlewanger Battalion, composed originally of a small group of former poachers along with soldiers of a more conventional background. It was believed that the excellent tracking and shooting skills of the poachers could be put to constructive use in the fight against Communist partisans.
The battalion was assigned to anti-partisan duties first in occupied Poland (General Government), where Dirlewanger had previously served as an SS-TV commandant of an SS labor camp in Dzików.
In February 1942, the battalion was reassigned for anti-partisan duties in Belarus. Dirlewanger was known to lead his soldiers into combat personally which was unusual for someone of his rank; he was wounded many times in combat. Dirlewanger received the clasp to his Iron Cross 2nd Class on May 24, 1942, and that to his Iron Cross 1st Class on September 16, 1942, and received the German Cross in Gold on December 5, 1943, in recognition of his regiment's successes during this time (such as Operation Cottbus, the destruction of the partisan pseudo-state "Lake Pelik Autonomous Republic" and a claimed body count of 14,000 partisans). Atrocities committed by Dirlewanger included injecting strychnine into Jewish women prisoners to watch them convulse to death in front of him and his officers for entertainment.
Dirlewanger's primary patron in the SS hierarchy was Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger, who provided Himmler with a massive political boost by numerically increasing the Waffen-SS through his position as chief of the SS-Hauptamt (SS Main Office). Both Berger and Himmler were enthusiastic about the incorporation into the Waffen-SS of the Kaminski Brigade, a unit made up of dedicated anti-Communists from lands that had been under Soviet rule. However, the brigade quickly proved to be almost completely militarily ineffective, and Bronislaw Kaminski was summarily and secretly executed for incompetence and theft of "German government property" (the possessions of the Warsaw Poles) after his unit's unruly performance in Warsaw in 1944, during which over 50% of the brigade deserted after uniformly ignoring their objectives in order to loot whatever they could carry.
Dirlewanger's unit was employed in operations against partisans in the occupied Soviet Union. Later, Dirlewanger's unit was used in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising. At the Wola massacre in August of 1944, Dirlewanger's unit slaughtered tens of thousands of non-combatant Polish civilians, while achieving little militarily.
On June 1, 1945, French occupation forces used Polish soldiers in their service to forcibly bring him to the Altshausen jail. Dirlewanger was beaten and tortured over the next few days. He died from injuries inflicted by the Polish guards around June 5, 1945. Ironically, his death would be considered a War Crime as well. This information was suppressed at the time, and many bogus sightings of him were made around the world, even though the French recorded that Dirlewanger was buried on June 19, 1945, leaving little doubt that he was dead.
36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SSEdit
The history of the 36th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, AKA Dirlewanger Brigade is inextricably linked to the life of its commander, Oskar Dirlewanger. After winning the Iron Cross first and second class while serving in the Imperial German Army during World War I, Dirlewanger joined the Freikorps and took part in the vicious street fighting against communist revolutionaries. When the revolution had failed, he returned to university and obtained a PhD in political science. Joining the NSDAP in 1923, he was soon expelled and forced to reapply to join that organisation once more.
After completing his PhD, Dirlewanger went on to hold a teaching job. In 1934, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a female minor. He lost his position and was forbidden from returning to teaching. After serving a two-year jail sentence, Dirlewanger was released. Soon after, he was again accused of sexual assault and thrown into a concentration camp. Desperate, Dirlewanger contacted Gottlob Berger, an old Freikorps comrade now working closely with Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer-SS. Berger secured his comrade's release and an appointment for him with the Legión Cóndor, a German volunteer unit fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of Franco's Falange Española. Dirlewanger fought bravely during this campaign, being wounded three times.
Returning to Germany in 1939, Dirlewanger was granted admission to the Allgemeine SS and given the rank of SS-Untersturmführer. Berger organized the creation of an elite Communist-hunting military unit which would include some men convicted of poaching.
On 14 June 1940, the Wilddiebkommando Oranienburg (Oranienburg Poacher's Command) was formed. On 24 June 1940, Himmler admitted Dirlewanger into the Waffen-SS to be commander of this newly formed unit. By 1 July 1940, it numbered 84 men.
Initially a unit of convicted poachers, it became over time composed of increasing numbers of common criminals. In contrast to those who served in the German penal battalions for minor offences, the volunteers sent to the "Dirlewanger" were convicted of major crimes which would be considered criminal in civilian courts. While the theory was that service in the "Dirlewanger" would rehabilitate the criminals, it in fact provided them with the opportunity to continue committing criminal acts with no repercussions. Some Nazi officials romanticized the unit, viewing the men as "pure primitive German men" who were "resisting the law".
As the news spread of the new formation, hundreds of concentration camp prisoners applied for service with the unit. By September 1940, the formation numbered over 300 men. With the influx of criminals, the emphasis on poachers was now lost, and those convicted of other more severe crimes; including assault, burglary and rape, joined the unit. Accordingly, the unit name was changed to Sonderkommando "Dr. Dirlewanger" (Special Command "Dr. Dirlewanger"). As the unit strength continued to grow, it was placed under the command of the SS-Totenkopfverbände (the formation responsible for the administration of the concentration camps) and it was redesignated SS-Sonderbatallion "Dirlewanger" (it became a Waffen-SS unit again in late 1944).
On 17 August 1942, the expansion of the "Dirlewanger" to regimental size was authorized. Recruits were to come from more criminals, Eastern volunteers (Osttruppen) and military delinquents. In September 1942, the unit mass murdered the remaining 8,350 Jews in Baranovichi ghetto and proceeded to kill a further 389 people labeled "bandits" and 1,274 "bandit suspects".
The second battalion finally arrived in February 1943 and the regiment's strength reached 700 men, 300 of whom were anti-Communists fanatics from Soviet territory. The unit was now redesignated SS-Sonderregiment "Dirlewanger". In May 1943, the ability to volunteer for service in the regiment was extended to all criminals and 500 men convicted of the most severe crimes were absorbed into the regiment.
The "Dirlewanger" fought against the insurgents in Warsaw, during the Warsaw Uprising, suffering extremely high losses. The regiment arrived in the city numbering 881 officers and men; during the course of the two-month urban warfare it received reinforcements of some 2,500 soldiers and lost 2,733. Thus, total casualties numbered 315% of the unit's initial strength. During the fighting in Wola and Ochota district in Warsaw the unit engaged in an orgy of violence, rape, and murder, as well as simple thievery, with its men often under influence of alcohol; all together, 10,000 civilians were murdered.
In its final phase, Dirlewanger's men came to include, besides common criminals, pedophiles and rapists, increasing numbers of political prisoners and patients from psychiatric hospitals, as well as others considered unfit to serve in normal military units, like sociopaths.
|Weapon Class||Weapon Name|
|Close Range:||Walther P38|
|Mid Range Weapons:||MP18|
|Long Range:||Karabiner 98 Kurz|
|Explosives:||Model 24 grenade|
|Special Weapons:||SS Knife|
|Support Vehicle:||Junkers Ju 87|