Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Berlin

Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Army Group Spree (Army Group Reymann) 

The Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (also Reichsarbeitdienst, or RAD, Division 2) was formed at Jüterbog in March 1945 from staff and other elements of 251. Infanteriedivision and 7500 men from the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labour Service or RAD). The RAD was to supply up to 1500 lower ranks, 2500 auxiliary trainers and 3500 recruits for each of the three RAD divisions that were ordered to be formed at this time. The auxiliary trainers were former RAD recruits who had remained in the RAD for an additional six or twelve months to train new recruits. 

The division was ordered assembled between 4 and 7 April 1945 at Jüterbog. On 9 April the division was officially named Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. The Grenadier regiments were designated Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 1 to 3. The division was ordered to be readied to combat by 15 April. RAD recruits made up approximately 70% of the division’s ranks with the remainder coming from the cadre of 251. Infanteriedivision, and experienced officers who had been instructors at various military schools. The division seemed to be relatively well equipped considering its late formation.

In Action

The Division was used south of Berlin in the Army Group Spree (Army Group Reymann). After the breakout of the Potsdam Pocket they became part of the Twelfth Army and fought in area of Havel and its Elbe River crossing. 

Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 1 (commander by Major Konopka) had been fighting since late March to help eliminate American Bridgeheads over the Elbe River. However, on 19 April the command of the division received new orders under the command of the Twelfth Army to turn eastwards and face the Soviets punching towards Berlin. Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 1 had to move from its positions near Wittenberg and 25 to 30km eastwards to join the rest of the division at Jüterbog. 

Berlin Offensive

On 20 April Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was attacked by advance elements of the Soviet 4th Guards Tank Army, surprisingly, from the southeast. While the Infanterie divisions Hutten, Körner, and Schill, and other units of the Twelfth Army moved to the east towards Berlin in attempt to break the encirclement, Infanteriedivision Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was heavy engaged in rear-guard actions for four days until 24 April. It was placed under command of the OKH (Army Supreme Command) on 24 April.  

During this time they seem to have been under the command of Oberst Klein, but he had been captured by the Soviet sometime before 24 April. That day Oberst Franz took command of the division. During this time the division began marching toward Potsdam, where Army Detachment Spree had been encircled by the Soviet advance on Berlin.

By the time the division headquarters was located at Trebbin by scouts from the OKH, only two of the two Grenadier regiments were intact and their artillery equipment was almost completely lost. Despite the poor state of the division the OKH command ordered the remaining elements of the division together with the small Panzerkampfgruppe Wunsdorf to ‘repulse the enemy south of Berlin’. This attack was to be directed against two battle-hardened Soviet tank armies! General Reymann, commander of Army Detachment Spree, now considering the division under his command, ignored this command and ordered the division to move to Potsdam.

From here, they joined the rest of Army Detachment Spree as they took advantage of the disruptions caused by the breakout of the Ninth Army and attacks by the Twelfth Army to fight their towards the perceived safety of surrender to the Americans on the Elbe. 

They surrendered to the Americans at Ferchland, but were handed over to the Soviets because the division had fought, during its 19 days of combat, mostly against the Soviets.

Divisions was named after Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778 – 1852). He was a German gymnastics educator and nationalist. He was known as the ‘father of gymnastics’.

Berlin 

Commanders

Oberst Klein (20 Apr 1945 - 23 Apr 1945) 

Oberst Franz Weller (24 Apr 1945 - 3 May 1945) 

Oberst Ludwig Zöller (3 May 1945 – 8 May 1945)  

Area of operations

Germany (Mar 1945 - May 1945) 

Order of battle

Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 1

Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 2

Grenadier-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn 3

Artillerie-Regiment Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Division-Füsilier-Bataillon Friedrich Ludwig Jahn

Pionier-Bataillon Friedrich Ludwig Jahn


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Last Updated On Wednesday, October 16, 2019 by Wayne at Battlefront