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’.