“The History of the
Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Goring”
by Franz Kurowski
Translated by David Johnston
Fedorowicz Publishing Inc.
Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1995.
This 1995 publication was picked for my library because I was searching for a book that covered the origin and development of the Herman Goring Division.
The story of the Herman Goring unit covers 10 years and many changes in its structure and purpose. This book attempts to explain the changes and throw in a lot of details about commanders, arms, organization and deployment with the result that the reader can get lost, especially since it has no index.
In February 1933, Hermann Goring as Minister of Interior created the Police Battalion Wecke. By 1935 it had become the "General Goring State Police Group" and began to adapt military training. This resulted in it being assigned to the Luftwaffe as the "General Goring Regiment". By 1938 the role of the regiment consisted primarily of flak batteries and searchlight battalions but still retained a motorcycle company and a guard battalion. These special guards were used at Goring's forrest estate at Karinhall and on special occasions such as Air Force day and Richtohofen's Memorial parades.
In 1936, General Goring selected 36 soliders to perform a parachute demonstration jump. From this, 600 recruits were selected to go through training and were the first German paratroopers. On 1 July 1938, General Kurt Student organized the "Fallshirmtruppe" into the "7th Aviation Division" in order to conceal their true purpose. The Hermann Goring Regiment was reorganized on 1 October 1939 to include a Parachute Rifle Battalion ("Fallschrimschutze"), which was later absorbed into the Luftwaffe's 1st Parachute Regiment and called "Fallschirmjager". That was the only time the Herman Goring troops were used as paratroopers, EVEN THOUGH they retained the term "Fallschrim" in their title.
One battalion formed from the flak units became the Fuhrer Flak Battalion. This battalion was first used as as a special train escort on the Fuhrer's trip to Poland and as flak protection at his "Wolf's Lair" in E. Prussia. Later, it was organized into a regiment and eventually became the Fuhrer Escort Division.
At the outbreak of war the HG Regiment fought in Poland. Reorganized into the HG Division, they were sent to Italy for about one year. On 6 January, 1944, the division was renamed "FallschirmPanzer Division Hermann Goring" that consisted of panzer, armor artillery and infantry battalions. They were sent back to Poland and fought in the battle of Warsaw in August 1944. They served in Russia with the XXXIX Panzer Corps and at Fortress Graudenz in February 1945. During the fighting in Russia, the Henrich Goring, the nephew of the Reichsmarshall, was killed in action.
The Italian Campaign
On July 1943, the HG Division was assigned to the VI Army and ordered to Sicily with the 15th Panzer-Grenadier Division under the command of General Ernst Baade. They participated in the defense of Sicily and many were captured. An interesting photo in the book is a group photo of officers of the HG Division taken at the prisoner of war camp in Concordia, Kansas. The HG Division was sent to Rome area for rest and refurbishment.
The HG Division was in the vicinity of Salerno when the Allies landed there on 9 September, 1944, and attacked from the north of the town of Salerno. Elements of the division fought in Cisterna, Minturno and the Rappido River area in January-February, 1944. The HG Division was later deployed at Anzio as part of the XIV Panzer Corps.
The statistics indicate that 60,000 soldiers served with the HG Division during its life-span. After the surrender in 1945, only 15,000 survivors remained. An estimated 90% of the soldiers who fought on the Eastern Front were casualties.
Book includes 474 pages, 5 Appendices, 18 map sketches(German text) and loads of photos on glossy paper, but no Index. Appendices includes several Org charts or tables down to company level and tables of armaments, wearers of the Knights Cross, commanders and important dates.
The appendices include (1) The Commanders, (2) Winners of the Gold Cross, (3) Winners of the Knights Cross, (4) Vehicle status of the HG Division, June 1944, (5) Guns of the Flak Regiment, (6) Armament of the HG Division, (7) Armoured Vehicles of the HG Panzer Regiments, and (8) the head count for each unit within the HG Regiment for the years 1936, 1937, & 1938. Additional organizational tables are inserted into the text at different places. And there are several org charts using symbols--but these are usually in German text.
The Maps are scattered throughout the book. Most have German text and use German flag symbols to denote units. Some maps are very simple and are meaningless without reading the text.
The photos are very good quality, since the entire book is printed on glossy paper. Many interesting photos, especially of the uniforms. The uniform of the HG Division was quite unusual---a mixture of Luftwaffe insignia & Panzer insignia (chapless skull) on Army uniform. These photos provide a good study of the typical field uniforms. It includes photos of the early honor guard units and early panzer uniforms with berets. There are several photos of troops wearing the peaked visor cap but NOT one of the German paratrooper helmet--the only helmet worn is the M-40 helmet. There are photos of flak equipment and armored vehicles and tanks. Includes one of a soldier in desert shirt with an M-43 cap that has an SS-type skull pin worn on the side.
The printing and artwork is nice with a glossy cover. The spine is designed to resemble the blue cuff band "HERMAN GORING".
by Steve Cole, December 2002
Chronology of the Herman Goring Division
and related paratroopers units.
1933 Goring in charge of Prussian Police Force. He created Polizeiabteilung 'Wecke' (Police Detachment).
1934 Renamed Landespolizeigruppe 'Wecke' (Provisional Police Group)
1935 Renamed Landespolizeigruppe 'General Goring' . Gen Goring placed in command of the newly formed Luftwaffee.
1936 Renamed Regiment 'General Goring'. Goring arranged a demonstration parachute jump. 600 recruits joined up for training and created a Fallschirmshutzen Battalion.
1938 Paratrooper battalion transferred to 7th Flieger Division to form the 1st Battalion, 1st Fallschirmjager Regiment.
1942 Mar Regiment General Goring expanded to Herman Goring Brigade, commanded by Conrath.
1942 Dec First elements of flak regiment was sent to N. Africa.
1943 Jan Expands to Fallschrim Division Herman Goring commanded my Major General Conrath.
1943 July HG Division called to Sicily and fights around Catania airfield and Primasole Bridge.
1943 Sept Salerno Invasion
(Mussolini rescued by Gen Skorsensky and troops of 7th Fallschrimjager.)
1943 Oct HG Division pulls out of line for rest at Cassino. Obst Lt. Julius Schlegel rescues the art work out of Monte Cassino.
1943 Nov 4th Fallschrimjager Division formed from 2nd FJ Division and Italian paratroopers.
1944 Jan HG Division and 4th FJ Division attack at Anzio
1944 Mar HG Division pulled out for rest. Reformed as an armored infantry and renamed 1st Fallschrim-Panzer Division 'Herman Goring'.
1944 May HG Division rushed to breach the Allies break out at Anzio.
1944 June Normandy invasion. 6th FJ Regiment under Maj. Frederick von der Heydte is deployed at Caraten. II Fallschrim Korps moved to Normandy: 3rd FJ Division at St. Lo and 5th FJ Division outside Caen.
1944 July HG Division leaves Italy
1945 Jan Two HG Divisions are encircled. Some manage to fight their way out & evacuated by sea.