Fated to Defeat
33rd Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS 'Charlemagne' in the Struggle for Pomerania 1945
Author : Lukasz Gladysiak
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General - Pages : 158 | Images : 61 b/w photos & documents, 4 b/w maps
Paperback - Date of Publication : February 2021 | Size : 234mm x 156mm | ISBN : 9781912866175 | Helion Book Code : HEL1108
The 33rd Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS Charlemagne was one of a number of Third Reich divisions composed of foreign soldiers. The majority in this formation were French: volunteers who had been pressed into service prior to the Allied invasion of Western Europe. During February-March 1945 33rd Division took part in the struggle for Pomerania against overwhelming Soviet and Polish forces. The Division fought in conditions of steady retreat and met its final fate in the Białogard (former Belgard an der Persante) and Karlino (Körlin) regions. From that point on, following reorganisation from German to French composition, the Division’s retreat descended into a chaotic escape, which for many tragically ended in Polish or Soviet captivity or in mass graves still awaiting discovery. Only a handful of the 4,500 Frenchmen who started the battles near Czarne (Hammerstein) and Człuchów (Schlochau) managed to survive and reach the rendezvous at Neustrelitz, Germany. Following this, some of the survivors prepared to defend Berlin.
Lukasz Gladysiak's latest volume is the first attempt by a Polish author to reconsider the final days of 33rd Waffen-Grenadier Division. Gathering sources from all over Europe, including German Army Group Vistula documents, and never before published recollections of veterans from both sides, he chronicles the Division’s final tragic days of retreat, defence and defeat as it withdrew through Czarne-Człuchów (Schlochau), Szczecinek (Neustettin), Bialogard, Karlino (Körlin) and Kolobrzeg (Kolberg).