Austrians in WW2

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by emilysmith, Jan 26, 2013.

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  1. Hi there,

    I am wondering if anyone has any information in regards to conscription of Austrian Males 18-20yo during 1938 after the anschluss?

    Any info or links would be greatly appreciated,


  2. I am not sure about the specifics but weren't the hills alive with the sound of music?


  3. There are two separate facets to what you are trying to find out: (i) the Anschluss was a complete takeover of Austria by Germany form the Greater Reich - Austrian law ceased to apply and German law became the law throughout the Reich so conscription of Austrian-born (they ceased to be Austrians and became Germans - Austrian nationality law was completely invalidated too) was in line with the laws throughout the Reich, and (ii) there were no specific Austrian units in the Wehrmacht - some units might have had a higher percentage of Austrian-born personnel than others and certainly native-born Austrian's military prowess was not generally viewed favourably by the German-born OKW and OKH - and all units contained a mixture of personnel from various parts of the Greater Reich. Michael Burleigh's studies of Hitler and the Nazi regime highlight these issues.
  4. I've worked with the Austrian military.

    Their Working Dress looks shit.

  5. My bold

    For example 2. (Wien) Panzer Division. Raised in 1935 in the Würzburg area (the first commander being a certain Oberst Heinz Guderian) the division took part in the Anschluß remaining in garrisons in the area of greater Vienna. Shortly thereafter, large cadres returned to Würzburg to form the nucleus of 4. Pz Div being raised there, replacements coming from the former Austrian Bundesheer. The first Austrian conscripts were inducted on 1 December 1938, a delay of two months due to the Sudeten crisis.

    There were also a fair few Austrians in high ranks in the SS or deeply involved in the Final Solution.

  6. Thank you for your time and effort into the reply. I am looking into Michael Burleigh's books as we speak.

    I am researching for a book that my mother is writing regarding Austrian families within this era, particularly based in the Vienna and Linz region.
  7. Thank you very much for your clarity on the situation. You have given so much to work on that I cannot offer too much to comment on your analysis at the moment!! I really appreciate the information as the Wurzburg area is one of the areas that mum is further focusing on. I was also unaware of the effect of the Sudeten issues on the Austrian conscripts and this has shed a great amount of light on the situation.
  8. Every day's a school day - I was well aware of hte issues about the conscription of Sudeten Germans, but I didn't realise that a Panzer divisions were formed of largely Austrian-born personnel. IIRC, both the OKH and OKW did not especially rate Ausrians as determined fighters and had a policy of deliberately putting in place German-born officers and SNCOs to stiffen the ranks. It goes without saying that certain Austrians were prominent in both the SS and in the implementation of the Final Solution. The three most prominent Austrian SS men that I can think of are Franz Stangl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Odilo Globocnik.
  9. If you're looking for recruits born in Linz you can't do better than one A. Hitler.

    After the Anschluss Austrians were treated as any other Germans and recruited into formations formed within their local Wehrkreis. The formation that had the most Austrian feel to it was 44th Infantry Division, which was reformed after its greasing at Stalingrad as the Reichsgrenadierdivision Hoch und Deutschmeister. It spent the rest of the war in Italy.
  10. Although not final solutioneers, prominent Austrian SS men include Otto Skorzeny and Sylvester Stadler who would have been one of the SS division commanders at Arnhem had he not been sick/injured and sloped the job onto his Chief of Staff. There is a lot about Skorzeny in print including his own memoir which some suggest needs to be read with a salt cellar to hand.

    Current Affairs?
  11. In 1938???

    I think not. ;)

  12. Prior to the Anschluss, the Austrians had their own army. PostAnschluss, this was merged into the Wehrmacht lock stock and barrel.

    The various units were significantly restructured, not to dilute the Austrian manpower, but simply to mirror existing Wehrmacht formations. For example, the Austrian Schnelle (Fast) Division headquartered in Vienna was reconfigured and redesignated the 4 Light Division (a demi-panzer unit). It was later reconfigured into the 9th Panzer Division. The commander of the Schnelle Division in 1937 was General-Major Dr. Alfred Ritter von Hubicki. The very same man lead the 9th Panzers during Fall Gelb. General der Panzertruppe Dr. jur. Alfred Ritter von Hubicki - Lexikon der Wehrmacht

    Post-Anschluss, Austrians continued to be conscripted into the very same - but reconfigured and redesignated - units. Moreover, as major conflict approached, more units were formed under Wehrkreis XVII (Vienna) and Wehrkreis XVIII (Salzburg).

    Three pre-Anshluss Austrian(???) officers made it to General-Oberst rank: Alexandar Lohr, Erhard Raus and Lothar Rendulic. Interestingly, Lohr was born in what is now Romania (then part of the Hungarian element of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), Raus in Moravia (now Czech Rep., then the Austrian element of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Rendulic, although born in Vienna, was actually an ethnic Croat!

    Which brings me to the point that outside the German-Austrian border, the Volksdeutsch around Europe were rarely (if ever) broken down into Germans and Austrians. Throughout the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, German speakers were considered 'German' or 'Schwaba' - never Austrian.

    Once 'Greater' Germany had been created, anybody with Germanic origins and language was simply a German. The concept of 'Austrian' or other was simply lost.

    If you're looking for specific personnel data, you need to hunt down the Wehrkreis XVII records for the period. Don't bother googling, as those sort of records are found in real libraries and national archives. With a real thumb-sucked guess, I suspect what you're looking for is most likely kept on microfilm at the US National Archives in Washington.
  13. See my post above in addition to the previous poster.

    The 3 'infantry' battalions of the Austrian Schnelle Division became the I battalion of the 10th, 11th and 12th Schutzen Regiments.
    The 3 'infantry' battalions of the Austrian 1st Division became the II battalion of the 10th, 11th and 12th Schutzen Regiments.

    12th Schutzen Regiment was allied with the German Panzer-Brigade 5 to form the 4. Panzer-Division.

    Schnelle Division (with 10th and 11th Schutzen Regiments) became 4. Leichte-Division (later 9. Panzer-Division). Panzer-Abteilung 33 of the division (later Panzer-Regiment 33) was the Austrian Schnelle Division's 'tank' battalion redesignated.

    The Austrian 2nd and 3rd Divisions merged to become the Wehrmacht 44th Infantry Division, the Austrian 4th became the Wehrmacht 45th. Austrian 5th and 7th Divisions merged to form the Wehrmacht 3. Gebirgs-Division, the Austrian 6th became the Wehrmacht 2. Gebirgs-DivisionDivision.

    And so on...

    Order of battle of the Austrian Bundesheer - April 1937
    Feldgrau :: Transfer of the Austrian Army into the Wehrmacht
    Axis History Factbook: 4. Leichte-Division
    Axis History Factbook: 4. Panzer-Division
    2. Gebirgsdivision - Lexikon der Wehrmacht
    3. Gebirgsdivision - Lexikon der Wehrmacht