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The 10th SS Division was formed in early 1943 in France with its sister division the 9th SS Division 'Hohenstaufen'. They did not receive these names straight away but the 10th SS Division received the honoury title of 'Frundsberg' on the 4th of November 1943 and was also named as a panzer division: SS-Panzer Division 10 'Frundsberg'. The division was trained in France in 1943 where specialist courses, training exercise and war games were conducted. It was even trained in Anti-airborne tactics which would come in handy in September 1944. By March of 1944 the training was completed and, along with the SS-Panzer Division 9 'Hohenstafen', continued to be part of Headquarters 'West' strategic reserve.
SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Heinz Harmel (here as a SS-Standartenführer), commander of the SS-Pz. Div. 10 'Frundsberg' from 1944 - 1945.
However with the Russian Offensive in March 1944 which ripped open a huge hole in Army Group Centre, the two SS Divisions under the command of the II SS-Pz Korps was sent to the Russian Front. The SS-Panzer Division 10 'Frundsberg' was under command of SS-Brigadeführer Heinz Harmel who held this position until the last days of the war. Harmel's Division was sent to the Ukraine and operated in the Tarnopol sector. Here both divisions received their baptism of fire trying to relive the town of Tarnopol and their first attacks against the Russians occurred on the 4th April 1944.
The 'Frundsberg' Division continued to work in this sector of the Eastern Front until June 1944 when news of the landings in Normandy reached them. The II SS-Pz. Kp. was ordered to entrain with both divisions and head back to Normandy. Arriving in late June, the 10th SS-Panzer Division was thrown into the Battle. Over the next months the 'Frundsberg' Division fought around Caen, Hill 112, Aunay Sur Odon, Avranches and Falaise loosing many men and much equipment. After the collapse of the Western Front in August 1944, the divisional Kampfgruppen retreated through France, Belgium to be re-united in Holland, north of Arnhem. Here the 9th SS-Panzer Division was to hand over all heavy weapons and equipment to the 'Frundsberg' Division. This was due to the 'Frundsberg' being refitted locally and the 'Hohenstaufen' being refitted in Germany.
SS-Brigadeführer Heinz Harmel with Army officers from a Heer unit in the Betuwe area late September/early October 1944.
However both Divisions were committed to battle when the Allies landed in Holland including Arnhem. The 'Frundsberg' Division was committed to the south and was tasked with the defence of Nijmegen. Only one unit of the 10th SS-Panzer Division fought in Arnhem and that was SS Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 10 under the command of SS-Sturmbannführer Heinrich Brinkmann which was in action at the Arnhem Bridge during the battle. After Operation 'Market-Garden', the 10th SS-Pz Div. remained in the Arnhem-Nijmegen area for another month before being committed to the Linnich area. It was rested and refitted in the Aachen area before being committed back to Linnich and Geilenkirchen areas (NE of Aachen) in early 1945.
In February 1945 it was withdrawn from the Western Front and once again committed against the Russians on the Eastern Front. It was committed initially in Eastern Pomerania and then Saxony where it fought bravely against overwhelming odds. The 10th SS-Pz. Div was encircled by the Russians in the Spremberg pocket with two other German Divisions. They were order to fight to the death and hold this pocket but Harmel refused the order and broke his Division out the the West. For this he was relived of command and sent elsewhere. The Division tried to escape fleeing Westwards but small groups were killed or captured by the Russians during the route. Some groups continued to fight the Russian right up until the end of May as they tried to march to the West but most of the division was captured. The Division (in name only) capitulated with the rest of the German Army on the 8th of May 1945.
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