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Unit Name
III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Landstorm Nederland'
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Commander
SS- Hauptsturmführer Adalbert Stocker
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Estimated Strength
4 Infantry Companies
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(estimated at approximately 600 men)
Date committed to Battle
20th September 1944*

SS- Hauptsturmführer Adalbert Stocker

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*Started to arrive in Arnhem on this date and the unit was allocated as Reserve. However it was committed to Battle the following day in the Betuwe Area.

The Battle of Arnhem was underway before the III. Battalion of the Grenadier Regiment 'Landstorm Nederland' (III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl') arrived in Arnhem. They had been stationed in Hoogeveen when given the order to ride on bicycles to Arnhem which was a distance of nearly 70 miles to the north. This Battalion was the only battalion of the Regiment that hadn't been committed to Battle. In early September the I./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' had been ordered to hold the crossing at Beringen in Southern Holland whilst the II./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' was sent to defensive positions west of Woensdrecht just north of Antwerp. These two battalions had been committed to battle with the intent of stabilising the front and stopping the allied advance into Holland. The III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' had remained behind in Hoogeveen to complete its training.

The III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' was commanded by SS-Hauptsturmführer Adalbert Stocker, a veteran of the both the Western and Eastern Fronts. The III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' was made up of 3 Infantry Companies and 1 Weapons Company. Each Infantry company had 3 infantry platoons with the 4th company having 1 Machine Gun Platoon, an Infantry Gun Platoon, a Pioneer Platoon and a Heavy Mortar Platoon.

Stocker's men started to arrive by bicycle on the evening of the 20th September 1944. The unit was placed under command of the 9th SS-Panzer Division 'Hohenstaufen'. Due to a lack of combat experience the commander of the Hohenstaufen, SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Harzer, placed the III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' as its reserve. However on the 21st September a new threat emerged on the southern bank of the Nederrijn when the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade dropped at Driel. The battalion was quickly moved across the recently captured Arnhem Bridge and took up defensive positions north of Elst.

The Battalion was given two important tasks in the Betuwe area. The first was to defend the main road (Club Route) to Arnhem on a small canal known as Wetering Waal which was 1 mile north of Elst. Whilst other German units (Kampfgruppe 'Knaust') were holding Elst, the III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' had the second task of holding the southern flank of a defensive line situated along the railway embankment known as Sperrverband Harzer. This defensive line was 4-5 Battalions strong and was under the command of an Oberst Gerhard who was responsible to block a possible attempt by the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade to recapture the Arnhem Road Bridge.

The Allies made no major attempt to displace the III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' positions during the Battle of Betuwe. Apart from the odd patrols and skirmishes, the Dutch Waffen-SS Battalion held their ground. However the loss of Elst to the Germans on the 25th September 1944 and an attack by the British 4th Somerset Light Infantry on the 6th October 1944 most likely caused a few nervous moments for the young and inexperienced trainees of the III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl'. Fortunately for them the Allies never advanced past the Wetering Waal canal and the Dutch SS Battalion was relieved by elements of the Heer 9. Panzer Division in early October 1944.

On the 1st November 1944, the III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' was renamed III./SS-Gren. Rgt. 83 and became part of the new SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Brigade 'Landstorm Nederland'.

 

This is an award document for the Infantry Assault Badge awarded to SS-Grenadier Albert Snijder who was a member of the 11th Company. As you can see in the document it makes reference to III./Gren. Rgt. 1 'Lst. Ndl' being part of the 9th SS-Panzer Division 'Hohenstaufen'.

(Mark Hofstede Collection)

Last edited: 02 Sept. 14


References:

 


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