Home  (Site index)
Bunker Introduction
Brits in German Service
Oder Front Film 1945
Der Adler
British Free Corps
RAD Photo Album
Living in the past
BFC  Lions and Shields
Alfred Minchin BFC
Blackshirts in Britain
Maria 1943~1944
A mysterious tragedy
Blackshirt  Gallery
 Americans in the W-SS
Wehrmacht in Iraq 1941
Tears, no song of joy
Anneliese van Heck
German visit 1939
SS-Gren. Kinnett 1944
Major Remer 1944
Heinz van Lipzig
Heimat Front pdf Files
War Crimes Doc. 1945
Operation Veritable
ORBAT  Op.Veritable
POW camp at Weeze
Food rationing
Rhineland War Walks
60th Anniv. Arnhem
Arnhem 2004 Gallery
Youth serve the Führer
W-H-W Eintopfsonntag
From unemployment
Dieter Müller 1945
Women in uniform
Kinder - Küche - Kirche
Women in Third Reich
Natter Project 1945
Technical Manuals
Volkssturm 1944-45
BFC Post-war Booklist
Märklin and Goering
German Railway Pics
240 Op. Code Names
Charlie´s Orchestra
A German Radio 1933
Richard Wright 1945
Hermann Wrubel 1917
Guernsey STAR 1942
Reichswald 2009
32nd Regiment of Foot
FILM-It Happened Here
BFC on the Television
BFC - Q´s and A´s
Horst Wessel- Berlin
Führerbunker- Berlin
Wannsee - Berlin
Wilhelm Strasse- Berlin
Bendler Block- Berlin
Salon Kitty- Berlin
Menschen am Sonntag
Historical Sites- Berlin
BUF/UM 1945-1949
Occupations 1914-1918
Horst Wessel- Mülheim
Horst Wessel- Bielefeld
Horst Wessel- Statue
Hans Maikowski
German Cigarette Cards
German Flags 1
German Flags 2
German Flags 3
German Flags 4
German Flags 5
German Flags 6
German Flags 7
German Flags 8
Berlin Olympia Part 1
Berlin Olympia Part 2
Berlin Olympia Part 3
Krieg und Kunst 1
Krieg und Kunst 2
Krieg und Kunst 3
Krieg und Kunst 4
Krieg und Kunst 5
Krieg und Kunst 6
Krieg und Kunst 7
German Reich 1933
German Reich 1934
German Reich 1935
German Reich 1936
German Reich 1937
German Reich 1938
German Reich 1939
German Reich 1940
German Reich 1941
German Reich 1942
German Reich 1943
German Reich 1944
German Reich 1945
Feldpost 1939-1945
1933-1944 Postcards
Eastern Front 1941-45
Channel Islands WW2
Serbia 1941-1944
Western Front 1940-45
Legion Issues 1941-44
Azad Hind Issue 1943
Albania 1943-1944
Provinz Laibach 1943-45
Macedonia  1944
Zara 1943
Zante 1943 / Brac 1944
Introduction 1940-45
April 1940
May 1940
June 1940
July 1940
August 1940
September 1940
October 1940
November 1940
December 1940
January 1941
February 1941
March 1941
April 1941
May 1941
June 1941
July 1941
August 1941
September 1941
October 1941
LINKS
Write in Guestbook
Read the Guestbook
Contact and Impressum
 



Die hier gezeigten Abzeichen sind zu edukativen Zwecken dargestellt, aus diesem Grund sind sie nicht abgedeckt. Weiterhin möchte ich auf den folgenden Discliamer aufmerksam machen:


Disclaimer: Die hier gezeigten Abbildungen aus der Zeit des "Dritten Reiches", u.a. mit dem damals obligatorischen "Hakenkreuz", dienen der Berichterstattung über Vorgänge des Zeitgeschehens, der staatsbürgerlichen Aufklärung sowie Forschung und Lehre (§ 86a, 86 StGB)


THE VOLKSSTURM

The Volkssturm was formed in September 1944 by a Führer Decree and they were formed into four levies to defend German soil against an Allied invasion. The Volkssturm fought their first action at Memel in the eastern front on 7th October 1944.



Volkssturm recruits swearing the oath - First Levy

Who were the men who fought in the Volkssturm? They were not all old men as most people would think, some of them were very young indeed. Others were of normal military age, but they were in important jobs vital to the war effort, thus had been denied military service. The Volkssturm were split into four levies:

FIRST LEVY

The first Levy were mostly uniformed as such, and could be expected to stay in service for about six to eight weeks and could be sent far outside their own areas. Some units within the first Levy could actually become an official part of a Wehrmacht unit, these Volkssturm men were usually better uniformed and better armed than their counterparts in independant Volkssturm battalions. The Volkssturm had an elite unit called the "Freikorps Sauerland" which fought on the western front.



Volkssturm on parade - Second Levy

SECOND LEVY

The second Levy were called up two or three days before their towns or villages were threatened by an invading force, these were the men who were doing vital war work and could not be released until the last moment. They also included men of a lower physical standard or of the older or younger age groups. The second Levy received their weapons a day before the enemy were at the gates, making training almost impossible. The second Levy would have very few uniformed items and not all would be armed in time.



Panzerfaust training


THIRD LEVY

The third Levy were activated hours before an enemy attacked their villages or towns. They would have no military uniforms or equipment, if they were lucky they would have been given weapons. It was men of this levy that would most likely be defending their own living rooms and kitchens from a broken window pane with their wives and grandchildren clutching to their legs.

FORTH LEVY

The forth Levy were the ones considered to be totally unfit for any military service at all. No training or weapons, most of these men would have registered on paper only. If they were called up for sevice their one military act would be to throw away their armband before the enemy entered the building. Having said that, there must have been many unrecorded acts of bravery that we will plainly never know about.



Volkssturm in the frontline - First Levy armed with an MG42

WOMEN IN THE VOLKSSTURM

Women volunteers were taken into the Volkssturm towards the end of the war and if not official, at least on a local level. From the end of March 1945 women were allowed to carry arms and one famous Wochenschau film shows a woman firing a Panzerfaust.

VOLKSSTURM RANKS AND FORMATIONS

No Volkssturm unit was bigger than a battalion and some were only company strength, therefore there was never a rank higher than battalion commander. The battalion commander wore black collar patches with four pips on each. The four company commanders wore three pips on each collar. The platoon commanders wore two pips and the squad leaders wore one pip on each collar.



Armbadge of the elite "Freikorps Sauerland" Volkssturm unit

Some photos show only one collar patch carrying the rank badge and the other side of the collar empty. Perhaps there was a shortage of rank badge insignia? Some pips were mounted without the black backing cloth. If the unit had a battalion doctor, he would wear the rank containing three pips and an Aesculapius, a medical orderly one pip. The rank of Volkssturmmann carried no rank badge at all.

VOLKSSTURM UNIFORMS

Most of the first Levy were given military uniforms as such, be they Army or airforce, or a mixture of both. Although some men were lucky to have a greatcoat to wear over their civilian clothes. It was common to see a Luftwaffe breast eagle on a jacket and an Army eagle on a field cap, although their removal was ordered, most Volkssturm left them on the uniform items to stress the fact that they were combat troops under military law, should they surrender to the enemy. However, all uniform jackets and greatcoats had the shoulder straps removed upon issue.



Volkssturm armband, recognising the Volkssturm men as soldiers under the international laws, even if they were only wearing civilian clothing

Those members without military uniforms had the option of wearing hard wearing outdoor civilian clothing or if they had them some form of para-military uniform. The uniforms of the SA, RAD, HJ or in fact any NSDAP formation could be worn. It was however difficult to surrender wearing such a uniform as the chances of being accepted as a prisoner was very much reduced. The Soviets would kill anyone wearing a party uniform on the grounds that it was the same colour as the Soviet uniforms. Other unifoms worn were post office and railway, although any could be worn, but rank badges were ordered removed, including those of high party officials.

All of the Volkssturm wore an armband and this is what identified even those in civilian clothing as members of the Volkssturm. The armband was supposed to protect the Volkssturm man when surrendering, although many Volkssturm were shot out of hand, even on the western front. The armband came in three types, black lettering on a white background, black writing on a yellow background and a printed version in all three national colours, black, white and red. All the armbands served the same purpose and contained the same text "DEUTSCHER VOLKSSTURM WEHRMACHT".



Volkssturm prisoners of war

FATE OF THE VOLKSSTURM

No two unit histories are the same, some surrendered as soon as they could, whilst others fought on until the last man, their deeds going unrecorded. In general terms it can be safely said that if a Volkssturm man could fire his Panzerfaust, tank hit or not, if he could fire twelve rifle rounds in the direction of the enemy then he was doing good. Many had served in the 1914-1918 war and as such, knew how to survive if the gods allowed them a chance.



This Volkssturm Battalion Commander fought to the death...



 
Top