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History

Himmler got the idea to form an SS-Fallschirmjäger Bataillon in September 1943 after Operation Oak (Unternehmen Eiche – the Operation to release Mussolini) however; in 1937 volunteers from the SS Germania Regiment underwent parachute training from 23 May – 17 July 1937 at the paratrooper school in Stendal. For this purpose they were attached to the 3rd Company of the General Goering Regiment. By the end of the course they had made 6 successful jumps and these SS paratroopers put on an exhibition jump in full kit for the leaders of the state at the Harvest festival in Bueckeburg.

The forming of the SS-Fallschirmjäger

 Orders were given by Führer HQ in 1943 to raise an SS airborne formation. This unit is often referred to as a penal unit but was in fact made up of both regular volunteers and SS military prisoners classified under the SS military code as 'Bewahrungs- Soldaten' or 'b-soldaten.' This meant they had committed violations such as turning up late for parade and so on, rather than criminal acts such as looting etc. Dishonored men of all ranks of the SS who volunteered were screened by recruiters and if considered worthy and could redeem themselves in this Bataillon. The Bataillon’s number designation (500) stood for probationary unit, although more than half of the Bataillon was made up from regular volunteers.

Unternehmen Rösselsprung

 Unternehmen Rösselsprung (knights move) was the operation which was to capture Tito, at his Partisan HQ in the mountains surrounding the town of Drvar in Bosnia. They were also tasked with destroying allied military missions in the area as well as capturing the allied military liaison officers.

The SS FJ Btl 500 would be dropped in two waves, one at 7am and one at midday. Other forces involved were the 7th SS Gebirgs Division & 1st Gebirgs Division The paras would be accompanied by Brandenburgers and a Luftwaffe signals unit, for intelligence purposes.

Although this raid was considered a success, Tito escaped before the SS Fallschirmjäger landed.


 
 

Post Raid

There was no rest for the survivors of this raid as they were sent to carry out other anti partisan operations elsewhere in Yugoslavia. In early June 1944 the Bataillon, now under the command of SS Hauptsturmführer Siegfried Milius, was sent for rest and refitting.

At the end of June the Bataillon was again mobilized and sent to the Eastern Front, its depleted ranks boosted by volunteers. The FJs eventually headed to Estonia from where they were airlifted to Lithuania to join forces with Großdeutschland Division

This Kampfgruppe stopped a Soviet armored thrust on the city and stalled the Russian advance for over two weeks, allowing the evacuation of the wounded and the re-supply of the Vilnius defenders.  The Bataillon was finally withdrawn and sent to support other sectors and were now down to just 90 men.

The SS-FJs were finally relieved in late October and were flown to Deutsch-Wagram, Austria where after a week's rest, they were incorporated into the SS-Fallschirmjäger Bataillon 600.

 

SS-Fallschirmjäger Bataillon 600

The SS FJ Btl 600 was formally assembled on November 9th 1944 in Neu-Strelitz, their garrison town. As part of the formation of the 600 Bataillon, soldiers of the 500th were given back their previous ranks and the right to wear the siegrunen.

 

The renamed Bataillon would next see action in the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge) when 2 Kompanies attached as part of Otto Skorzeny's 150th Panzer Brigade. After this operation, the remainder of the Bataillon was rushed to the Oder front to take up positions on the eastern bank of the river to help stem the flow of Soviet forces. The Bataillon stayed on the eastern bank until the April 1, 1945 when it was forced to withdraw under heavy Russian pressure.

 

The seriously depleted battalion continued to fight as a fire brigade north east of Berlin and at the end of April 1945 provided the rearguard for German forces pulling back from the Oder front.

As the end of the war approached, SS Fallschirmjäger Bataillon 600 found itself fighting many rearguard actions before finally being isolated in one of the many pockets in Northern Germany. After being virtually wiped out three times in its eighteen-month existence, the  unit surrendered to US forces in early May 1945 near the town of Hagenow, Germany

Who are FJ44?

Fj44 is a new group who formed in 2009 which is run by re-enactors with many years of experience between them of living history. It was decided to represent the SS 600 Bataillon as there are currently no other groups in the UK who portray these soldiers of ww2. The aim of the group is to depict the german soldier of 1944-45 at rest and at the front.