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RFSS-1st Schi Battalion

 

 

Unit History

 

Early Autumn 1944: The training department of the Hungarian Ministry of Defence establishes a ski school at Rahó in the Carpathian mountains.Army border hunter and mountain formations are sent for training there.  Joseph Zelko  (1) is charged with completing the course. The ski school operations are, however, cut short due to the Carpathian Mountains being over run and soon moves back to Budapest. The course is limited to theoretical education only. The course consists of 1 000 people. The SS-Ersatzkommando Ungarn (SS Ersatzkommando Ungarn ,Abteilung B/I ,4a, Munkácsy Mihály u. 5-7) calls up 5 officers and 110 men (which include Zelko because of his German wife and maternal grandperants). The men protest to the Hungarian defence ministry. The men opt to continue the fight against the Russians and it asks the Hungarian Defence ministry to equip the unit as a mountain hunter battalion and let it be sent onto the front. The ministry does not allow this request referring to administrative reasons and weapon deficiencies. The debate drags on until October 15 1944

October 15 1944: Hungarian leader Admiral Hothy is deposed by a coup led by the Germans and is replaced by Hungarian Nazi leader Count Fernec Szalasi. Directly after Szálasi’s take-over, the Waffen-SS does take up the offer that the SS takes over the unit. The offer is voted for with a 97% majority. Some conditions were set at the same time: the corps's command language was to be Hungarian, The unit would only fight in Hungarian areas against the Russians, and the unit was to be treated equal with other SS corps. Zelkó also requests furthermore that Hungarian officers command the companies.



(HTM Budapest)
 

October 17 1944: 1st Hungarian Schi Battalion is formed. The battalion is classed as a “special troop” of the Reichfuhrer SS and not as a Waffen-Grenadier unit, this entitles the battalion to better equipment.

 

 

 

Commander – Obersturmfuhrer Josef Zelko

 

 

 

Unit structure when first formed

 

 

 

I Jaeger Company                                                 

 

 

II Jaeger Company

 

III Jaeger Company                                                                                                                               

 

IV Jaeger Company (heavy weapons)

 
October 18 1944: The battalion is outfitted and equipped by the Waffen – SS Replacement Commando in Budapest with SS Gerbirgsjaeger uniforms.

End of October 1944: The Hungarian Defence Ministry approve the special agreement.

 
November 10 1944: The Battalion is sent from Budapest by rail to the training camp at Neuhammer  (2).

 
November 15 1944: Men from the ,,Hunyadi” division arrive at Neuhammer camp and end up in the same quarters as the men from 1st Schi battalion. The Germans at Neuhammer class all the Hungarians as part of the same unit.

November 22 1944: The battalion is broken up and the men are assigned to various units in the 25th SS Division ,,Hunyadi”.

November 24 1944: After 2 days of haggling Obersturmfuhrer Josef Zelko along with his adjutant  (3)  managers to get his 800 men back from the ,,Hunyadi” division and along with 1 000 Hungarian Troops which arrive over the next few days reforms the battalion.

November 26 1944: After more haggling Zelko recovers the equipment, which arrived with the 800 men, for use with the Schi battalion.


November 30 1944: The last of the 1 000 Hungarian troops arrive at Neuhammer

December 1 1944: There are 1 800 men in the 1st Schi battalion.

December 4 1944: Zelko splits the ‘battalion’ into 2 proper battalions. Each battalion has 4 companies with IV company being the heavy weapons company. I battalion is commanded by Hauptsturmfuhrer Laszlo Darvas and II battalion by Hauptsturmfuhrer Laszlo Zelko.  (4)

December 5 1944: 1st Hungarian Schi Battalion is issued with weapons in Bad Saarow.Although Zelkó is an Obersturmfuhrer he supposedly bribes the German warehousemen and they secure better quality equipment. I battalion's first three companies equally share nine MG–42 machine guns, in a company two sections are issued Sturmgewehr–44, while the others are issued K98k. 4. Company (heavy weapons) are issued nine MG–42 machine guns, 6 8 cm Gr.W.34 medium mortars and four 7,5 cm Geb. G36/43 L18-5 Mountain cannons. They were also issued clothing (winter camouflage) and equipment.

December 7 1944: 1st Hungarian Schi battalion commences training at Neuhammer.

February 9 1945: The Russian’s advance on Neuhammer camp. After a request by Corps Gruppe ,,Friedrich” to Oberst Hoffman an Alarm company is formed from the 1st Schi battalion,  (5)  this consists of 220  (6)  men (including a 3 gun Pak 40 anti tank platoon) to help defend the camp. In the  "Alarm Schi Kompanie" were 90 men forming a company, 21 Germans who found their selfs in the Alarm Kompanie, 20 men (including cooks) from the staff at Neuhammer camp (commanded by a reserve Captain) and between 15 and 25 men in a medical unit which consisted of stretcher bearers, doctors and drivers (commanded by a captain)  This led by Obersturmfuhrer Josef Gencsy. This Alarm Company takes up positions to the south of the Breslau – Berlin autobahn near Gross-Goellmisch. A round mid-day the Schi Alarm battalion repulses a Russian attack. Around 14.00 hours the Alarm battalion takes up positions near to Nitschenkau


(HTM Budapest)
Strans January 1945

 

February 10 1944: The 1st Schi battalion (except for the Alarm section) leave Neuhammer on foot bound for Austria.

 

February 11 1944: The 1st Schi Alarm battalion moves positions to the north-west of Nitschkenau. During the day the battalion sees heavy fighting against Russian infantry and armour. In the area around Huehner Berg and Krainch See  the battalion destroys 11 Russian tanks in the fighting over February 11/12. By late afternoon the Alarm battalion withdraws under heavy Russian pressure. The battalion withdraws to a point between Huehner Hill and Lake Kranich. During this withdrawal the battalion loses its entire anti tank guns. Also during the retreat part of the battalion gets separated and ends up defending in the Eichberg area. This section is wiped out in fighting with the Russians.

February 12 1945: The Alarm battalion withdraws through the Klitschdorfer Heath to Lorenzdorf. It is engaged in heavy fighting for the next couple of days and is slowly wiped out. Only Hauptsturmfuhrer Gencsy  (7)  and 8 other soldiers survive the fighting without being wounded. (8)

February 14 1945: The main body of 1st Schi battalion reaches Tetschen – Bodenbach. It is transported by rail to Leoben in Austria.

 

 

 

February 16 1945: The transporting of the battalion to Leoben is completed. 

February 20 1945: The survivors of the 1st Schi Alarm battalion rejoin the main body of the battalion. II battalion (9) is sent to the High Mountain Troop Training Grounds (,,Seetaler Alp”) near Judenberg in Austria. Parts of the 13 SS Gebirgsjaeger Division ,,Handshar" are also at the training camp.

February 25/26 1945: (10) 1 500 men from a Hungarian Mountain brigade who has been shattered in combat near Gyor in Hungary are absorbed into the 1st Schi battalion (the men are in Mosonszentjános and Mosonszentpéter) . After being supplied with uniforms and equipment from the SS supply depot at Dachau  (11)  the men make up most of a new III battalion which is commanded by Hauptsturmfuhrer Gencsy. (12)

February 27 1945: III battalion is sent to ,,Seetaler Alp”

March 25 1945: The battalion comes under joint Hungarian Ministry of Defence and SS-Headquarters common command

 

March 27 1945: Order of Battle 

 

 

Unit structure (approximately 3 000 men)

 

 

 

Staff – FP 64 206

 

 

Translator’s platoon

Signal’s platoon 

Motorcycle messenger platoon

Field police platoon

 

Staff security platoon

Supply troops – none

 

I Ungarische SS Gebirgsjaeger Battalion FP 64 206 A

 

Commander Hauptsturmfuhrer Laszlo Darvas

I company

II Company

 

III Company

IV Company (Heavy weapons) (13)

 

Hauptsturmfuhrer (vitez) Laszlo Darvas (14)

II Ungarische SS Gebirgsjaeger Battalion FP 64 206 B

 

 

Commander Sturmbannfuhrer Laszlo Zelko

 

I company

II Company

III Company

 

IV Company (Heavy weapons)

III Ungarische Gebirgsjaeger Battalion FP 64 206 C

 

 

Commander Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Gencsy

 

 

I company 

II Company

III Company

 

IV Company (Heavy weapons)


                                                                             (Both Photos HTM Budapest)     

                                                                                     Austria 1945                                                                                    Austria 1945

April 17 1945: All 3 battalions are sent by truck from Graz to the St Margarethen on the Raab area. They are placed under IV SS Panzer Corps command. (15)  On route (near Fronleiten) a half company (about 140 men) (16) from 1st Schi battalion is sent to help the Hungarian “Assault Group Ghyczy” at Pfaffensattel.  (17)

April 18 1945: 1st Schi battalion fights with the 5th SS division ,,Viking”. This continues until 10th May 1945. (18) ,,Gruppe Lenk” ( part of 1st Hungarian Sturmjaeger Regiment) comes under the control of 1st Hungarian Schi battalion. 

May 10 1945: Finding itself in Russian held territory (along with some elements of the 5th SS division ,,Viking”) the 1st Schi battalion and ,,Viking” breakthrough the Russian lines (19)  and head towards the Attersee region to meet up with other elements of the various Hungarian SS units assembled there. Some of the Schi division along with elements of the ,,Saint Laszlo” division surrender to the British at Klangenfurt.

May 11 1945: After a long march about 1 500 men of the 1st Schi battalion along with elements of 25th SS division ,,Hunyadi” surrender to the Americans. Most of the battalion staff personal after proceeding to Leoben are captured by the Russians. Other elements of the 1st Schi battalion are captured by the Russians around Trofaiach.


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1 Zelko was a former Lieutenant in the 1st Hungarian Mountain Brigade

2 Its commander and most of its Officers do not travel with the main body of the battalion but remained in Budapest

.
3 SS-Sturmbannführer Ulrich Fritz

 4 Hauptsturmfuhrer Zelko was Obersturmfuhrer Zelko’s brother. Notice that both I + II battalion’s commanders out rank the overall commander of the ski battalion. Before Darvas and Zelko took over command, the 2 battalions were temporally commanded by two German Hauptsturmfuhrer’s

5  Due to the agreement of Hungarian units only fighting on Hungarian soil Obersturmfuhrer Zelko asks for volunteers for the Alarm Battalion. The volunteers come mostly from I battalion as they are more combat ready. It is supplied with a mixture of Stg.44 and K98k rifles.

6 One source has a total of 230, another 222 in the Alarm Battalion

7  He had been promoted since taking command of the Alarm battalion. After the war Gencsy served in the Bundeswehr leaving the service with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

8 8 officers and 142 NCO’s and men were killed. 31 NCO’s and men were classed as missing 30 were listed as wounded in the fighting at Neuhammer. One source says Gencsy and 7 men survived uninjured.

9  II battalion is now designated a training battalion

10  One source dates this as March 25/26

11 Due to lack of uniforms about 300 men retain their Hungarian uniforms

12  III battalion is designated as a replacement battalion

13 one source states that the heavy weapons company of each battalion were issued with 3 x 7.5 cms Pak, 6 x 8.1 cms GrW or 3 x 12 cms GrW mortars and a heavy machine gun section

14  Darvas received the Vitez award in 1966 while in exile, he had also been awarded the triple wounded Fire Cross and the Knight Cross of War for Hungarian officers award. He died on July 7th 1981 and is buried in Vallenar, Chile, South America

15 This comprises of the 3rd and 5th SS Panzer divisions.

16 This is commanded by Untersturmfuhrer Gorog

17 This Hungarian kampfgruppe comprises of Hungarian air force personal who are converted to infantry. This come’s under the supervision of the Waffen SS but they are not officially part of the SS. It is commanded by First Lieutenant (airforce) Marton Ghyszy. It is overrun by the Russians near the end of the war and there are very few survivors. The Schi battalion has 1 officer and 71 NCO’s and men killed and 31 NCO’s and men missing in the fighting at Pfaffensattel.

18 1st Schi battalion when fighting with ,,Viking” has 3 officers and 160 NCO’s and men killed, and 1 officer and 56 NCO’s and men listed as missing. The corps's known wartime losses were 385 dead, while it had 95 listed as missing

19 In the breakout I battalion commander Hauptsturmfuhrer Darvas was badly wounded.

 

 

 


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