Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Brandenburgers wearing Russian Uniform

Brandenburgers in Russian uniform in the summer of 1941. The Brandenburgers (German: Brandenburger) were members of the Brandenburg German Special Forces unit during World War II. The so-called “Brandenburger” (after the garrison) were the own troops of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris’ office (so-called “Haustruppe”) to perform commando-style combat operations, which were developed since the fall of 1939. In early August 1942, a Brandenburg detachment of 62 Baltic and Sudeten Germans led by Baron Adrian von Fölkersam penetrated farther into enemy territory than any other Brandenburg unit. Nicknamed "the wild bunch," they undertook to secure the oil fields at Maikop. Using Red Army trucks and the uniforms of the NKVD, the Russian secret police, Fölkersam infiltrated the Soviet lines. The Brandenburgers immediately ran into a large group of Red Army deserters, and Fölkersam saw an opportunity to use them. By persuading them to return to the Soviet cause, he was able to join with them and move almost at will through the Russian lines. Pretending to be a Major Truchin from Stalingrad, Fölkersam explained his role in recovering the deserters to the general in charge of Maikop’s defenses. The Russian general believed Fölkersam and gave him a personal tour of the city’s defenses the next day. By August 8, the German army was only 12 miles away, so the Brandenburgers made their move. Using grenades to simulate an artillery attack, the Brandenburgers knocked out the communications center of the city. Fölkersam then went to the Russian defenders and told them that a withdrawal was taking place. Having seen Fölkersam with their commander and lacking any communications to rebut or confirm his statement, the Soviets began to evacuate Maikop. The German army entered the city without a fight on August 9, 1942.

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