purify the soul
Europes Last WWII BattleField - Texel
[FONT=Arial]The uprising is considered to be the last battle of WW2 in Europe.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The Georgian Uprising of Texel (Dutch: Opstand der Georgiërs) (April 5, 1945 – May 20, 1945) was an insurrection by the 882nd infantry battalion of the Georgian Legion stationed on the German occupied Dutch island of Texel (****ounced Tessel). The event is sometimes described as Europe's last battlefield.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The heavily fortified island was a pivotal point in the German Atlantic Wall system of defense. The men of the rebellious battalion were soldiers from the Soviet Republic of Georgia captured on the Eastern front. They had been given a choice rarely offered by the Germans: the captured soldiers could choose either to remain in the POW camps, which would mean almost certain death, or to serve the Germans and be allowed a degree of freedom. The battalion was formed of men who chose the latter option.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]In the early hours of 06 April, determined not to obey orders for a transfer to Harlingen and expected mainland combat against the Allies, Georgian officers of the 822nd Infanterie Bataillon roused their troops and issued the mutiny codeword. While some mutineers tried unsuccessfully to capture the island's two batteries and others headed for the armouries, a group of men armed with bayonets and knives slaughtered 270-plus Gerrmans in their barracks. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]This enraged the 822nd Georgia Bataillon's German Commandant, Hauptmann Klaus Breitner. A Sondermeldung War Progress Report to the Hitler Bunker brought a signal ordering the summary execution under martial law of all captured Georgians. [/FONT]
[/FONT][FONT=Arial]Because the assumed allied help did not materialize, and because they had failed to secure the naval batteries on the southern and northern coasts of the island, the rebels were soon faced with a German counter-attack. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Throughout the Mutiny, any German sniped at, ambushed or captured by the Georgians was killed with a shot to the head. A group of ten German officers, including a Padre (Vicar Haake),writes **** van Reeuwijk (below), surrendered on a promise of safety but were later brought to the Georgian HQ at the still-standing Texla bunker and individually executed.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]During fighting at Texel's Georgian - occupied lighthouse, this from **** van Reeuwijk and this writer's Texel interviews, up to 50 captured Georgians were forced to dig their own graves then executed. Hermann Goring Division 'sappers' ( Sprengkommandos from Oudenbosch (?)) were called in by the German Kommandant to blow holes in the base of the lighthouse. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Many wounded and stunned Georgans inside the structure were immediately shot. Others higher up shot themselves or leapt to their deaths. Across the island, it was common practise for execution squad commanders to order Georgian prisoners to undress, their mutiny having disgraced their uniforms. A number of ***** Georgians escaped and were hidden by islanders. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]German forces executed ten Dutch hostages without trial and many others were either killed during shelling and fighting or executed for helping Georgians dispersed across the island after 23 April and fighting as partisans. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]\When all ties between the rebels were severed, the Germans tried to cleanse the island. Many Texel people advised and assisted the Georgians. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]During the uprising, the lifeboat 'Joan Hodshon' sailed in the dead of night with a full crew to Great Britain to get help. The war, however, had nearly ended and nothing came of any actual British help. [/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]German reinforcements arrived from the Dutch mainland and, after several weeks of intense fighting, retook the island.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The remaining Georgians, now operating as a Partisan unit away from their fixed positions, were still fighting German troops when the Canadians landed on Texel on May 20th, two weeks after the cessation of hostilities on the Dutch mainland. The members of the former 822nd Battalion refused to voluntarily disarm and leave Texel until the Canadians spoke on their behalf to the Soviet authorities.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The local Canadian commander was so impressed by their resistance that he refused to class the Georgians as enemy personnel. Instead the Canadians treated them at all times as Displaced Persons. They did not have to disarm until their evacuation to Wilhelmshaven on 16 June 1945. Even then, officers were permitted to retain side arms.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]In a letter signed by Major General Foulkes, the commander of the 1st Canadian Corps, the Civil Affairs staff officer, Lt. Colonel Lord Tweedsmuir, wrote directly to the Soviet High Command. He praised the Georgians as valiant Soviet allies whose rebellion had resulted in over 2300 German casualties. He also requested that the Red Army receive the Georgians as heroes and that they be immediately rehabilitated.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Lord Tweedsmuir accompanied the Georgians, guarded by personnel from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, to Wilhelmshaven and spoke on their behalf to Soviet Liasion Officers in that city. In 1946, the Soviet daily newspaper 'Pravda' praised the Texel Georgians as 'Soviet patriots' and as rebelling 'POWs' who had liberated Texel. The group’s rehabilitation by Moscow did not occur until the middle of the 1950s. Their acceptance back in the Soviet Union perhaps was on the strength of the Canadian involvement and the highly controversial letter in defiance of the Western Allies' overall policy of non-interference in Soviet handling of their returning citizens. In fact, few of the ‘Texel Georgians’ apparently had been punished for volunteering in the German army. The Texel Georgians were only a small part of the Wehrmacht's 30,000-strong Georgia Legion.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]During the Russian or Georgian war (as it is known on Texel) approximately 800 Germans, 570 Georgians, and 120 Tesselan natives were killed. The destruction was enormous; dozens of farms went up in flames. The bloodshed lasted beyond the German capitulation in the Netherlands and Denmark on May 5, 1945, and even beyond Germany's general surrender on May 8, 1945. Not until May 20, 1945 were newly arrived Canadian troops able to pacify "Europe’s last battlefield".[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The fallen Georgians lie buried in a ceremonial cemetery at the Hogeberg near Oudeschild. The survivors faced the same fate as most Soviet POWs: forced repatriation, under the terms of the Yalta Conference, often followed by incarceration and occasionally - execution. Stalin considered anyone captured by the enemy to be a traitor, subject to appropriate punishment.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]The final resting places of Allied flight crews can be found in the community cemetery in Den Burg.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]A permanent exhibition dedicated to this event exists in the Aeronautical Museum at the island's airport.[/FONT]
Very interesting read, thanks alot.
I have quite an interesting story. My grandfather worked with the telephone service back then, and he was well-known. During the uprising, he saw several fellow texelaars guarded by germans. He asked them what was going to happen, and one of the german officers told him that they were to be executed first thing in the morning, for helping the "russians".
He went straight to the Inselkommandant, and told him that he needed them to work for him, to repair the telephone lines that were destroyed and damaged during the fighting. That's how he saved their lives He never ever had to buy his own beer after the war.
Another funny thing, Den Burg (The main village on the island) was shelled by german artillery, and several buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.
Until she died in... 2001 (or so) an old lady lived without water, light or anything in one of the ruins... She just used some planks to repair everything a bit. After she died I went in there to take a look, and there were newspapers from 1937 lying around, and also some jars which were labelled "Peas and carrots, october 1943" and a huge chest filled with anthracite coal !
Last edited by Sheikh Al Stranghi; 11-20-2006 at 08:25 AM.
Originally Posted by CPLHUNTER
purify the soul
What a great story. You're quite lucky to be able to have been around such history
Originally Posted by Sheikh Al Stranghi
Unfortunately the house was demolished (well, what was left to demolish) after her death
MP-net never seizes to amaze me... great find, this post been on the MP-net since last year and only now I stumble on it.
Just for info: Texel is also the Island where the Royal Netherlands Navy basic training starts for officers (marine & fleet) and sailors. Apart from the marches, PT, skills and drills etc, a short Battlefield tour is also part of the training. An inspiring start of your military career! I will see if I still have some pics of the Georgian Cemetary on the island; an anamoly of Stalinist grandeur.
Ok, so some Georgians turncoats, erm turncoat again, kill some Germans in their sleep and then get wiped out is this what happened basically?
Something like that. But don't forget that in the proces, the local population also got quite a beating. So it's quite safe to say that there are at least mixed feelings about the uprising; if the Georgians would have redeployed to the mainland, the Islanders would have had a much easier time. But then again, that's easy to say now from my comfy armchair; at the time redeployment could have been seen as a possible prolongation of the war on the mainland...
Hot Biker Dude of Death
Thread title changed - it was hardly the last battle in Europe now was it
As long as I'm here Texel will always be a battlefield
I invaded Texel several times so it never really ended
Honey! I am back
Here's a picture I took a couple of years ago of the memorial at the Georgian cemetery. (Sorry, Dutch only)
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