The Wehrmacht: Mobilizing Old Men and Boys (1944-45)

Wehrmacht boys surrender
Figure 1.--Boys as young as 16 had to join the Voklsstrumn. We see, however much younger boys in uniform at the end of the War. The caption on this press photograph on pril 25, 1945 read, "German boy soldiers captured by the 11th Division. When the 11th Armoured Division advanced into the area of Kronach, they found all of the boys of 15 and 16 hd been ordered to don uniforms and get on the road to Bavaria." They wre taken by their 22-year old leader into the woods and they waited on the arrival of the Americans to whom they gave themselves up. The picture shows a group of the youngsters in their uniforms. The Americans sent them bck to their parents, instead of to a prison camp." Many of these boys look younger than 15 to us. We do not know who ordered these boys to Bavaria, but what a despicble person. The order to Bavaroa presumably was related to NAZI propaganda, about establishing a ntional redoubt there.

The NAZIs as the Soviet and Allies approached the borders of the Reich, formed the Volksstrumn with boys nd old men. The age for the Volkssturm was officially 16 years, but we note much younger boys in Wehrmacht uniforms. We are not sure why that was, but we suspect Htler Youth and lacal NAZI leaders were responsible. were hastily trained, ill-equipped and not terribly well led were the major recruits for the Volkssturm in the closing months of the year. The HJ boys, however, went into battle with a fervor even beyond that of the Waffen SS. Many accounts exist of battle hardeneded Wehrmacht and and SS troops who met these boy soldiers on the way to battle. Their advise was almost often "Its over. Go home!" The boys, however, armed with a few anti-tank weapons like Panzerfauts and perhaps a machinegun if one could be found, these Hitler Youth schoolboys went into battle. Often they performed amazingly well, even when given hopeless assignments. The Volkssturm played a major role in the defense of Berlin. In the West they were more willing to surrendr to the Allies.


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Created: 5:14 PM 10/16/2007
Last updated: 5:14 PM 10/16/2007