12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend

  • 25th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 26th SS Panzergrenadier Regiment
  • 12th SS Panzer Regiment

Division Leaders:

  • SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Witt (until June 1944)
  • SS-Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer (the Panzermeyer; until September 1944)
  • SS-Oberführer Hugo Kraas

The division was formed in February 1943. The training took place in Belgium in 1943. The staff of the LAH was the base of the division. The division consisted of numerous 17-year-old boys, former Hitler Youth members and the total number of men was 21,300. From January to June 1944 the division was protecting the Atlantic Wall in France. After the allies' landing, the division was sent into rough battles in Normandy. From June to July 1944 the division had battles under Caen and Falaise, where by July 9 it lost 60 percent of its men and almost all 177 tanks. The survivors were trapped in the Falaise Pocket and only a small number of men managed to break out and retreat to the East, to the Meuse River, while fighting. The exhausted division was allowed to rest and received additional men, from December 1944 to January 1945 they took part in the attack which took place in the Ardennes. After the offensive failed, the Hitlerjugend was sent to Hungary in January 1945, where they had difficult battles West of Budapest. From February to March 1945 they battled and retreated the same time to Austria. The division leader made the right decision and gave his unit an order to move towards the West, which allowed them to be captured by the US troops on May 8, 1945. By that time, all that was left of the division was 455 men and 1 tank.

Insignia:

Cuffband Hitlerjugend, runic symbols SS on the collar patches.

15 men from this division received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.