21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian)

The name comes from an Albanian national hero and military leader Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg (born approximately 1405, died on January 17, 1468), who led the anti-Turkish freedom fight.

  • 50th Waffen Gebirgsjäger Regiment of the SS
  • 51st Waffen Gebirgsjäger Regiment of the SS

Division Leaders:

  • SS-Oberführer August Schmidhuber (until August 1944)
  • SS-Obersturmbannführer Graaf (until January 1945)

The division was formed in January 1944 but the actual formation started in summer 1944 in Kosovo. In September 1944 the division had 6,500 Albanian soldiers.

In October 1944 the division participated in a short anti-partisan operation. Massive deserting decreased the number of men to 1,300 and the division was dismissed. The Kampfgruppe Skanderbeg was formed out of German staff and it was merged with the 7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen's 14th SS Regiment.

From December 1944 to January 1945 the division battled under Zwornik, Bjellina and Brčko. In February 1945 they battled on the Oder front.

Insignia:

Cuffband Skanderbeg; Skanderbeg's goat head symbol on the collar patches, also runic symbols SS; mountain unit's emblem on the sleeve.