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9th SS Parachute Division

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The German 9th Parachute Division was one of the final parachute divisions to be raised by Germany during World War II. The division was destroyed during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945.

The 9th Division was formed in December 1944 under the command of General Bruno Bräuer with many Luftwaffe personnel transferred to combat duties for which they had no experience. In January 1945 two of his battalions were encircled by the 1st Ukrainian Front in Breslau where they were destroyed.

In the Battle of the Seelow Heights the 9th Division was positioned between Seelow and Neuhardenberg, they received the full force of the first days artillery bombardment by Marshal Georgi Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front on 16 April. Under this bombardment the 9th Division buckled. It rallied briefly on the morning of 17 April, when it was given some armoured support, but collapsed again shortly afterwards. Bräuer suffered a nervous breakdown and was relieved of his command at the request of Goering, angry at the collapse of one of his Luftwaffe divisions. Bräuer was followed in command by Colonel Herrmann. The SS Nordland Division rounded up some elements of the 9th Division and managed a temporarily successful counter attack.

By the 19 April, the remnants of the 9th Division along with what remained of the rest of the LVI Panzer Corps were within the Berlin U-Bahn outer defensive ring. During the attempted breakout on the night of 1 May– 2 May a small group of the 9th Division stormed the tower of Spandau Rathaus (Town Hall) from which Soviet machine-gunners were decimating Germans attempting to break out of Berlin over the Havel using the Charlottenbrücke ('Charlotte Bridge'). By the end of the 2 May the 9th Parachute Division had ceased to exist.

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