(Source Document): Headquarters United States Forces Austria, OSS Austria, APO 777, US Army, SCI/Unit A – September 15, 1945, Salzburg, Austria LSX-54.
SS-Obersturmführer Walter Girg – SS-Jagdverband MITTE (Landfried)

Subject:
SS-Obersturmführer Walter Girg, Commander of the VI-s Mission ‘Landfried’ in Romania and member of the SS-Jagdverband MITTE.

(1) SS-Obersturmführer Walter Girg was arrested by the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps), in Salzburg, Austria.

(2) Walter Girg was one of the first members of the SS. His valor as an enlisted man and officer during the Russian Campaign earned him the Knight’s Cross with oak leaves.

(3) Walter Girg’s extreme patriotism made him volunteer for dangerous and exciting missions and early he was assigned as an officer of the Jaeger Battalion 502, and later, to the SS-Jagdverband Mitte. Before his service with Otto Skorzeny, he conducted a long-range intelligence mission planned by the VI-s Section of the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) (Reich Main Security Office) behind the Russian lines in Romania, Mission Landfried.

(4) This report contains a short biography of the Mission Landfried and various notes on the establishment of the SS-Jagdverband, the Schutzenkorps Alpenland (a last-ditch defensive operation in the Alps against Russians), the Kampfgeschwader 200, the Flusskampfschwimmer, and the Total Einsatz (SS Suicide Missions). The entire report was written by Walter Girg with the help of Capt Konig of the SCI/A.

(5) Walter Girg was extremely willing to impart all he knew concerning the SS-Jagdverband and kindred organizations. It is recommended that Walter Girg be forwarded for continued interment and any further interrogation deemed necessary.

E. P. Barry,
Major, MI
CO, SCI/A.

Statement
SS-Obersturmfürer Walter Girg, Commander of the VI-S Mission ‘Landfried’ in Romania and member of the SS-Jagdverband Mitte.

(Biography)

1. I was born in Hamburg, Germany, on August 13, 1919, as the son of Engineer Franz Girg and his wife Olga Girg, née Blunder. My permanent address is Olsdorf near Gmunden (Traunsee) in upper Austria. I am a Roman Catholic. My father transferred in 1925 to Pressburg where I attended the local Volksschule. I finished my secondary studies in a boarding school in Fullenbach near Vienna. Again my father was transferred, this time to Wimpassing in lower Austria. There I received employment as a technician in a machine factory in Gloggnitz.

2. On May 1, 1938, I entered the Waffen SS because I could not provide for myself. There was no question of an established political credo at that time. I was first a motorcyclist, then an infantryman, and was in a short time promoted to classes I, II, and III. With the same unit, I participated in the Western Campaign of 1940 and the Balkan Campaign of 1941. After having passed successfully the SS-Non-Commissioned officers school I became a sergeant. My regiment (the 3.) was dissolved after having suffered heavy casualties in the East (February 20, 1942).

3. I was then assigned to a new fighting group with which I stayed until the summer of 1942. Here I received the Eisenerkreuz II Class (Iron Cross 2nd Class) and the Silber Infantry Sturmabzeichen (Silver Infantry Assault Badge).

4. In July 1942, we were sent back to Germany to be re-formed. There I was assigned to the 2.Panzer-Regiment and received some special training. I was soon appointed tank commander and Panzer Officer Candidate. In December 1942 we were sent to Russia in the vicinity of Kharkiv, where I received the Eisenerkreuz I Class (Iron Cross 1st Class).

5. On May 7, 1943, I was sent to the Fahnen Junkers Schule des Heeres in Winnsdorf. I received my nomination as Panzer Leutnant with special laudatory comments and stayed in the school as an instructor. When the military situation became worse, I decided to volunteer for special missions. The Russians were continuously threatening many of my comrades with imprisonment or death through their never-ending envelopment. I thus conceived the plan of assembling groups of German volunteers and members of our allied armies who would execute long-range intelligence missions and thus enable the German High Command to be on its guard against Russian surprise attacks and give it time to retreat.

6. On August 1, 1944, I was at last transferred to the school of the 502.Jaeger-Battalion. My commander was SS-Sturmbannfürher Otto Skorzeny to whom I was presented. There I received again special training in intelligence work together with many other training courses. As I learned very quickly, I received by August 26, 1944, my orders for my first mission. This was a Reichsauftrag (mission from the Supreme Command), transmitted to me by Skorzeny (Mission Landfried).
I left with 7 airplanes and 50 members of the 502.Jaeger-Battalion for the area of the Siebenbuergen (Transylvania). During my mission, I was taken prisoner but was able to escape execution at the last moment. I suffered some wounds and with a pierced left foot I marched 20 kilometers until I reached the front lines. I was told that my reports saved a whole German unit from encirclement by the enemy. After hospitalization, the commander handed me the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross). Soon after that, I was given a new mission, to make the same reconnaissance with tanks. It was a very difficult assignment and I had almost no support. I made arrangements but the large Russian offensive in the spring of 1945 frustrated my plans.

7. On January 25, 1945, I looked around for new volunteers, recruited them, and left on February 1, 1945, after having conferred with the commander of the Second Army. I crossed the lines and marched with my men about 1000 kilometers, doing constant reconnaissance under the most difficult conditions. I returned on March 17, 1945, to the fortified position of Kolberg, losing my W/T set while crossing the Vistula River. In Kolberg, I was not identified as a German and was condemned to death, but after one day of imprisonment, I was finally correctly identified as a German by an officer and liberated. We had to fight immediately with the occupants of the fortified position, continuing the engagement until the enemy cleared the area and left. I received the Silber Nahkampfspange (Silver Close Combat Clasp) and was promoted to Hauptsturmführer. On April 1, 1945, I was given the oak leaves to my Knight’s Cross.

8. Notwithstanding the desperate situation I began planning a new mission. I intended to land in the upper Tatra Mountains. Training for this mission was to take place in the Alps. My men and my W/T sets were transported in the neighborhood of Lofen (near the Steinere Mann). Shortly before the German collapse, I was given a new mission. I was to occupy certain areas of the Alpenland and fight the eastern enemies with small resistance groups (SS) in the manner of Tito’s bands. This area was occupied by the Western Allies. My men were all arrested, discharged by me, and sent to Allied POW camps. All my equipment and my provisions were completely taken over by the American troops after my arrest.
Operation Landfried was a German commando operation by three special force groups of SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny’s SS-Jagdverband ‘Mitte’ (ex SS-Sonder-Lehrgang zbV ‘Friedenthal’ and ex 502.SS-Jäger-Bataillon) to hold the key passes in the Romanian end of the Carpathian Mountains at Braşov, Sibiu and Karlstadt, and to destroy nearby road and rail bridges (August/September 1944).

9. On August 26, 1944, I received from my immediate commander, SS-Sturmbannführer Skorzeny, a top-secret order for the Mission Landfried.

10. The plan of the mission was as follows: I was to leave with 6 airplanes and 55 men and land in the area of Temeschburg (Timisoara). I had plenty of extra weapons and was to distribute them among the civilian population, to organize them and thus establish a defensive line between Temeschburg (Timisoara) and Kronstadt (Brasov). This was supposed to halt the advance of the Russians and Romanians until German troops would relieve me.

11. The equipment was very defective and the time for preparation was very short. I traveled by rail with my men and equipment and arrived in Vienna, where SS-Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Bruno Waneck, of Section VI-E of the RSHA, gave me further orders. My airplanes were standing ready at the Vienna airdrome. I worked one day in the offices of the VI-E Section and evaluated all reports concerning the positions of the enemy. The situation changed every day – it was such that my old mission was no longer possible because Temeschburg (Timisoara) was already occupied by the enemy. I decided to arrange a new mission. Someone wanted to take away my 6 airplanes and I had to act quickly. I received the permission to start and with my men and forty German-Romanians, whom I had recruited from the SS-Frontleitstelle Vienna, flew to Neuburg a.d. Donau (Germany) via Debrecen (Hungary). Here my men were transported by trucks to a small frontier village. Fortunately, I met there SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen SS Artur Gustav Martin Phleps who commanded an army in this particular area and who agreed with my plans, which were not markedly changed during my interview with him.

12. The Mission was now as follows: there were to be three reconnaissance and sabotage groups: (a) the eastern troop, under the command of SS-Oberscharführer Fritsch, which was to commit sabotage in the passes about 70 kilometers south of Kronstadt (Brasov), do reconnaissance work and then come back with the remainder of the men; (b) the middle troop, under my command, operating from Hermannstadt (Sibiu) up to the Rotenturm Pass (Turnu Rosu Pass) with the same mission, sabotage, and long-range reconnaissance; (c) the western troop, under the command of SS-Oberscharführer Hahn, who would operate as far as Klausenburg (Cluj-Napoca) and 20 kilometers to the south with the identical mission. We were to avoid all direct contact with the enemy. We planned to start without radio and report over W/T as soon as we had any intelligence. The time allotted for the entire mission was fourteen days. Rations were taken along for three days the rest of the time we were to live off the land. All information was to be obtained from the population. The strength of each troop was one commander and 25 SS-men; equipment consisted of hand weapons, demolition material, and maps.

13. I marched with my troops up to the Hungarian frontier village of Zuckermandel (Podhradie). Because we lacked time I was not able to use my machines for a preliminary reconnaissance flight. We crossed the border on August 31, 1944, without having met any enemy units. Without further contact, we crossed the Grosser Kockel River. The lines were so thinly occupied that we could march even during the day. Our uniforms were sufficiently inconspicuous that we traveled by train from Agnetenn up to Hernstadt. There I divided my men into three small sections and ordered them to move separately towards the Castle of Heltau (Cisnădie). My group pitched our tents in a small garden near Michelsberg (Cisnădioara). I waited for two days for the others; finally, just two-man arrived, who had become separated from the others. By September 4, we had collected 6 men and marched towards the Rotenturm Pass (Turnu Rosu Pass). Until now we had found out the following intelligence: the strength of the Romanian forces marching towards Agnetenn, and also the strength of the Russian units operating around the Rotenturm Pass (Turnu Rosu Pass). We arrived there after a ten-hour mountain climb. Here, we intended to spend the night and begin gathering information from the Romanians. We put up guards but two hours after dark we were surprised by a Russian unit and surrounded. After a heavy fight, we managed to escape without any casualties. Back in Heltau we observed the advance of the Sixth Russian Army and marked its progress on our maps for future reference. These Russian troops were in the best fighting condition. Discipline and order reigned throughout. We observed many new armored units.

14. During the night of September 9, we again traveled by train in the direction of the front. Here (Schaerszburg) we marched for 35 kilometers towards the main line of resistance, constantly near the Russian advancing columns. We advanced so quickly that we arrived in Nades, a Romanian depot. As we were weaker than they, we tried to talk it over with them. We asserted that we were Romanian stragglers who had left our German units. They began searching our equipment and found our weapons. One of my men managed to escape then and there. We had to lie down in the grass and were not well treated. Soon the Russians arrived and we were condemned to death immediately. We had to stand against a small tree and 20 Russians in front of us were ordered to execute us. It was a tight spot but I managed to flee, receiving a head wound, and while on the run my foot was perforated by another shot. Notwithstanding my wounds, I marched 20 kilometers, reached the German lines, and made all my reports. All my comrades were shot. I was brought immediately to the army commander, to whom I made a more complete report comprising political, military, and social intelligence. I had found out through my reconnaissance mission that the Russians intended to push over Klausenberg with fresh armored troops and with anti-tank artillery. Because the armor commander was informed of this news he was able to form his lines and avoid one encirclement.

15. The eastern troop saved a German army corps from complete encirclement and brought back 200 German soldiers who had been left behind. It also was able to destroy completely the water mains of the city of Kronstadt. The west troop came back with valuable reconnaissance intelligence.

16. We suffered about 40% casualties during this mission. Some of the men of the mission who had been left behind in Romania finally joined on March 30, 1945, a W/T intelligence group operating in Romania and were working for them. They had been declared missing in action since October 1, 1944. This group consisted of one NCO and eight men. This W/T intelligence group had been dropped in Romania during the last days of the war and never returned home.

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