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Werner Ostendorff (15 August 1903 – 1 May 1945) was a German SS-general during World War II who served as chief of staff of the II SS Panzer Corps and divisional commander of the SS Division Das Reich. He died of wounds in May 1945.
|Born||15 August 1903|
Königsberg, German Empire
|Died||1 May 1945 (aged 41)|
Bad Aussee, Nazi Germany
|Years of service||1925–45|
|Rank||SS-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS|
|Service number||NSDAP 4,691,488|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
NSDAP #: 4 691 488 - (Joined 1 May 1937)
SS #: 257 146 - (Joined, 1 October 1935)
Ostendorff joined the army in 1925. In 1933 and 1934, he helped form an SA military training school, and then transferred to the Luftwaffe. Moving to the SS-Verfügungstruppe in 1935, he was an instructor at an SS school until April 1938. Ostendorff then transferred to the new SS-Standarte "Der Führer". With the forming of the first SS division on 10 October 1939, that became SS Division Das Reich, he was appointed divisional chief of staff and held the post until June 1942. Ostendorff was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 September 1941 for leading a counter-attack against the village of Ushakovo in the vicinity of Smolensk which dominated the important Yelnya-Dorogobuzh road. The village was recaptured and the danger of a Soviet breakthrough was eliminated.
Ostendorff led Kampfgruppe Das Reich on the Eastern front from February to June 1942, earning the German Cross in Gold. When Paul Hausser formed the initial SS corps in June 1942, he selected Ostendorff as his chief of staff. He held the post with SS-Generalkommando (later II SS Panzer Corps) until November 1943. Promoted to Oberführer for his actions at Kharkov, he was next given a divisional command. Ostendorff was assigned command of the SS Division Götz von Berlichingen, assuming command in January 1944. During the fighting in Normandy, Ostendorff was seriously wounded near Carentan on 16 June 1944. Resuming command on 21 October 1944, he remained the division's commander until transferred in late November 1944.
Ostendorff was promoted to Gruppenführer on 1 December 1944 and became chief of staff for Heinrich Himmler's Army Group Oberrhein from 2 December 1944 to 22 January 1945. His final posting was to SS Division Das Reich as divisional commander, assuming command on 10 February 1945, and led the division until seriously wounded on 9 March 1945 during the fighting in Hungary. Werner Ostendorff died at a field hospital in Bad Aussee on 1 May 1945.
Werner Ostendorff was a son of the Prussian Regierungsvizepräsident Ernst Ostendorff. Married in October 1935, he and his wife had two sons and a daughter.
- Iron Cross (1939), 2nd Class (19 May 1940) and 1st Class (23 June 1940)
- German Cross in Gold on 5 June 1942 as SS-Standartenführer in Kampfgruppe SS "Reich"
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- No evidence of the award to Werner Ostendorff can be found in the German Federal Archives. The award was unlawfully presented by SS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich. The date is taken from the announcement made by the 6. SS-Panzerarmee. The sequential number "861" was assigned by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).
- Yerger 2005, pp. 78-84.
- Schulz 2003.
- Yerger 2005, pp. 84.
- Thomas 1998, p. 133.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 340.
- Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 330, 499.
- Fellgiebel 2000, pp. 103, 482.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 162.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Schulz, Andreas, Wegmann Günter, Zinke, Dieter: Die Generale der Waffen-SS und Polizei: Lammerding-Plesch, Biblio-Verlag, 2003, ISBN 978-3-7648-2375-7.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Yerger, Mark C. (1999). Waffen-SS Commanders: Army, Corps, and Divisional Leaders, Vol.2. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History.
- Yerger, Mark C. (2005). German Cross in Gold Holders of the SS and Police, Volume 2, "Das Reich:" Karl-Heinz Lorenz to Herbert Zimmermann. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-99-8
SS-Standartenführer Otto Binge
| Commander of 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen
January 1944 – 15 June 1944
SS-Standartenführer Otto Binge
SS-Standartenführer Gustav Mertsch
| Commander of SS Division Götz von Berlichingen
21 October 1944 – 21 November 1944
SS-Standartenführer Hans Lingner
SS-Standartenführer Karl Kreutz
| Commander of SS Division Das Reich
29 January 1945 – 9 March 1945
Standartenführer Rudolf Lehmann