Hubert-Erwin Meierdress - Recuperation - Transfer To The Panzerwaffe

Transfer To The Panzerwaffe

In late March, Meierdrees was discharged from the hospital, but was deemed unfit to rejoin the division, which was still heavily engaged in the Demjansk Pocket. Instead, he was posted to the Waffen-SS artillery replacement regiment, SS-Artillerie-Ersatz-Regiment. On 20 April, he was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain). Meierdrees remained with the regiment, training replacements in the use of StuGs. He showed a skill and enthusiasm for training the young artillerymen.

Due to Wehrmacht internal power struggles in the 1930s, although StuGs were armoured fighting vehicles, they came under the command of the artillery, with the remainder of the Panzers being controlled by the Panzerwaffe. In October 1942, the Totenkopf was pulled out of the line and moved to France to be reformed as a panzergrenadier division. Meierdrees, having shown skill in the command of StuGs, was given the opportunity to take the Panzer commander's course at Panzertruppenschule II at Wünsdorf. He accepted the offer and on 14 November, he graduated and was posted back to now reformed SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Totenkopf as commander of I. Abteilung of SS-Panzer-Regiment 3.

With help from Heinrich Himmler and Paul Hausser, all SS Panzergrenadier Divisions were to receive a full panzer regiment, rather than the usual abteilung (detachment). This meant that SS Panzergrenadier Divisions were Panzer divisions in all but name. In December 1942, the situation in Stalingrad meant that the division was needed in the east. It was entrained and sent to the region around Kharkov, where it would form a part of SS-Obergruppenführer Hausser's SS-Panzerkorps.

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