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THE WAFFEN-SS: Divisional Service History, Brigade/Battalion Unit List + Unit Notes.

Discussion in 'Military Training, Doctrine, and Planning' started by Cate Blanchett, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Hello again and welcome to all from B5N2Kate :-D

    As a service to the site files, I present the following 'hard data' piece that describes the development and growth of the Waffen-SS as a fighting entity of the German Armed Services from 1939 to 1945. It includes notes for every 'Division' unit, and a list of the origin of the divisional names given to the various combat formations that reached 'division' status during this period, complex path that it sometimes is. This article does a fine job of keeping track of and summarizing the many name changes and organizational reshuffles. The piece originally appeared in the American wargamer's magazine "Strategy & Tactics" (Issue no. 26, Mar-Aprl 1971). Wargamers of the seventies, of which I was one, were notoriously picky about the standards of information presented to them in their hobby press. The demand for accuracy in their articles was paramount, as it was for the games that S&T produced, one per issue. This was a pure 'info' piece that I present to you now, for your reading, discussion and the source value that this article provides...as always, my own comments will be directly scattered through the text, denoted by ***asterisks, but with this one, there is not much left to argue about....the data for this article is carefully woven into the story, with notes.....Sources will be quoted at the conclusion of the piece, and as always, if you have a comment or would like to post a reply of any length, well, that's just what we are here for!.....

    I Would like to point out, right off the bat before you read this article, that the original author of the body of the work, Steve Patrick, was a staffer for the magazine that this article was published for. The motivation behind listing and rating the combat and human rights performances of each of the units was to do with the very purpose that the magazine was published for....wargames. In the 70s, American civilian designers and military theorists such as John Prados, John Hill, Dave Isby, Don Greenwood, and Ulrich Bleinhemann, started to design historically based games that were known to us as 'military simulations'. This article was like many others presented in the hobby press of the day. It's purpose was to inform those that might like to 'take the plunge' and design their own game on their favourite historical period. The readership, and hobbyists like myself who used to buy and play the games, were interested in historical ACCURACY as a matter of course. The demand for more and more information about everyone's favorite topic for a game, The Eastern Front in World War II, became such that these games became more and more sophisticated; some were so well designed that the American military started to look at the results, and siphon the principle designers mentioned above into their own fields of research. John Prados, for instance, started work on a tactical manual for the U.S. Army, a guide for theorists that may in future, publish military theorist literature in the style of Guderian's "Achtung Panzer!", or Rommel's "Infanterie Greiftan". The 'SS' were a natural interest for the hobby's "Ost-Front" afficiendos, and naturally, the subject of performance, composition and type of recruits that each division was composed of came with it. In games, this information was usually built into the game 'system', usually for combat resolution. People wanted "realistic" results (or as realistic as you could get from an armchair with cardboard and dice!) Some of the games, like John Hill's "Squad Leader", used to actually leave you hanging on these 'decision-trees', the branches of which would force you into tactical movements and actions that, sometimes, you did NOT want to do. When an attack like this failed, it used to leave your emotions quite up-set!.....

    .....well, we WERE looking for as much realism as possible, and John Hill's "Squad Leader', the largest selling tactical game of them all, gave it to us right on the nose!

    And thats what good history should do......sit you up, and surprise the hell out of you!
  2. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
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    So..........Hoping you find the following informative.........

    THE WAFFEN-SS........by Steve Patrick.......***Additions to Information and text by B5N2Kate

    In considering the German forces in World War II, the Waffen-SS poses, or should pose, a problem.
    This is due to the fact that the myth has out-stripped reality.
    Perhaps the point can best be made by indicating several things which are NOT true of the Waffen SS:
    It did not spring fully armed from the brow of Hitler and Himmler on September 1st 1939; it's growth and development was not the result of an organised, planned effort.
    Hitler did not want a large Waffen-SS until late in the war, after he felt the Army had failed him.
    By far the majority of Waffen-SS divisions were not armored divisions and, in fact, there were NO armored divisions in the Waffen SS until late 1943. The Waffen-SS was not composed of pure Nordics and, in fact, less than half of the divisions had a majority of German members.
    The Waffen-SS was not a homogenous-thinking, super-political organization.
    The slow growth of the Waffen SS is set forth elsewhere in this article and need not be rehashed here. Nonetheless, it should be underscored that no division-level Waffen-SS units fought in Poland: that Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler (LAH), infamous after Malmedy in 1944, was the only regiment (standarte), albeit a reinforced one, in 1939..... a brigade in 1940...a Panzer Grenadier division in 1942 and a Panzer division only in late 1943... At the outset of 'Barbarossa' there were only FOUR full strength Waffen-SS divisions, and the size of the Waffen-SS was at a fixed percentage of the regular army.
    Of the ultimate 41 divisions which, at various times, were in the Waffen-SS, LAH...Das Reich...Totenkopf...Wiking...Hitler Jugend...Frundsberg... Hohenstaufen....these were called "elite" by the Waffen-SS themselves, but some, such as 'Kama', were so bad as to be discarded without seeing a shot fired in combat due to unreliability. 'Polizei' which reached division level in 1939, was always a second class division, being an infanterie division when 'Das Reich' and 'Totenkopf' were motorized infantry and a panzer grenadier division respectively, when the rest of 'Polizei's' contemporaries were panzer divisions....in fact, 'Polizei' was the only panzergrenadier division formed of the first ten.
    The image of the Waffen-SS as the elite of the Panzer arm....is false.
    To be sure, they were better trained than the average motorized infantry division, but when Rommel ran through France, the Waffen-SS was no more than a motorized infantry division. Some of the most important fighting was done prior to becoming armed as panzer divisions. In fact, there were NO panzer divisions in the Waffen-SS until the tide began to turn against the Germans, the order officially coming in October, 1943. Of course, the American contact with the Waffen-SS was in France where we faced 'Hitler Jugend' in Normandy, and 'LAH', among many others, at "The Bulge".
    While one likes to think of the Nazi Party as having an idee-fixe concerning anti-semitism and racism, and also that the SS, in controlling such organizations as the Gestapo, was the acme of this whole Herrenvolk spirit..............
    ........the FACT remains that as fast as the German Army overran foreign countries, the Waffen-SS began recruiting in those countries, in contradiction to preconceptions of 'normal' anti-German non-bias. First, it was the Germanic peoples, such as the Danes, the Norwegians and the Dutch, as well as the Flemish. Then the French speaking parts of Belgium and the French themselves were accepted, and before long, the Italians and even the "untermenschen" of Croatia, Galicia, the Baltic countries and Hungary. In the end, even the Russians were formed into Waffen-SS divisions, not to mention Turks, Indians and Cossacks......
    Whether this wholesale adoption of non-Germanic peoples, and, indeed, the very peoples whom the Nazis predicted they would reduce to slavery into a major element of the Wehrmacht ever caused philosophic confusion among the Nazi hierarchy is unclear.........It should have................................But stranger things than this happened in the Third Reich.
    In any event, those who pushed the policy of making the Waffen-SS a European Army may have done Hitler a favor if the zeal with which they gave their lives as the war ended is any measure.........
    By way of background, it should be pointed out that the origins of the Waffen-SS have been traced by some back to the progenitor of the Sturmabteilung, and the Stosstruppen. In fact, the genuine origin was no earlier than 1933, and the Waffen-SS was a product of three seperate trends which intertwined to produce in 1939 the core of the Waffen-SS as it was to become known. The first element began in 1933 with the creation of the 'LAH'. This unit was created, as it's name suggests, to guard Hitler's life. This, of course, was the function for which the SS itself had originally been formed. It is interesting to note that this inflation of "Der Chief's" body guard did not end with 'LAH'; as 'LAH' became involved in the war, Hitler created a new body guard, the 'Fuhrer Begleit Battalion', formed October 1st, 1939 which, in turn, became part of the 'Grossdeutschlandverbande' in 1940 and was expanded to brigade and division level. In 1944, the 'Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade' was formed and this, too, became a division in 1945.
    One wonders where it all would have ended, since by 1945, 'LAH' was at Corps level!
    In 1934, with the creation of the concentration camps and the assumption of their control by the SS from the SA, the 'Totenkopfverbande' was created to run them. In 1935, two SS-Standarten, 'Germania' and 'Deutshland' were raised and combined with 'LAH' to be called 'VERFUGUNGSTRUPPEN'. With the Anschluss, the threads began to be drawn together..........
  3. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
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    On a coldly practical basis, however, one can make some estimate of the relative values of these units.......

    The Waffen-SS Panzer Divisions were as well equipped and as fully manned as any units in the war. Accordingly, they should be assigned the maximum strength in determining the relative values of the various German units.
    On the other hand, the remainder of the German Waffen SS divisions were little better than their regular army counterparts and, in some cases, decidedly inferior.....
    'Polizei', for example, was the only one of the first divisions which was never raised to a panzer division. Whether this was a tribute to the calibre of the men in the Nazi controlled police or due to other factors is not indicated. In any event, even from the date of it's formation, 'Polizei' was not a very good division.
    'Prinz Eugen' was not a very good division but, since it was fighting partisans, it was as good as it had to be. The quality of the men in 'Prinz Eugen' is indicated by the number of men tried for war crimes in Yugoslavia- more than any other Waffen SS division. 'Kama' and '29 (Russ)' were so poor, they were disbanded prior to seeing any action.
    In general, the non-German (ie.Germanic and non-Germanic) divisions were not as well equipped as their German Waffen-SS counterparts and, in many cases, as their German regular army counterparts as well. Yet, before writing off these divisions as somewhat worthless, there is a factor to consider which is difficult to include in a combat factor but which, despite that, renders these non-German divisions of military significance. In late 1944, and particularly in 1945, all but the most fanatical of members of the Waffen-SS saw defeat in the offing. For many, it was the ultimate in stupidity to die in a war that was soon to be over, and so survival became more important than military accomplishments. As was indicated above, this was the case with even so loyal a Nazi as 'Sepp' Dietrich and his VIth SS-Panzerarmee. The prospect of peace made the German Waffen-SS divisions less anxious to win the honor of death in the closing months of the war.
    This was not the case for the non-German Waffen-SS............
    In that regard, the same factors which diluted the Waffen-SS when dilution should have been avoided, helped prolong the war. The reason was simple....... For a German, peace meant taking off the uniform and going back to the Stanntisch at the Gasthaus.
    For the Russian, or Pole, or Hungarian who had joined the Waffen SS and who now found he had backed the wrong side,.....
    .......It was another matter altogether...........
    Most realized that the collaborators would be persecuted and certainly none more than those who had actually, publicly worn the Hakenkreuz. Therefore, the motivation of the non-German Waffen-SS increased at the very time when the motivation of the German Waffen-SS declined. Indicative of this is the number of non-German units which were destroyed, rather than surrender. The effect, in the end, might not have been great, but for Hitler, every soi-disant division of regimental strength that was selling itself to the last man along the Oder meant that much longer before the end came.
    It is this factor, the increase in hardness with which the non- German Waffen-SS divisions staved off the end at the very time that supplies should have been forcing them to surrender without a fight. That makes for a difficult evaluation which, at the same time, must be accounted for in order to tell the story of the part the Waffen-SS played in World War II.

    PART TWO: WAFFEN-SS DIVISIONS..... Their Growth and General Operational Record, 1939 to Late 1943:

    The Waffen-SS grew slowly......
    Being only three regiments in strength at the time of the Anschluss ('LAH', 'DEUTSCHLAND' and 'GERMANIA'). All were motorized infantry regiments and organized essentially on the same lines as the army regiments. As a result of Anschluss, a fourth regiment 'DER FUHRER' was raised in Austria, and 'LAH' was gradually separated from the 'SS Verfugungstruppen' (SS-V). Therefore, prior to the outbreak of war, the SS units under arms were in three groups- 'Liebstandarte', the three standarten of the 'SS-V' , and the 'Totenkopf' standarten.
    By 1939, the 'SS-V' had been augmented by an artillery regiment and, in effect, had the necessary combat power to be organized as a division.
    "Das Heer" was opposed to this.....and that is the reason why the Waffen-SS was not employed anything larger than a regimental unit during the Polish campaign.

    However, the ZEAL with which they applied themselves bore fruit after the campaign. 'SS-V' was formally organised as a division during the winter of 1939. So too were the 'TOTENKOPF' units organized on a division level. Finally, the Police contributed '1 & 2 POLIZEI' regiments to the Polish campaign. They too were organized on a division basis. In the case of the Police the change was less due to the manner in which they served in Poland and more to do with the desire that the Police served the Party before they served the Army.
    By the time of the French campaign of 1940, 3 divisions existed plus the brigade strength 'Liebstandarte'. Again, the Waffen-SS units showed their eagerness for combat to the point that, while many regular army commanders considered the Waffen-SS approach to battle to be, very much, a butchers outlook ,they had to concede that the Waffen-SS had achieved objectives regular units were unable to gain, though the cost was terrific..........(***Von Manstein is usually quoted at this point in other SS literature, praising the SS for their "..verve in attack."...***)

    After the French campaign, the Norwegians and Danes were formed into an SS regiment called 'Nordland', raised 30th April, 1940, and the Belgians and Dutch into SS Regiment 'Westland' raised June 6 1940. These two regiments were later combined with 'Germania' in 1941, into a new division, initially called Germania and then 'WIKING' . During this same period, the unwieldy name 'SS-V' was replaced by 'DAS REICH' under which it is better known. To replace the lost 'Germania', the 11th SS-infantry regiment formerly a 'Totenkopf' standarte, was assigned to 'Das Reich' under the name 'Langemark'. At the end of 1940, the Waffen-SS total strength was 100,000 men.
    In the first half of 1941, several more "Germanic" units were raised from the occupied countries in Scandanavia and the low countries. Freiwilligen 'Nordwest', Freiwilligenverbande 'Danemark', Freiwilligenlegion 'Niederland', Freiwilligenlegion 'Flandern', and Freiwilligenlegion 'Norwegian'. In the same period, two SS-infantry brigades were raised, as well as a separate infantry regiment, formerly a 'Totenkopf' standarte. In addition, a brigade strength kampfgruppe called 'Nord' and two cavalry regiments, combined in a Cavalry Brigade. This rounded out the units which the Waffen SS had available at the time of "Barbarossa". It should be pointed out that the divisions were as yet unnumbered and regimental numbers in each division were redesignated in the latter part of 1943. So, for example 'Deutschland' was SS Infanterie Regiment 1 in 1941, but in 1943, SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 3, while SS- Panzergrenadier Regiment 1 was now one of a number of the regiments in 'LAH', which had previously been unnumbered.

    At the time of "Barbarossa", strengths of WAFFEN-SS units were...
    'LAH'.................................................. .................................10,796
    'DAS REICH'............................................ ............................19,021
    'TOTENKOPF'....................................... ...............................18,754
    'POLIZEI'.................................................. ........................17,347
    'WIKING'.................................................. ........................19,377
    KG'NORD'.................................................. ......................10,573
    FWstandarte 'NORDOST'........................................................904
    FWstandarte 'NORDWEST'..................................................2,500
    FWlegion 'Flandern'.................................................. ...........875

    The overall strength of the Waffen-SS by the end of 1941 was up to 222,000 men.

    In the latter part of 1941, more "racial" German units were raised.
    Freiwilligenverbande 'Danemark', 480 strong, which, to carry the story out, was expanded to become Freikorps 'Danemark', with 1,164 men and ultimately a regiment in the 'NORDLAND' division.
    In addition, there was Freiwilligenlegion 'Niederlands', numbering 2,559 which also became a regiment in 'Nordland'. Freiwilligenlegion 'Norwegian', numbering 1,218, the third regiment of 'Nord'.

    And a number of rather interesting failures.
    Among these vain attempts to draw foreign nationals for the Waffen-SS.....
    The SWEDISH Legion.......which collapsed when the German officers were too harsh to a few of the soldiers.
    An AMERICAN Legion which collapsed after collecting only 6 men!
    BRITISH and INDIAN legions.......An enterprise that faired better than the American unit. They got to the stage of a distinctive uniform insignia..........
    These days, all fall into the same catagory in people's minds as Werewolfs!

    By the end of 1941, 'Neiderland' and 'Flandern' were combined into 2nd SS-Infanterie Brigade and posted to the Leningrad front. The other 'Germanic' units were similarly distributed along the Eastern Front
    From December, 1940 to September, 1942, only one division level unit was formed in the Waffen-SS: 'PRINZ EUGEN'. The most brutal sector of the war was the partisan war in Greece and Yugoslavia. It tied down more and more of the German Army to the point that, at the beginning of 1944, there were 28 divisions and some 600,000! men in the Balkans, all of whom could have been a help on the collapsing "Ost-Front". In addition to 'Prinz Eugen', raised March 1st, 1942, 3 other Waffen-SS divisions were formed (or attempted to be formed), in the Balkans:
    'HANDSCHAR'(13th) A Moslem division which wore a Fez and had an official Iman.
    'SKANDERBERG' (21st) and 'KAMA' (23rd).
    All were raised from local, non-German populations and ALL were quite brutal. In all, the performance of the Waffen-SS in the Balkans was the most brutal of the war.
    Interestingly, these divisions in the Balkans were all mountain divisions and only two of the six Waffen-SS mountain divisions put their major service in areas outside the Balkans. In effect, the Balkans tied down 1/9th of all Waffen-SS divisions raised. In addition, 'Polizei' and 'Reichfuhrer SS' both served major tours in the Balkans, as did both COSSACK Cavalry divisions (units that were under Waffen-SS control, but not, strictly speaking, Waffen-SS units.) The point MOST to be made from the Balkan campaign was that here, even more so than anywhere else and earlier than most other fronts, the Waffen-SS banner was not only not carried by Germans, but by non-Germanics. The men of 'Skanderberg' were the very "untermenschen" which suppossedly were to be dominated as a result of an ultimate German victory. The practice of using Slavs and other non-Germanic peoples became widespread as the Waffen-SS expanded. No historian commenting on this development has ever really resolved the question of how, ideologically, the Nazi's were able to accept these peoples in the most politically oriented part of the armed forces and, at the same time, preach the annihilation of these nations as NATIONS.
    Probably a great portion of the reason is due to the fact that the ***National Socialist Deutscher Arbeit Partei (***or N.S.D.A.P, as it was known to it's contemporaries***) did not attempt to solve this problem.

    It remained one of the many curious contradictions which regularly crop up in the Third Reich.

    1942 also saw the beginning of a change of the major Waffen-SS divisions from straight infantry into armored units. In June, February and May 1942, respectively 'LAH', 'DAS REICH' and 'TOTENKOPF' were assigned armored battalions, though not fully organised as panzergrenadier units. It was not until further along in 1942 that these units were again reorganized as full-fledged panzergrenadier divisions. In any event, by the end of 1942, the Waffen-SS had some 300,000 men under arms. Yet, as December of 1942 came, it was still only of a modest size.....it had 10 divisions and only 3 of them were panzergrenadier.

    It had NO armored divisions.

    Essentially it was in the last two years of the war that the Waffen-SS developed into the organization which is incorrectly considered 'typical' of them throughout the war!

    This rapid development in the last part of the war was due to the decline in German fortunes. As the Army failed to do the job, Hitler turned more and more to the Waffen-SS. In 1943 alone, 10 divisions were raised. More importantly, by the end of 1943, 6 CORPS had been raised. Hitler had, heretofore, strongly resisted Waffen-SS expansion.
    To a great extent this was in order to avoid offending the still victorious Army. When the army began to lose, the need was gone. It was Hausser's SS-Pionierkorps which re-took Kharkov in February 1943 and the Waffen-SS units in "ZITADELLE" were the ones which gained the most ground and did the most damage to the Russians. More and more, Hitler regarded the Waffen-SS as his "feuerwehr" or "Fire Brigade".
    As a result, in October, 1943, the so-called 'elite' units were created by transforming 'LAH', 'DAS REICH', 'TOTENKOPF', 'WIKING', 'FRUNDSBERG', 'HOHENSTAUFEN' and 'HITLER JUGEND' into 'full' panzer divisions.......this up-grade was not unexpected. LAH, DR, and TOTENKOPF had all been recieving first-line tanks ahead of the regular Army panzer divisions for over a year, even before their formal designation as 'panzergrenadier'.
    If the peak for the regular army came in mid-1942, the peak for the Waffen-SS fell around the end of 1943. It had strong divisions (the brigade strength soi-disant divisions were yet to be formed), good morale and, while in retrospect one could call the war lost by 1943.
    It was only in 1944, when no Spring offensive occurred in the East and Italy and the Balkans were draining more and more troops that only but the most sanguine could tell THE END WAS AT HAND
  4. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
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    PART THREE:.....WAFFEN-SS "FEUERWEHR" : ..........Late 1943 to Gotterdammerung.

    The "Feuerwehr" concept should be kept firmly in mind when considering the Waffen-SS in the last two years of the war.
    Hitler had kept a firm hand on the Waffen-SS until "ZITADELLE".......

    There are a number of reasons for this, but the shift to an almost fully mechanized force in early 1943 indicated that the Waffen-SS were more and more favoured.
    By mid-1943, all except the mountain divisions were panzergrenadier divisions. On the other hand, to underscore the 'late-bloom' of the Waffen-SS, those who delight in pointing out the percentage of total German armored units in the Waffen-SS ignore the fact that 27 regular army panzer divisions were formed before the first Waffen-SS panzerdivision was organised. On the other hand, from mid-1943 , 7 Waffen-SS panzerdivisions were formed while only an equal number of regular army panzerdivisions were raised. (this is in addition to 9 so-called panzerdivisions formed in the closing months).

    A brief digression into the basis of the Waffen-SS is essential in order to understand why they were chosen to fill the vacuum created by the inability of the army to successfully prosecute the war.......
    First, there were ideological factors.
    The Waffen-SS was led by "the people".
    Only 5% of the officers were from military families while 90% came from farmer and peasant classes. In the regular army, the percentages ran 49% and 2% for the same classes. In Shleswig-Holstein, Neidersachsen, Franken and Saar (the farmer peasant strongholds of Germany) 1 out of every 3 sons joined the Waffen-SS.
    Then, too, it was a Party army, not truly responsible, in theory, to the army chain of command.

    On the question of who controlled the Waffen-SS?.......... there is some serious debate.
    Those seeking to tie it in as tightly as possible to the Nazi Party will point to formal ties between the two. Paul Hausser, at Nurnberg, alleged that the Waffen-SS was actually "sub-ordinate" to the Army in the field, and only looked to Himmler for personnel, replacement, military justice and fundamental organizational matters;
    "All divisions of the Waffen-SS were incorporated into the army and fought under their command, and, in the final analysis, under the responsibility of the Army."
    That was Hausser's testimony at Nurnberg. That it may have been self-serving does nothing to change the fact that, it essentially remained unrefuted at the trial.

    The twin factors of the Party ties and the source of it's leadership allowed the Waffen-SS to avoid some of the traditions which were so strong in the regular army. Steiner and Hausser were able to introduce some significant innovations; no preference was given for education, future officers served two years in the ranks. Officer and NCO competition was encouraged and closeness between these two Corps arose which was unheard of in the regular army. The real key, however, remained the 'elan' of the Waffen-SS. The temptation to analogize to the US Marines is great but whatever the US Marines have to set themselves apart from the army, the Waffen-SS did with a vengeance.
    Whereas the US Marines are known for high espirit and readiness to fight against harsh odds, the Waffen-SS held the ideal of the mission before anything, including life itself. If the objective was a hill, the Waffen-SS unit assigned the objective would either take it...or die to a man trying. The fact that they were better trained and, in most cases, better armed than their army counterparts, allowed them to accomplish missions that other units could not.
    Unquestionably, Waffen-SS losses were higher than army losses, and probably unnecessarily so. But, their mission completion rate does act as a mitigating factor. By November of 1941, for example, 'Totenkopf' reported a loss of 60% of their officers and NCOs. In effect, the old feudal concept of honor became paramount: he who was NOT under fire was a 'coward'. The indoctrination that at any loss, no mission was too great to accomplish, or that any act was justifiable IF it accomplished the mission, when coupled with laxer discipline, unquestionably made possible the atrocities of Le Paradis in 1940 and Oradour-sur-Glane and Malmedy in 1944 .

    To give the devil his due, however, though these were undoubted atrocities, and not accidents of war, there is no real indication that they were committed in responce to some deliberate doctrine. On the other hand, they were the logical result of the Waffen-SS training and indoctrination.
    Heinz Hohne described the Waffen-SS best when he said,
    "As a result of the introduction of un-soldierly types drawn from the cesspool of political fanaticism.....combined with the fury of battle and a certain relaxation of discipline, the Waffen-SS became apt to use all types of inhuman methods of warfare."

    One of the worst problems with the Waffen-SS was Himmler's inclusion of genuine scum under the Waffen-SS blanket. On April 27, 1941, such units as the concentration camp guards were made part of the Waffen-SS; Whatever was bad about the Waffen-SS, and there were many things, the addition of the concentration camp guards and the Hoher SS und Polizeifuhrers was an unfair smear on the already tarnished reputation of the Waffen-SS. Some 1,500 men were taken from the Waffen-SS for the Einsatzkommandos and certain other reserve units, such as Kaminski's Brigade , were involved in the liquidation of the WARSAW GHETTO , which did no good to their reputation as well. But in defence of the Waffen-SS, at least as far as such units as Kaminski's were concerned, these organizations were not of the same 'character' of such divisions as 'WIKING', and in reaching that conclusion on the Waffen-SS, fairness requires that such units be discounted.

    The profligacy of Waffen-SS commanders with human lives was underscored in January, 1942, when 'Der Fuhrer' standarte was used as a screen in minus 52 degrees centigrade against the Russian counterattack in front of Moscow, while Field Marshal Walter Model (IX Armee) mustered his counterattack forces. When relieved in mid-February, 'Der Fuhrer' could muster only 35 men.
    In any event, this do-or-die spirit, coupled with the success of Hausser's deceptively named SS-Pionierkorps in 1943, left Hitler with the opinion that these were the ONLY troops which could win. The irony was that the core of the Waffen-SS which had carved the reputation of the Waffen-SS was gone.
    For example, the Waffen-SS lost 1,239 officers and 35,377 men, 13,037 of which were killed between June 22 1941 and November 19 1941. That was enough to man two divisions and represented only losses from six divisions. In breaking out of the Cherkassy Pocket at the end of 1943, Wiking lost all it's equipment and tanks and half it's men.
    The replacements did not have the length nor intensity of training of the lost men, nor were they as well indoctrinated. In fact, they came to be drawn from the same replacement pools as the regular army and while they may have been the cream of the crop, they were no longer purely 'partei' men. They tended to think of themselves as less of a 'party' army, and more of a fourth branch of the Wehrmacht. Men like Hausser, Steiner, Bittrich and Phelps not only refused to die for their Fuhrer as the war went on if they could, by withdrawl, fight another day. They took to excluding the non-military Nazi observers from their counsels and ignored Himmler totally (***no more than he deserved!**). Bittrich was relieved of command from II SS-Panzerkorps by Himmler when it was in Normandy, and he refused to give up his command until his superior in the army chain, GFM Model, told him to. Model refused to relieve him...so Bittrich stayed on!

    It was the July 20 1944 Plot which actually put Himmler in the position of absolute power, which many people claimed he had had all along. By the end of June, 1944, the Waffen-SS was 594,443 men strong. But in the last 10 months of the war, Hitler ordered Himmler to form 15 new Waffen-SS divisions. To do so, Himmler began to 'scrape the bottom of the barrel', running a second 'comb' of the Police and turning out training schools. In point of fact, Himmler out-did the demands of Hitler as he created 17 nominal divisions (often no larger in actual strength than 2 regiments.) The 17 were....2 mountain, 4 panzergrenadier, 2 cavalry and 9 infantry divisions. Few of these rose above their initial strength. In addition,
    the Ostturkische Waffenverbande der SS,
    Kaukasisiche Waffenverbande der SS,
    Serbiches Freiwilligenkorps,
    Waffengrenadier regiment der SS (Rumanische 1 and 2 and Bulgarische) were all raised.
    Finally, plans were laid for.....
    Gebirgsdivisions 'Andreas Hofer', SS-Freiwilligengrenadierdivision 'Feldhurrnhalle', Finnischestabatallion 'Kalevala', SS Division 'Neidersachsen', SS-Panzerdivision 'Reichsmarschall', SS -Panzergrenadierdivision 'Wallenstein', and Germanische SS-Division 'Warager'.

    At the end, the Waffen-SS had some 900,000 men doubled in strength in less than a year, of which 1/3 to 2/3 of recruits were Reich Germans.

    The story of the only SS Army, Deitrich's 6th SS-Panzer, is well told in numerous accounts of "Bulge". Similarly, Himmler's two commands, HG Oberrhein and HG Weishsel , can be found in the US Army's "Lorraine Campaign" and "The Last 100 days". These were the only larger than Corps units which could be considered Waffen-SS. If only Himmler was as well!

    The Waffen-SS endured the war well. Except for the debacle of Budapest, which effectively knocked out 3 Cavalry divisions, and several near brushes with the Russians, up to the last weeks of the war, no Waffen-SS division was destroyed in combat. Those which did not see the end of the war, excepting Cavalry, were disbanded by the Waffen-SS or surrendered during the last week or so.
    In the end, the free discipline and the free-booter attitude may have proven Hitler's undoing for the German units. While the foreign units had to fight to the end to keep from being tried as war-criminals, the German units knew they could return home (or at least they thought they could), without being punished.Of the 34 divisions which lasted to the end, though only 3 were actually facing West, half surrendered to U.S. and 5 to British. Only 12 couldn't escape the Russians.
    An interesting sidelight on the impact of the Waffen-SS on the Russians occurred at Nurnberg...the Russians were clearly sceptical when Paul Hausser denied the existence of 134 SS division and 97 SS division ('Golden Lily'). That the Russians were suficiently decieved to think that 2 more divisions existed on the Waffen-SS rolls than actually did is indicative of the IMPACT it had made on Russian minds.

    In the final analysis, The Waffen-SS cannot be measured against any other body.
    It was unique in history in that it cut across traditional military values and practices and yet existed side by side with one of the most traditional military army's in the world. The fact that for four of the six years of the war, no more than 13 divisions were in the Waffen-SS ......
    that at the same time 'Das Heer' had over 300! divisions is over-looked due to the IMPACT of the Waffen-SS.

    To put the matter more precisely in focus, the true reputation of the Waffen-SS was founded on it's 4 and later, SEVEN elite divisions....
    'Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler'
    'Das Reich'
    'Hitler Jugend'
    These units existed as 'Panzer' divisions for only a year and a half of a six-year war.

    In the end analysis, no matter how one evaluates the Waffen-SS, mis-guided idealists, base criminals, or somewhere in between.....

    This small group of divisions ensured the WAFFEN-SS a position in military history along with the Praetorian Guard and Napolean's "Grognards".

    DIVISIONS OF THE WAFFEN-SS - Source list with Notes.........by Steve Patrick...(Original Notes in BOLD Black)


    (** = Unit was nominally a division and had an actual strength of less than that.)

    (***COLOR SCHEME RATING SYSTEM- From best to worst and Why.........by B5N2Kate

    GREEN : Premier Division. ............"Feuerwher" core Division capable of any operation.

    FROST BLUE or DARK BLUE............Color shows recruitment base was Germanic, or highly rated for a foreign unit. Both colours still capable of any operation.

    BLACK : Dependable,.......... Same operational completion standard as a run of the mill 'Heer' Division. Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian based divisions all recieve this rating for dependability, if not for actual combat performance.

    GOLD : Fair rated. Low Countries recruitment base. The sometimes mixed quality of units recruited from this region is reflected by the seperate colour. ........Ranging from Superb to average level reliabilty/performance, the mixed bag that these units were is reflected by their patchy combat performance.

    YELLOW: 2nd Rate. Divisions in this color have poor to sometimes bordering on bad combat ratings, using the 'Poleizei' division as the bench mark..................Cossacks are an exception here, not due to a poor combat record (they fought well in German service), but for their known tendancy for ill discipline and outright independence, privileged military class under the Czars that they were, the Revolution had put them in a terrible position with Stalin. Many Cossacks faced a grim fate on their return 'home' to Russia)

    RED : Fourth Rate............ Undependable, with many examples of units reaching cadre strength then failing to form..may well mutiny if not handled "correctly"

    White - Paper division .........Did not reach cadre strength.

    PURPLE: SCUM .......The truly worst troops to be found anywhere in the German Armed forces...the HURT that these units dished out deserves no more than passing comment, monstrous and barbaric that it was. This trash were a true disgrace in every sence of the word. Worst rating.

    (Oh yes, I just could not resist a couple of quick words to say about the PENAL BATTALION OF THE WAFFEN SS.................They EXISTED, and were NOT a figment of the imaginations of post-war fiction writers!)


    SS-GENERAL Paul Hausser, Corps Commander: Aged 62 by the time of Kursk.....taken prisoner by the Americans 1945.
    "Papa" Hausser, was perhaps the only senior officer of the Waffen-SS to demonstrate any real brilliance. He'd trained in the Imperial German Army BEFORE WWI, in which he served on 6th Army Staff headquarters, before a transfer to the Air service. After Reichswher service, he retired in 1932 with a rank of brevet Lieutenent. Selected shortly thereafter to organize the SS Academy at Bad Tolz, in 1936 he became Inspector General of the Verfugungstruppe (Dispositional Force). He commanded the V-SS during France, following which he led the formation of the 'Das Reich' division, built as they were around former regiments of V-SS. Serving on the 'Ost-Front' he was seriously wounded in October 1941. Appointed to command the newly created SS Panzer Corps in May '42, Hausser led the unit in Russia and the West before being given command of the 7th Army on 28th June 1944 for the Normandy campaign. He was badly wounded again on August 20, losing an eye, but he recovered sufficiently to take command of Army Group G on 23 January 1945.

    SS-GENERAL Wilhelm Bittrich: Corps Commander:
    'Willi' Bittrich was appointed to command his two famous divisions for his tenacity as much as anything. A lot of the quality that came from the 9th and 10th SS divisions was not just due to their reliability or national origin, it was because that in this role and level of command, Bittrich was very well suited, and more and more he was called on to deliver the goods with his two fine divisions. At Normandy, however, both units suffered heavily, leaving the majority of their vehicles in the Falaise Pocket, and being sent to rest from this cauldron to a quiet Dutch town, with a "good billet and a good road net" as Bittrich put it. The town was Arnhem in Holland....and there, far from the front, Bittrich found the cutting edge of WW2 dropped right on his doorstep....eyeing the situation, he made his dispositions and had affairs virtually in hand by the time his superior, Walter Model, arrived. But Model was thinking ahead too far, andordered that Arnhem bridge be left standing....contrary to Bittrich's advice. As the attacks failed against the British, Model demanded an explanation, "In all my years as a soldier," Bittrich told Model, "I have never seen men fight so hard." Model was unmoved and still required the bridge to stand in place...Bittrich was a 'dapper' and well kept officer (as accurately portrayed by Maxmillion Schell in the Pinewood Studios production of "A Bridge Too Far'), but he was also "decisive and brilliant" as described by British historians, and he dug his heels in and finished off the 1st Airborne division before it's relief elements could arrive...it had been a near run thing. So intence was the street fighting at Arnhem, that it caused a ripple of admiration throughout the German Army, and for the SS in particular, as demonstrated by an RAF prisoner.

    Geoff Taylor at Stalag IVb , witnessed this event in late 1944 ......

    Silence. A Dixie of potato-peel soup bubbles on the stove. the owner sighs heavily.
    "Roll on the goddamn K-rations" he mumbles.
    Waiting one dying summer's day by the barrack door, with a gusty wind down from the Baltic chilling the sun-shine, you are idly watching British airborne troops from the opposite barrack door draw their 'skilly' ration for the day. They are some of the survivors of the Arnhem operation. It seems years, not a few months, since the secret radio brought us the BBC news that British airborne forces had landed at Arnhem and, surrounded and outnumbered, were fighting desperately in the old Dutch town in German occupied territory. Even the German newspapers that came into the Stalag confirmed the BBC claim that the British troops were making the best of a sticky wicket. Commented a war communique' in the Berlin Volkischer Beobachter:
    "Our crack SS troops and strong formations of armoured units are engaged in bitter and bloody fighting at Arnhem with a force of elite' British paratroops"
    Whether the word "elite" was used unconciously or as a face-saver in the event of German failure to hold Arnhem, the communique was a compliment to the fighting ability of British troops at Arnhem.
    When the first batches of British prisoners from Arnhem came marching through the western gate of the stalag many were still suffering from battle-shock, despite the fact that they had spent weeks after capture being shunted and jolted around the bombed and strafed German railway system in overcrowded box-cars on the tail-end of a freight train.
    Unwashed, unshaven, hungry, thirsty, and gaunt they looked down, way down, but not out. The red berets with the winged parachute insignia were soiled but worn jauntily and the mottled camouflaged jump-jackets, though stained, filthy and ripped, were worn with a kind of cockey aggression. Though prisoners, they had no reason to be downcast about their battle record. At Arnhem they had fought until they had nothing left to fight with, and some fought on in the crumbled Arnhem houses wielding billets of wood and pieces of furniture in bitter hand-to-hand fighting. They could have thrown away their weapons when they realised how hopeless the situation was and still become prisoners, but had stayed with it. Few of these men in the barracks across the road had fought for a gracious home and in the country, a block of west-end flats or a flourishing business in the city. Talking to them, you came to the conclusion that they fought on at Arnhem simply because it never occurred to them to do otherwise.
    Standing at your barrack door, watching the airborne boys line-up for their mug of watery pumpkin soup (may you never see pumpkin soup again), you ponder over the fierce fire that consumed the hearts and souls and minds of these men, an abstract flame of something to do with duty and love of country and self-preservation which made them fight like devils possessed.
    If you ever met any of these men in civilian clothes, back in an English pub, they would probably impress you no more than you would impress them, and you consider the inevitable fact that, after this war is won and we are all home again, these men will return to their families and factories and fields and nobody will be un-duly excited about what they did at Arnhem, because nobody but those with them was there to see how they fought.
    As you watch them shuffling patiently forward to the big iron bucket of slops, the heroes of Arnhem, you find youself aghast at the grand all embracing stupidity of poets who sing of the true glory of war.
    No sooner have you got thinking about this.............
    than you glimpse a flurry of colour coming along the stalag road towards the paratroopers. At the head of the cavalcade, surrounded by a group of officers in the sombre service dress of the German Army in the field, is a high ranking officer. He is enveloped in a Wagnerian cloak that swirls at his heels and frames his arrogant face in lapels of startling crimson. From the gilt-encrusted tip of his unswept peaked cap to the glittering toes of his immaculate jackboots he is the walking personification of the German High command.
    "Christ!",says someone behind you, moved to emotion by the sight of so much Teutonic splendor, "It's bloody Goering himself!" It's not Goering though. This man is too lean, too hard.
    The group halts by the paratroopers and, for the next ten minutes, you witness the amazing spectacle of an immaculate German brass hat moving amongst a crowd of battle dirty, piratical British paratroopers, talking with them, occasionally smiling and sometimes solemnly nodding his head. Meanwhile, the queue, nevertheless, moves inexorably on to the bucket of skilly.
    Then .....the informal inspection is over, and without even a flicker of curiosity in the tens of thousands of other prisoners in the stalag the gilded general with his comet's tail of followers sweeps back up the road to the gate.......and is gone.

    The airborne boys apparently earned themselves quite a reputation at Arnhem. Even with the Germans. There is, it seems, some glory after all in battle".

    ............Geoff Taylor, "Piece of Cake", pages 190-191.

    The General officer in question, from his VERY dapper appearence, lack of monical (not Walter Model therefore) and peculiar interest ONLY in the Red Devils, that General was none other than Wilhelm Bittrich. "Willi' Bittrich, in the manner of Gen. Max Hoffman at Tannenburg, singlehandedly, by his orders, stabilized the fluid front AND prolonged the war by months. Model is often descibed by historians as "The Fuhrer's Fireman", but at Arnhem, Model clearly failed to realize the strategic situation.

    For Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich, it was both his and the 'Red Devil's' finest moment of the war.
  5. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    SS-GENERAL Karl Wolff: "Desk General":
    The term 'desk-general' is a little misleading in this instance. World War II is full of German desk generals that had little or no influence. Keitel, Jodl and others were known as 'lackeys' ( Wilhelm Keitel's nickname, "Lackeital", was a army wide joke on this very observation, and Hitler referred to the rubber-stamping Keital as having "...the brains of a cinema usher."....Jodl once caught Kietal writing a letter with pistol in hand....Keital was a bit of a tragic figure, for at least Jodl could stand up to Hitler when he felt on firm ground....Keital had no such courage, ...He was hanged at Nuremberg.).
    But SS-General KARL WOLFF is one individual desk general that was different........in a lot of ways, Karl Wolff remains an 'enigma', a definate puzzle, and a very dark puzzle it is in the shadows of the German High Command, for he was everywhere, this General in power circles, and there is a lot of historical evidence that he played both sides against the middle in his role as Himmler's Adjudant, and before that, and more importantly, adjudant to Hermann Goering in 1934.

    General Wolf was the very man that sat with Herman Georing as he made one telephone call after another to co-ordinate his activities. The purpose was a 'purge' of the leadership of the Sturmabteilung, ( and other so-called "enemies of the state" like Communist Social Democrat Gregor Strasser and Baron Kurt von Schleicher, Minister of Defence, 1932), or the "Brown trash" as they were referred to by the Army. This was referred to by historians as The "Night of The Long Knives" ,or OPERATION "KOLIBRI" ("Hummingbird") as Wolff tells it. Goering, as head of the Prussian Gestapo, was tagged as the planner, and on 30th of June, 1934, the telephone wires literally glowed, as Goering co-ordinated the activities of an officer that was to become a truly menacing presence in the SS heirarchy, and in Europe itself.............. Reinhard Heydrich, the executioner of 'Operation Kolibri'.
    The SS were only fledgling, and the 3 million strong SA where not trusted by the Army, or the industrialists that backed the Nazi Party with funds, and by this, virtually guaranteed the financial stability of the regime.

    The High Command Generals had publicly disassociated themselves from the SA and in particular their leader, a former great war and Munich Freikorps veteran, an old crony of Hitler's....ERNST ROHM. Rohm had signed his own death warrant by making a 'tour' of SA establishments and units in the period of that summer leading up to June 30th, making speeches in which he proclaimed that a 'second national revolution' was now the job of the SA, and that the Army should adopt the SA wholesale as it's recruitment base for the soon to be expanding Reichswehr. The commanding General in charge of building the '100,000 man Army' was General Hans von Seeckt, a Berlin Staff College graduate tasked with reforming the Army from the organizational mess it was in in the wake of the Feikorps and the Versailles treaty (about to be thrown out entirely by Hitler in less than 12 months). "The Sphinx" was not impressed with this scenario at all, wanting instead to train every one of the 100,000 men allowed to him by Versailles as OFFICERS or senior NCOs of excellent quality. When the time came for expansion, Von Seeckt would have just that much easier a time fleshing out the cadre strength formations that the 'Reichswher' was at this very time experimenting with on exercises.
    In the measured gaze of "The Sphinx", Ernst Rohm wanted to leave the SA holding all the cards.

    And,in the words of Alfred Krupp, armaments Chief;
    "Re-armament is too serious an issue to be left in the hands of drunkards and homosexuals."

    Rohm had to be gotten rid of (something his decendents have never forgiven the German government and the Nazi's for.....Rohm's widow called Hitler "eine kliene man" for his treachery of Ernst). Concocting a phony story of armed insurrection, and surprising the SA at their mountain holiday retreat, Heydrich's men struck, with Hitler arresting Rohm personally. Goering was expansive and hosted a Berlin press conference that was attended by the narrator of the documentary that I saw. Goering is said to have joked to the journalists gathered, saying,
    "I Know you boys like a STORY.....well I've got a STORY for you alright!"
    ....Rohm was murdered in his cell by another SS man who would become notorious....... EICKE, later commander of the Death Camps.

    Most of the information we have first hand of this is only because of SS-General Karl Wolff, the man watching it all from Goering's office in Berlin.........
    The career of Karl Wolff is a blank from here, except for his capacity as Chief of Security for Italy, most historical reference or general histories make little mention of him, either in political or military terms......

    But Wolff was the man that was secretly negotiating with the Americans for a final surrender in the war's last months, and sounding out the Russians in the early 'Barbarossa' days.. It seems of all the Generals to pick for this work, Karl Wolff was the choice, an SS-General. Hardly the sort of man you would send to any peace negotiation. Wolff was tall, over six-feet and still with a very full head of white hair when interviewed. His piercing gaze had not changed one bit from photos taken of him in wartime, as a British journalist questioned him about his role in the "Night of the Long Knives". Wolff remains as the 'hidden' side of Waffen-SS politics that will probably never come to light.
    The question of who exactly DID control the Praetorian Guard in the Third Reich could have been answered by this General, and whole bunch of other important historical events that he could have shed light on (**note below). But General Wolff has not, to my knowledge, published a memoir, and his only personal comments concerning his entire period of service are confined to his role as Goering's adjudant in 1934....
    Some time in the future, somebody may dig up something that sheds light on the whole issue, but for now, SS-General Karl Wolff remains the largest puzzle to be confronted by historians, a very curious and sinister place to hold in any annals. Karl Wolff was imprisoned at Nuremburg but released .

    **..The literal translation of 'Verfugungstruppen' was, after all, "Troops available (to carry out tasks required of them by the Party)".

    WAFFEN-SS DIVISION LIST..........Notes by the original author of the text story, Steve Patrick will be shown bold and unitalicized.

    EXPANSION NOTES AND PRINCIPAL OFFICERS....... Notes by B5N2Kate will be prefixed with 3 *** and appear italicized

    1st SS-Panzerdivision 'Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler':Commander Otto 'Sepp' Deitrich (1892-1966), then Brig.Gen Mohnke.
    Formed Oct'39. Originally a regiment (standarten) and only became a brigade in Summer '40. Still, it's strength was 10,796 in June '41. Became a Division later that Summer, gained a tank component in '42. Officially a Panzer division early '43.
    Contained SS-PzGrenadier Regiments 1 & 2 and SS-Pz Regiment 1 (commander at Kursk, Major Martin Gross).
    ***One of LAH's TIGER plattoons at Kursk was commanded by the most famous Tank crew in the German armed services. Hauptsturmfuhrer Micheal WITTMANN, and his gunner Balthazar WOLL. Their score at Kursk alone was 30 Soviet machines. Wittman's Tiger single-handedly brought an entire operational thrust to a halt outside the Norman village of Villers-Bocage, destroying most of the Cromwell and Stuart tanks of the British 4th County of London Yeomanry, 13th July, 1944. 'LAH' First saw service in Poland and France as a motorized (truckborne) infantry regiment, later going into the Balkans and Southern Russia as a motorized infantry unit. Sent to occupied France in August 1942, it was rested, refitted, reinforced and reorganized into a panzergrenadier division. Returning to the Eastern front, it took part in the Manstein counteroffensive, suffering heavy losses in the house-to-house fighting for Kharkov and losing 4,540 men. New equipment, including Hummel (Bumblebee) and Wespe (Wasp) self propelled artillery, and replacements from the Luftwaffe, made good some of the losses, but there were insufficient tanks to re-equip the 1st battalion of the division's Pz regiment, and that unit did not take part in the Kursk offensive. In August a transfer to Italy found them disarming surrendering Italian divisions. While in Italy it gained full division status, recieving it's first 'Panther' tanks, and reforming it's battered 1st battalion. Returning to Russia in autumn '43, and after almost continous heavy fighting, another rest and refit. There followed a stint in Normandy, after which at the Ardennes they were the spearhead of the counteroffensive, with Joachim Pieper (assisted by Skorzeny's 150th Brigade of 'English speakers' in American uniforms), they boldly plowed forward to their objectives only to run out of fuel and be forced to make their retreat on foot! Now Sent south for the defence of Hungary, and the final battle for Vienna, they found themselves surrendering to the Soviets.
    Commander 'Sepp' was the Third Reich Waffen-SS 'wonderboy'; squat, thick-necked and with the face of a 'bouncer', who is on record as protesting to Hitler personally several times about his unit's involement, or lack of it, in atrocities against Jewish "bandits". If 'Papa' Paul Hausser was said to be the 'father' figure of the Waffen-SS, Otto 'Sepp' Deitrich was described as instilling the Waffen-SS with 'spirit'.
    At his funeral, no less a Third Reich personage than Otto Skorzeny made the now famous comment "He gave to the Waffen-SS a style and an espirit-de-corps which may possibly be compared only with Napolean's Imperial Guard."
    On the other hand , Colonel von Der Heydte, when briefing Dietrich for his drop during 'Bulge' said that he was "obviously drunk",
    and Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich said, "I once spent an hour and a half trying to explain a situation to Sepp Dietrich with the aid of a map. It was quite useless. He understood nothing at all."
    Runestedt called him "Decent but stupid".
    Goering was more sympathetic, and felt that as an Army commander, Deitrich was untrained, inexperienced, and "He had, at the most, the abilty to command a division."

    2nd SS-Panzerdivision 'Das Reich': (formerly SS-Verfugungsdivision and SS-Division "Reich") Commander Lt. Gen. Walter Kruger at Kursk. Succeeded by Gruppenfuhrer SS Heinz Lammerding for 1944, Himmler's Chief of Staff, still wanted in relation to Oradour-sur-Glane. Lammerding sentenced to death in absentia, Bordeaux 1951.
    Formed Oct '39 with SS-Regiments 3 (Deutschland), 4 (Der Fuhrer) and 9 (Germania).
    *** Development similar to 'LAH'. Took part in Balkan campaign and Barbarossa. Lost 60% of manpower during Soviet winter counteroffensive. After summer of '42 spent resting in Fransce, returned to Ost-Front winter 42-43. Also suffered heavily around Kharkov/Belgorod. Looses so heavy it was down 1st Panzer regiment for Kursk as well (filled with captured Soviet T-34s). More heavy losses around Kiev (November). Sent to France, where it committed the Oradour-Sur-Glane atrocity on it's march to the front zone, in reprisal for one of it's officers killed by French partisans. After being ground down once more, partially rebuilt in time for 'Bulge', before the Ardennes fighting found them spent again. Confusion in the last months, with conflicting orders from OKW scattered the different regiments of this division. The three elements ended up in Budweis (4).....(3) was in Linz (near Hitler's birthplace)..and (9) was slated to relieve Berlin....3 & 9 were ground down and forced to surrender where they where...but, along with most of the other elements and vehicles from Das Reich, sent the third element 'Der Fuhrer', on a rescue mission for Prague. After a brief drive, which swept Czech partisans aside who were holding the city with rogue German Cossack elements, 'Der Fuhrer' advanced into Prague. Collecting the more loyal elements of the German garrison, a convoy of over 1000 vehicles evacuated Prague on 8th of May,'45. At Rokiczany they were trapped and forced to surrender by the US. 2nd Inf. division, who stripped them of all medals and regalia, before lumping them into other formations of prisoners, something the survivors of the regiment had hoped to avoid on capture with a prideful display....at least they did not have to surrender to the RUSSIANS!

    3rd SS-Panzerdivision 'Totenkopf': Original Commander SS-Gen. Theodore Eicke, killed February '43 when his recon plane was shot down during Manstein's "Backhand-Blow"....Commander for Kursk was SS-Gen Max Simon.....Post war commanders of the unit while in captivity of the Soviets kept dissappearing, including it's last commander SS-Major Gen. Helmuth Becker.
    Also formed Oct'39. Recieved tank element mid-'42. SS-Regiments 5 (Thule), 6 (Theodor Eicke) and 3 SS-Panzer.
    *** Formed firstly from concentration camp guards, fought in France 1940, performance there marred by a number of atrocities against Allied prisoners. During Barbarossa, the month of September saw Totenkopf's withdrawl, with all it's regiments suffering an average of 80% losses, mainly as part of Manstien's flank attack against Leningrad. At Karkhov and Belgorod, Totenkopf sustained far fewer losses than other SS-divisions in Hausser's corps, so was in better shape for Kursk. It spent a lot of time in the East, but was transfered for the Ardennes like a lot of SS units, before playing a major role in operation "Konrad', shoulder to shoulder with 'Wiking'; surrendered to the Americans after the failure at Lake Balaton, they were promptly turned over to the Soviets for a long 'stretch' in their prisons.
  6. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    4th SS-Polizeigrenadierdivision.'Polizei':..Commander Gruppenfuhrer Genral der Polizei Karl VON PFEFFER-WILDENBRUCH.
    Formed from non-SS Policemen October '39. Always a poor quality division. Contained SS-Regiments 7 & 8.
    ***Towards the end of the war, it also received 4 SS-Panzer batallion. This Division was the only one of the original 4 formed that did NOT go through the SS training school at Bad Tolz; this may explain it's susequent poor performance. Recruited from former members of the Ordnungspolizei (Ordinary Police), they were princippally armed with Czech made weapons, and supported by vintage horse-drawn artillery and transport, hardly an inspiring combination. Elements of Polizei were trapped in Budapest at the conclusion of the war, but the majority of the division ended up as part of Army Group East Prussia in the last month of the war. Otherwise, this unit spent a lot of it's service time fighting partisans. After spending the campaign in France passively occupying the "West Wall" during the initial advance, the June fighting along the Aisne River saw Polizei securing the left flank of the advance, suffering a French armored counterattack, and another small engagement to break the line at Les Islettes before being put into reserve on the 20th of June with over 1,400 casualties. Transferred for the Russian campaign, it began as part of AGN, but was in reserve for two months before engaging in any fighting. Henceforth, it spent the majority of it's service time assisting in partisan fighting and other security 'aktions' appropriate to it's Police recruitment base. The last months of the war saw it listed as part of Army Group East Prussia's 'Hela General Command' batch, so it must have been caught up in the German reteat from Jugoslavia and surrendered to the Russians.

    5th SS-Panzerdivision 'Wiking' ( formerly SS-Division 'Germania')...Commander Obergruppenfuhrer Herbert Otto GILLE
    Formed December'40. Scandinavian volunteers, although not enough of them came forward and never more than 20% of the division consisted of non-Germans . Regimental numbers follow usual SS pattern. Contained 9 & 10 Regiments (PzGren) and (5 SS-Panzer regiment. Reg. Commanders Lt. Col Fritz Darges and Lt. Col Hans Dhor.
    *** The only foreign unit to be made a 'full' panzer division and not designated as an 'auxilliary' unit, "Wiking" was named to appear as though the composition was predominately German. Leon Degrelle refers to this division as the best of the lot, his Walloon Legion having served a period of time under Wiking. Interestingly enough, he says that his service time as part of the Wiking division was in the Ukraine. 'Wikings" battle record was extensive, assaulting the "Stalin Line" and the Korsun Pocket for the beginning of Barbarossa as part of AGS (III Pz Corps), it was transferred to XIV Corps to assist in cutting off Russian units around Stalino, it was then sent to the Mius river to attampt to take Schachty, but bogged down in the mud, encountering stiff resistance. Placed into reserve for rest and refit, it was one of Manstein's divisions for the proposed relief of Stalingrad ('Wintersturm'). At Cherkassy, it was the only armored unit trapped, and covered the flanks for Degrelle's "Wallonie" unit. Over-run, it lost most of it's vehicles at Cherkassy, before survivors went into reserve to rebuild. 1944 found them back in Russia in front of Warsaw, before a transfer south. A battle group from this division is listed as available to the 4th SS-Panzer corps of Army group South's 6th Army for Jan '45......so it seems that some elements of Wiking were shipped to Germany just like the people of 'Nord' were for the Ardennes offensive. 'Wiking' spearheaded Operation 'Konrad' in Hungary in the war's last weeks, but like the rest of the Sixth Panzer Army, probably surrendered to the Soviets, for this was part of Army Group South.

    6th SS-Gebirgsdivision 'Nord'- Commander... SS Brigadefuhrer Richard Hermann, Commander during training and posting Brigf. Karl-Maria Demelhuber (17th Jun41, 20Apr'42), last Commander on surrender SS Gruppenfuhrer Brenner.
    Formed June 1941. Originally a mountain infantry brigade in Finland, raised to division status early'41 (after approx. 6 months as a brigade). SS-Regiments 11 ('Reinhardt Heydrich'), and 12 ('Michael Geissmair')
    *** Further research indicates the original commander of this unit was "not impressed" with this unit's standards of training, or it's possible performance. Officers in this division are listed as reservists, mainly, with artillery components having no experiance in firing in support of Infantry, even after time spent at Juterbog, the Army Artillery School. It seems that Hitler and Himmler were loath to admit that some Waffen SS elements were sent into battle less than fully prepared for the coming ordeal. NORD, despite these handicaps, performed well. served in Lapland until the German withdrawl, whereupon it was shipped to Germany to take part in the Ardennes offensive.- with no particular distinction. Cut off on the western side of the Rhine in March 1945, the division- now only 6,000 strong- put up a spirited resistence, taking several days before overwhelming US forces ran it to ground. The division commander was finally captured on 2 April, with approximately 800 survivors, bringing it's organized resistence to an end. A battle group from 'Nord' turned up at operation 'Konrad', as part of something called "Group Pape";.....a small battle group from 'NORD' were present at Berlin. They took part in an attempted breakout on May 1st, after Hitler was dead. Commanded by Franz Kempka, the group, which included Martin Bormann, and Neumann, propaganda minister's aide-de-camp.. Their single tank was supposed to escort the party slowly up the Freiderichstrasse towarsd the Zeigelstrasse. A Russian shell destroyed the tank, also killing Bormann and Neumann....The rest of the group returned and surrendered with the Berlin garrison on May 2nd, 1945.

    7th SS-Freiwilligengebirgsdivision 'Prinz Eugen'
    Mountain unit Formed in Serbia March'42 from local Germanic "volunteers". SS-Regiments 13 ('Arthur Phelps') and 14.
    *** Perhaps the most infamous and best performing of the Balkan divisions, with a good standard of equipment used. In an attempt to control the growing partisan problem in Yugoslavia, the SS raised the 7th to combat them in their own environment. During it's tour of duty, the 7th took part in many operations, including the attempt to snatch Tito and the destruction of the 1st Jugoslav Partisan division. By the end of 1944, they were fighting a Bulgarian-Russian army invading Jugoslavia. At Cilli, the last elements were overrun and scattered by partisan forces. The unit was composed of Banat-Swabians, mainly from Jugoslavia, but also from Hungary and Romania. The spring of 1943 saw it transferred to the Bosnia-Dalmation coast on anti-partisan ops. In October it was shifted to the eastern flank of a general withdrawl in the Belgrade area, in which it suffered heavily. Losses were made good by December, when some of the more reliable elements of 'Skanderberg' were absorbed. This division earned one of the worst reputations for the commission of atrocities of any body of troops in World War II, and it's actions provided the primary rationale for the postwar expulsion of about 250,000 Banat- Swabians from Jugoslavia. The tens of thousands of German troops who took part in the savage last year of the Balkan campaign, were authorized to wear a comemorative shield on their uniform sleeve (reading "Balkan Campaign 1944-1945"). In the confusion of the last days, however, it's estimated no more than 250 of those authorized recieved them before surrender.........one can't imagine too many of them wanting to wear it anyway....memories of the entire campaign are barbaric, to say the least! Over 150,000 troops and auxiliaries surrendered to Jugoslav forces, 100,000 of which did not return home. Caught south of Vukovar and decimated in January 1945, what was left of it withdrew into Austria.

    8th SS-Kavalleriedivision 'Florian Geyr'- Commander: Hermann Fegelien, promoted to Hitler's Headquarters as SS Liason Officer, executed by Hitler a few days before his own death; unit at surrender commanded by Major General Jochen Rumohr (killed at Budapest).
    Formed March'42. Cavalry unit from two SS-Cavalry brigades late'42. SS-Regiments 15, 16, 17 and 18.
    *** With a nucleus of tough professionals, about half the 8,000 men were ethnic Germans from Hungary, Bessarabia, Transylvania and the Banat. Key combat multipliers were it's anti-tank battalion, which inlcluded 10 Hetzer assault guns for Budapest, and one 150mm and two 105mm towed artillery battalions. This division also had an effective flak battalion comprised mostly of the dreaded (towed) 88mm guns......these reinforcement units for Budapest reflect the reliability factor placed on this unit my it's German leaders, but it should be kept in mind that SS-Cavalry divisions were much better equiped than their Army counterparts. So reliable was this division seen to be, that in 1942 Bach-Zelewski especially visted the original regiment commanded by Fegelein (whilst Fegelien was on leave) to exhort their efforts in the extermination of the local Jewish population, a task Fegelein's troops performed. Surrendered to Soviets at Budapest after a nightmare retreat that saw very few survivors.

    9th SS-Panzerdivision 'Hohenstaufen'- Commanders Brigadier General Sylvester Stadler, then Obersturmbanfuhrer Harzer.
    Raised December '42 as a panzer division. SS-PzGren Regiments 19 & 20. 9 SS-Panzer regiment.
    *** The second stage growth of the Waffen-SS had been deliberately postponed by Hitler, with an eye on the post war role of the service branch and in an attempt to preserve some exclusion. He also wanted to deter "show-off" volunteers....But after Stalingrad he abandoned his objections and authorized the raising of two new Pz divisions, 'Hohenstaufen' and 'Frundsberg'. To raise the troops for both Himmler was forced to conscript young native Germans for the first time, over the protests both of their parents and the Army. November of 1943 saw both divisions finish training and equipping in France, followed by a pure 'fire brigade' rush to bail out the entire 1st Panzer Army (of LAH, Das Reich, and Totenkopf) at Tarnopol. No sooner relieved than to go racing back to the Western front for the build up against invasion Europe, turning up at Arnhem for a rest from Falaise. The resulting fight against paratroopers was said to be the hardest fighting they came up against for the whole war! After 'Bulge' they finished up as part of Army Group South in the 1 SS corps of the 6th Pz Army, which means they were at the Lake Balaton fiasco, before a probable surrender to the Americans in the retreat into the Harz Mountains and Czechoslovakia generally.

    10th SS-Panzerdivision 'Frundsberg'- Commander: Heinz Harmel....then Brig.Fuhrer Carl von Treuenfeld
    Similar composition and recruitment to the 9th. SS-Regiments (PzGren) 21 & 22, Panzer Regiment 10 ('Langemark').
    *** 'Frundsberg' was the twin division of 'Hohenstaufen', whose Service record is basically the same. Last listed AGC, 4th Panzer Arm, OKH Reserve. These divisions were in the same corps, commanded by Obersturmbanfuhrer 'Willi' Bittrich. 'Hohenstauffen's' Recon element at Arnhem, Captain GRABNER as commander, (SS Recon battalion of Pz 9,) was ordered on recon drive south of the bridge, which his unit crossed...Having conducted his recon, Grabner's unit headed back across the bridge, still assuming it was held by Frundsburg, and ran head on into Colonel Frosts elements of the 1st Airborne. Frost described the resulting massacre of Grabner's unit as "A lovely action..."

    11th SS-Freiwilligenpanzergrenadierdivision 'Nordland'
    Formed March '43 from elements of the 5 SS-Division and Finnish Ski troopers.. SS-Regiments 23 ('Norge') and 24 ('Danmark'). SS-Panzer Batallion 11 ('Hermann von Salza'), (which was in late'44 joined by SS-Heavy tank battalion 503 to form SS-Panzer Regiment 11).
    ***......Nordland served with other Europeans SS units at Narva in February '44, helping to eliminate a Soviet bridghead and performing well in the face of massive Soviet assaults. At Krivasso, a "fire Brigade" battle saw vicious hand to hand fighting, as a counterattack degenerated, only to be saved by arriving Tigers, allowing a withdrawl. Lilllenbach and Sirgula saw more of the same.Listed in OKW records in Jan45 as (Reserve "resting"), part of Army Group Vistula's batch in the North of the country. Remnant of this division turns up fighting in the final battle for Berlin as part of 'alarm-groups' of bits of other units. 'Nordland' was part of Weidling's 56th 'corps', with the regular 18th remnant alongside them...The Battle of Berlin only lasted 9 days with the city divided into two zones by the German commanders were also at odds, with Goebbels as Gauleiter of Berlin as a bitter enemy of neighbouring Gauleiter Sturz, the very man whose co-operation he NEEDED to make anything happen in Berlin at all. This pair themselves had not briefed Weidling as to his proper role (ie. he 'assumed' he was in command!) Resistence, chaotically organised as it was, was actually quite TOKEN until day five, when the outer 'zone' had been swifly penetrated by Soviet forces....The fighting is progressively more intence as Russian positions close in on the 'second zone' or 'zitadelle', one of the mapped areas the high command had divided Berlin into for defence, with FLAK towers acting as major sticking points, and Hitler Youth fighting desperately harder and harder, until by April 29, the Chancellery and Reichstag are within 100 yards of Soviet lines. The Soviets pause, and send a patrol in to plant a flag on the Reichstag, one of the most famous pictures of the war....'Nordland' was understrength for Berlin, but it was 'operational'. Other units in Berlin less so.

    12th SS-Panzerdivision 'Hitler Jugend'- Commander, Brigadier General Hugo Kraas.
    Formed June'43. Cadre from the 1 SS Division. SS-PzGren Regiments 25 & 26, Panzer regiment 12.
    ***Last listed as part of Army Group South, 6th SS Panzer Army, I SS PzCorps, so the final elements probably surrendered to the Russians. During the same post Stalingrad expansion that saw 'Hohenstaufen' and 'Frundsberg' appear, a third division was raised from the 1926 Class of the Hitler Youth. It's then 17 year old soldiers were to become notorious for their ferocity among the Allies in Normandy the following year. In it's first major action, the HJ division fought tenaciously around Caen before staging a tricky holding operation which kept open the Falaise-Argentan Gap long enough to allow 20 divisions to escape the pocket, though certainly not all. It was a praiseworthy performance, tarnished by a reputation gained in Normandy and the 64 Allied prisoners they were certainly responsible for killing in their first three weeks in the 'Bocage'. The HJ entered Bulge at only 90% full strength and chronically short of junior officers. After Bulge in which they acted as the spearhead of the attacking German forces along with LAH, they finished up along the West Wall, before transfer to Austria and the mountainous area around Wienerwald, where unrelenting soviet pressure ofrced them out of their positions after only two days. But, for the Battle of Berlin, at least, some of these fanatics stuck it out to the end....The very last decorations distributed by hand from 'Der Fuhrer' were in the last days at the 'Bunker'...and that ceremony was for members of the Hitler Youth; youths and boys that had been blasting Russian tanks at the 'Zitadelle'. Hitler is shown patting one of these boys on the cheek as the newly medaled child smiles for the camera......haunting piece of footage and a living testimony to the fanaticism of these "Flintenweiber". Sporodic and fanatical resistence by young uniformed soldiers were part of the last days resistence in the so-called Alpine Redoubt, something which existed only in Goebbels mind. Operation 'Wehrwolf' caused much trouble, but ultimately failed as all other attempts did to reverse the fortunes of the regime.

    13th Waffengebirgsdivison der SS- 'Handschar' ( Kroat No.1)
    Raised from Croatian volunteers and Balkan Moslems in Jan'43 for anti-partisan work.
    *** Possibly the worst regular combat unit in the Waffen-SS, this unit was formed as the "Bosnian-Herzegovinian" or "B.H" division. It first consisted of Bosnian moslems and Croat volunteers formed around cadres drawn from 'Prinz Eugen." When volunteers began to run short, Roman Catholics and Croatian Home-Guardsmen were induced to join. The 13th had many trappings of the Moslem regiments of the old Austro-Hungarian army, including a grey Fez and regimental Imams to lead prayers. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a refugee from British justice, was installed as the division's religious overseer. Sent to south-central France in mid-'43 for training, the 13th mutinied, a rebellion the Grand Mufti helped to quell. Nazi officers failed to exhibit the Hapsburg 'touch' when dealing with this ethnic group. Steadfastly refusing to operate outside it's own area, the unit had to be returned to Jugoslavia in late'43. Once back in the Balkans, it refused to operate in coordination with other German and Croatian units, generally avoiding combat with partisans. Instead, the 13th SS confined it's activities to massacring Christian Serb villages, whilst also racking up record desertion rates. In October '44, during the general German retreat from the Balkans, the 2nd Panzer army disarmed these well equipped but highly unreliable troops for redistribution to German troops. Finally committed to combat against the Soviets later that year in Hungary, it performed so poorly it had to be withdrawn to Jugoslavia. The beginning of '44 it was still listed as "(remnant) 68 corps, 2nd PZ Army, before it was finally disbanded shortly into the new year.
    Just to put you in the picture as to the average German soldier's attitude to the Balkans, General Rendulic, on assuming command of anti-guerilla operations in the Balkans in 1943, recieved over 1,000 requests for transfer to any other front, EVEN RUSSIA, rather than stay in Rendulic's command. Sobering to realize that moral on both sides was affected by the nature of Balkan fighting....brutal and bloody that it was.

    14th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Galicische No.1)
    Formed July' 43 from Ukrainians with German officers. One of the better "foreign" units. SS-Regiments 29, 30, 31.
    *** The name of this division was a wistful reference to Austria's Ukrainian possessions of pre-1918. These enthusiastically anti-communist soldiers provided 100,000 recruits when first called up in April 1943. The division was destroyed in it's first battle in the Brody-Tarnov Pocket...The survivors never fought again. It must have been reconstituted with fresh levies, because it is listed for the last month of the war as part of the 1st Cavalry Corps for Army Group South's 2nd Panzer Army. Ending up in Czechoslovakia, this divison surrendered to the Russians, and the bulk of it's surviving personnel were promptly shot by their captors, a common fate for SS soldiers surrendering to a barbaric Russian enemy, but for these Ukrainians in particular.

    15th Wafefengrenadierdivision der SS (Lettische No. 1)
    Formed from Latvian Police and civilian volunteers, Feb'43. SS-Regiments 32, 33, 34.
    *** First to rally to the cause in the early heady days of 'Summer Barbarossa'; Baltic leaders from Latvia and Estonia flocked to the Waffen-SS banner with 22,000 volunteers two months after the call, and by mid-1944 there were three available; two Latvian, and one Estonian., though by that time Himmler had imposed conscription. All fought well until their homelands were overrun, not least perhaps because they were all part of General HILPERT'S trapped Army in the Courland Pocket. These divisions in Courland are still kicking right up till May 9th, so this one is listed as a Reserve for Couland Army Group, Jan 45. Part of this division turns up fighting for Berlin, so it surrendered to the Soviets.

    16th SS-Panzergrenadierdivision 'Reichsfuhrer SS'...Commander Brig. Gen. Max Simon....then Oberfuhrer Otto Baum
    Formed Corsica Oct'43 from the SS-Sturm brigade 'Reichsfuhrer SS' (RFSS) which had originally been formed as Himmler's bodyguard. PzGren Regiments 35 & 36.
    *** Rushed to the front partly trained in response to the Anzio landings, they remained in combat in the Anzio/Nettuno bridghead until March 1944. Accompanied 'Horst Wessel' and 'Florian Geyer' into Hungary to forestall an anti-German coup. Division elements reunited after being brought back to Italy, the British drove this division back past Siena and Pisa to Carrara. Ehgaged in heavy defensive fighting for the remainder of '44, it became embroiled in anti-partisan operations, committing atrocities at Padule de Fececcio and Sant' Anna di Stazzema. They were involved in massacres of civilians at Marzabotto in September of '44. January '45 found it in far northwest Italy before transfer to Lake Balaton. Looks like we have to classify this unit as SCUM, based on their two brutal commanders and many anti-partisan operations of a brutal nature. Appropriate, though, for troops associated with Himmler....This unit was the only other major SS unit to serve in Italy apart from LAH, and is listed for the last month of the war as part of I Cav Corps, 2nd Panzer Army, AGS...Surrendered to the Russians

    17th SS-Panzergrenadierdivision "Goetz von Berlichingen"-
    Formed France October'43, mainly Germans, but many Belgians and Rumanians. SS-Regiments 49 & 51 late'44, SS-Regiments (PzGren) 37 & 38....
    ***Last listing, Army Group 'G'. 1st Army, 13th corps.... Spent time in Normandy, mainly as part of the General Reserve Divisions grouped under Gehyr von Scweppengurg. Committed to battle within a week of the landings southwest of Carentan, they strugglled to hold back the Americans, understrength and short of heavy weapons., remaining in their sector until the end of July. "Goetz" put up a frenzied defense in the face of massive air-bombardment for operation 'Cobra', and on July 29th, they smashed through American defenders with "Das Reich" before succumbing to overwhelming numbers near St. Denis le Gast. Forced back to avoid encirclement toward Avranches, their losses forced a general retreat through the Falaise Gap. Deployed to Metz on the West wall for a refit, they next appeared at 'Bulge' as part of the "Norwind' operation in Alsacealongside "Nord" on 1 January, '45. Although initially successful, the offensive foundered within a few days. It then becomes part of Army Group 'G', before being chased into Austria. This division was one of the last two to surrender...to the Americans.

    18th SS-Freiwilligenpanzergrenadierdivision 'Horst Wessel'
    Formed Jan'44 around 1st motorized SS brigade with Hungarian Germans. SS-Regiments (PzGren) 39 & 40.
    *** Sent to Hungary on the same mission as 'RFSS' and 'Florian Geyr', 'Horst Wessel's' partisan fighting soldiers spent the war entire in the Balkans. For the Slovak mutiny, their operations were along side a security division composed of local Tatra recruits called the 'Tatra' Security Division. 'Horst Wessel's part was to drive southward, in conjunction with Battlegroup 'Schill' and the Dirlewanger Brigade. Following the rebellion's fall, they stayed in the Batsonka and Grosswardein areas until early December '44. Encircled at Budapest, this division was fortunate enough to make it's escape, retreating back into Slovakia, before being almost totally wiped out. It is revealing to realize Hitler's attitude to all things military in the Balkans, saying privately "If they want to bash each other's heads in, let them go ahead."...

    19th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Lettische No. 2)
    Formed Jan'44 from 2nd Latvian SS infantry brigade. SS-Regiments 42, 43, 44.
    *** Same notes as for the other Baltic divisions. All served and surrendered together in the Courland Pocket. In fact the Pocket was more than just a trapped army.....Nobody is sure quite how many civilians were trapped in Courland, but estimates run as high as seven million. The German Navy had serious doubts as to it's ability to gather even a third of these people onto ships to escape to the Reich. Hitler had issued a 'stand fast' order, wiping out any chance of saving the army when the crunch came, and the Navy suffered heavily, as Soviet submarines finally started to achieve large successes against German shipping for the first time in the war, including their biggest prize of the war, the "Kraft Dursch Freude" holiday liner for middle class Germans (there were two of them, the other was it's sister ship 'Robert Ley'),"WILHELM GUSTLAV", with an estimated 8,000 people crammed aboard a modest sized ship of 25,000tons. In terms of maritime disasters, the 'Gustlav' was the largest loss of life EVER from a single ship; it has an interesting legend attached to it....A certain Gauleiter, a brutal man called Erich Koch, was said to have stolen the Russian national treasure of the "AMBER ROOM", broken it up, and placed it in crates aboard the 'Wilhelm Gustlov'...interesting story. When the Russians captured Koch, they kept him alive, presumeably to milk him for information on the whereabouts of the "Amber Room"....This priceless treaure has not been recovered to this day.. Another two large vessels of similar size were also sunk by Soviet subs during this operation/evacuation, the GOYA and GENERAL STUBEN. 15,000 people perished on these three ships alone. Total losses in the evacuation unknown. But,despite the terrible loses, the Kreigsmarine succeeded in carrying through an evacuation of 2 million people, probably the largest evacuation of any kind during the war, and since. Many survivors of the Courland Pocket that landed in Sweden were handed straight back to the Soviets by heartless Swedish authorities.

    20th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Estnische no. 1)
    Formed Jan '44. Estonian volunteer brigade and the Special Employment division 300 (Estonian police). SS-Regiments 45, 46, 47.
    *** Notes the same for the Estonians. Surrendered after Courland. Figures for losses for Army group Courland are hideous , and the story of the battle to keep the Russians at bay in Courland is a tribute to the desperation that these trapped forces fought with. In concert with other units in the Pocket, the cdefences in Courland did not formally surrender to the Soviets until the 9TH of MAY, 1945. Troops here held off FIVE separate Soviet offensives to gain time for the evacuation...there wasnt room enough for everbody to flee on ships anyway...42 Generals, 8000+ officers, 208,000 men, including the Luftwaffe's entire 1st Air Fleet, all passed into Soviet captivity....a great many of whom did not return from Soviets camps and prisons. A cruel fate for brave troops that had no choice but to fight to the end......A remnant is is listed as part of 17th Army(reserve) for 1945, so some troops must have escaped the Courland Pocket, and been re-grouped and place in reserve.

    21st Waffengebrigsdivision der SS 'Skanderbeg' (Albanische no.1)..Commanders..Brigf. Josef FITZHUM (17 Apr-Jun44)....Oberf. August SCHMIDHEIBER(Jun-Aug)....Oberstb. Alfred GRAF (Aug 44-..? 45).......strength (best) 6,156 in '44.
    ***Formed on Himmler's orders 17 April '44,raised from "volunteers" in Koddevo, Albania. With a complete lack of German officers and equipment combined with the dubious nature of the Albanian rank and file, who refused to operate out-side ethnic Albanian areas, preferring instead to stay close to home and rape, pillage and massacre Christian Serbs. The division never completed it's organization nor it's training. Even small units outfitted with captured weapons and sent out on anti-partisan duties deserted. by mid 1944, most of the recruits were unemployed German sailors from ships trapped in the Aegean. When the Germans retreated from Albania, the division was disbanded, with the more reliable members transferred to the 14th Gebirgsjaeger of the 7th SS division in late '44. ('Prinz Eugen' in fact, and they must have felt right at home, for Eugen's record was bad, though not as bad as the terrible unit they had just come from!)..........This further research indicates another quick downgrade! Scum they are!

    22nd Freiwilligenkavalleriedivision der 'Maria Theresa'-Commander:................................? Killed at Budapest
    .Cavalry formed May'44 from 70% Hungarian Germans and cadre 8 SS-Division. SS-Regiments 52, 53, 54, 55.
    *** About the same size as it's brother division 'Florian Geyer', draftees mainly from western portion of Hungary. Performed very well defending approaches to Pest. Within the city, it's troops had excellent relations with the population, due to their Hungarian background, (many spoke little or no German). Retreat from the Budapest fighting saw less than 700 survivors at the end of the war in Europe.
  7. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    The following units** did not reached full strength and were at most, brigade (half a Division).......................

    **23rd Waffengebirgsdivision der SS 'Kama' (Kroatische No.2)
    Formed in Bosnia,June'44 from Croat-Moslems. SS Regiments 56, 57, 58
    *** Morale was so poor during training that it never saw action and was disbanded only 4 months later, soldiers here proving too difficult to discipline. Cadre of Germans and Volksdeutsch. The training ground selected for this unit was in the way of a Soviet offensive, and it was broken up and the cadres used as replacements for SS division 31 (that unit collapsed as well..great recruit material!). Total strength on breakup, 3,293.

    **23rd Freiwilligenpanzergrenadierdivision der SS 'Nederland'
    In Dec'44 a second 23rd Division was started, this one around 4 SS Brigade 'Nederland', in turn formed from Dutch volunteers and remnants of 2 motorized brigade.
    *** Saw action after it's formation from the Courland survivors at Stargard and Stettin before being forced back towards Berlin. Was listed in Army Group Vistula's Reserve batch of divisions in January 1945, listed as "resting". Stationed along the North coast as part of 30corps, fleshing out the regular 249 division(Heer) to make up the corps, so probably surrendered to the Soviets like other units from Group Vistula.

    **24th Waffengebirgskarstjaegerdivision der SS. 'Karstjaeger': Commanders Staf. Dr Hans BRAND (July 42-June 44), Stbn. Joeseph Berschneider (June-Jul 44), Stbn. Max HAHN (July 44-aug 44), Obstbn. Karl MARX (late summer44-late 44), Obstbn. WAGNER (late44-Apr44), Brigf. Hienz HARMEL
    Mountain unit. Formed July-August 1942. from mostly Italian Germans...SS-Regiments 59 & 60.
    ***Division originally began as a 'high' alpine company formed in July'42 for operations in the Istrian peninsula. Within 4 months it had grown to battalion size, mostly Italian Fascists, and took part in Axis operations until Italy surrendered. In July 1944, the 24th was ordered that it be expanded to division size, drawing additional manpower from the Tyrolean and Italian alps. It apparently never exceeded regimental strength, and was disbanded in 1945 with Italian armistice, surrendering to the British 6th Armored.

    **25th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS 'Hunyadi' (Ungarische no. 1)
    Formed May'44. Hungarian Germans... SS-Regiments 61, 62, 63.
    ***The authors assumptions about the two Hungarian divisions are either misguided or just assumptions. This division had plenty of recruits available, and was set up at the request of the Germans to their Hungarian allies after Admiral Horthy was deposed, The bulk of personelle were from the survivors of the Honved 13th division, and by the end of November showed 22,017 volunteers on it's rosters! However, Equipment was very poor, and during November only 27 Ford trucks, 2,100 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 50 LMGs and 25 mortars could be found for them. During training, the division was split into morning and afternoon shifts to share the weapons. By New Year, 3,000 panzerfausts and 1,600 bicycles had augmented the list, but it still left whole battalions only 'foot mobile'. On 8 Feb'45, the Russian advance intervened their stay at Neuhammer. An emergency regiment was formed to hold the Russians off, while the rest retreated as fast as their feet would carry them. The main body escaped, and there followed weeks of movement through a shrinking Reich. After a quick conferance, attended by a who's who list of Hungarian Fascists, the decision was made to march home. They got as far as Molin, Germany before events took them over, when after a brief skirmish with Patton's third Army, in which Patton lost 5 tanks, they surrendered. This partially trained and under-equipped unit made no significant contribution to the defence of the Reich whatsoever! Plenty of enthusiasm though!

    **26th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS 'Hungaria' (Ungarische no.2)
    Formed May44. Hungarian-Germans. SS-Regiments (PzGren) 64, 65.. This division number was also used in an unsuccessful attempt to form a division from 49 & 51 SS Motorized brigades.
    ***The story of the second division from Hungary in the post Horthy period is worse. Initially planned as a PzGren division, The ranks of this division, over 16,000 strong at recruitment and over 10,000 of these men were civilians, many who went to the front still dressed in civilian clothing, rather than well trained ex-Honved people. Training was also at Neuhammer, but the overcrowding caused by all the enthusiasm caused a move to the Sieradtz training area. The poor state of armament within the division was such that small bands of Polish partisans were able to thwart attempts at foraging as they moved across the wintry farm country, mostly on foot, toward their new billets. The 12 of January 1945 found them dead in front of a massive Soviet offensive, with the QMG of German 9th Army requesting for 'Hungaria' to turn over what few weapons it possessed to re-arm shattered German units beginning to stream Westward. This proved a massive blow to morale, and put an end to all hope of making this an effective combat formation. The march back to Neuhammer through Poland cost 317 dead and 2,253 missing, and a further period of wandering led to the surrender with it's sister division after the Salzburg Hungarian conference.. Another story of too little too late for the moribund Reich.

    **27th SS-Freiwilligengrenadierdivision 'Langemark': Commander...Stbn Micheal LIPPERT (41- April '42)...Obstbn. Joeseph VITZHUM (4apr 42 -Jun 42)... Osturbaf.Conrad SHELLONG (14 July 44 - Sep '44)....Obief Thomas MULLER (Sep44-May45).....
    Formed Sept'44 from 6SS volunteer assault brigade 'Langemark' (in turn, from 'Nederland' serving with SS-Division 11. Contained SS-Regiments (PzGren) 67('Langemark') and 68.
    ***......Right from it's formation, this unit was understrength, but thrown into battle anyway, it required frequent levies, one of which included 137 RUSSIANs, and at one stage is listed with only 50 men.....After Russian front service, it went to the Ardennes, then back to the Eastern front, before it eventual fate on the Elbe, just failing to make the American units and having to surrender to the Russians, the majority of the unit wiped out fighting around the Berlin outskirts.

    **28th SS-Freiwilligengrenadierdivision 'Wallonian'- Commander: Obstbn. Lucien Lippert (June 1st, 1943-13th Feb '44), then Brigadier General Leon Joeseph Marie Ignace Degrelle 1906-1994
    Formed from 6 SS volunteer assault brigade 'Wallonian', Sept '44.( in turn formed from late'43 'Wallonian Legion'). Belgian civilian and POW volunteers. SS-Regiments (Pzgren) 69 ('Wallonie') and 70.
    ***January 1945 Army Group Vistula Reserve Batch, and were part of Steiner's command for early 45. Surrendered to Soviets after being decimated in Steiner's brief counter attack into Zukhov's flank.
    *** Interesting interview with Leon Degrelle in which he claims that this unit reached a strength of 15,000 at it's peak. Of the original 6,000 man regiment before it became a division, 2,500 men had been killed. One of the very first of the division to volunteer, Degrelle was one of 20 or 30 men who were PERSONALLY presented with the Oak Leaves to their Knight's Crosses by 'Der Chief' himself, for his service in the Cherkassy Pocket, (12 of those had been at one ceremony for the glider borne victors of of Eban Emael)....Degrelle further claims that this unit had the most number of decorations awarded for a foreign unit. He himself was the most decorated non-German soldier in Nazi service. A Belgian military attache', asked for an opinion of Degrelle, said, "As a soldier, I salute him for his courage on the battlefield; as a Belgian, if we could get our hands on him, I would gladly see him hang for the traitor he is." Degrelle fled Belgium. His brother had been murdered, his parents and wife killed. He stated that "My own government condemned me to death, but they have not pursued those that murdered my family in the name of their own causes. Justice is determined by those in power....nothing else." Degrelle commented after the war,
    "Hitler once told me that if ever he had a son, he wished he could be like me."

    ** 29th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Russische no.1)...Commander...Bronislav KAMINSKI, executed by German authorities for continued atrocities by troops under his command.
    Formed March'44 from Russian personnel with Police experience. Poorly trained and equipped, transfered to 'Vlasov Army'.SS Regiments 71,72,73,74
    *** This unit was actually still listed as a part of Army Group Vistula Reserves in April of 1945 after it's apparent disbandment and transfer to Vlasov! This unit began life as the RONA Brigade, staunchly anti-communist "White Russians" from the Brjanksk region. RONA is short for Russkaya Oswoboditeljnaja Narodnaja Armya (Russian National Liberation Army). These people initially composed 20,000 fighters, and had cleared their region of communist partisans, battleing them to a standstill. Provided with German guidance and weapons, by 1943 the RONA were an officially recognized auxiliary of the Whermacht. With 5 infantry regiments, one tank "brigade", an engineer battalion and a heavy MG section. Soviet advances in 1943 put the RONA in a difficult position. The certainty of Death in the hands of soviet authorities forced the 20,000 man brigade and 30,000 family members to join the retreat westward. Partisans harrssed them at evry turn, and Kaminski decided to volunteer his unit for the SS as a method to gain access to better supply sources, realizing his unit was last on the list of German priorities.. The SS had worked with the RONA in the past, and were receptive to the idea, as was the Propaganda Korps, which planned to exploit this unit to full advantage. Kaminski was immediately promoted to full SS Colonel and this unit was officially designated SS Sturm Brigade "RONA" and later the 29th Division of the Waffen SS. By the time the retreat reached upper Silesia, only 15,000 men had survived, and 10,000 civilians had perished in the march. Called upon to help in the Warsaw fight of 1944, Kaminski initially refused. His soldiers wanted to fight Communists, not Poles. The heavy casualties in the retreat had taken much of the fight out of this unit. Kaminski sent only batchelors to fight at Warsaw. The SS gave these men the most risky jobs. Many were killed outright during the attacks on fortified positions. Those unfortunate enough to be captured by the Poles wetre shot out of hand. Continueing to fight until the Uprising ended, Warsaw finished the 29th as a fighting unit. Involved with Dirlewangers unit at the outset of the Uprising, complaints from Regular Army and SS commanders forced Himmler to act. The orgy of rapes, looting and pillage disgusted troops forced to serve with these scum, with the troops of this unit and Dirlewanger's actually threatening any German Army soldier that tried to interfere in their activities. The fate of soldiers of the 'RONA' or "Vlasov Army" was grim indeed. Most that thought themselves lucky to surrender to the Americans were handed straight back to Soviet authorites....One does not need to imagine that most would have perished quickly, nothing less than they deserved for their continued barbarism. Truly, a stain on the character of the German Armed services.

    ** 29th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Italienische no.1)
    When the previous 29th Division was scrubbed from the rolls, a new one was formed from Italian volunteers... Formed March 45, cadre 44 SS brigade.
    ***..............more research needed

    ** 30th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Russische no.2)
    Also formed around Russians, but in August. Recruits for this division mutinied rather than fight. Collapsed in chaos. SS-Regiments 75, 76, 77.
    ***......more research needed

    ** 31st SS-Freiwilligenpanzergrenadierdivision "Batschka"(a.k.a. "Bohemen Maran")
    Formed early '45 around instructors and training staff from schools in Czechoslovakia. SS-Regiments (PzGren) 78, 79, 80.
    ***.....Intake also included cadre from 'Kama' division that had been spilt during training. Last listing puts it as part of AGC, 17 corps, 17th Army. See below for notes on this division from site user Gothard.

    ** 32nd SS Panzergrenadierdivision '30 Januar'
    Formed October'44.. SS sundry training personnel. SS-Regiments (PzGren) 83, 86 ('Schill') and 87 ('Falke').
    *** Originally built up from a group called 'Battlegroup Schill". This unit was formed in response to the Slovak Mutiny of August 29, 1944, centered around the mountainous Tatra region. In early September, in concert with 'Horst Wessel', a concerted drive began to surround and isolate Slovak forces and prevent them Soviet air-drops that would turn the region into another partisan stronghold. So serious was this mutiny seen to be by the Reich government that it wasted no time in crushing the rebellion as quickly as possible, and in a persistent drive north towards Bystrica (Slovak field HQ), this was achieved by the end of the second week of September. The Soviets did in fact manage to drop a Czech paratroop brigade into the Tatras, but the rebellion was crushed before they got into action, the survivors filtering north through the mountains and into Poland. By Christmas it was slotted into Army Group 'Vistula' in the 5 SS Gebirgs Corps. Other units in this Army Group surendered to the Russians, so we will say 'same for this unit'.

    ** 33rd Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (Ungarische no.3)....disbanded early'45
    Formed from Cavalry units of the Hungarian army, late'44. SS-Regs 88, 89, 90.

    ** 34th SS......Paper unit.
    Was to have been composed of "loyal" Dutch Nazis. No known units assigned.
    ***It is in fact listed as part of 30 Corps, 25th Army, North Coast for January 1945....it's anyone's guess at this stage as to whether they even got to cadre strength...Steve Patrick ( original author) doesn't seem to think so...I've found nothing to oppose this view.

    ** 33rd Waffengrenadierdivision der SS 'Charlemagne' (Franzosische no.1)
    Formed November 1944, but wasn't ready until late in the war. The first 33rd division was destroyed defending Budapest in '45. This one was composed of French SS personnel. ***For Battle of Berlin, this unit chiefly went into action as the defenders of the REICHSTAG.
    ***......Its worth listing here the....
    Units Available to the Germans for Berlin in total, which included members of this division and.....
    Berlin Wach Regiment....From the Grossdeutschland Division,
    SS Battle Group 'Mohnke'....Defending the inner zone , this unit of 1,000 men guarded the Chancellary.
    Understrength groups from Weidling's 56th Panzer Corps; SS NORDLAND and the equally weak 18th Panzer are the only two units of this Corps that can be described as operational, if weak.
    Other active units called 'Alarm Groups' of infantry composing pupils of military schools, regimental depot staffs, convalescent soldiers and men on leave. With no experience of training or fighting together, these units were of doubtful military value.
    Heer Divisions, 20th PzGren, Gen. Mommerts 'Munchberg', and Luftwaffe 9th Fallschirmlaeger........all of these three divisions had no capability of holding a line in their present state for Berlin. The 9th Fallschirmjaeger had been thrown into battle along the Oder before it was fully raised, and it had been "smashed" in the Oder fighting...now it's remnants were in Berlin.
    The rest of the organised troops were more or less of no use in a military sence. There were Factory guards and locally raised anti-tank groups. Of the least value were the 'Landesschutzen' made up of old men long past military age who could not be use on active service, but were guarding depots and bridges. Armed with obselete rifles (with not much ammo).
    Of only slightly more use were the replacement and reinforcement groups,
    while the postal defence units and the police detachments were quite good though poorly armed.
    Of the two principal, regular non-military formations, the Volksturm was a force whose value is difficult to assess. Some Volksturm battalions gave up after only minimal opposition while others fought with heroism...
    No heroism as great, though, as the Hitler Youth....Most of them armed with single shot Panzerfausts hollow charge weapons, these 'Flintenweiber' would wait for Soviet tanks to be right on top of their positions before launching their weapons.
    ARTILLERY: Hodge podge mixture field artillery of foriegn make, usually with only 30 rounds per barrel. The backbone for artillery was the Luftwaffe 1st FLAK Division, with four regiments equally adept at fighting Soviet armor in a ground role....The main problem for the Berlin defenders was ammunition. All three depots of stored munitions fell into Soviet hands early in the battle. Attempts to air-drop were not successful, not delivering anywhere the needed quantities requested, and what was dropped in mostly fell into Soviet hands!
  8. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    ** 35th SS Polizeigrenadierdivision...was to have been organised from Municipal Police units. No known unit assigned.
    *** A battle group attached to the V corps of 4th Panzer Army is the only listing I can find for this unit. Looks like the cadre was formed and then was assigned before the division itself could be organized....Turns out this division may have become part of the 13th SS Corps, with the cadre fleshed out by regular and volksturm units....and it was one of the last two major units to surrender....to the Americans...(phew!)

    ** 36th Waffengrenadierdivision der SS. Commanders..Obstbnf. Oskar DIRLEWANGER, until he dissappeared Feb-45...another souce claims Dirlewanger was beaten to death by former concentration camp inmates, then, Bridf. Fritz SHMEDES..Formed February'45, from 2 SS assault brigade 'Dirlewanger'....only one known regiment assigned, the 92nd.
    ***...Last Army listing as part of 5th corps, 4th Panzer Army, in Army Group Centre. Looking at this unit's record, it's service is on the level of 'scum', with actions mentioned co-operating with units like Police Battalion 32, and with known 'jew' killers like Bach-Zelewski. Original unit formed 1940 from guards at Sachenhausen concentation camp...not the best material...In it's climb to division status, it had intakes of Russians, Azerbijanis, and a very large group of 4,000 from the Eastern Muslim SS JUST BEFORE THE WARSAW 'GROSSAKTION'....one can only hope these 'people' WERE picked up by the Soviets, or the Jugoslavs, anyone that could give them the treatment they deserved.

    ** 37th SS-Freiwilligenkavalleriedivision 'Lutzow'
    Cavalry regiment formed from foreign volunteers February '45. SS-Regiments 93 & 94.
    *** Initial recruits for this late starter were formed from the survivors of the two Hungarian Cavalry Divisions destroyed at Budapest in addition to other 'volunteers'. Last listed as part of Army Group South, 8th Army, 43 Corps, this unit did not get into action with the strength of a single regiment it was composed of swallowed up in the Russian advance, so more than likely these people surrendered to the Russians.
    Same source lists an SS PzGren battle group called "TRABANDT".....anyone with reference to this unit, let me know.

    ** 38th SS Panzergrenadierdivision 'Niebelungen'.
    Formed from instructors and staff of the main training center at Bad Tolz, in early March'45....no known assignment of regiment.
    ***......Possible that some members of the same training center, and therefore elements from this division, were part of the Munich SS Standarte, mentioned below, listed as OKW Reserve, a batch of divisions either resting or being raised. Since this was still being formed in January, one can assume it was still being raised by the time Berlin came around....more than likely, then, surrendered to Americans.

    ** 1. Kosaken-Kavalleriedivision der SS- Corps Commander : General von Pannwitz
    ***Cossacks..First formed and deployed in October 1943. Not directly subordinate to the Waffen SS but on their rolls anyway, as of December 1944. Nominal paper strength of 16,000 men. Traditional basic Cossack unit called a SOTNIA (about the size of two squadrons). The many volunteers, each with their own horse and rifle, were grouped by the SS into this traditional formation as a basic sub-unit from which these two divisions were gradually built up, and were blessed with good elan' and excellent officers, both commanded by Pannwitz. Other Cossack divisions served with the 'Vlasov Army'. Despite Hitlers earlier fears, these troops proved highly effective, and were even "allowed" to assist regular German units in their operations. Mainly, though, they were used to fight partisans.

    ** 2. Kosaken-Kavalleriedivision der SS:- Commander Cossack General Bunyachenko
    ***Cossacks....as above. Note that both these divisions had a limited ethnic recruitment base, as even other Russians could not join, but there were a lot of Cossacks to choose from anyway! In all, with the Cossack 'Plastun' (infantry) brigade as support, there were approximately 70,000 Cossack soldiers in German service. And they gave rise to one of the sddest incidemts of the war, namely the intervention of Cossack troops at Prague, from a disobeyed order by Cossack General Bunyachenko, who took his troops and crossed Czechoslovakia from the camps at Beraun to occupy Prague without a shot or atrocity committed. As the heroes of the hour to the Czechs, the German reaction was to bring these troops back into the fold! Without any qualms of conscience, Bunyachenko marched his First Vlassov Cossack Division back to Beraun, where American troops accepted their surrender at nearby Pilsen. After wine-ing and dining the Cossack Generals, American authorities backed away as officers of the NKVD and Secret Police arrived in the area....the lucky Cossacks were the ones who died quickly...."Most perished miserably; beaten to death, blinded, tortured, and pushed into vats of acid. It was serious delusion for Vlasov and the Cossacks to believe their actions would be seen, not as attempts to establish a 'homeland', but as the "treachery" that it was."

    General Notes for Waffen-SS Divisions.. by Steve Patrick.
    The characterization of a division as a panzer division or panzergrenadier division or grenadier division is the FINAL designation that division had. 'Das Reich' was formerly, as Verfugungsdivision, a motorized infantry division, then as 'Das Reich', a panzergrenadier, prior to reaching panzer status.
    In cases where the division number is used twice, this is in accord with SS practice. In each case the 1st named division was disbanded prior to the creation of the 2nd. In fact, until the end of the war, the Waffen-SS tried to avoid having vacant numbers, a practice not followed in the army, and, although for a relatively brief period, there were 38 consequtively numbered Waffen-SS divisions in 1945. All told, 41 units bore the designation of division in the Waffen-SS, though only 38 division numbers are assigned. Actually, a number of other regiments and similar units also existed under the "runes". Of these, 21 actually reached division strength and only 7 were fully manned by the Germans. To evaluate the hetorogenous elements which fought in the Waffen-SS is a difficult task. One reason is the myth of the Waffen-SS. The Western Allies happened to face the truly 'crack' divisions, though not all of them; 'Totenkopf' and 'Wiking' did not fight in the West in 1944-45. To the Americans and British, engaging the Waffen-SS was to face a fully equipped, hard fighting foe. The Russians have not related the extent to which the mere presence of Waffen-SS divisions affected their conduct of the war. Certainly, there must have been SOME effect; the Russians did make a point of shooting, out of hand, most SS troops that were captured.

    General Notes for Waffen-SS Divisions;.................B5N2Kate
    -*** The Waffen-SS recruited throughout Jugoslavian territory by agreement with the various teritorial governments. By the end of the war, the SS had not only recruited Volsdeutsch, but had inducted the following numbers from other ethnic groups.16,000 Albanians, 18,000 Bosnians, 8,000 Croats, 6,000 Slovenes and 4,000 Serbs. Groups of replacements of Volksdeutsch, Backa-Hungarians, Slovenes, Croats, ethnic Italians etc. were fed in to regular Waffen-SS divisions, though certainly not all divisions, mainly the Balkan ones.
    -The regular German Army combat and support units in June 1944 had 2,862,510 men with a bayonet strength of 1,134,414. The Replacement Army or 'Ersatz Heer' contained 2,265838.....Total German Army figures for all services, that is, number of people on their rolls (not necessarily in uniform or fighting) were 6,587,000 (approx.). German Army units were patterned in a formation of three regiments each of three battalions, giving them a full strength of 17,200 (all ranks). In 1944 the High command reorganised the pattern to have two instead of three, leaving an overall strength of 12,500....or for a Volkgrenadier type, three regiments of TWO battalions for a strength of 10,000.
    -In early'45 another change reduced these figures by 10%, so the full strength base pattern now dropped to 11,500 men. Gebirgsjaegers had more with three battalions in two regiments for a 'liechte' division..
    -Standard SS Grenadier division had 14,000 men (3 regiments of 2 battalions)...an SS Gebirgsjeager division had 16,000 men (2 mountain regiments of three battalions)
    -Regular Panzergrenadier divisions had a full strength of 14,000 (2 motorized infantryregiments of three battalions)...SS about 1,000 more.
    -Regular Panzer divisons had a full strength of 14,000 as well(2 panzergrenadier regiments of 3 battalions)...and the SS, 17,000, from the addition of a battalion of Nebelwerfers, and either an armoured anti-tank or an SP Battalion.

    SS BRIGADES AND BATTALIONS...............***Note..Colour Rating System applys to these units below as well

    **The "Shutzmannschaft" or 'Shumis':
    It is a little surprising that the original author made no mention at all of the 'Shumis'. These battalions, and there were MANY of them, were formed in response to a need for auxiliary-Policemen for anti-partisan duties on the EASTERN front. Drawn from all areas of the Western Soviet Union, such as Byelorussia and the Ukraine, as well as from Baltic countries, they were placed under SS control, but put into Army uniforms and armed with captured Red Army weapons. Recruits were enrolled for a six-month stint on 'probation' before signing up for "the duration of hostilities." By autumn 1942, there were 48,000 Shuma divided into local security formations and front battalions. Both types of unit had anti-partisan operations as their first priority. the 'front' battalions were used with the Army's 'sweep, cordon, search and destroy' missions. In addition to the Shuma Aux. Police, there was another type of 'Shumi Militia' whose strength in the Ukraine reached 184,000 men but only 8,000 in Byelorussia. So successfully did these battalions operate that they were absorbed whole into the SS organisation, an example of which was the Gebirgs Tartar Brigade, mentioned below. (Tartar Brigade wasn't a 'Shumi' unit, but operated and assimilated into SS units in the same manner... and both used for anti-partisan duties). The service these troops gave to their German allies was priceless...by mid 1943, nearly a million men were scattered to the rear of the German army in Russia engaged in anti partisan activity, taking over duties the army did not have the resources to meet. The Shuma were far more adept at this work, understanding the people as they did in their own regions.....but the good news was about to dry up....German policy of occupation failed to recognize in these people a natural desire to shake off the Soviets,...the idealism and naivete flowed away as desertions from the Shuma climbed. When Hitler was told of this, he issued a fateful order to break up the more unreliable formations, or transfer others to the West or the Balkans...the units that did go suffered badly from loss of morale, and not to be wondered at, either....The dream they had of a Russian Army created to destroy the Soviet regime proved to be a dream. As the German Army was forced from Soviet territory, their morale reached new lows. Nazi political leaders had failed to give these willing and very efficient volunteers a PURPOSE...the expression was heard more and more by sympathetic German officers of these units...."We know whom we are fighting, but we do not know what we are fighting FOR." Soviet propaganda stirred the pot, offering amnesty to those who had served in these units. A wave of desertions followed, which the Nazi's responded to with harshness, which led to more desertions.....A Great opportunity to fight and win the partisan war in Russia had been thrown to the winds!

    **The Croatian Military and the USTASHI: (Known as "The Independent State of Croatia)
    The difficulties arising from a simultanious war, in which on one side, the Germans and Italians exploited the Croatian State, and on the other, their struggle to preserve that State against Royalist Serbs (CHETNIKS), and communist Pan-Jugoslavs (PARTISANS) could and has filled bookshelves. Croat attempts to annexe Bosnia-Herzegovnia added nearly 2 million Serbs to the population. Theoretically, the Italians were responsible for training the three corps of units that eventually put on uniform, but the German Army/SS ended up training them, sending selected Croat units to Austria. The increased Serbian presence in the homeland almost guaranteed that their leader, Ante Pavelic, would resort to stronger methods, in fact it was inevitable given long standing ethnic rivalries that simmered and boiled. Pavelic was in charge only due to the German candidate for the job, Vladko Macke, had been arrested and detained after refusing to agree to German requests to form a government, and issued proclamations exhorting the populace to "oppose the occupying forces". This left the way clear, a vacuum really, that allowed the Italian government's choice for the position to take control. Promptly, Pavelic attempted to solve the Serbian 'problem' with a blowtorch, expelling one third of these Serbs into a 'rump Serbia', one third would be coverted to Roman-Catholicism, and the third remaining would be EXTERMINATED, along with all Jewish people, and Gypsies. Quote the sources,...."This policy, combined with traditional ethnic rivalries, lack of governing experience, and the general UNCONCERN of Italian and German authorities, goes far to explain the explsosion of violence and killing throughout Bosnia-Herzegovnia and the viciousness practiced by ALL sides."
    Estimated 150,000 Serbs expelled from B-H, close to a quarter million converted to Catholics, and about 500,000 killed in camps or massacred outright where they lived. Many NON-USTASHI CROATS WERE SICKENED by these actions, and either joined the Chetniks or, increasingly as the war dragged on, the Partisans. Pavelic's 'deportation' program neatly dovetailed with German policy for Slovenjia and Serbia. In Sept '43 the Italian surrender caught all sides by surprise, with many Italian soldiers surrendering, but thousands fleeing into the countryside, joining Chetnik groups and Partisans, and leaving behind enormous quantities of ammunition and stores, siezed mainly by Tito's Partisans. In Sept '43 there were 262,326 men on Croat rolls (direct German command 170,080, Croatian command 92,246). Of the Croat total, 28,500 were Ustashi, 18,000 Gendarmes, 45,746 Croat Home-Guard. All were infantry, despite being titled differently for 'show'. The Germans, despite their hopes for an effective new ally, never really overcame their distrust of everything Balkan. Croatian units in the Old Austro-Hungarian Army enjoyed "considerable prestige and were regarded as uncommonly brave." Several factors worked against this ideal...Italian units training in them in their first days had hindered their training and operations at every oppurtunity. Ustashi authorites were inexperienced in raising and equipping armed forces, which caused much confusion and, the unsettled nature of the countryside and a lack of any broad-based loyalty to the Pavelic regime compounded all these problems. ALL THREE Croat corps remained within their borders until May 1945, when they withdrew into Austria to surrender to the Western Allies, who promptly turned them over to the Soviets. Large numbers of Croatian soldiers were executed out of hand by their Soviet captors.

    **The Serbian Military:
    Serb resentment at their loss of position of predominance in the Jugoslav State simmered after the German occupation became fact. A mass uprising in July 1941 stretched the resources of the puppet government...and clearly could not be put down by manpower reserves Germany did not have. Installed new puppet government under a former Yugoslav general Milan Nedic quickly established the Serbian National Guard, commanded by former Jugoslav officers and with recruits from the Gendarmarie, this unit was never allowed to exceed 17,000, and had three components...'Rural Guard', 'Frontier Guard', and 'Police'.....The entire service soon became infiltrated by Chetniks, and throughout it's existence, it was considered 'unreliable'. Closely controlled by higher SS authorities, it was supplied with captured weapons.
    Of better use were the Serbian Volunteer Detachments, also commanded by former Yugoslav officers, and reaching a strength of 3,700 by Jan 1942, these units were placed under direct German command and fought well against both Partisans and Chetniks. In fact, say the sources, they were "the ONLY armed group on the collaborationist side that the Germans trusted and thought worthy of any praise".
    There were also 13,000 or so Chetniks, whom the Germans did not trust, so they gradually disarmed and disbanded them by the end of 1942.....
    The only other unit raised in Serbia was none other than the"Russiches-Shutzenkorps"....and their activites are covered in a little more depth below.

    **The Russiches-Shutzenkorps":
    Formed in Belgrade, late 1941....This is probably one of the the most notable and least known of all the volunteer military units that fought for or were administered by, the Waffen-SS. The "Russian Rifle Corps", as it was known, was not just notable for being one of the first large scale units to volunteer for Nazi service in the Balkans, it was also composed, chiefly, of sixty and seventy year old 'white' Russian survivors of the Russian Civil War, forced to flee, taking their families with them, and settled throughout Europe, notably France, Germany and Poland. Other disaffected exiles joined these men...all harboured dreams of returning to Russia and toppling the hated communist regime. Events seemed to turn in their favor after Barbarossa showed promise of ending in a German victory. Most of the young men in this social group had already joined the Axis cause, many of them going to 'Brandenburger' regiments operating deep in Russian territory. Their fathers recieved permission to form a corps, slated for anti-partisan work. The Russian Rifle Corps was forming in Belgrade when the first anti-guerrilla drive mounted by the Axis got under way....from herein, it's career reads like an account of the Balkan 'situation' from start to finish. The very first anti-partisan drive occurred in December of 1941, with 4 divisions committed........It was followed by another in mid-January. German commanders for this operation No.2 aimed at isolating 4,000 partisans in the Sarajevo area, before elements were transfered to the Russian Front (remember, the 'Balkan' SS divisions came at the later. The first of these, Prinz Eugen was actually formed in Serbia)........Still, the 'Russian Rifle Corps' remained on garrison duty in Belgrade.
    One anti-partisan action followed another, but these were smaller scale affairs....with the Partisan movement still fledgling, only the Chetniks were active. Scant German resources contributed to the drives achieving not very much in the way of permanent results.......The Russian Rifle Corps maintained passive security duties in central and west Serbia, operating very well and establishing a good reputation with the Germans, ....but they would not let them fight on the Russian Front, claiming they were "too old", but it was more than that, for Nazi plans for occupied Russia did NOT include restoration of any sort of other regime, however co-operative, and the 'Russische-Shutzenkorps' just did not fit in to that equation at all. Morale began to flag, fighting, as they were, an enemy for whom they had much in common, including their Eastern Orthodox religon. During the first 3 months of 1943, there were increasingly bitter fights with Chetnik bands (985 incidents recorded). At that same time, the Corps was the only other unit in Serbia apart from the German 704th Security division, and three under-equipped Bulgarian divisions.
    The first operation under a new policy for dealing with the lack of men on hand was adopted in view of the detiorating situation. The German command lacked the forces to garrison all of Serbia. Accordingly, they adopted a "haphazard" strategy through early 1944. They began to garrison most places with a bare minmum of force, while concentrating everything else into a selected area to conduct a quick but intense anti-guerrilla operation. Begun in the second half of January, the first of these 'aktions' under this new policy was OPERATION 'WHITE', and it's worth looking at the composition of forces for this type of operation...For there would be many more of it's kind to follow....
  9. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
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    Army Regiment 202, a Panzer unit. Likely equipped with secondary vehicles not suitable for service in Russia, (mostly due to lack of spare parts) For example, capture French AFVs for these security operations were quite suitable.
    187th Reserve Division.(Infantry)...another army unit, and as a reserve unit, would be poorly equipped as well.
    7th SS-Panzergrenadierdivision 'Prinz Eugen'.......In existence for 10 months by this stage of the war, these boys need no introduction now.....
    Security Divisions....714, 717, 718.......................Also second rate in terms of training and equipment. composition is anyones guess at this stage of the war, but you can be sure that a great many of these three divisions would have more than one or two local recruits.
    369th Division (Croat-German)...............................Another Army unit, but with Croats here and German officers they would probably be more effective than Prinz Eugen, with Eugen a lot better equipped.
    2nd and 3rd Mountain Divisions (Croat)........................You can bet that these boys would not have been as well equipped as other mountain units, SS or otherwise!
    3 Italian Infantry divisions....'Lombardi', 'Sassari', 'Re'...........Also of dubious quality, but would be in the thick of the fighting, as they were probably better supplied than most German units.
    2 Brigades of USTASHI.....................There to do the dirty work of flushing out the partisans....these two brigades, for their size, had the most losses/per head of men in the unit.
    This shows a typical composition for one of these operations, but by far the greater majority of them achieved little or nothing gained in the long term. The Partisan war was a most painful thorn in the side of the Axis, and the 'Russian Rifle Corps' was there to the end, having fought in many actions just such as this one. Partisan losses for Operation 'White', (which went on for a month), were 8,500 killed, 2,010 captured....German losses 335 dead 1,010 missing...the Italians claim to be the hardest hit, losing some 2,000 prisoners to the partisans, with 'Re' 115 dead 420 wounded 42 missing....Sassari suffered worse with 1,000 killed, while 'Lombardia' lost 500 killed. The Ustashi brigades lost 500 dead...In spite of the high casualty figures, many of Tito's men were able to slip through Italian lines, NOT BETWEEN THEM....the Partisans shot their way out of a trap set for them, and 2,000 Italian prisoners indicates that many of these men did not wish to die for the Axis cause in Juogoslavia....one could not help with agreeing with them! This action and the results were typical of the many that were to follow, with Tito, often as not, getting away with casualties to the Germans......The entire Balkans region was a severe drain on Axis resources, a prime example of which is operation 'White'.

    SS BRIGADES.......................Colour Ratings Apply to these units, too.

    **SS Brigade 'Kurt Eggers' (Propaganda and frontline Journalists.)
    ... In addition the to regular Army "Propaganda Kompanies", or 'PK' units that followed the army around, the SS maintained it's own unit that eventually reached battalion strength, and this unit is interesting because it's development runs side by side with the Waffen-SS itself. In January 1940, the SS Fuhrungshauptamt (Head Office) issued orders for a motorized company of press journalists, stills and cine phtographers, or radio broadcasters. The three platoons of the company followed each of the three units, (LAH, Das Reich and Totenkopf). As the service expanded, so did this unit, to cover the extra SS formations. Staffed by volunteers from 15 nations of Europe, this unit eventually reached Battalion stength. In Nov'43 they conducted a propaganda operation called 'Winter Story', in which, for the first time, with an idea supplied by the unit itself, a selected and NARROW area of the battlefield would be "saturated" with three different 'waves' of material. The purpose here was to increase the number of desertions on a particular sector of the front, aiding in all sorts of ways the military situation and intelligence gathering. The success of this idea led to further operations on larger and larger scales...'Southern Star'(Spring '44), mounted in Italy, and 'Skorpion East' directly after Italy, in a similar framework to 'Winter Story'. "Skorpion East" is instructive for it's three propaganda 'waves',
    -Loudspeaker vans with rocket-launchers firing leaflet shells.
    -Short wave and fixed transmitters running local news that was supposed to be broadcast from London. The assumption was that the BBC represented 'rock solid honesty' and fake BBC broadcast were begun with "London calling" and the chimes of Big Ben.
    -Next, broadcasts gave out official Soviet communiques, mixed it with nuggets of disinformation (ie. food shortages that existed in the homeland were not shared by Communist Party officials, etc.) Other 'news' items "contrasted the cancellation of leave with officers special entitlements".
    -The third 'wave' would be "German News for the Red Army", which was strictly factual, according to this source, and sprinkled with post war conjecture on possible conditions and/ shortages that would prevail in the Soviet Union.
    The success of 'Skorpion East" can be gauged by the numbers of Red Army soldiers who defected in the 'saturated' sector. The maximum that came in, during October 1944, was 1,698. The figures for the entire Army Group South of the same period are only 84, AGC 304, and AGN 199. The difference in these figures remanined for the rest of the war, an real achievement in 1945. For those that think this is not a combat unit, think again...the mass of this SS Standarte then fought as an infantry unit on the Oder river before moving south into the Tyrol, and surrendering to the British on the 15th of may.

    **1 motorized brigade ....Formed '42 in Poland as a Police unit and eventually became part of SS Division 18........

    **2 motorized brigade ....Was a sister unit of the above.........

    **2 SS assault brigade ..'Dirlewanger' - Commander- Brigadefuhrer Oskar Dirlewanger : Protoge of Gottlob Berger. Dissappeared 1945.
    Formed to fight partisans, the "exploits" of these troops are far and wide considering the short time this unit was in service, and the number of levies that must have been required to keep this excreable unit up to full strength. They turn up fighting regular Russians at the Hron River valley, and their activities in Warsaw consisted of dressing up as civilians to be less noticeable to Polish snipers. The seriousness of the Slovak mutiny prompted their quick transfer from Warsaw to the Slovak Tatra region. Considering the number of Slovaks that perished (over 5,000), the Dirlewanger actually INCREASED their awful reputation with this operation.

    **2 SS assault brigade 'Flandern' was also known to exist, but not much more is known (by this author at least)

    **2 Latvian volunteer infantry brigade of the SS ............................. Formed in mid '43, and became part of SS Division 19.

    **3 (Estonian) volunteer infantry...............Formed '43, incorporated into SS Division 20.

    **SS Brigade 'Ney': Officially formed 20 October 1944, raised by Dr.(Eng.) Karole Ney Pilis, a former Hussar with Honved, switched to the Waffen-SS 1944.
    Recruits for this brigade were staunch anti-communist Hungarian veterans who strongly supported the German coup d' etat that brought the Facist "Arrowcross" movement to power. Started with 300 recruits, by the end of war could muster 4,211. Originally intended to be replacements for "Maria Theresa", by the time Budapest was surrounded, it was 1,400 strong and placed as an aux. unit to be used as infantry support for the two armoured divisions(3rd and 5th) sent to relieve the city. Recruiting continued and with 2,000 men it went into combat, suffering 171 dead, 300 wounded and about 100 missing. Hitler awarded this unit a 'cuff' band...no mean feat for a foriegn unit. On 27 Jan,'45 it was placed in reserve until 6 March, when it participated in operation "Spring Awakening" around Lake Balaton. The defeat of this drive forced a slow and steady retreat into Austria.

    **2 SS volunteer (PzGren) brigade 'Nederland'.Formed '44. This unit's Dutch volunteers were initially sent to the west of Leningrad towards Latvia and Estonia, where many European volunteer units were concentrated for the Defence of Narva, the "Battle of the European SS" as it was known. Their performance at Narva rivalled the best SS units. Months of fighting decimated the unit. Jun of 1944 saw the Soviet operation "Bagration" push the front back, as hole after hole was torn in the crumbling line. This unit, by October, found itself trapped in the Courland pocket, but were put on ships for evacuation. This ship was sunk by the Soviets, but some of the Dutch survived to form the nucleus of SS Division 23 "Nederland".

    **5 SS volunteer assault brigade 'Wallonie'....Formed '42. seee notes above for service due to almagamation into "Walloon" SS Division.

    **6 SS volunteer assault brigade 'Langemark'...Formed '44. Composed of Flemish volunteers, this unit also turned up at Narva, and was also traped in the Courland pocket like so many others. Fate unknown....more research needed.

    **6 SS volunteer assault brigade (SS no. 56) 'Charlemange'.....................................formed '44.

    **7 Waffen Grenadier assault brigade (SS no. 57) 'SS-Frankreich'.....Formed '43...Volunteers From France originally had no unit to serve in, and were fed into replacement pools for larger SS divisions. The title of this brigade,'FRANKREICH' IS INCORRECT AS GIVEN BY THE AUTHOR. Actually known as the 'Sturm brigade". They came from original unit, No.638 LVF (Legion de Volontiares Franciase), that had been badly mauled on the Eastern front. When finally, recruits for 'Charlemagne' were sought, 3,000 volunteers came forward. So, 'Frankreich', or the 'Sturm', must be considered to have "gone to SS Division 33".

    **SS Gebirgs Tartar Brigade: From the Tartar regiment, September '44. Mountain unit. Drawn from Mohommedan Tartars of the Crimea, it was a Police regiment with German officers. When the German army evacuated the Crimea, the regiment went with them, fearful of reprisals. Disbanded December '44, remaining personnel to other SS units . In all, 35,000 Crimean Tartars appeared in German service.

    **25 & 26 SS (PzGren) brigades.................................................... ......known to exist, little more info available.

    **27 SS assault brigade 'Langemark'......Commanders...see notes from divison of same name.
    Service history and commanders of this Brigade are almost identical to the larger division that this brigade formed around....The term 'Division' for 'Langemark' was more of an exercise in propaganda, though who this was aimed at is not made clear.

    ** 49 & 51 (PzGren) Formed mid 43'....These two units were formed as anti-invasion' response forces, and were raised not quite in time for D-Day. They were deployed unready and suffered accordingly, not least for the fact that their equipment was very poor, and their vehicle strength consisted of examples from all over Europe....one can imagine the difficulties with spare parts in units of this type, and they were used in an intelligence deception ploy to try to convince allied planners that they were full Panzer divisions. Apparently the designations were already used, so nobody was fooled by the ruse except historians trying to trace these twin units.

    SS BATTALIONS.....***Color ratings apply here, too

    **Escort Battalion (motorized) 'Reichfuhrer SS'.........Probably the unit that Himmler separated himself from, and disguised as a Sergeant wandered the collapsing Reich, searching for a way out, he was captured and placed into Luneburg Camp. He committed suicide by cyanide, and so the ex-chicken farmer turned tyrant/desk murderer was gone......and "Good riddence to good rubbish", as my mom would say!

    **Guard Battalion 'Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler' (Berlin).....***For the Final battle for Berlin, this battalion was formed into "Battle-Group Mohncke", lead by LAH's last commanding officer. Their job for the nine day battle was to defend the Reich Chancellery Building, which they fought very hard for by all accounts, along with the survivors of Weidling's 56th PZcorps, 18th Panzer division...

    **Munich SS Standarte....Conscious of the significance to the Nazi movement that Munich held, the US 45th division struck trouble at the SS Academy. The battle was fought in the extensive park which surrounded the facility. House-to-house fighting occurred in the "high, light and airy rooms of the college and in the SS Dormatories". By May 1,'45, resistence here had been crushed too.

    **Penal Battalion of the Waffen-SS........Little or no info for this unit. Lost to the mists of time.

    **SS Jaeger Battallion "Nordwest" (a.k.a. Jagverband 'Nordwest')..Skorzeny Unit...............This unit grew out of a 'Brandenberg' group which had operated in northern France. In October '44, OTTO SKORZENY was entrusted with the administration and training of this unit, which was absorbed wholesale into Skorzeny's 'organisation'. The tall, 6ft 5inch Austrian officer had first risen to prominence by resucing Benito Mussolini from the Grand Sasso mountain hotel. Hitler had given Skorzeny carte'-blanche to create what amounted to a private army, a rare achievement for any German officer, but Skorzeny was to be described as "the most dangerous man in Europe" by British intelligence sources. By November, 1944, this unit's establishment had increased from four to eight companies (four German and four 'Legionaire). The foriegn component was composed of men from the low countries and Scandinavia. Posted to the Eastern Front in January, '45, it was assigned to the Schwedt sector of the Oder River Defence line. It stayed there from 11th February to 3 March before it's withdrawl and placement on the Reserve list of the 3rd Panzer Army. The Soviet offensive to capture Berlin saw this unit once more committed to action, where it seems to have been totally destroyed by Red Army forces fighting against AG 'Vistula'.

    **SS Jaeger Batallion "Ost" (a.k.a Jagverband "Ost")....Skorzeny Unit. This unit began it's service as an Abwher unit called "Streifkorps Einsatzgruppe "Baltikum", a Brandenburg unit of only platoon strength which operated in Baltic regions of the Eastern Front. It eventually reached Battalion strength on 1 October, '44. Among the operations it took part in was the July, '44 find and rescue of a German group cut off in Byelorussia. In September/October '44 it made an unsuccessful attempt to block the Carpathian mountain passes leading into Romania and Hungary. It's final operation was in eastern Germany during the Red Army Winter Offensive of 1945. Bitter fighting inflicted on the unit caused the 800 strong battlegroup to come out of the offensive with only 15 men. Reinforced and posted to Neustrelitz to defend the town, it's 8 May action with only one company resulted in no survivors after it was surrounded by the Soviets. Of the four rifle companies in Jagverband 'Ost', the survivors formed SS Battalion 'Ost' with three battalions of Einsatzgruppen ('Ostland', 'Russland', and 'Polen', each of which had 3 rifle and a heavy weapons company, and Legionaire companies.

    **Jagverbandte 150..............................................................................................Skorzeny.

    **SS Panzergrenadier 'LEHR' Regiment................................became part of 18 SS-Division(Horst Wessel) July'44.

    **SS parachute light infantry battalions .............................500, 501, 502, 600.

    **SS PzGren Battalion 506 ..............................................became part of 6SS 'NORD'.

    **SS Fortress Battalion 'Besselein':....Formed for the Defence of Breslau, this unit went quickly and aggressively into action, wiping out a Soviet bridgehead on the Oder during 8 February. They were soon engaged in bitter house-to-house fighting, with Gauleiter Hanke posting a sign on their front..."Besselein's Battalion Defends this Sector..". It seemed to work, for the unit was attacked far less from this point onward, though they had to endure long artillery bombardments. Breslau lasted until May 7, 1945. For a two month period, the 40,000 man garrison and people of Breslau had inflicted 60,000 dead and wounded on the Soviet forces from a total starting force of 150,000 well armed troops. "Gen. Niehoff, the battle commandant, recieved no treatment worthy of a military prisoner, and spent the next ten years in solitary confinement in a Soviet prison camp. Another of the Breslau Generals, Ruff, was hanged for alleged war crimes, and the German rank and file were treated to especially harsh conditions". "Perhaps", it is written, "the men of the Soviet 62nd Army resented the fact that a mere garrison, many of them grandfathers and others mere schoolchildren, should have resisted for so long against vigorous and sustained attacks". The men and women of Breslau paid dearly for their staunch defence of the 'Cassino on the Oder'."

    **SS Mountaineer Battalion.................................................. .....became part of SS Division 24 'KarstJaeger'.

    **Finnish volunteer light infantry battalion................................became part of 11 SS-Division 'NORDLAND'.

    **Estonian SS volunteer battalion 658 ....................................went to 20 SS-Division Jan'44 ,(Estoniche 1.)

    **SS-Legion 'Kroatian' .................................................. .......went to 23 SS-Division KAMA. Notes as for other Croat units above. If these boys went to KAMA, they would not have seen that much action to assess them by, because Kama was disbanded before going into action.

    **SS Freikorps Danmark..... was later absorbed into SS units.
    Noticed that one of the commanders of this unit was Obstbf. Hans VON LETTOW- VORBECK, son, I think, of the German East African General and his 'Afrikan Askaris', the 'SHUTZTRUPPE", a unit composed of no more than 3,000 Germans at it's peak, and many African's from the colony of German East Africa (Tanganyika). Using artillery from the German light cruiser 'Konigsberg',(hiding up from the British in the tangled delta of the Rufiji River, and referred to by the African natives as "manowari no bomba tatu", 'the man of war with three pipes') Von Lettow-Vorbeck and his African Askaris lad the British and Commonwealth forces on a merry chase around German East Africa and nieghbouring countries....he inflicted one defeat after another on a polygot British force that first tried Indians, then South Africans, and finally the locals themselves (the birth of a famous unit called the King's African Rifles)...Allied losses were many times higher than the Germans, due to incompetence and the tropical conditions, and Lettow-Vorbeck was still at large at the Armistace! Post war German Government even paid the 'Shutztruppen' a pension! Von Lettow-Vorbeck became a household name in Germany during the Great War. Erwin Rommel, when he took his Afrika Korps to into Libya used the same battle cry for his AK as von-Lettow-Vorbeck had used for the 'Shutztruppe'....."HEYA SAFARI!"..
    ................................I'm fairly sure this officer is his son...though I must confirm this...SEE BELOW FOR BETTER INFO...........................Thanks to site user Gothard for this and other corrections found below. Take a bow, Got!

    **East Turkestan SS Legion......................

    **Caucasus SS-Legion..........................

    **Indian SS-Legion..................Mentioned in a US Army intelligence report of 25th of April, '45 as "low grade", and the fact that Hitler had expressed the same view. Composed of British Indian Army prisoners captured and turned by followers of the "Indian National Army", the so-called 'fighting arm' of Subash Chandra Bose's 'Indian Nationalist' movement.

    **Norwegian SS Ski battalion........Formed Sept'42.....Trained Dresden, transferred to Russia on NORD's flank...commander killed even though action sporadic...assigned to Finland it covered the German retreat in a "suddenly hostile" country, before shipped to Oslo....not properly re-equiped from the fighting it was redesignated a an SS Police Battalion 506. With lots of recruits but no new equpment it was not used further before surrender.

    **1st Hungarian SS Ski Battalion........well equipped and trained, the Russian advance forcing an evacuation of training grouns at Neuhammer,; after wandering in the same manner as other Hungarian formations, they eventually joined the 5th SS-Wiking division only 5 days before the end of hostilities.

    **Estonian Rifle regiment..........................2 Battalions.

    **Latvian Border guards .........................15 batallions.

    **Estonian Border guards........................15 batallions.

    **Heavy SS artillery battalions.................101, 102, 501, 502, 503, 504.

    **SS Flak Battalion "Berchtesgaden"..............Resistence at the Berchtesgaden was only sporadic, with sniper fire the only to greet the arriving American unit. Mention here should also be made of Goering's "handsome" 800 man Guard Unit, described as "very fit and not a war medal among them", this unit guarded a Goering owned castle near the village of Karnten, south-east of Salzburg, Austria, (one of several he personally owned); they had been provided with the best of food and drink and disappeared after the castle was liberated. Goering was captured, and after a press conference, interred. Sentenced to death, Hermann Goering hanged at Nuremburg.

    **Kommandostab RFSS I and II.........................

    ** SS heavy tank destroyer battalions (TIGER) 501, 502, 503....***called "schwere SS Panzer Abteilungen"....these are listed as re-equiping with Tiger IIs (Sept. 44), for the 'Wacht Am Rhein" Ardennes offensives, of which just 485 were produced. They couldn't turn them out as fast as the Soviets, but the Germans had no LEND-LEASE either! Just reading then that a lot of this situation in the Reich armaments industry was brought about by lack of automation....The original Tiger tank, for instance, was assembled basically by hand, a situation that new armaments minister Albert Speer tried and only partially succeeded in solving.

    **Heavy tank destroyer battalions (JAGDTIGER) ..........................................560, 561.

    **SS Recon battalion 505.................................................. ....................

    **SS rocket launcher (NEBELWERFER) battalions ...101, 102, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506. ***Notes for these and other smaller units can be found on anther thread, an excellent source from other wargamers. Sources here are for the game series called "Europa", and the book itself, and called "Obscure Combat Formations of the Waffen SS"...this other thread helped a lot with crosschecking of my own sources, as well as filling in the gaps for the lesser known divisions.

    **SS engineer construction battalions.....................

    ***The above list is not exhaustive, although most units have been covered...Units not covered are support units...(signals, supplies, training etc.)

    AND if anyone has a different view as to the color rating of these units, and can back it up with just a little proof, will see the color rating of that unit changed....thats what accuracy is A TEAM EFFORT....

    STEVE PATRICK'S NOTES ON TERMINOLOGY.......Whether a Waffen-SS unit was German, Germanic, or non-Germanic could be determined from it's full designation. the full German division was called "SS-Division" (eg. SS-Panzerdivision 'Das Reich')... the Germanic divisions were "volunteer divisions' or SS- Freiwilligendivision (eg. the 11 SS-Freiwilligenpanzergrenadierdivision 'Nordland')....and the divisions raised from non-Germanic nations were "Division der SS"...(eg. 13 Waffengebirgsdivision der SS 'Handshar' (Kroat no.1)
    With regard to the last, the name in brackets would be the nationality from which the division was drawn together with the number of that division with regard to that nationality. Thus, 'Handschar' was a Croatian Division 1 and 'Kama' 2. Until 1942, the Waffen-SS divisions were known by their names. Thus, to call 'Das Reich' "2 SS-Grenadier Division" or "2nd SS Division" during the 1940 campaign in France is incorrect.
    After the numbers were assigned, they were used interchangably with the names. This use of names was almost totally a Waffen-SS practice. The regular army units with names were quite a few, the Slovak 'Schnell' division, the Spanish 'Azura' and the 'Grossdeutschland' divisions are ones that come to mind. The Luftwaffe, of course, had the 'Hermann Goring' units. This is more than likely an emphasis on the Party origins of the Waffen-SS as the Nazi Party tended to have names, rather than numbers, for it's larger elements.

    WAFFEN-SS DIVISIONS: SOURCES OF DIVISION NAMES:.....(Additions to text by B5N2Kate and site users)

    'LEIBSTANDARTE ADOLF HITLER': ..................................................................The 'Adolf Hitler Bodyguard' regiment.

    'DAS REICH':............The first three regiments from the original 'Verfugungstruppen' had nationalistic names, ('Germania', 'Deutschland', 'Der Fuhrer'). Literally means "The Nation".
    'TOTENKOPF:' ...............................................................From the Deathshead worn by the SS.

    'POLIZEI': ................................................................Literally 'Police', raised initially from levies of German Policemen.

    'WIKING':......................................... The German spelling of Viking, from the initial elements of Norwegians and Danes.

    'NORD':........................................Cadre drawn from Scandinavian recruits, spent most of the war on the Finnish front. Name is literally 'North'. .................................................. .(***Thanks to site-user Tom Hulihan for information concerning this division.Well done Tom!)

    'PRINZ EUGEN':.......................Prince Eugen of Savoy was an Austrian military leader in the early 1700s. He defeated the Turks at Belgrade in 1717.

    'HOHENSTAUFEN':...............A family of Holy Roman Emperors. 1138-1286, which produced Friederich Barbarossa.

    'NORDLAND':.........................................................Drawn from Nordic nations, literally 'Northland'.

    'HITLER JUGEND':..........................From former "Hitler Youth" members, not from children, as Allied propaganda told it.

    'REICHSFUHRER SS':........................................................Created by expanding the RFSS Escort (Begleit) Battalion.

    'GOTZ VON BERLICHINGEN':....... Character by Goethe whose major feat was to suggest to a certain Bishop what part of his anatomy he might kiss. (***AND if you look further down the page, site user GOTHARD has provided a very good explanation of the name for this division, a name that stumped the original author as well....Thanks Gothard and well done!)

    'HORST WESSEL':................................................. .....................................***23 year old son of a Berlin pastor, Horst Wessel became a building worker and an SA activist. He wrote SA songs, and was prominent in SA incursions into the 'red' controlled district in Berlin of Fischerkiez. Wessel called it "the Bolshevik robbers den" to provoke the inhabitants. It worked, and he became a marked man. In 1929, he began a liason with Erna Jaenicke, moving into an apartment run by the widow Salm. Tensions increased, until the good widow turned to her late husband's communist friends for help to evict the couple. Two members of the Communist RFB ( Red Front Fighters League), set off to confront him. Wessel was shot answering the door. Even before his death certificate had been issued, Goebbels had him in mind as a...."A new martyr for the Third Reich.", he commented. One of Wessel's songs became the battle hymn of the National Socialist movement, "The Horst Wessel Lied". Another source claims the song was copied from a well known communist ditty of the period.

    'SKANDERBERG':................................................. .........................................................Albanian national hero.

    'MARIA THERESA':......................The Austrian monarch who fought Frederick the Great. Cadre from Austrian elements.

    'HUNYADI' :..........................................Hunyadi Janos, a Magyar who sucessfully fought the Turkish invasion in 1456.

    'LANGEMARK':....................................A regional name applied to the Low countries from which this division was raised.

    'WALLONIAN':.................................................. ..............................................A French speaking area of Belgium.

    'BATSCHKA' (A.K.A BOHEMEN MAHREN):......................From recruits in The Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia, created when Hitler occupied the Czech rump state in 1939.Division was raised from schools staioned there to train SS members.

    FLORIAN GEYER:.................Franconian Knight from the middle ages (***Thanks to site-user Gothard for info here, one that stumped the original author, Steve Patrick...as Steve says in his note "I am unable to esablish just who or what is Florian Geyer" Well done Gothard!)

    '30 JANUAR':.......................................... ....................................................The date when Hitler came to power.

    'LANDSTORM NEDERLAND': ...............................................Landstorm was militia. The division came from a Dutch unit.

    'LUTZOW':......................................... ...........................A Prussian Field Marshal, commander of Cavalry under Gerhard von Blucher at Waterloo.

    'FRUNDSBERG':........................Founder and leader of the German LANDSKNECKT in the 16th century in service of Karl V.

    'NIBELUNGEN': The Nibelungen guarded the treasure in the Fhein. The "Niebelungenlied" is a great German folk myth which composer RICHARD WAGNER based his "Ring" cycle on. (***Wagner was, after all, Hitler's favourite composer, whose operas he had spent a large portion of his time in Vienna attending, with his closest friend from that period, AUGUST KUBIZEK, whom he still wrote to after departing Vienna.***)

    There were several sources used for notes and other information given here..........

    LUCAS, James, "The Last Days of the Third Reich.",Guild, London, 1994....Good primary source, helps you keep track of what was, quite frankly, a very chaotic situation in Germany.

    LUCAS, James, "The Last Year of the German Army.", Arms and Armor Press Ltd, London, 1986.....This was the best of the lot, with a chapter on the 'Shumi' that was surprising when first looked at.

    CLARK, Alan, "Barbarossa- The Russo-German Conflict.", Cassel, London, 1965.....Standard text these days, even if it is a little old.

    BARNETT, Correlli, "Hitler's Generals.",Orion House, London, 1989....One of the masters of modern history turns his attention to Der Fuhrer's generals and brilliantly done as always from this author.

    McTAGGERT, Patrick, "Budapest '45, To the Bitter End.", Command Magazine, issue 31 (Nov-Dec 1994), Published by XTR Corp, San Louis, Obispo....This was also the subject of the game featured in that particular issue of Command.

    MUNOZ, Antonio J, "TEUTONIC MAGYARS- Hungarian Units of the Waffen-SS.", Command Magazine , issue 31....Obviously of Hungarian extraction, (or this author has a particular obsession with Hungarian units!)...great source that cleared up a lot of confusion from the original author.

    LIEBL, Vern, "A Non-Partisan view of World War II Yugoslavia.", Command Magazine, issue 22 (May-June 1993.).....The introduction for this article was a classic of itself ,
    "When watching the tragedy played out in what used to be Yugoslavia, the question that immediately comes to mind is, "Why did this happen?"....Well, heres why. Read it and weep."....
    AND indeed it was a very good article for making sence of the whole situation in the Balkans. Great source.

    ROTHWELL, DESCH and KUTTA, "SS-Panzer- Bloodbath at Kursk.", Command issue no. 36, March 1996 XTR Corp............This one was the accompanying article to the game in this issue of the same name. The article, and the game, were about PROKHOROVKA, on the 12 July, 1943. The conclusions as to the TIGER TANK (PzKfw VI) are astounding....
    "In relation to their claims as to the number of TIGERS present, it seems the Soviets were afflicted with the same malady subsequently experienced in Normandy: in the eyes of the Russian tank crews, and the British, most German Panzers were considered to be, and were reported as, "Tigers" UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. But, with only one Tiger company present in each of the 2nd SS PZ Corps divisions (LAH, DR, TotKpf), the total available at the start of Citadel was ONLY 35, and by mid-morning (of the 12th of July), there were FEWER THAN 20 OPERATING..."....a great article (and a brilliant little game from John Desch), that explodes a lot of myths about Soviet performance , in particular, on the Eastern Front.

    KEEGAN, John, "Waffen-SS...Private Empires and Armies, 1939-1945"....Purnells History of the Second War War, issue no. 107, BBC, London 1966.....An early work from the young pen of Keegan, who has gone on to a distinguished career in historical literature.

    HEATON, Colin D, "Dialogue With an Unrepentant SS Oberfuhrer- An Interview with Leon Joeseph Degrelle." ,Military History Magazine, November 2006, Weider History Group, Florida.....This one was a beauty, with Degrelle laying it on the line. Many regrets, but none that he could think of!...great interview.

    AILSBEY, Christopher, "Waffen SS - Hitler's Black Guard at war." 1997, Brown Packaging Books, London.....Quite comprehensive for the battle records of the different SS units.

    Sources For Steve Patricks Article.......(as given by Steve Patrick).
    BAUER, Eddy- "Der Panzerkreig"
    BRADLEY, Omar, et al- "After Action Report, 12th Army Group.
    BUCKHART, Hillebrand- "Das Heer 1933-1945".
    CARELL, Paul- "Der Russlandkreig."
    HOHNE, Heinz- "The Order of the Deaths Head."
    STAHL, Peter- "Die Waffen-SS."
    STAHL, Peter, "Panzer."
    STEIN, George- "Geschichte der Waffen-SS."
    TAYLOR, Telford, "The March of Conquest."
  10. Gothard

    Gothard New Member

    Oct 4, 2007
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    Gotz was real =). He had an Iron Prosthetic as well - that's the reason for the unique divisional sign, he was a very brave guy from what I've read and the anatomical reference was a very unique way to draw a defender out of his fortifications =)

    The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07.

    Berlichingen, Götz von

    (göts´ fn br´lkhng-n) (KEY) , 1480–1562, German knight and adventurer. The head of a band of free soldiers, he lost (1504) his right hand in the battle of Landshut and wore an iron one in its place. His forays against various cities earned him popular fame. He reluctantly agreed to lead the peasants of Franconia during the Peasants’ War (1524–26) but deserted them before their defeat. In 1542 he served with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V against the Turks and two years later fought against the French. His memoirs inspired Goethe’s drama Götz von Berlichingen (1773).

    German adventurer and soldier

    1480 - Götz von Berlichingen was born at the Jagsthausen Castle in Württemberg.
    1497 - Entered the service of Frederick I, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
    1498 - Fought in the armies of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
    1508 - Berlichingen and his company fought for Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria.
    1512 - Attacked a group of merchants returning from the great fair at Leipzig.
    - Emperor Maximilian placed Berlichingen under an Imperial ban.
    1514 - He was released when he paid the large sum of 14,000 gulden.
    1516 - His company mounted a raid into Hesse, capturing Phillip IV, count of Waldeck.
    1518 - He was again placed under the ban.
    1519 - Signed up in the service of Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg.
    1525 - Led the rebels in the district of Odenwald against the Ecclesiastical Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.
    1526 - Acquitted by the Imperial chamber.
    1528 - He was lured to Augsburg by the Swabian League, who was eager to settle old scores.
    1540 - Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor released him from his oath.
    1542 - He served under Charles in the campaign against the Ottoman Empire of Suleiman.
    1544 - Imperial invasion of France under Francis I of France.
    1562 - He died on 23rd of July in Horneck Castle.


    "Er kann mich im Arsche lecken!" ("He may lick me in the arse!") – Berlichingen's reply to the Bishop of Bamberg's demand for his surrender - from Memoirs. This is the first recorded instance of a phrase which has since passed into common use. It is commonly used in the form "Leck mich am Arsch" ("Lick my arse") or in the incomplete sentence "In the words of Goetz von Berlichingen ...".
  11. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Once again, Gotthard has come up with information that stumped the original author!...I am astounded!......You will be duly credited.....Would you like to post an "official correction, leave it here and either myself or Higge will insert it, with the appropriate credtit to you!....Many thanks, GOTHARD
  12. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
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    And there it is!.....Gott, you really do excel in picking up obscure German information!....I do hope original author Steve Patrick sees this, because his face would turn red with embarassment at missing such a great bit of info.....Take a bow for the crowd, Gotthard!!
  13. Gothard

    Gothard New Member

    Oct 4, 2007
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    you edited the wrong division =) 17ss pzgr gotz von berlichengen

    Florian Geyer is an Austro-Hungarian military hero and that was the 8ss Frw Cavalry

    as far as freikorps denmark goes - lettow -vorbeck played an incredibly important role in the weimar republic - he led the gaurd cavalry freikorps in berlin against the communist marines and was involved in the kapp putsch. He played the same role as Hindenburg but he picked the wrong side - if he had been a tad more loyal to the republic he wouldve changed history - he was immensely popular.

    Hans was his son.. he was the last survivor of 3 sons lost in combat. - Rudiger died in 1940, Arndt in 1941 and Hans in 1942 at Demyansk.
  14. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Gott, you really do put me to shame!......Folks, consider these changes to be OFFICIAL....NO-ONE digs up Axis facts better!

    This really does highlight the fact that accuracy in historical information is (and always has been ) very much a TEAM EFFORT. Site users like Got make VALUABLE contributions that can make an article like this one into a SOURCE for others to draw from.....Truth will-out, and many thanks, ONCE AGAIN........Steve Patrick(original author), are you looking at this?
  15. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
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    Oh, what was that about the 17th?......I did not quite get the gist of your correction for "Edit the wrong division".....(Don't quite know what you mean)......

    More OFFICIAL corrections most welcome!
  16. Gothard

    Gothard New Member

    Oct 4, 2007
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    now of interesting note - Florian Geyer and Gotz von Berlichengen didn't like each other - Geyer kicked Gotz's butt at Mockmuhl ( thats when he refused to surrender and gave his famous quote I believe - he obviously wasnt happy ) after the fight Geyer and his pals tricked gotz and got him locked up for 2 years... During the Peasants rebellion they were on the same side - Gotz abandoned his command and Geyer eventually chose discretion over valor as well.
    Frundsberg ( THE legendary commander of the Holy Roman Empires forces vs. France ) was a buddy of Gotz and managed to get him off the hook following the rebelion.

    Florian Geyer, together with a handful of dissident low-ranking knights and several hundred hastily-trained peasant militiamen, established the Black Company (often called the Black Host or Black Band), which was possibly the only heavy cavalry division in history to fight on the side of a peasant revolution. By checking Imperial and Protestant knights on the battlefield, Black Company allowed Müntzer's motivated infantry to score a string of victories and liberate huge swaths of the German countryside. Geyer became a notable folk hero in Franconia and the whole of Germany. All sides credited him with the wanton destruction of cathedrals and castles, and summary executions of the lords and priests contained therein; the cruelty and extent of these activities is, however, disputed.

    As the Peasants' War dragged on, many of the rebel peasants returned home, and most of the knights who, alongside Geyer, had joined Müntzer deserted or defected. Müntzer himself was defeated at the Battle of Frankenhausen and executed shortly afterwards.

    Conflicting accounts place Geyer with the company, or alone in Rothingen in the aftermath of the Battle of Frankenhausen. Black Company was falsely informed of victory at Frankenhausen, and ambushed outside of Ingolstadt. They managed to regroup, retreat, and fortify the town's castle and cathedral. The cathedral was burned with no survivors, and the castle was taken after three assaults. A portion of Black Company broke free, only to be encircled again in nearby woodlands. If Geyer had been leading Black Company through the Battle of Ingolstadt, he barely escaped with his life. Geyer may, however, have been stranded at Rothingen the entire time while waiting for an escort to rejoin the Black Company, only to be banned from Rothingen. The later attempts to stomp out memory of the uprising have obscured these details.

    Whether or not Geyer was at Ingolstadt, he was one of the last survivors of Müntzer's army. In the night from 9 to 10 June 1525 he was contacted in Würzburg by two servants of his brother-in-law Wilhelm von Grumbach, who had the stated intention of helping him rekindle the Peasants' War. While traveling together, they stabbed Geyer to death in the Gramschatzer Wald Forest near Würzburg.

    FLORIAN GEYER:.................Franconian Knight from the middle ages (***Thanks to site-user Gotthard Heinrici for info here, one that stumped the original author, Steve Patrick...as Steve says in his note "I am unable to esablish just who or what is Florian Geyer" Well done Gotthard!)

    this is your corrected text =0

    Gotz and Geyer were really just freebooting mercenaries for the most part - Frundsberg on the other hand was truly legendary
    Now I don't want to point any fingers but I wouldn't have put it past ole Gotz to toss a wrench into the works and throw Geyer to the wolves to save himself after the little backstab Geyer pulled on him after mockmuhl.
  17. Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett recruit

    Nov 29, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Gotthard....corrections from you of such quality are MOST WELCOME......A round of applause is very much in order!

    I encourage others to do the same....

    Thanks Got!
  18. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
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    Great posts, I think I am awake all night reading... Thanks to both of you
  19. higge

    higge Member

    Aug 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I am sure we will hear from this ALOT more when Tom have more time from his projects:police:
  20. Gothard

    Gothard New Member

    Oct 4, 2007
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    On March 18, 1944 Horthy met with the Germans at Klessheim Castle and signed an agreement expanding German SS recruitment rights among Hungarian Volksdeutsch, including active duty Honved soldiers and gave the Germans the right to raise SS divisions on Hungarian soil - the next day he launched his fatal revolt but the agreement stayed in effect after the German takeover. Himmler had origionally planned a force of at least 4 divisions, "recruits" being raised by driving through and seizing all males of military age after the fall Harvest.

    Hungarian SS Units were as follows:

    The Multinational Divisions. ( Banat Volksdeutsch )

    8th SS Kavallerie " Florian Geyer " Named after a Franconian adventurer who was a key figure in the Peasants revolt of the mid 16th Century against the Catholics as well as the Protestants over election reforms. Geyer Led a Heavy Cavalry unit that was pivotal to the early success of the insurrection, he survived the war despite the destruction of his force only to be assasinated by his infamous brother in law. The Florian Geyer was the "Wiking" of Southern Europe and had a heavy percentage of volunteer Volksdeutsch from the Banat seeking to escape being used as cannon fodder by the Magyars. Unit wasn't called Hungarian due to it's multi national composition.

    18th SS " Horst Wessel " Panzergrenadier Division - Formed as a volunteer unit in Yugoslavia it didnt meet recruiting expectations and was transferred to the Banat in Hungary for formation in July 1944. Once in Hungary "Volunteers" were quickly produced. Again it was viewed as a multinational and not as a Hungarian formation formation despite its high proportion of Hungarian personnel. Horst Wessel being a petty criminal and Nazi street thug who was martyrd by the communists and lionized by the Nazi propaganda machine.

    Hungarian " Volunteer " Divisions raised after the occupation of Hungary:

    22nd SS Freiwilligen Kavallerie ( ungarische ) " Maria Theresa "
    This was the first Division raised after the Occupation - April, 1944. It was also the first "True" Hungarian formation. Destroyed in Budapest along with the 8th SS in Feb., 1945.

    33rd "Schlapphut" freiwilligen Grenshutz Division der SS - A proposed division to be built around group Deak - October 11, 1944 Group Deak was designated as such in the Backsa region of Southern Hungary ( siezed by Hungary early in the War ). The Division lasted 17 Days until October 28 when it was renamed 31st " Batschka " Freiwilligen Grenshutz Division der Waffen SS due to the fact that 33 was earmarked for the french Charlemagne division the "Grenshutz later being dropped from the title) the name Batschka was not used in official correspondence however. 31st Freiwilligen was destroyed November, 1944 at Pecs and reformed using the 80th Italian Regiment ( Formerly the "Brixen" Police regiment composed of Italian South Tyrolean Volksdeutsch and Italians from Bolzano) as a basis. Group Deak not joining the 31st and instead forming the I battalion of the 61st in the Hunyadi division.
    the 31st was formed from the remnants of the 23rd SS "Kama" *cadre and equipment after the division was disbanded due to uselessness* and German Volksdeutsch from the Batschka Region. Co was Brigadefuhrer Gustav Lombard 10-44 to 4-45 and Brigadefuhrer Wilhelm Trabandt till the end of the war.
    Regiments 78,79,80 and art regt 31.

    Bohmen-Mahren was a wehrmacht field training division - not SS

    SS Regiment Ney.
    I Battalion
    II Battalion
    III Battalion
    IV Repl Battalion

    Raised at Sur, South of Budapest October 20, 1944 by Dr. Karoly Ney leader of the Hungarian KABSZ Eastfront veterans organization ( Like the prewar German Stahlhelm it was a hardcore rightwing veterans Organization and the Soldiers were dedicated, elite anti-communists, Surrendered May 9, 1945 at Attersee Mountain in Austria. Of all the units formed this one had the most colorful history. On December 25, 1944 it was attached to the IV SS Panzerkorps ( Totonkopf - I Battalion and Wiking - II Battalion attached ) and took part in Konrad I the first attempt to relieve Budapest and Konrad II on January 9, 1945. By now a 3rd Battalion had been raised. The Unit regrouped and moved to Szekesfehervar to Join III Panzerkorps in time for the start of Konrad III on January 12, 1945. These Actions and the loss of 25% of their strength earned the unit the RARE honour of a cuff title at a time when Hitler was taking the cuffs from the rest of the SS. The unit established itself as a die hard formation. after the end of Konrad III on January 27, 1945 the unit was sent back to Sur and rejoined the 4th SS panzerkorps and reformed for the next thirty days until March 5, 1945. On March 6, 1945 it sent 1 battalion to III Panzerkorps in the attack on Budapest as part of Operation Fruehlingserwachen ( attempt to retake Budapest March 6-26, 1945 ).
    After this Failure the Unit was split up again. One battalion going to the III Panzerkorps and 1 each to the I SS and II SS Panzerkorps. By April 1, 1945 the Unit had a strength of 4,291 Men ( 3,100 Combat and 1,200 support )
    2260 Rifles
    342 Submachine guns
    73 LMG
    17 HMG
    21 75mm Pak
    34 81mm Mortars
    5 Flamethrowers
    55 Wagons
    141 Horses
    9 Cars
    11 trucks
    11 armored cars (Doubtful, probably prime movers for the AT guns.)

    Hungarian units raised by Horthy under Honved emergency decree following the Romanian surrender and taken over ( without weapons ) by the SS after the occupation of Hungary. These are HUngarian National emergency draft formations taken over enmasse.

    1st Wave:
    Szent Laszlo - Raised as a Honved formation and fought at Budapest as early as November, 1944.
    Hunyadi - Partially formed, then transferred to the Waffen SS with no arms.

    Planning had begun on the German end as early as April 1944, with a proposed 1st division to be raised by June, 1944 but the Hungarians resisted German efforts succesfully to allow for the Harvest to be brought in. On October 16, 1944 Count Ferenc Szalasi became Prime Minister and opened the floodgates to Hungarian National formations trained by Germans along SS Political lines as a joint venture, agreement being finalized November 26, 1944 for a total of 8 Divisions 4 to remain under direct Honved control after Formation and 4 to join the Waffen SS. Divisions were to raised concurrently 1 Honved and 1 waffen SS in pairs.
    Bear in mind these were purely hungarian ( NOT VOLKSDEUTSCH ) formations.
    Major General Sandor Magyarossy was the Hungarian Liason and Colonel Von Zawadsky was German Liason for the Project. SS oberfuhrer Winkelmann being tasked with raising the 4 Waffen SS divsions. Troop drafts began flowing into Germany at this time.These Divisions were basically organized along the lines of the Type 45 division ( Reinf. ) with the addition of an entire replacement regiment rather than a battalion to allow for Training difficulties on the Hungarian end. ending with a strength of roughly 10,000 men per division and 3 Regiments of 3 Battalions ( 1 Bicycle ) and a Bicycle Fusilier Battalion as well as a 4 Battalion Artillery regiment. The planned AA Battalion being replaced with a 4th ( Flak ) company attached to the AT battalion, Eng Comps and the 4th ( Hvy ) artillery Battalions each being reduced to 2 companies rather than 4. Each division was given a ski Battalion and an Interpreter company as well. The Ski Battalions never reaching the parent formations of the 2 divisions actually raised and fighting as independent units.
    Almost immediately there were major command issues with a Hungarian Ltg Jeno Major and a german GdI Ludwig Wolff both being appointed by their individual governments as the "Inspector of Hungarian forces in Germany" Its pretty obvious that the Germans never intended to honour the agreement and no Honved formations were even attempted to be formed. Hungarian troops being used as labor and replacement drafts for other SS formations.

    2nd Wave:


    Kossuth ( 101st Infantry regiment started forming at Grafenwohr 1-25-45 - this was the only unit of the Honved divisions to start formation. )


    Waffen SS:


    25th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS " Hunyadi " ( Ungarische #1 )
    Formed November 2, 1944 in Zalaegerszeg near Lake Balaton.
    led by Major general ( later SS Gruppenfuhrer ) Jozsef Grassy ( fired by Horthy April 1944 for his role in the Ujvidek massacre and a marked man in Hungary )
    Surrended to US Army at Timelkam, Austria May 5, 1945.
    By November 18, 1944 the Division had 16,700 "Volunteers" onhand and begun moving to Germany on November 20, 1944 - sending the first 4,000 men ( and families ) to the area of Neuhammer, in Silesia near Magdeburg. November 23, 1944 4,700 more followed in 2 batches. November 24 4,000 more and finally 2,700 on November 27, 1944. This last train was a castrophe as american fighter bombers caught it near Hartberg, germany inflicting 800 dead and 650 wounded. By November 30, 1944 however the movement had been completed and the divisional strength stood at 19,777 men present. December 5 the Cadre formations embarked for Germany bringing an additional 4,000 men. and finally by December 15, 1944 the total onhand was roughly 22,017 including the Wounded from Hartberg. Bear in mind the Germans were supposed to train 2 Divisions concurrently and the Hungarians sent the troops for 2 Divisions as per the agreement - not one. 1 being Honved and 1 being Arrow Cross/Waffen SS.

    61 Infantry Regiment this was the only fully armed regiment - 1st battalion - This was the Deak Battalion of Hungarian Levente Fascist Youth and Royal Gendarmes formed in august by september it was in combat in the same area as the 41 massacre. - leader was involved in the same massacre as the divisional commander- bicycle mounted ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ), co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Jeno Temesvari von Galgoc
    62 Infantry Regiment - 1st ( bicycle battalion was armed ) - ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ), co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Geroe vitez Temesvari ( doesnt sound right )
    63 Infantry Regiment - ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ) co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Bela Vitez Peinlich
    25th Artillery - 4 Battalions - Forming at Prague 500 man cadre was present there. co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Odo Magyar
    25th Bicycle Fusilier Battalion
    25th Ski Battalion
    25th Engineer battalion ( 2 companies raised in Germany - Never joined the division fought the Russians at Oberhausen in april 45 took 350 dead and 70 wounded - These arms arent included in the divisional totals. )
    25th Antitank Battalion- Forming at Koblenz, change to tankhunter ( panzerfaust ) unit and sent to Szengyorgy with the 9SS Hohenstaufen where it saw combat before surrendering to the British in May 1944.
    25th Anti Aircraft battalion ( Unusual - HQ was raised as well as 1 flak company, which was attached to the Antitank battalion as the 4th Company as per standard practice )
    25th Signals Battalion
    25th Supply regiment ( Formed around the vehicles of the 500th SS Kraftfahr company )
    25th Training regiment
    86th Honved Training Regiment ( for the proposed Honved Division possibly the 86th ? )

    Battle experience:

    Hammersterstein Alarm group

    The War caught up with Hungarians in Silesia where the Hunyadi and Hungaria were in the process of forming.
    A battle Ready unit called the Hammersterstein Alarm group was formed from the 61st Hunyadi and the 64th Hungaria Regiments under the command of Col Bela Peinlich to assist the Grossdeutschland in holding off the Russians while the main bodly escaped on foot in the direction of Nurnberg, arriving at Zwickow on Feb 17, 1945. 3,422 men strong it was organized into 4 Battalions and suffered 2,200 casualties ( mostly dead ) in 4 days from feb 9 thru feb 13, 1945.

    25th Engineer battalion ( 2 companies raised in Germany - Never joined the division fought the Russians at Oberhausen in april 45 took 350 dead and 70 wounded

    25th Antitank Battalion- Forming at Koblenz, change to tankhunter ( panzerfaust ) unit and sent to Szengyorgy with the 9SS Hohenstaufen where it saw combat before surrendering to the British in May 1944.

    26th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS Hungaria ( Ungarische #2 )
    Formed at Rajka, Hungary ( Near Bratislava ) November 30, 1944. Led by Colonel Zoltan Pisky. December 24, 1944 had 8,100 men including 2,511 Honved cadre and 5,589 Draftees. Sent to Neuhammer alongside the Hunyadi for training. Barracks at Hammerstein were insufficient and the unit was moved to the lodz area the 1st week of January. January 15, 1945 strength had increased to 16,761 men. This division had only 5,000 uniforms and the other 10,000 men wore civilian clothing. Unlike the Hunyadi which at least had Uniforms ( SS Uniforms with an H replacing the SS Runes on the collar tabs ).

    64 Infantry Regiment - ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ), co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Andor Vitez Podhradszky von Nemespodhragy
    65 Infantry Regiment - ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ), co Waffen Obersturmbannfuhrer Dr. Bela Lengyel *Kia Feb. 1945
    85 Infantry Regiment - ( 2 Battalion, expanded to 3 battalions late Feb. 1945 when further expansion of the Hungarian SS was cancelled ) was this the Former Honved 85th Training and replacement regiment that was supposed to form the training cadre for the Honved division ? co Waffen Sturmbannfuhrer Ferenc vitez Varnay
    26th Artillery Regiment- 4 Battalions co Waffen Standartenfuhrer Miksa Brenner ( until March 1945 then SS Standartenfuhrer Gustav Wiehle )
    26th Bicycle Fusilier Battalion
    26th Ski Battalion
    26th Engineer battalion
    26th Antitank Battalion
    26th Anti Aircraft battalion ( Unusual - HQ was raised as well as 1 flak company, which was attached to the Antitank battalion as the 4th Company as per standard practice )
    26th Signals Battalion
    26th Supply regiment
    26th Training regiment

    Combat experience:

    Despite its total unreadiness for combat the division was sent into actin near Lodz on January 15, 1945. The results were disastrous. II/65 was the point unit and distinguished itself in combat vs Russian tanks By January 21,1945 the unit was at Kalish and split into 2 columns - 1 being led by colonel Pisky and moved out towards Pleschen and the other marching to Ostrowo. Pisky's column ran into soviet armor and was destroyed, prisoners were massacred on the spot. Pisky himself dying in combat with the remnants joining the column at lezno on January 25. Witht he Help of Grossdeutschland the unit managed to reach Glogau by January 2, 1945 and were sent on train back to Neuhammer where they procedeed to form the Hammerstein alarm group together with Hunyadi. Casualties January 15- Feb. 2, 1945 were 317 killed and 2,253 missing ( presumed dead ) 14,000 men surviving the march. Colonel Gero Temesvari took command of the Division after a near mutiny when a German SS officer tried to assume command

    By March, 1945 the 2 Divisions were effectively merged under the command of Gruppenfuhrer Grassy And Resumed Forming - By March they had 5000 rifles and 11 Guns. Aside from a small battlegroup sent to Brno and a minor engagement with the Americans in May they saw no more combat.

    Corps Headquarters was the XVII SS Korps commanded by SS Waffen Obergruppenfuhrer Jeno Ruszckay - It never really wielded actual command until March when it offered to surrender the 25th and 26th to the Americans on May 2, 1945 then engaged 3rd US Army at Timelkam, Austria on May 4, 1945 and finally completed the surrender May 5, 1945 after its token resistance the previous day.

    Additional units were the 1 Hungarian Sturmjager regiment ( the 2 missing ski battalions fromm the 25 and 26th ) co Untersturmbannfuhrer Kelemen Ridegh formed January 8, 1944.
    This Unit was attached to the 5ss Wikings Westland Regiment and took heavy casualties during the "Konrad" battles during January after which the Regt HQ was disbanded Jan 22-23 and the units split up into 2 battlegroups - Lenk and Ridegh in the Szekesfehervar area
    the 1st Hungarian SS Ski Battalion was a Honved Mountain Training battalion that joined the SS enmasse And became the Training Unit for the 25th and 26th Waffen divisions Ski Battalions. co Lazlo vitez Zelko
    expanded first to 2 and then 3 battalions it also later absorbed group Lenk. It supplied 1 company to the reargaurd "Hammerstein Alarm regiment" which lost 214 of its 222 men in 2 days and destroyed 11 Russian tanks, the co being one of the 8 survivors.March to April were spent reforming and the unit was rushed to battle again on april 17, 1945 with the IV SS Panzerkorps at St Margerethe at which time group lenk was absorbed. Its Most memorable fight being a running battle near Bruck fought after the war ended to reach american lines.

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