Waffen-SS

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Fallschirmjäger and the other Luftwaffe ground forces. Hosted by Christoph Awender.
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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 14 May 2021 18:09

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
14 May 2021 17:01
Well, Keith E. Bonn called the unit ,,the best German division in the upcoming fight for the Low Vosges; in fact, it was probably the best German infantry formation on the entire western front in early January 1945." (When the odds were even, p. 207).
The mountain infantry of 6 SS "Nord" division attacked in Operation NORDWIND and had some successes. The division, moved from the Eastern Front, was unusual as it resembled more a formation from an earlier era rather than a late-war type unit. This was due the circumstances of its prior deployments. It was not a heavily decorated or well known SS unit.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 14 May 2021 18:31

Cult Icon wrote:
14 May 2021 18:09


The mountain infantry of 6 SS "Nord" division attacked in Operation NORDWIND and had some successes. The division, moved from the Eastern Front, was unusual as it resembled more a formation from an earlier era rather than a late-war type unit. This was due the circumstances of its prior deployments. It was not a heavily decorated or well known SS unit.
Thats true. It had the fortune to be commited to a rather "quiet" front. The division could gain experience without suffering huge casualties.
Last edited by Westphalia1812 on 14 May 2021 20:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 May 2021 20:04

Georg_S wrote:
14 May 2021 15:04


Im not sure if you are joking or serious with that comment.

I was just asking if anyone could think of a reason why The Russians were so brutal with the SS.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 15 May 2021 21:04

Leprechaun wrote:
05 May 2021 21:00
Did the Allies make any speacial plans for tackling SS-Divs. In Normandy or the retaking of Europe or the Eastern Front where such units were identified in defence ? Just curiose as some authors seem to still write about the Waffen SS as been the most formidable fighting force Europe has ever seen.
The allies made plans to destroy the Wehrmacht and then advance into Germany. They eventually did so and the Waffen-SS didn't turn out to be a serious hindrance.

However, at times some SS divisions turned out to be a bit more of a pain than equivalent army formations. During BLUECOAT e.g. the 21. PzDiv conducted their counter operations very timidly. The II. SS-PzK counterattacked more viciously. Not that they had more "success" (BLUECOAT was a complete success) but their handling of the situation made it harder for VIII. corps.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 15 May 2021 21:13

For anyone interested: There is a table in Konventioneller Krieg oder NS-Weltanschauungskrieg? Kriegführung und Partisanenbekämpfung in Frankreich (Peter Lieb) listing german POWs II. Can corps took from 08.08. - 23.08. and to which formation they belonged.

The difference between 2. PzDiv and 12. SS-PzDiv is quite interesting.
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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 15 May 2021 21:29

The Normandy literature has basically made the 12.SS Pz Division the "star" German formation of the British-Canadian sector. However it could be that of overemphasis with 2.Pz and 21.Pz less focused on. IMHO a lot is still missing.

The Germans got their money's worth out of the 12.SS but the unlucky 9.Pz and 116.Pz- on paper formidable units- got sent into the collapsing situation and were roughly handled as allied spearheads savaged their rear. Much of the Windhund's PzR 156 was captured without the opportunity to get combat value out of them.

IMHO the Allied strategy- and the terrible German one- was very effective in making the PZ units in Normandy a lot less effective than they could have been. If they pulled back from Caen as Rundstedt wanted the Germans would have gotten their money's worth like they would normally had in an extended front.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 15 May 2021 21:34

Cult Icon wrote:
15 May 2021 21:29

The Germans got their money's worth out of the 12.SS but the unlucky 9.Pz and 116.Pz- on paper formidable units- got sent into the collapsing situation and were roughly handled as allied spearheads savaged their rear. Much of the Windhund's PzR 156 was captured without the opportunity to get combat value out of them.

The 9. PzDiv was a bit of an unlucky formation. Later it was also send into the bulge trying to safe whats left and suffered quite some losses. Both 9. and 116. PzDiv turned out to be reliable units in autumn 1944 when things "stabilised" a bit.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 15 May 2021 21:36

Cult Icon wrote:
15 May 2021 21:29


IMHO the Allied strategy- and the terrible German one- was very effective in making the PZ units in Normandy a lot less effective than they could have been. If they pulled back from Caen as Rundstedt wanted the Germans would have gotten their money's worth like they would normally had in an extended front.
AFAIK the allies actually thought the germans would retreat to several defensive lines like they did in Italy (though the terrain in Italy offered more opportunity to do so).
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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 15 May 2021 21:40

Yes, 9.Pz, 116.Pz were both important units in the autumn fighting. Being sent into the field so late meant that these two units lost much of their equipment and a lot of personnel without being put into use. In a stable front, these two heavy armed units would had a lot of combat power.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 16 May 2021 12:11

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
15 May 2021 21:04
However, at times some SS divisions turned out to be a bit more of a pain than equivalent army formations. During BLUECOAT e.g. the 21. PzDiv conducted their counter operations very timidly. The II. SS-PzK counterattacked more viciously.
Although to be fair to 21 Pz Div they had been fighting since D-Day and were committed against the solid shoulder of the Bluecoat offensive whereas II SS Pz Korps were committed to the more fluid area further south.
Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
15 May 2021 21:04
The allies made plans to destroy the Wehrmacht and then advance into Germany. They eventually did so and the Waffen-SS didn't turn out to be a serious hindrance.
Agreed, and after a brief look I can't find any particular reference in Montgomery's papers for Normandy to a particular concern for SS formations in particular, just a concern to keep track of all the German armoured formations.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Westphalia1812 » 16 May 2021 13:20

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
16 May 2021 12:11


Although to be fair to 21 Pz Div they had been fighting since D-Day and were committed against the solid shoulder of the Bluecoat offensive whereas II SS Pz Korps were committed to the more fluid area further south.

I have also read that in Ian Daglishs book. But it seems that the 21. PzDiv had some unique problems concerning their divisional commander and also with some regimental commanders creating their own microcosm.

The problem with comparing armored army and SS divisions in Normandy is that 1. Two of the army Panzer-Divisions (9, 116) were only commited in late july/august and 2. PzDiv was only lightly commited until late july and 2. One has to keep in mind different circumstances. E.g. one cannot compare Lehr during COBRA with HJ during TOTALISE.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 16 May 2021 13:31

The Pz Lehr, 21.Pz, and the 12.SS were present from the start and they faced different challenges. The Pz Lehr was heavily depleted by late June while the 12.SS saw lighter use (approx 3/4th starting combat strength) while holding an overextended 12-15 mile front prior to the EPSOM attack on its 26.PzR front. The British-Canadians saw the most resistance from the 21.Pz and the 12.SS as they were there the longest. The 12.SS probably the most of all of them.

The funny thing is with the Tiger battalions. The "super duper" 503 Army tiger battalion- the best trained and awarded the most battle honors- ended up with a less than mediocre service record in Normandy as it was badly carpeted bombed in GOODWOOD and came in late.

Instead, it was the two SS Tiger battalions, hastily trained and set up in the spring of 1944 (when their most important training took place as the equipment arrived) from their veteran tiger companies, that had the better service record. Particularly the SS 102. SS 101 was present in mid-June as it intercepted Operation Perch and SS 102's first actions were at the Hill 112. Both units benefited from being inserted in more stable front than the 503.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 May 2021 14:14

Cult Icon wrote:
16 May 2021 13:31
while the 12.SS saw lighter use (approx 3/4th starting combat strength) while holding an overextended 12-15 mile front prior to the EPSOM attack
From the centre of Caen west to Villers Bocage is c. 15 miles. No Division held that much 'front' in Normandy.

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Leprechaun » 16 May 2021 15:24

I don't know enough to be able to comment on the above, can any one recommend a good book or books that covers the Normandy battles
Thanks

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Re: Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 16 May 2021 17:02

21.Pz losses by June 25, 1944:

81 officers 442 NCO 2,120 men. Total: 2,643 men

Panzer Lehr losses by June 30, 1944:

Total: 3,468 men (out of 14,699 men available on June 1st)

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