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The Waffen SS….. Soldiers like other soldiers?

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  • #31
    You're welcome Kurt, and my name is actually - Reg.

    The roots of Eastern European anti- Semitism are rather hard to understand. James Hextler, in " Europe since 1500", believed that it stemmed partly form the Ukrainian / Russian peasant being historically free to leave his overlord, to go where he wished, and to Serve the Lord of his choice',- and as serfs gradually became freer in western Europe, the Eastern European serfs became more repressed by the Polish and Russian nobility.

    It does exist, and was pretty virulent- and encouraged.

    The Orthodox view seems to have been that Kiev was the ' New Rome' - destined to replace both fallen Constantinople and perfidious Moscow . Jews were seen as 'corrupt aliens',at best, Christ killers at worst.

    One hopes that Ukraine comes to grips with this.
    Last edited by marktwain; 07 Dec 18, 10:25.
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
      Cult,

      All of what you stated above is accurate and I agree.That The core WSS divisions were still able to obtain volunteers along with conscripted men, which were trained well in military tactics, at the various WSS training facilities well into 1944 and up to 1945 is a testament to how much effort Himmler put behind fielding quality WSS soldiers. The officers are another story. Most of the best front line officers, as you have noted, were dead by mid to late 1943.
      What I meant was more like the volunteers for the SS as a whole (enlisted and professional ncos/officers together).

      Is that the conclusion of Yerger and the others? I don't have much info on the WSS training facilities. What I did pick up with the likelihood that they were newly established as the WSS started to take over resources from the army and better equipped than the army on average.

      What I personally gathered was that the junior SS officers had mediocre training but they were high in combat spirit. The volunteers allocated to the SS 39- mid 43 were top of the line physically and in combat spirit. Then these units were trained, using army resources and manuals. So the elite SS units themselves were pretty similar to the mobile units of the Army on paper. The key difference was their people.

      The senior is what I don't really understand. I have also read that numerous senior officers and field officers (such as Hausser and the commander of Das Reich's PR) were skilled army officers that transferred into the SS.
      Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
      Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
      Barbarossa Derailed I & II
      Battle of Kalinin October 1941

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post

        What I meant was more like the volunteers for the SS as a whole (enlisted and professional ncos/officers together).

        Is that the conclusion of Yerger and the others? I don't have much info on the WSS training facilities. What I did pick up with the likelihood that they were newly established as the WSS started to take over resources from the army and better equipped than the army on average.

        What I personally gathered was that the junior SS officers had mediocre training but they were high in combat spirit. The volunteers allocated to the SS 39- mid 43 were top of the line physically and in combat spirit. Then these units were trained, using army resources and manuals. So the elite SS units themselves were pretty similar to the mobile units of the Army on paper. The key difference was their people.

        The senior is what I don't really understand. I have also read that numerous senior officers and field officers (such as Hausser and the commander of Das Reich's PR) were skilled army officers that transferred into the SS.
        If you read my short bio of Felix Steiner you would note that he also was transferred to the SS from the Wehrmacht.

        Lets look at Theodor Eicke

        I am sure you know of his background which is quite the story so I will not get into this although Yerger devotes 2 full large format pages on his infamous personality and background. Here is Yerger's take on Eicke commanding troops in the field:

        Eicke's brutality and devotion to the hard line policies of the NSDAP was instilled in many of his pre war subordinates or personal allies who would be among the most direct perpetrators of the Holocaust in the field or within the camp system during the years after the division was formed. Among many of these were Obergruppenfuhrer and General der Waffen SS and Polizei Friedrich Jeckeln, a close friend of Eicke responsible tens of thousands of civilian deaths while serving as Hoherer SS and Polizeifuhrer "Russland - Sud.

        Totally devoted to the NSDAP, Eicke was generally short sighted in his actions as field commander with potential casualties being an irrelevant aspect when planning operations. Revered by the enlisted men and NCO's of his divisional command, they accorded him the affectionate name of "Papa Eicke." However, he was both obsessively strict and forceful. Not a military expert by any means, he simply used all men and weapons to complete a combat assignment, regardless of the losses incurred. While that earned Totenkopf the reputation as among the best defensive units Germany fielded, it also bought personality clashes between Eicke and some of his army superiors. Eicke did do whatever was necessary to see to it that his men were well supplied and when losses ran so high it was feared the division would have no cadre for rebuilding, he repeatedly appealed directly to Himmler to withdraw the division.
        It is, by the way, Eicke that Erich von Manstein refers to in my post above.
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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        • #34
          Yes, I knew of Steiner. That description of Eike is pretty similar to the one in "Soldiers of Destruction" (the academic book on the Death's Head).

          If you're interested, have you checked these men:These were the leaders of the Death's Head in 43-45 (in a very different stage of the war). Priess commanded the I SS Panzer Korps and later got involved in the Malmedy massacre. Ullrich wrote "Cliff against an ocean"- a somewhat disjointed unit history that I have a copy of. He was the last commander of SS Viking division.
          Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
          Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
          Barbarossa Derailed I & II
          Battle of Kalinin October 1941

          Comment


          • #35
            A post by Emtos was deleted as it had nothing to do with WW2. If you want to discuss current events, please go to the relevant section of the forum, not here.
            Thank you ACG staff.

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            • #36
              According to this (in the film "Downfall" he is portrayed by that actor that's taller than the door) Rochus was a 20 year old apprentice painter before he was drafted into the military in 1937. He volunteered for the SS-VT, which had a 5 foot 10 inch minimum height requirement. He was then assigned to the Leibstandarte. The 1st Company was composed of a mixture of athletes (olympians including medal winners (he noted track and field and rowing in particular)) and high school graduates.

              The typical height in his company was 200 cm (6 foot 3 inch). He spend the first two years doing little military training at all (which he noted that many were to become bitter about) and spent most of it playing sports in their wehrmacht facilities. The LAH also spent a lot of time doing official functions, being extras in films, and being asphalt soldiers. In 1939 he was deployed in Poland and got seriously injured (shot 3 times) which lead to appointment as an aid, very close to Hitler.

              https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...t_bibl_vppi_i0
              Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
              Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
              Barbarossa Derailed I & II
              Battle of Kalinin October 1941

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                I think their was a clear line between anti Semitism and anti Bolshevism. The predominately German speaking WSS volunteers were both anti Semitic and anti Bolshevism while the Scandinavian speaking volunteers were strictly anti Bolshevism/communism.
                That is not correct. Anti-semitism was present among Danish volunteers as well, hardly surprising as many were recruited from and through the nazi-organisations in Denmark. They were ideologically schooled in the same manner as other SS-volunteers in the same curriculum. It is, however, only in more recent studies of Danish Waffen-SS volunteers that this has been documented, just as anti-semitism in Denmark in this period is only recently becomming a subject for historians. You might say that Danes were not generally anti-semitic, but they were certainly more than willing to close an eye and align themselves with actions based in anti-semitic sentiments - in particular if they or the country as such could benefit from it. The fact that many Danish jews were spared the Holocaust should probably be seen more as an act of risistance to German occupation and a shared interest amont the occupiers and the occupied in keeping things Quiet on the Whipped Cream Front and butter export to Germany flowing, than any particular care for people of the Jewish persuasion.

                Of course, Danish Waffen-SS volunteers were just as eager as anyone else post-war to claim that they were just adventerous anti-bolscheviks, serving as common soldiers. But that is just not correct.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                  According to this (in the film "Downfall" he is portrayed by that actor that's taller than the door) Rochus was a 20 year old apprentice painter before he was drafted into the military in 1937. He volunteered for the SS-VT, which had a 5 foot 10 inch minimum height requirement. He was then assigned to the Leibstandarte. The 1st Company was composed of a mixture of athletes (olympians including medal winners (he noted track and field and rowing in particular)) and high school graduates.

                  The typical height in his company was 200 cm (6 foot 3 inch). He spend the first two years doing little military training at all (which he noted that many were to become bitter about) and spent most of it playing sports in their wehrmacht facilities. The LAH also spent a lot of time doing official functions, being extras in films, and being asphalt soldiers. In 1939 he was deployed in Poland and got seriously injured (shot 3 times) which lead to appointment as an aid, very close to Hitler.

                  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...t_bibl_vppi_i0
                  I have Downfall on DVD. Great movie and yes the actor portraying Misch was probably 6'8. Do you have that book?
                  Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by cbo View Post

                    That is not correct. Anti-semitism was present among Danish volunteers as well, hardly surprising as many were recruited from and through the nazi-organisations in Denmark. They were ideologically schooled in the same manner as other SS-volunteers in the same curriculum. It is, however, only in more recent studies of Danish Waffen-SS volunteers that this has been documented, just as anti-semitism in Denmark in this period is only recently becomming a subject for historians. You might say that Danes were not generally anti-semitic, but they were certainly more than willing to close an eye and align themselves with actions based in anti-semitic sentiments - in particular if they or the country as such could benefit from it. The fact that many Danish jews were spared the Holocaust should probably be seen more as an act of risistance to German occupation and a shared interest amont the occupiers and the occupied in keeping things Quiet on the Whipped Cream Front and butter export to Germany flowing, than any particular care for people of the Jewish persuasion.

                    Of course, Danish Waffen-SS volunteers were just as eager as anyone else post-war to claim that they were just adventerous anti-bolscheviks, serving as common soldiers. But that is just not correct.
                    IIRC, in 1944 Hitler wanted all the Jews in Denmark rounded up for deportation. Almost all of them were saved by an organization that sent them by boats over to neutral Sweden,
                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post

                      I have Downfall on DVD. Great movie and yes the actor portraying Misch was probably 6'8. Do you have that book?

                      I browsed the book yesterday. (nope)
                      Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                      Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                      Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                      Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                        Yes, I knew of Steiner. That description of Eike is pretty similar to the one in "Soldiers of Destruction" (the academic book on the Death's Head).

                        If you're interested, have you checked these men:These were the leaders of the Death's Head in 43-45 (in a very different stage of the war). Priess commanded the I SS Panzer Korps and later got involved in the Malmedy massacre. Ullrich wrote "Cliff against an ocean"- a somewhat disjointed unit history that I have a copy of. He was the last commander of SS Viking division.
                        All of those commanders of Totenkopf have a 4-5 page large format summary with photo's. Yerger discusses their entire background and command styles. Yergers book is not a divisional combat history book. Unfortunately, the only "official" divisional history,a seven volume set authored by Wolfgang Vosperal will never be reprinted in English as a new edition. Unless RZM or JJF could some how work out a deal with the original copywriters which would probably be expensive. I know if JJF could have worked out a deal that was reasonable he would have done so already.
                        Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 09 Dec 18, 13:40.
                        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                        Comment


                        • #43
                          This is one of my favorites. It was originally written almost 50 years ago but the reprint I have is inexpensive. I truly believe that in order to understand the Waffen SS and what drove them this book is a must have. Its a long book but worth the read.
                          Author Douglass Nash recommended this on his short list of books to read and understand the connection between the Allgemein SS and the Waffen SS.

                          https://www.amazon.com/Order-Deaths-...he+deaths+head

                          Nash is a member of the Facebook page Shadows of the Eastern Front as am I and a few months back there was a long running thread on the SS/ WSS connection.

                          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512...epa=SEARCH_BOX
                          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                          Comment


                          • #44
                            On the disciplinary system of the SS: I have a copy of this book but didn't read in full, but it shows clues how the SS was able to control hundreds of thousands of unwilling draftees. (fear, punishment)

                            https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...at_pdctrvw_srp


                            I checked a few of the previews and this one was the most interesting. Not on the SS but on the backgrounds of 45 SA leaders. The profiles have their full CV and also personal details, including their own words- as typical they had a very cruel way of thinking and acting. Their early life follows the typical pattern: reborn on the battlefield of WW1 or, like Himmler, one of those who "missed" the war (and had an inferiority complex about it) and had to participate in other ways:

                            https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/19...api_taft_p1_i4
                            Last edited by Cult Icon; 10 Dec 18, 08:16.
                            Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                            Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                            Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                            Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                            Comment


                            • #45
                              Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                              This is one of my favorites. It was originally written almost 50 years ago but the reprint I have is inexpensive. I truly believe that in order to understand the Waffen SS and what drove them this book is a must have. Its a long book but worth the read.
                              Author Douglass Nash recommended this on his short list of books to read and understand the connection between the Allgemein SS and the Waffen SS.

                              https://www.amazon.com/Order-Deaths-...he+deaths+head

                              Nash is a member of the Facebook page Shadows of the Eastern Front as am I and a few months back there was a long running thread on the SS/ WSS connection.

                              https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512...epa=SEARCH_BOX
                              Thanks for this. "Order of the Death's Head" is the first real book on the SS that I read and it's a classic despite being rather old.
                              Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                              Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                              Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                              Battle of Kalinin October 1941

                              Comment

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