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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • ...and volume 2 of the 2nd Guard's Tank Army history...


    • thanks.

      Have you read 116. Windhund, Guderian?


      • Yes! I own it and have read it about two years ago. It is an extremely detailed tactical history of the 116th Panzer Division, and very well written by its former Ia. I highly recommend it, especially as it deals with Western Front armored warfare.


        • ^
          I bought a copy of 1.SS book 4/1. It covers from Nov 1943- Sept 1944 (West of Kiev, Zhitomir-Berdichev, Korsun and the rest of the Ukraine, and then Normandy).

          Have you taken a look at it?


          • I own the whole set, but haven't started reading them yet...


            • I've been reading about Warsaw (late July 1944- early Sept 1944) and Konrad Jan 1945.

              Along with the panzer divisions, the 3.SS and 5.SS play a major role in the fighting.


              • My history of 7th Company (1.SS's history of this Panzer III/IV company) and "Der Fuhrer" (2.SS's infantry regiment) arrived.

                2.SS, in its history claimed over 4,000 tank kills. Half of this was claimed in the 1943 armored battles.

                On August 27, 1943 they claimed 1,000 tank kills, accumulated through the last 35 combat days.

                It claimed 2,000 tank kills from Jan 1, 1943 - Nov 6, 1943.
                Last edited by Cult Icon; 22 Dec 16, 17:57.


                • I recently ordered Totenkopf's Panther Battalion. According to reviews, this is a detailed and good book.

                  This battalion was effectively in action for only a short time: late July 1944 to somewhere in Feb 1945, where it was effectively reduced to fighting as infantry. The unit was disbanded in march 1945 with the personnel being rolled into the other units of 3.SS PR.

                  It's most significant actions was its use in the battles for Warsaw and in Konrad.


                  • Brief reviews:

                    -Totenkopf's Panther battalion: Good and reasonably short book- cuts to the point and has a lot of information in its pages. It is better than the Totenkopf tiger company book.

                    -7th Company- all about this 1.SSLAH's Pz III/IV company from 1943-1945. Probably the most detailed armor book, tank for tank, since the entire volume is about a single company. Very good.

                    -4.SS Regiment "Der Fuhrer"- About one of 2.SS's infantry regiments, which was one of the best infantry regiments in the Waffen-SS. 1939-1945. Overall, very exhaustive for a history about a small unit of 3,000 troops that fought in the critical areas of many famous battles.


                    • I have 'speed' read Bergstrom's Ardennes along with 116.Pz. It is interesting that Bergstrom identifies or implies what he thinks that the most effective combat units were:

                      2.Pz was the most damaging unit overall with its defeat of many US formations during its advance.

                      116.Pz and Pz Lehr would be behind it. 116.Pz initially advanced very far but was ordered to back-pedal after Mantueffuel detected the arrival of the 3rd US AD with its 400 armor.

                      1.SS and 12.SS fought poorly but performed better in the Bastogne battle.

                      He considered the 2.SS as the best W-SS unit in the Ardennes. This unit inflicted heavy losses to 3.US AD. 9.SS also fought quite well.

                      The 5. FJ as the leading infantry unit. There were also VG units like the 18th that were more effective than they should of been.

                      The small Fuhrer Begleit Brigade is presented as a very effective unit that inflicted heavy losses to many opponents, including the US 17.AB division and 2.AD.

                      The interesting aspects of this book are:

                      -Author considers operation Base-Plate as a reasonable operation given the strategic absurdity of Germany's situation. The arguments are quite interesting. He also considers the Ardennes offensive as a well executed blitzkrieg operation considering Germany's material and manpower weakness. The Germans were not likely to do much better in his view.

                      -given the presentation of the battle in his book, the Germans overall come across as overall superior tactically (qualitatively) than the US forces even though their formations are, for the most part, much less equipped and manned. The key culprit is most likely the lack of experience of US forces in fighting chaotic, soviet/german style offensives. This requires a lot of maneuver and decision making.
                      Last edited by Cult Icon; 03 Jan 17, 16:44.


                      • I love Bergstrom's Ardennes book. I want his new Barbarossa book, though I have heard negative things about it....2nd Panzer is one unit I have always wished for a good history in English. Overall, I tend to agree with Bergstrom's analysis. What I found interesting was how well 5 FJ did in stalling Patton....I never read much about the southern part of the was fascinating. Also FBB did quite well despite the fact that the commander Remer is supposed to be an ineffectual commander according to other books. If you want to read probably, in my opinion, THE best books about small unit actions and tactics, you have to read Autumn Gale by Diddens and Swaarts, and their new book Kampfgruppe Walther. I love reading all sorts of histories, from the strategic, the operational, and the tactical, but the tactical has always been my favorite...


                        • According to "Soldiers of Destruction", (I also recall Nipe writing something similar) the 3.SS TK's combat tactic in the offense was a more exaggerated form of the German army's. They liked to put as much combat power in the forward units as much as possible and also make tactical decisions in an especially quick and aggressive way.

                          IIRC Nipe states that they had a tendency to use the Recon battalions as combat battalions. The 1.SS and 2.SS also did something similar.

                          Binding the actions of SS-TK men was Eicke' draconian, meticulous, and ruthless disciplinary style that he used on his own officers and men. The author attributes this trait to the influence from the concentration camps. Disobeying orders were punished in an unusually harsh way and Eicke sent many of his own men into the concentration camps as inmates!

                          His closest confidants were his proteges and they copied his leadership style. The pre-war SS-TK spent a lot of time (3 out of 4 weeks) doing "Political education" rather than military training until 1938. A lot of the worst and well publicized atrocities in the West/Italy have some Totenkopf connection. The SS-TK in Poland was there largely to commit mass murders.

                          It definitely seems that the SS-TK had the highest losses of any German unit in WW2. I don't think any other unit comes close.

                          Author Nevenkin dug up some data on casualties in major battle months. Note the SS-TK's discrepancies.


                          "Here's some info from Munoz-Forgotten Legions:

                          Wiking-1st September 39 to 28th February 45: 19084 total (KIA,MIA,WIA)

                          Totenkopf-1st September 39 to 28th February 45: 59995 total. "


                          Of the Totenkopf casualties, 58,800 occurred in the Soviet Union.

                          In "God, Honor, Fatherland" (GD), the book notes that 17,000 GD losses (out of 50,000) were taken in a single month (March 1945).


                          • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                            The small Fuhrer Begleit Brigade is presented as a very effective unit that inflicted heavy losses to many opponents, including the US 17.AB division and 2.AD.
                            Isn't this the unit that marched into battle in column formation along a road and got ambushed and shredded by a US unit?


                            • It must have been a thing about SS units. One SS unit marched into Warsaw Uprising with music playing and the men singing. Then the Jewish rebels opened fire.

                              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


                              • Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                                It must have been a thing about SS units. One SS unit marched into Warsaw Uprising with music playing and the men singing. Then the Jewish rebels opened fire.
                                FBB was an army unit not an SS unit.


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