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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • Yes, I know the FBB was a Heer unit. The post above it was referring to the 3rd SS Panzer. The FBB was a Mechanized formation in the Bulge and did not march anywhere.

    Pruitt
    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"

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    • I find the most elite part of the Third Reich to have been its media outlet, which attracted one of if not the largest foreign volunteer force in human history.
      Long live the Lionheart! Please watch this video
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=jRDwlR4zbEM

      Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

      George S Patton

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      • Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
        Isn't this the unit that marched into battle in column formation along a road and got ambushed and shredded by a US unit?
        don't recall..

        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.

        Pruitt

        The SS-T (grouped with IV SS PzK ) was dueling with the 2TA during the Warsaw Uprising.

        The SS units in Warsaw were a hodgepodge of various things (IIRC there was a replacement unit for SS-V) but mostly anti-partisan and police 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




        • Commander of 7.Pz receives the diamonds- apparently this was publicized
          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


          • 44th Infantry Division "(44.)

            Reichsgrenadier-Division Hoch und Deutschmeister (HuD)

            This division is listed in the Osprey book "German Army Elite Units". I was perplexed by its inclusion but having read more about the campaigns, it appears that it was considered one of the better Infantry divisions and deployed in critical roles (eg. Stalingrad, Monte Cassino, Hungary). It was built out of the disbanded Austrian Army in 1938.



            Modern day:



            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44th_I...ion_(Wehrmacht)
            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


            • The division was destroyed at Stalingrad and later rebuilt with convalescents and Austrian conscripts from the Vienna area. Not many elite units get destroyed and come back as an elite. Austria had Alpine divisions, a Mechanized division and two regular Infantry Divisions. Most volunteers from Austria went into the SS.

              Pruitt
              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"

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                The division was destroyed at Stalingrad and later rebuilt with convalescents and Austrian conscripts from the Vienna area. Not many elite units get destroyed and come back as an elite. Austria had Alpine divisions, a Mechanized division and two regular Infantry Divisions. Most volunteers from Austria went into the SS.

                Pruitt
                What is a bit odd is why they didn't reestablish this division as a Panzergrenadier unit- it fought the entire war with a lower standard of equipment.

                In "Sword Behind the Shield" and "German armored operations in Hungary 1944-1945", the 44.HUD was frequently used to support the Panzer units in counterstrikes.
                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


                • A large number of Infantry Divisions had already been used to form Panzer and Panzergrenadier Divisions. Maybe there was not enough transport to make the switch? A lot would depend on what divisions were in the trash bin at the time. Stalingrad saw a whole Panzer Corps destroyed, so they may have wanted to try and rebuild these divisions first?

                  Pruitt
                  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"

                  Comment


                  • Some German infantry divisions got upgraded to (mot.) or panzer status from 1939 onward. They were usually the better infantry divisions (with a low number) and essentially panzergrenadier divisions. More W-SS mobile formations were ordered in 1943.

                    Given that the 44.HUD was sourced from the Austrian military and since Austria was the closet 'bolt-on' to Germany it would seem natural that the Wehrmacht would have given the Austrians their own mobile division.

                    Colonel-General Erhard Raus was a former Austrian army officer.
                    Last edited by Cult Icon; 16 Dec 17, 23:55.
                    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


                    • This blog has many interesting articles/documents.

                      This one is about Balck and his time with G.D, in 1943 (before Kursk)

                      https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...FdpSFBuY29BRzg
                      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


                      • 15:00

                        Another newreel clip featuring"Diamonds" Schultz- He was the 9th (out of 27) man to be awarded the Diamonds and one of the very few panzer officers. This was awarded for the re-taking of Zhitomir circa Nov 1943.

                        Schultz is KIA on Jan 28th, 1944. Balck mentions his death in his memoir and comments that if he lived, he would have been "one of the best panzer leaders".

                        The 7th Panzer Division (Rommel's old command in 1940) was the only Panzer division that had 4 Diamonds holders. 3 out of 4 men (rommel excluded) were closely associated with the 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




                        • The 3 "Diamond winners" in Russia.

                          Manteuffel to the 5th Panzer Army
                          Schultz died as 7.Pz CO
                          Dr. Mauss rose to 7.Pz CO
                          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


                          • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                            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.
                            Lehr was in terrible shape and didn't perform well in the Ardennes. 116th did average at best. 2nd performed the best of the bunch, even with one panzergrenadier battalion on bicycles.

                            1.SS and 12.SS fought poorly but performed better in the Bastogne battle.
                            They also ran headlong into some of the stiffest US defenses on Eisenborn Ridge.

                            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.
                            These two did better because they were redirected into the Losheim gap after 14th Cavalry group collapsed. They didn't do particularly well as far as advancing after that.


                            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.
                            FBB stalled in front of St. Vith and together with the 18th VG division held a sector of the front there mostly against counter attacks by the US 7th and 9th Armored divisions that ground it into next to nothing. It didn't fight particularly well. Oh, the 17th Airborne wasn't present at all, it was the 82nd.

                            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.
                            Bodenplatte was simply a waste of aircraft. As Danny Parker recounts in To Win the Winter Sky, one more senior Luftwaffe pilot shot down strafing a USAAF airfield was taken to the operations shack where he gleefully pointed out all the destroyed P-47's on the field. His gloating got him a return visit the next day where the fighter group commander pointed out all the wrecked P-47 were gone and in their place brand new shiny ones. The Luftwaffe officer collapsed to floor in grief.
                            Allied losses were negligible and quickly replaced. Luftwaffe losses were heavy and could never be made up.

                            -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.
                            I think that's totally wrong. Look at it this way:

                            6th SS Panzer army and 5th Panzer Army were the two major large units involved in the Ardennes.

                            6th SS Panzer ran headlong into heavy defenses on Eisenborn Ridge and just managed a penetration of the US lines. This petered out at La Gleize where KG Pieper was annihilated. For the most part, the US gave as good or better than they got and the German attack pretty much went nowhere.
                            In the Losheim gap things went a bit better initially. The 14th Cavalry group had indifferent leadership and was poorly deployed for defense. It got smashed by a VG division and two panzer divisions.
                            Next to it was the 106th Infantry division. This unit had been in the line for a week and had never been in combat before. It collapsed into confusion as two VG, then a third attacked it. With the crumbling of its northern flank when 14th Cavalry disintegrated the unit was partially surrounded and two of three regiments surrendered.
                            The 99th on the other flank of 14th Cavalry held and the Germans went nowhere against it.
                            Then the Germans ran into stiffer defenders at St. Vith and somewhat beyond where they stalled.
                            5th Panzer army faced a single US infantry division (the 28th) and a combat command of 9th Armored. These units were strung out over miles of front in little more than strong points with patrols between them. Yet, it took the 5th Panzer Army about 72 hours to collapse the US front. By then the road hub at Bastogne was solidly held and the 5th Panzer Army against remnants of the 28th and 9th AD along with the 101st Airborne held the town against all attacks. The Germans were forced to go around it.

                            It doesn't speak highly of German divisions when they had every advantage in position, surprise, and numbers and were yet incapable of taking what amounted to a single reinforced US airborne division. It speaks volumes to their poor condition and engineering skills that it took more than two days to get a bridge across the Our River that could support panzers. The US could have done it in less than a day.

                            I think the US did poorly only in the Losheim gap and with units that had little time in combat. Those units that were experienced fought well, and usually much better than their German counterparts. Where they fell down was simply a lack of numbers initially.
                            Piper for example kept having US engineers blow bridges in front of his advance. This crippled it as Piper had no way of quickly repairing or replacing bridges with him. The Werhmacht was never that good at quickly throwing a bridge across a river like US engineers could.

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                            • In the 1939 and 1940 Campaigns the German Bridging Companies were first rate. They pretty much died in Russia. By the time the Allies landed in Normandy there were few competent Companies left. They were not involved in the Ardennes.

                              Pruitt
                              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"

                              Comment


                              • Bergstrom's book is pretty much the most detailed BOB book I've ever seen and he has different conclusions than other authors. In general, I do agree with him that 5.PzA fought better than 6.SSA even though 6.SSA had considerably more resources. He supports this with US losses being much greater in the 5.PzA sector than the 6.SSA. His overall approach is to combine loss/strength analysis with the traditional troop movements.

                                I know from reading "From Normandy to the Ruhr (116.Pz)" that this division was badly hampered by airpower and fuel/ammo shortages during its advance. An airstrike caused its final offensive push to cancel and the division halted with its supply status being critical. So it did not get as far as 2.Pz in the great race to nowhere..

                                I don't recall Lehr performing poorly at all. The 3 panzer divisions advanced at the same level. The I SS PzK did not use very good tactics in its advance. (1.SS/12.SS).

                                2.SS "Das Reich", like 116.Pz was also handicapped by fuel/ammo shortages. It claimed something like 250 tank kills in the fighting against US armored units.
                                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

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