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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • klaus, that makes sense to me. I've always had a hunch that was pointing in that direction.


    Of interest are the awards given on 12/26/1944. Das Reich had hit its high watermark, and the regimental commanders of DT and DF were actually called to the divisional HQ to receive awards for actions in Normandy. I see this as a bit of a nudge on the part of their superiors.

    It looks like 5-6 awards were given for the Ardennes, 1 posthumously.

    Operation Spring Awakening (March 6th- a couple of awards given the week before the offensive)
    Last edited by Cult Icon; 28 Feb 18, 23:17.
    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


    • 1.SSLAH claimed around 1,000 tank kills in 1943 (3rd Kharkov, Kursk, West of Kiev) . Of these, around 400 were claimed at kursk.

      2.SS "Das Reich" claimed around 2,000 tank kills in 1943- perhaps the highest of all german formations and the highest for any single year. (3rd Kharkov, Kursk, Mius,4th Kharkov, Dnepr Bridgehead battles, West of Kiev)

      According to "Armored Campaign in Normandy", on the eve of Operation Cobra, about 100 out of 150 German armor facing the US were Das reich panzers.

      Das Reich claimed around 200 kills in Normandy, and 250 in the Ardennes. Its claims in 1945 are around the same.
      Last edited by Cult Icon; 08 Mar 18, 08:04.
      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


      • Stuff on Das Reich 1943:

        - After the Mius fighting, the 2.SS was reinforced with a new panther battalion (prior to that, it absorbed all of 1.SSLAH's tanks from Kursk) It was probably the strongest panzer regiment on the Eastern Front. (Tiger company, stug battalion, panther battalion, Pz IV battalion)

        -It was deployed in the Kharkov area and defended against 5.GTA's and 1.TA's attacks - like at Kursk (July 12, 1SSLAH), 5.GTA took heavy losses. Das Reich's tank kill claim for August 1943 was over 300. On the second day of 5GTA's attack, the Germans claimed 187 tank kills- most of them from DR.

        -Most of Corps Raus defending Kharkov was about 50% combat strength, Das reich included.

        -August 26th strength reports still show a respectable armor strength after heavy fighting with 5GTA: around 80 operational (including 21 panthers and 6 Tigers) and with significant towed and SP AT guns.

        -Call of Duty had a completely historically inaccurate level of 4th Kharkov. Near the end, there is a counterattack of W-SS troopers- obviously pointing out to 2.SS DR:



        -By Oct, the 2.SS had only 500 combat troops left.

        -Two of its leading officers- Tychen and Stradler- were awarded with the oakleaves in the fall. They were interviewed by Hitler personally and they complained to Hitler that the eastern front was falling apart- Hitler's response was to go quiet and he then thanked them for their candor. The SS officers were then sent to the General Staff to be interviewed.

        -This is inline with observations that Hitler was more cordial about obtaining for the views of frontline soldiers than the "theoretical" generals.
        Last edited by Cult Icon; 08 Mar 18, 21:27.
        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


        • excellent research on August 1943:

          https://forum.axishistory.com/viewto...arkov&start=45

          Vorschlagsliste Nr.20 for the RK, issued by Das Reich October 17,1943 for SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Albin von Reitzenstein, CO of the division's Panzer Regiment, states that between July 5,1943 and September 23,1943 his Regiment 839 tanks, 18 SU, 334 A-T guns and 32 artillery "abeschossen" while the Regiment suffered 57 Panzers "Totalausfalle.
          So SS-PR2 claimed 857 armor kills and 334 At guns between July 5- Sept 23, 1943.

          According to the Russian Central Archive of Defense Department (CАDD, file 332, inventory 4948, doc. 34, pgs. 4, 43, 61.) in total for August 43 the 5 g.TA has had following losses: burned-out - 324, destroyed by artillery - 100, destroyed by mines - 14, destroyed by Luftwaffe - 7 tanks. The losses in manpower during August were: 60-65 % senior officers, 85% battalion and company commanders, 75% radio operator's.
          5GTA August losses: 443 tanks


          On August 20, 1943, Das Reich was situation directly across from 5GTA. Raus allocated his nebelwerfer battalion to support "Der Fuhrer" regiment (48 Tubes) and a Hornet battalion.

          At afternoon of August 20 It start regrouping to area of 53 Army near Polevoe and started attack without success by 18 AC and 5 g.MC at 17:00 August 21 in Lyubotin-Korotich direction, the 29 AC still kept positions near Bogodukhov (18 AC had 80 tanks and 5 g.MC had 50 tanks - CАDD, file 223, inventory 50664, doc. 9, pgs. 186187.).

          15 tanks were sink into the mud of boggy bank Udy river, some tanks were blown up by mines. On the next day the parts of the 5 g.TA continued attack at early morning but were stopped by two tank companies of "Das Rech" Panther Abt. around Starja-Ljubotin and Kommuna, as a whole for a day Panthers knocked out 48 Soviet tanks. August 23, 12 Km west of Kharkov, the platoon of 2-nd tank company of Panther Abt. "Das Rech" broke up a Russian tank assault. The platoon commander alone destroyed 7 tanks from 10. On the 24th "Das Reich" 6-th tank company with 9 PzKpfw IV's, battled 60 T-34's at Korotich farm. This tanks knocked out 29 tanks of the 60, plus some "Tigers" appeared in time also knocked out 11 enemy tanks, around 56 Soviet tanks were knocked out by "Das Reich" units in that day. From August 21 to 29 the 5 g.TA lost 114 T-34 and 15 T-70 just when moved only 12 km.
          Last edited by Cult Icon; 10 Mar 18, 10:34.
          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


          • "Obedient until Death" is a surprisingly detailed memoir from 1.SSLAH SPW battalion soldier with the close-combat clasp in gold.

            In 1941 he describes the ceremony of receiving the Iron Cross 2nd class. These were apparently awarded in groups:

            He had 6 months of combat in Russia with a heavy infantry company:

            "I had proved myself in the ranks of the Leibstandarte for
            which, on 17 December 1941, twenty-four men of my company including myself
            received from the hand of our legendary divisional commander, Waffen-SS
            General Sepp Dietrich, the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
            "
            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


            • Some of the other aspects are interesting:

              -The Austrian author was conscripted into a Death's Head regiment in 1938. He was just a 17 years old farmboy. He trained for 1 1/2 years in infantry combat and driving various vehicles. I looked at Axis history and SS-TK regiment 4 was based in an austrian concentration camp.

              -representatives of the SSLAH came into the camp and selected qualified men, and he was among them. He was trained in the SSLAH until June 1941.

              -He had 6 injuries, 84 close-combat days in 1941-1944, close combat clasp in gold, and 4 tank kills.

              - He was 1 out of the 14 SSLAH soldiers that had the CCC in gold.
              Last edited by Cult Icon; 10 Mar 18, 23:13.
              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


              • Cult I'm sure you are aware of the "German Cross In Gold" series by Mark Yerger. I have been on the fence about buying the series because each book is around 45 bucks. The books are supposed to be an excellent resource of the men who received the award, explaining in detail the actions they did in combat to justify it.

                I'm ordering volume II today to see if the book is really worth it. I will keep you posted of course.

                https://www.amazon.com/German-Cross-...2SX0RKCTESH66M

                This review made me pull the trigger on getting the book:

                I found this book to be an absolutely priceless resource for my own personal historical research and studies, as well as a highly affordable alternative to a comparable text which is exceptionally expensive. This book, and its series, are fantasitcally researched and contain information obtained by the author through direct personal association with family members' and access to personal archives, rending much of the information contained within, completely unobtainable from any other source. Further, this book and series are incredibly well made. The books are near museum quality in construction and contain only the best of available documents and photographs. Extremely well researched, and made. Absolutely essential and incredibly priced.
                Regards,Kurt
                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                Comment


                • When it comes to Elite units, some call units elite when they are not.

                  There were specific SS units that were elite, and many many more that were not.

                  OTOH, some bog standard units could be considered next to worthless, yet become elite. I probably need to look it up, I'm on the grape juice at present, but I'm pretty sure the US 90th Infantry Div was to be broken up, but due to a certain battle, it proved at least as capable as any elite unit of equivalent size.

                  The same is true with the British 11th Armoured Div. Essentially a rookie unit at the start of the Normandy campaign, it proved possibly better overall than even veteran units, such as the 7th AD.
                  How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                  Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                  Comment


                  • The Black Divisions in the American Army were the only ones that were reformed. The 92nd Infantry Division had a very poor record in Italy. The senior officers should have been fired. The Army took the extreme of standing down two Black Infantry Regiments and attaching two White Infantry Regiments. One of these was composed of ex-AA gunners.

                    The 93rd saw service in the Pacific and was eventually used for Garrison duty and Labor.

                    The 2nd Cavalry Division reached North Africa and was converted into Labor units.

                    Not all American Divisions were given good stateside training before getting shipped out. The Black Infantry units were stationed in the South and got the full benefit of Southern racial laws. Support units did much better than the Infantry. The Tank Destroyer, Armor and Artillery could and did produce excellent combat units. Black Engineering and Transport units did some excellent work. Australians still try to under play the Black Engineers stationed at Milne Bay.

                    A lot depended on who was in charge of training and where they were stationed for it. A number of American divisions were milked for replacements for combat units. The Golden Lions (106th INFDIV) was touched three times for all the E-3's and below. Right as they were shipped out they were filled up with recent graduates of Infantry Training Schools. The division lost two Infantry Regiments in the Ardennes.

                    The British had a different problem in that a number of their divisions were a bit war weary. The 7th Armor Division was one such as they had fought in North Africa, and were called home to invade France! The 11th Armor Division spent its time training in the UK until 1944. To put it a bit too simply, the veteran Desert Rats wanted to survive the war and the 11th Armor Division did not know what they were expected to do. They often exceeded expectations. By Market Garden the Guards Armor Division was also war weary and under achieved a bit.

                    To be fair, several older American Divisions never did great either.

                    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


                    • If you are interested in individual biographies filled with numerous Vorschlags and archival information on the combat careers of these individuals, then you should definitely buy the German Cross series. I own all 10 of the books that Yerger released. Not only do they deal with the biographies and award recommendations, but they go into great detail about unit structure, history, staff officers, commanders, ext...They are excellent!

                      Comment


                      • https://www.amazon.com/Obedient-Unto...ent+waffen++ss

                        Just finished this. I would describe it as a unit history of the SPW battalion with minor focus on the author himself
                        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 Kurt Knispel View Post
                          Cult I'm sure you are aware of the "German Cross In Gold" series by Mark Yerger. I have been on the fence about buying the series because each book is around 45 bucks. The books are supposed to be an excellent resource of the men who received the award, explaining in detail the actions they did in combat to justify it.

                          I'm ordering volume II today to see if the book is really worth it. I will keep you posted of course.
                          I have the book "Face of Courage" which is about Close combat clasps in gold. I reference it occasionally if the unit I'm looking at has some people there. The "German Cross in Gold" tends to be something akin to the Silver star but I don't know much about it.

                          Werner Kinder's memoir has little about his own actions-throughout the memoir he notes when he got eg. close combat day 67, 68, etc. He seems to have been mainly a survivor who lucked out and generally didn't do any amazing feats. While he was involved in a lot of close combat, he was always careful not to get himself killed.

                          Despite having the CCC in Gold (1 of just 14 SSLAH men), he was still just a senior private and then corporal throughout most of his war. This hints at what kind of soldier he was. He avoided NCO training so his promotion was very slow and it took years before he got the Iron Cross 1st class. These avoidance behaviors most likely was the key to his survival.

                          Of his heavy company in June 1941, he is the only one who is left by May 1945. Everyone else is dead, transferred to other units, or incapacitated. In 1945 he is awarded the German Cross in Gold and promoted to Sergeant. He became commander of the heavy SPW company, and then surrendered to the Allies.
                          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 krichter33 View Post
                            If you are interested in individual biographies filled with numerous Vorschlags and archival information on the combat careers of these individuals, then you should definitely buy the German Cross series. I own all 10 of the books that Yerger released. Not only do they deal with the biographies and award recommendations, but they go into great detail about unit structure, history, staff officers, commanders, ext...They are excellent!
                            Thanks for you endorsement. I will most likely buy volume 1 to go along with volume 2 which I already ordered because both of them deal with the Das Reich recipients of the award. If I like them I will also get the 2 volumes, 7 and 8 I believe, dealing with WSS Division Viking. I'm not so sure about the volumes 5 and 6 POLIZEI DIVISION AND POLICE UNITS. Were they actually in front line combat or policing rear areas defending against insurgencies and "bandits" (partisans). This branch of the SS I am not to keen on if you know what I mean.

                            Regards,Kurt
                            Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

                            Comment


                            • The Polizei Division did some rear area policing, but they were primarily a front line combat unit. The two best books in the series, though not called German Cross in Gold winners, are the two volumes published by Helion on Totenkopf. They were the last in the series that Yerger released.

                              Comment


                              • I would hardly consider the SS an elite force. They were murderers and thugs.

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