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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • I have a few books on Monte Casino that I have not read yet. That was one tough nut to crack. The FJ's were an elite force at Monte Casino. I'm too busy with my eastern front studies but I am looking forward to a study of the Monte Casino battles.

    The following are the books I have purchased so far:

    https://www.amazon.com/Monte-Cassino...s=books&sr=1-3

    https://www.amazon.com/Monte-Cassino...2899207&sr=1-1

    https://www.amazon.com/Monte-Cassino...3AWS4JYJ6G9G1R

    https://www.amazon.com/Battles-Monte...s=books&sr=1-2
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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    • Dedicated no doubt... but their position was the most important thing IMO. to bomb or not to bomb, rubble, etc
      SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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      • Originally posted by dgfred View Post
        Dedicated no doubt... but their position was the most important thing IMO. to bomb or not to bomb, rubble, etc
        The Allies did not care that it was an historical landmark that had stood atop that mountain for centuries. They bombed the S**T out of it on 15 February 1944. The Germans used the rubble for defensive systems. A smaller version of Stalingrad.
        Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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        • They did care, then didn't, then wished they had stayed caring.
          SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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          • In defense, I believe the highly trained 1 FJ, and 3 FJ, benefited greatly from an excellent officer and nco corps of veterans, as well as recruits who weren't necessarily raw, but well trained. Also, I believe, though I might be wrong, the FJ had a greater proportion of automatic weapons. Also, the terrain of the hedgerows in Normandy, and Monte Cassino itself greatly helped them in the defense. Overall, I think they were the most elite of the German "infantry" formations.

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            • There are a few good photo's of the Fallschirmjager's here:

              https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war...n-bravery.html

              The little I have researched about the battles for Monte Cassino the more I want to dive into my planned in depth study of the subject. It may be a while though because my east front study is far from over.

              Speaking of the east front the 4 SS divisions that were part of Operation Barbarossa were no doubt "elite" during this period of the war. The most proficient of them being the IISS Das Reich Division which was attached to Army Group Center.

              What most "WSS haters" fail to realize is that they were at first motorized divisions with no panzers. Yet they were often called upon to spearhead an attack ahead of Wehrmacht infantry divisions and panzer divisions. Das Reich was given most of the missions in AGC (Panzer Group 2) to crack open and penetrate an objective (village or high ground) or to counterattack and seal gaps in the line which the Soviets had penetrated.

              DR had 3 StuG's as mobile infantry support during Barbarossa. They would deploy them to whichever battalion/company that was to spearhead an attack.

              The other 3 SS divisions during Barbarossa, 1SSLH, IIISS Totenkopf, and 5SS Viking were not as tactically proficient as DR but their tenacity, dedication, and comradery did not go unnoticed by the commanding officers of the Wehrmacht. They too were given a lot of the tough assignments.

              My knowledge of the 4th SS Division Polizei is not that good. IIRC they were not initially part of Op Barbarossa but were later assigned to Army Group North. I know when they first were formed they were not motorized like the other SS divisions.
              Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 06 Mar 20, 06:35.
              Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

              Comment


              • Cult,

                I went back to your OP 5 year ago and was not surprised to see Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland at the top of the list. You went on to give the authors book a thumbs down and I agree with you based on his list but he did get number 1 right!

                Btw IRGD, in the Balkan's campaign and in Operation Barbarossa often fought shoulder to shoulder with IISSDR. When DR was not available in a tough spot they called on the IRGD and vice versa. There really is some remarkable accounts of these 2 units in combat on the eastern front. And the sources I have for this is not just the JJF unit histories which I have and reference often. Many noted military authors with good reputations hold these 2 units in high regard.

                A battalion from IRGD once held onto a critical breach in the lines southeast of El'nia. IIRC the Soviets kept battering away at this weak point in the lines to try and penetrate and subsequently pour forces through the gap. I believe the gap was 2 - 3 kilometers and a IRGD company furthest to the north fought until they were down to 20 or so men. A Wehrmacht ID which was to relieve them was late getting there but IRGD was eventually, along with IISSDR, also in this sector, relieved of their positions.
                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                  Cult,

                  I went back to your OP 5 year ago and was not surprised to see Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland at the top of the list. You went on to give the authors book a thumbs down and I agree with you based on his list but he did get number 1 right!
                  I remember Spaeter/Glantz's coverage of IRGD. It was a very good/heavily armed brigade sized unit in 1941 and fought with SS-Reich in the Yelyna (spelling?) salient.

                  Looking at the list again after 5 years and find it rather wanting.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by krichter33 View Post
                    In defense, I believe the highly trained 1 FJ, and 3 FJ, benefited greatly from an excellent officer and nco corps of veterans, as well as recruits who weren't necessarily raw, but well trained. Also, I believe, though I might be wrong, the FJ had a greater proportion of automatic weapons. Also, the terrain of the hedgerows in Normandy, and Monte Cassino itself greatly helped them in the defense. Overall, I think they were the most elite of the German "infantry" formations.
                    Yes, FJD had a very high proportion of automatic weapons.

                    I've been reading about Aachen recently and the refreshed 12th Inf division was considered the best in the battle on the Axis side. On the allied side, it featured some of the best US units- 30.ID, 1.ID, 2.AD, 3.AD.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Kurt Knispel View Post
                      T
                      Speaking of the east front the 4 SS divisions that were part of Operation Barbarossa were no doubt "elite" during this period of the war. The most proficient of them being the IISS Das Reich Division which was attached to Army Group Center.

                      My knowledge of the 4th SS Division Polizei is not that good. IIRC they were not initially part of Op Barbarossa but were later assigned to Army Group North. I know when they first were formed they were not motorized like the other SS divisions.
                      I agree, SS-Reich was clearly quite good- fighting closely with IRGD and then 10.Pz . The Pzs of 10.Pz supported SS-Reich inf as they reached some of the deepest advances into the Moscow suburbs. The history of the 10.Pz should complement Weidinger's book.

                      4th SS Polizei was a good inf unit- I first heard of it from reading Glantz' Leningrad. It was highly decorated for a horse-drawn division and was built around state police officers that initially were not SS. After the first campaigns in Russia, it was assigned to unsavory anti-partisan warfare, then rebuilt into a Pz grenadier division.

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                      • The literature on the German frontier battles (US 12th AG) is really interesting. This is what I've been working on. Few elite German units took part though. The US literature is particularly good (eg. 4.ID, 28.ID, 29.ID)

                        Realm of a Dying sun part 1 (IV SS PzK) is one of the best unit histories ever written IMHO.

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                        • In the sector of the West front facing US 1st and 9th armies the German 3.PzG, 15.PzG, 9.Pz, 116.Pz, and 12.ID/VGD "Wild Buffalos" were the key units that were repeatedly reinforced and used in the focal points of fighting. They were typically very understrength at any point of time save for the 12.ID/VGD. 3.FJD was briefly used quite heavily prior to its commitment to the ardennes offensive.

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                          • This photograph is allegedly of a HG division Sniper group in Bautzen April 1945 (the last successful German counterattack of WW2). The rifles appear to be G43 with scopes.

                            http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...Urbanke&page=2

                            other photos in the link- HG Panthers and inf on the move

                            Knocked out Polish 2nd Army IS-2 and carrier

                            knocked out ISU

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                            • Giving a preview of this revised book as I got it in the mail today:

                              The Panther Battalion "Brandenburg"

                              https://www.rzm.com/books/lfv/lfbk012.cfm

                              This is a unique and interesting unit history of a single heavily used Panther battalion in 44-45. This unit, 1st Battalion, PR-26 should be familiar to East front enthusiasts as it was used in battle of the Korsun pocket and attached to the elite G.D. division for most of 1944. Zetterling's Korsun book had covered this unit in detail and so does any book that covers G.D in 1944.

                              In 1945, this unit gets attached to the "Kurmark" division- a G.D. spin-off, and performs heavy fighting.

                              The book is approx. 200 pages + of English or German text. with a lot of good maps and high quality photos with accurate and good captions. The photos are clearly selected for being above-average in interest. There are also contemporary pictures of various Panther tank battle environments and overhead views. The text is primarily composed of relevant after-action report snippets and detailed personal accounts from many veterans.

                              Basically, it's a premium book about the Panther and it looks to be among the very best in english language- if not the best book.
                              Last edited by Cult Icon; 26 Mar 20, 23:07.

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                              • Cult I bought the first edition a few years ago. I agree with your description. Bloody Streets revised addition now available on Helion's website.
                                Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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