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Thread: The German SS/Waffen-SS in WWII

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    Default The German SS/Waffen-SS in WWII

    Of all the German organizations during World War 2, the SS is by the far the most infamous- and the least understood amongst average historians. The SS was in fact not a monolithic "Black Corps" of goose stepping Geastapo men, as is often depicted in popular media and in many organization made up of three seperate and distinct branches, all related but equally unique in their functions and goals. The Allegemeine-SS (General SS) was the main branch of this overhelmingly complex organization, and it served a politicial and administrative role. The SS-Totenkopfverbande (SS Deaths Head Organization) and later, the Waffen-SS (Armed SS), were the other two branches that made up the structure of the SS.The Waffen-SS formed. formed in 1940, was the true military formation of the larger SS, and as such, it is the main focus of this section. Formed from the SS-Veryfungstruppe after the campaign in France in 1940, the Waffen-SS would become an elite military formation of the larger SS, the Waffen-SS would become an elite military formation of nearly 600,000 men by the time World War 2 was over. Its units would spearhead some of the most crucial battles of World War 2 while its men would shoulder some of the most difficult and daunting combat operations of all units in the German military. The Waffen-SS is sometimes thought of as the 4th branch of the German Wehrmacht (Heer, Luftwafte, Kriegsmarines) as in the field it came under the direct tactial control of the OKW, althoug this notion is techinally incorrect as strategic control remained within the hands of the SS. To this day the actions of the Waffen-SS and its former members are vilified for ultimately being a part of the larger structure of the political Allegemeine-SS, regardless of the fact that the Waffen-SS was a front line combat organization.
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    "The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen."
    General Franz Halder-Army Chief of Staff-August 1941

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    Quote Originally Posted by GermanSoldier View Post
    To this day the actions of the Waffen-SS and its former members are vilified for ultimately being a part of the larger structure of the political Allegemeine-SS, regardless of the fact that the Waffen-SS was a front line combat organization.
    The Waffen-SS is justifiably vilified for the direct role it played in Hitler & Himmlers' Final Solution and the other war crimes they committed. Never forget this.

    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=23394

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    German Waffen/SS Video Clips. ENJOY!
    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isg6FQPJXwo
    Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzMfto91-0E
    Great Video Clips.
    Good Conduct Medal
    "The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen."
    General Franz Halder-Army Chief of Staff-August 1941

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    Some pictures of the German Waffen/SS troops in World War 2.



    Any information, pictures, squads, and etc on the German Waffen/SS troops would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    GermanSoldier
    Good Conduct Medal
    "The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen."
    General Franz Halder-Army Chief of Staff-August 1941

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    Please look at my other topic on Waffen-SS photographs...lots of stuff! =D
    asrg


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    Default Waffen SS Performance???

    Despite the entire "cultic" nature of the nazi beleif system there are many debates amongst historians , including degreed professionals, about the over all performence of the waffen ss involved in combat during WW2. My personal studies plus interviews with G.I. vets from the europian theater that had engaged the waffen ss in combat, proved enlightning to say the least!
    The 1939 polish campaign did not do much more than reinforce the notion that the ss in general, & especially as a combat unit were marginal at best. The term "asphalt soldiers" came from this era of the organization & stuck with it despite excellent performence later in its career.
    Early performence of the waffen ss engaged in combat on the western front(1940) seemed to indicate a fanatical zeal to the call of duty, but, showed incompetence on the tactical level. The waffen ss were to small an organization at the time to even consider competence regarding a strategic level. Problems regarding morality(western philosophy) in general & especially when engaged in combat with the British only garnered the ss as a body the dubious distinction as a criminal organization by the allies.
    This should have been a wake up call to the upper levels of that organization, but as with all cults, reality seems to only come into view when its just to late. Despite the official announcement by FDR & the acceptence of this docket by all the allied powers engaged in that struggle, the ss would contiue to grow both in size & over all military effectivness well into 1944.
    Starting with operation barbarrosa the waffen ss really came into its own & continued building its reputation as an elite combat organization regarding its eastern front performence. Attrition of the waffen ss units were unusually high in comparrison to the wehrmacht units during 1941 thru 1942. The ss totenkopf division virtually having a 100% turn over in its ranks by the spring of 1942. This can be attributed to the superior training of the wehrmacht in general & the vastly superior STRATEGIC/TACTICAL knowlege of wehrmacht senior officers such as Heinz Guderian/Erwin Rommel, which were both strategic/tactical professionals of the HIGHEST magnitude!!!
    I am not saying that the ss did not have competent senior commanding officers, General Sepp Dietrich/Wilhelm Bittrich were qualified professionals for sure, but once again in comparisson with the wehrmacht senior officers, "Sepp & Willi" seemed subordinate in their knowlege regarding both strategy & logistics. Much waffen ss military success can be attributed to Hitler's favortisim to the ss loyal in regards to equipment distribution in both quanity/quality.
    While the loss of both equipment/manpower versus their success' was a leading indicator that "all was not right" with in the waffen ss, the waffen ss organization as a whole did improve in performence from 1943 onwards. For example, the early fanaticism of the totenkopf's division concentration camp guards was transformed into an actual functional military organization after the divisions decimation of personel through 1942. Gone were the "party quacks" such as totenkopfs commander Theodore Eicke. Professional military commanders with experience to boot were now in charge of these ss divisions.
    Tho the waffen ss continued to operate under their own leadership TACTICALLY, STRATIGICALLY they operated under the command of the wehrmacht's generals, F/M & from 1944 on increasingly under the command of OKH which doomed anything German.
    The combat value of the waffen ss was seriously hampered from 1944 onwards by its association with the allgemeine ss. Waffen ss members increasingly sought out other branches of the German military to serve in as Germany's defeat was all to obvious. With "LEAKS" continually pouring out about names like Christian Wirth, Belzec etc., one could not afford to be associated with anything ss. Having gained a notoriety comparable with the Japanese involved in the "death march of bataan" the ss were on the road to infamy, & they knew it.
    The most interesting feature of my studies center on loss/productivity of the waffen ss organization. For example; the U.S. marines showed a higher casualty rate "OVER ALL" than U.S. army personel including ALL theater's that the U.S. army was engaged in during that conflict. The difference is that for that slightly higher casualty rate the U.S, marines garnered a SIZABLE PRODUCTIVITY REPORT in terms of accomplishments!!!
    The U.S. marines involved in the pacific theater fought on a AVERAGE tenacty level of that which the 101st A/B division fought at Bastogne!!! No one fought a MORE RESOLUTE OPPONENT during WW2 than what the allies faced in the pacific with the Japanese. With the U.S. marines reputation as an elite unit, the Japanese took fanaticism to the MAX!!! The only troops tougher than the "fight to the death" Japanese of TARAWA, saipan, & iwo jima were their U.S. marine opponents!!!
    Special thanks to "ALL THE BRANCHES" of the U.S. military at the battle of okinawa as, tho smaller in size numerically, this made the battle at stalingrad look to be both "comical & laid back" in comparisson! Considering that the Japanese combatants of WW2 were only matched in tenacity previously by the Norwiegan BERSERKERS many years before, we must conclude some OBVIOUS facts regarding comparissons here.
    The waffen ss TOOK HORENDOUS casualties in regards to their accomplishments. The U.S. marines CAUSED HORENDOUS losses on their Japanese opponents for a slightly higher casualty ratio than did standard U.S. army troops. Proper training & COMPETENT LEADERSHIP seems to come into play here! Both the nazi ss & imperial Japan had with no doubt cultic leanings regarding leadership worship.
    The differnce that I can see is the Japanese "took it to the grave" regarding combat. The Japanese had excellent leadership, were well TRAINED, fanatical & brave soldiers beyond question. The waffen ss suffered in regards to quality leadership(in the beginning) were well INDOCTRINATED, semi fanatical & brave, to a point.
    The U.S. marines faced a formidable, united & resolute enemy on the island of betio(tarawa) in 1943. These Japanese troops also contained a battalion of elite imperial marines & the island had been constructed into a well protected interlocking fortress. The japanese were well fed, reasonably educated, supurbably armed & fully united in their emperor worship to death.
    The Russian soldiers that the ss encountered in Russia & specifically stalingrad were poorly fed, poorly educated, ADEQUATLY armed & ununited in thought, beleive system & communism in general. See the problem here? Both the Japanese & ss got their pants whipped off them! The "highly" rated waffen ss in practise seemed more a cultic organization built on an outdated pagan nordic beleif system corrupted with "personal" ambitions for monetary/political gain & a desire for a good looking uniform. Hence forth the term "asphalt soldiers".
    As far as a combat organization goes, I rate the waffen ss on the low side of distinction. Favored with better pay, superior/more equipment, & generally better conditions than the wehrmacht, this organization acheived no better results IF even as good as the wehrmacht.The waffen ss seems to me to be better suited to serving tables & playing mandolins than trying to be elite soldiers.

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    As far as a combat organization goes, I rate the waffen ss on the low side of distinction. Favored with better pay, superior/more equipment, & generally better conditions than the wehrmacht, this organization acheived no better results IF even as good as the wehrmacht.The waffen ss seems to me to be better suited to serving tables & playing mandolins than trying to be elite soldiers.
    interesting point of view, but I am sure you are not right at all with that. there is a quite actual book from a british historian (forgot the name) who relates on combat reports and he comes to the concusion that the waffen-ss was indeed a very effective unit by all means. you point out the losses, but do not forget that the SS like the wehrmacht ALWAYS (expect the early years of the blitzkrieg) fought against superior enemies, they were always outclassed by numbers and often by other facts. the russian losses were even higher, btw.

    the SS was alway the front-feuerwehr, which means they were put in action, where the combat was really hot. alone this is a sign that the waffen-ss could not be bunch of dish-serving mandoline-playing idiots you maybe know from stupid us-movies.

    a general thing at last: the biggest problem of this forum is that we are ALL talking abouth things we DO NOT REALLY KNOW. we all have to relate to different sources and it is always a quesion of belief - in which source you believe (more). for my side, I am sure that the SS was mostly better than the wehrmacht-units and not worse than any allied-troops.

    jens
    Last edited by Flammpanzer; 03-05-2007 at 09:23 AM.
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    This is a Waffen Division that is well known for being one of the largest Waffen Divisions. Here is some information on this excellent Division.

    The 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Handschar (1st Croatian) was one of the thirty-eight divisions fielded as part of the Waffen-SS during World War 2.

    The 13th Handschar was the largest of these divisions, with 21,650 men. Its German name meant it was the 13th Division, a mountain formation (Gebirgs) of the SS (composed of none-German recruits). Name Handschar (Bosnian/Croatian: Handzar) after the curved Turkish sword known as the Scimitar (Arabic: Khanjar): an historical symbol of Bosnia.

    The Handschar were used to conduct operations against Yugoslav Partisans in the Balkan Mountains from February 1944 to September 1944, most of them had deserted to join the Yugoslav Partisans, fighting for Josip Broz Tito.

    The Handshcar are infamous for being the only Waffen SS division to mutiny, and the first known troops to revolt from within the Nazi System.

    If you have any squads, divisions, extra information, etc.on the Waffen please post your information here!
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    "The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen."
    General Franz Halder-Army Chief of Staff-August 1941

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    yes. maybe quite interesting: most of the soldiers of this unit were MUSLIMS. they were fully allowed to practise their religious duties and they had the traditional hat (something like a féz), in combination with the german uniform a strange look.

    jens
    "Wo bleibt denn unsere Artillerie?" "Du bist die Artillerie!"

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    Well slow bear thanks for the post i fully agree with first part of it.
    Guys let define the difference of SS and Waffen-SS.
    SS was the Hitlers elite troops (on Nazy propogandic purposes).
    They were good motivated ( pretty rather then educated).
    As it mentioned the slow bear they had a absolutly superiority in the perfomence and supplies. And even when if the Wermach units in the end part of war had a shortage of everything the SS was full equipment( especialy tanks units). Not bad condition to be the "elite troops" , don't you think
    The Waffen-SS was the national units from the people of occuped states. They participated in the front battles, but its main "glory" ( at least in the Eastern front) was not the battlefild but the executions.
    The Waffen-SS together with police battalions ( as it said the Hitler ) was universal instrumen for the Nazy politic of henocide. Germans used the national hate of people to each other in its aims.
    One of the best example of this was the 14 Waffen-SS division "Galicia"which was formed in Ukraine in the late of 1943. They joined the ukraine volintaries under Germans command.
    After the training the Galicia was sended the Eastern fron where in jule of 1944 was fully crushed in the its first battle.
    Later this division was repaired but there was no sended to the fron never. Now they took part in "dirty work" in partisans areas of Poland and Slovacia.
    The Ukrainian Galicia was famouse of its fiierce anti-polish ans anti-jewish atrosities.In authumn of 1944 it licvidated the Slovenian uprising, and in jenuary of 1945 it was sended to the Ugoslavia to execute the civil population who supported the partisans.
    Another good example the 15 divisoon of Waffen-SS so callec "Lettish" who took active part in mass executions of civils in the 1942-43 in the Russia Belorussia and Ukraine.
    Certainly Waffen-SS soldiers fought more desperatelly then the Wermach becouse the obviouse reason - they must be shoted immediatelly by Red Army.
    The cruelty of Waffen-SS above the civils population during the so called "special anti-partisan operation" wondered even the Germans.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Chevan; 03-07-2007 at 08:56 AM.

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    The fight in thewarsaw uprising was particulary brutal for some SS units.

    More info about the Handschar:

    http://www.choiquehobbies.com.ar/rev.../haschdare.htm

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    Those 2 Youtube links,I noticed in the first video the tiger has a number 3 on it,doesn't that mean it was the 3rd tiger made?




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    The fight in thewarsaw uprising was particulary brutal for some SS units.
    one unit was evolved in that in a very brutal way, it was (Dr.) Oskar Dirlewangers waffen-SS-division, which mostly consisted of sentenced criminals. this was one of the most brutal SS-units ever and it was even not very much liked by other waffen-ss units. there is a nice book about this special unit ("The cruel hunters"). Dirlewanger himself was sentenced years before for sexual abuse of a girl. he died of severe injuries he got from fench guards in the prison where he was kept shortly after war.

    a cruel monster of history.

    jens
    Last edited by Flammpanzer; 03-07-2007 at 02:01 PM.
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    By 1935, the Leibstandarte regiment had been joined by the Germania and Deutschland regiments. They operated under the Verfugungstruppe, which was a unit of divisional strength. Hitler had made it clear that the Verfugungstruppe was "a standing armed unit exclusively at my disposal". It was to take its place in the army's order of battle. The para-military Totenkpofverbande ( Death Heads Unit) had the task " to clear up special tasks of a police nature"-Hitler. However, 1935, any idea of battle seemed a long way off in Nazi Germany.
    The Verfugungstruppe trained as if it was a part of the Wehrmacht. Men in it trained with live ammunition in full military manoeuvers. However, when war broke out in Septemember 1939, the military future of the Waffen-SS still hung in the balance. Hitler remained cautious that, untried in combat, it would take heavy casualties and lose an credibility that it had. This proved to be the case when Germany attacked Poland. The Verfugungstruppe suffered heavy losses, despite the ultimate victory, thus confirming what the Wehrmacht's hierarchy had said all along - it simply did not have the expertise to fight.

    The massive succes of the Wehrmacht from 1939 to 1941 kept the SS in a secondary position with regards to military matters in the field of combat. With the succes that that the Wehrmact had, not even Himmler could question its effectiveness or argue that the SS- being more ideologically pure- would do better.

    To make up the losses from the Polish Campaign, Himmler created two more divisions. However, he could risk starting these from scratch, as they would be equally as inexperienced as the units that had attacked Poland. Therefore, he used men from the Totenkpofverbande as they were volunteers and already trained in the use of infantry weapons. Their ranks were swelled with uniformed policemen.

    The field units of the SS were known as the Waffen-SS. In the attack on Poland in September 1939, their impact had been a great cost to themselves. They made up for this with their input into the attack of France in the Spring of 1940. Here the Waffen-SS was very succesful. Hitler awarded six SS commanders the Knight's Cross and ordered Himmler to create another Division. Hitler attributed this succes to a "fierce will- the sense of superiority personified."

    The new Division was called Wiking. It was to be filled with volunteers from the countries conquered by Germany in their attacks on Wester Europe. In several countries there were established fascists parties- Quisling's in Norway, Degrelle's in Belgium and Mussert's in Holland. 50,000 Dutchmen, 40,000 Belgians (Flemish and Walloons), 20,000 Frenchmen and 6,000 Norwegians and Danes enlisted in the Wafffen-SS before the war came to an end.
    Good Conduct Medal
    "The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen."
    General Franz Halder-Army Chief of Staff-August 1941

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    one unit was evolved in that in a very brutal way, it was (Dr.) Oskar Dirlewangers waffen-SS-division, which mostly consisted of sentenced criminals. this was one of the most brutal SS-units ever and it was even not very much liked by other waffen-ss units. there is a nice book about this special unit ("The cruel hunters"). Dirlewanger himself was sentenced years before for sexual abuse of a girl. he died of severe injuries he got from fench guards in the prison where he was kept shortly after war.

    a cruel monster of history.
    I read somewhere that part of that brigade consist in ukranians and other non-germans, you haver more info about it ?

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