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Bruno Streckenbach

Discussions on all aspects of the SS and Polizei.
Long-time forum member and moderator Phil Nix (1938 - 2013) generously shared his knowledge and the results of his impressive research with the forum, and this section has therefore been renamed in his honour.
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Bruno Streckenbach

Postby Phil Nix on 28 Dec 2005 11:35

As Obersturmbannführer der Reserve Streckenbach was Kommandeur der Panzerjägerabteilung in SS Kavalleriedivision 15.3.43 - 15.12.1943 but who did he succeed and who succeeded him
He commanded the 15 SS Kavallerieregiment 15.12.1943 - 10.1.1944 succeeding Gustav Lombard but who succeeded him.
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Postby HM on 28 Dec 2005 14:06

Phil,

Streckenbach was m.d.F.b. der Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 15.03.1943-01.07.1943, then Kommandeur der Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 01.07.1943-13.09.1943. as of 13.09.1943 m.d.F.b. der 8 SS Kavallerie Division
I have a Bauer, Fritz(26.07.1899-26.07.1944) listed as CO SS Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 as of 00.10.1943 succeeded by Kessler, Arthur(12.08.1912-13.02.1945)(Both are also listed in Mehner as CO with slightly different dates).

I can find no info in both the files of Streckenbach and Lombard that he commanded the 15 SS Kavallerie Regiment?. As successor to Lombard Mehner gives Major Hans von Schack.

HM.
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Postby Phil Nix on 28 Dec 2005 18:06

HM wrote:Phil,

Streckenbach was m.d.F.b. der Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 15.03.1943-01.07.1943, then Kommandeur der Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 01.07.1943-13.09.1943. as of 13.09.1943 m.d.F.b. der 8 SS Kavallerie Division
I have a Bauer, Fritz(26.07.1899-26.07.1944) listed as CO SS Panzer Jäger Abteilung 8 as of 00.10.1943 succeeded by Kessler, Arthur(12.08.1912-13.02.1945)(Both are also listed in Mehner as CO with slightly different dates).

I can find no info in both the files of Streckenbach and Lombard that he commanded the 15 SS Kavallerie Regiment?. As successor to Lombard Mehner gives Major Hans von Schack.

HM.

I have found another note (cant find the source at the moment) taht Streckenbach was Kdr to 22.10.43 then Kessler Mfb to 15.12.43 then Bauer 15.12.43 then Kessler again 1944
Any comments
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Postby Andreas Schulz on 29 Dec 2005 06:29

Hi Phil,

I have this:

Streckenbach:
15.03.1943 - 01.07.1943 beauftragt mit der Führung der SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung der SS-Kavallerie-Division
01.07.1943 - 22.10.1943 Kommandeur der SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung der SS-Kavallerie-Division
13.09.1943 - 22.10.1943 zugleich mit der stellvertretenden Führung der SS-Kavallerie-Division beauftragt
22.10.1943 - 10.01.1944 Kommandeur der SS-Panzer-Jäger-Abteilung der 8. SS-Kavallerie-Division (durch Umbenennung)
10.01.1944 - 30.01.1944 beauftragt mit der Führung der 8. SS-Kavallerie-Division
30.01.1944 - 17.03.1944 Kommandeur der 8. SS-Kavallerie-Division
17.03.1944 - 01.04.1944 Kommandeur der 8. SS-Kavallerie-Division ”Florian Geyer” (durch erneute Umbenennung)

Lombard:
14.04.1944 - 01.07.1944 Kommandeur des SS-Kavallerie-Regiments 15 (in der 8. SS-Kavallerie-Division “Florian Geyer“)

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Postby eagles nest on 03 Jan 2006 05:03

A quick question a bit off topic. Wasn't Streckenbach commander of an Einsatzgruppen in Poland, and later recruiter for forming the Einsatzgruppen to advance into Russia?
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Postby Max Williams on 03 Jan 2006 08:18

eagles nest wrote:A quick question a bit off topic. Wasn't Streckenbach commander of an Einsatzgruppen in Poland, and later recruiter for forming the Einsatzgruppen to advance into Russia?


See viewtopic.php?t=92536
It's best to stay with the topic.
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Postby Mark C. Yerger on 04 Jan 2006 00:12

There are natural combat leaders, the Army and Waffen-SS if full of them. Streckenbach got his combat experience as an Panzerjäger Abteilungskommandeur and was good enough to take temporary command of the Kavallerie Division. My opinion of him in that capacity stands, agreeing with those who served over and beside him in period document comments. His awards for bravery speak for themselves. To argue his other non-combat positions is like saying a football player who plays well can't play baseball.

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The Streckenbach debate

Postby jv on 04 Jan 2006 02:50

Although I made a resolution not to place anymore postings, I feel compelled to make a final observation regarding what is now the "Streckenbach debate" as I am bemused by some of the statements made over these postings. I do not think that Streckenbach's capabilities in the military theatre are being questioned but there are questions being asked about the man's involvement in non-military activities. The arguments raised in defence of the man's capabilities (and some assessments thereof) are naive to say the least (we are not dealing with boyscouts here, folks). I therefore believe that contributors should be allowed to ask questions and not feel being brushed off when asking questions or posing opposing views. You will find that people will step back if they have the feeling that what they are putting forward is considered irrelevant in the eyes of the "specialists". Which brings me to this forum: when I joined I thought this was exactly what the word "forum" meant: a public arena for exchanging information and views by people who share the same interests (don't lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with hobbies here not professions, folks). My assessment of this forum is that it is run by an "alliance" of a handful of people in the USA and UK and others are getting a brief look into the interchange of information by this alliance. Don't let this forum slip into into a "right-click" medium of nice pictures. Not everybody is interested in who the person second from the left is or when so-and-so had his first EKI. Some people are genuinely interested in knowing more about what is undoubtedly a very difficult period in history to understand particularly for the younger generation (as evidenced by recent history surveys at highschools in the UK) and is made even more difficult to grasp because of revisionist/anti-racist/ethnic tendencies in our societies. Being dismissive towards people providing a genuine input by asking questions in a posting is therefore not helping to educate people further which must be one of the objectives of this forum no doubt. jv
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Postby Michael Miller on 04 Jan 2006 04:56

jv~

I regret that you have taken this personally. You may find it difficult to believe, but you were not personally attacked in the previous Streckenbach discussion.

In summary, Phil Nix asked basic questions regarding Streckenbach's performance as a military commander. Being Phil Nix, he is doubtless aware of the flip side of the Streckenbach coin- the Nazi "old fighter" and war criminal.

You wrote the following:

This admiration for Streckenbach was certainly not shared by the German prosecution.


And that's where you took things off topic. The feelings of the prosecution in the Streckenbach Case are 100% irrelevant to a discussion of his capabilities as military commander. The information you provided was useful and very interesting, but it seemed you were presenting it as some form of debate. And what you presented amounted to an apple being compared to an orange. I don't think anyone was being "dismissive", simply trying to keep things on track. A discussion of Streckenbach's misdeeds would make for an interesting discussion, but said misdeeds did not, as has been pointed out several times now, impact his ability to command troops in the field.

The arguments raised in defence of the man's capabilities (and some assessments thereof) are naive to say the least (we are not dealing with boyscouts here, folks).


Yes, we know already. He was a war criminal. But if he was a lousy field commander, that fact didn't make it into his file, nor into the assessments by his contemporaries (such as his superior Walter Krüger and subordinate Arturs Silgailis). Who is being naive? Specifics, please.

I therefore believe that contributors should be allowed to ask questions and not feel being brushed off when asking questions or posing opposing views.


You were not being brushed off. Although this is indeed a "public arena for exchanging information and views", there are still some basic rules of conduct in a discussion. The primary one being to keep discussion on topic. In this case, the topic of Streckenbach's Waffen-SS service. Again, a discussion of his Allgemeine-SS and RSHA employment is best suited for another thread.

My assessment of this forum is that it is run by an "alliance" of a handful of people in the USA and UK and others are getting a brief look into the interchange of information by this alliance.


Your assessment is, in a word, wrong. I don't think I need to elaborate on that, but I'll just say that most of the regulars here treat newcomers respectfully and graciously. I've seen instances of snobbishness, and been guilty of it myself from time to time. But this Streckenbach business wasn't one of them. You were, politely I think, reminded of the original topic of the discussion and informed of the need to remain on that topic. As for "a handful of peoplein the USA and UK"- among the members who post most frequently there are a significant number of Germans, Poles, Swedes, Frenchmen, and Canadians.

All I have for the moment, hopefully someone more eloquent will agree with me and chime in. But whatever the case, you are a longtime contibutor of valuable information and imagery, and I am sincerely grateful for your involvement in this forum.

Best wishes,
~ Mike
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Postby Rob - wssob2 on 04 Jan 2006 08:27

I don't know if I can provide eloquence, but I thought that I'd chime in since I can relate to what both forum members jv and Mike Miller are saying.

Yes, we know already. He was a war criminal. But if he was a lousy field commander, that fact didn't make it into his file, nor into the assessments by his contemporaries (such as his superior Walter Krüger and subordinate Arturs Silgailis). Who is being naive? Specifics, please.


I suppose part of the issue is that its difficult to separate the war criminal/military commander aspects of a Third Reich personage. Limiting ourselves to a discussion on the purely military capabilities of Bruno Streckenbach may at times feel like participating in a discussion on the guitar virtuosity of Charles Manson - Charlie apparently was a master on the axe, but such a conversation can make one feel one is cherry-picking a positive characteristic out of a persona that in toto is much less benign.

It does seem clear that Bruno Streckenbach did not have any formal advanced military training either at a SS Junkerschule or Heer equivalent. That in itself isn't unusual for a high-ranking W-SS divisional officer; "Sepp" Dietrich and "Papa" Eicke certainly are examples of W-SS leaders who achived fame as combat commanders without the benefit of officer or staff training. (Although in Dietrich's case he certainly benefitted from extensive WWI service, particularly in armor)

I would imagine that Bruno Streckenbach's long service in the police, SS, SD and RSHA did play a large part in his career development as an administrator and unit commander. The skills he learned as a paramilitary/security commander must have played a role in how he acted as a military commander in the 8th and 19th SS divisions.

Sometime prior to March 1943, Streckenbach trained in the anti-tank speciality (panzerjäger) of the W-SS. From March 1943 to January 1944 he served as an officer and later commander of the 8th SS division's antitank detatchment. During this time, the 8th SS refitted at Bobruisk, participated in a extended antipartisan sweeps (e.g. Operation WEICHEL I, May 1943) while serving under HSSPF Russland-Süd, and later in the fall was chewed up by the Soviet meat grinder in battles at Bespalowka, Grabovets, and Vassilevka.

Streckenbach served as divisional commander of the 8th SS from January to March of 1944, a time when most of the division was reforming in Croatia, although some parts (e.g. "Kampfgruppe 5/18") remained on the Eastern Front. In March 1944 Kampgruppe Streckenbach (a.k.a. Kampfgruppe "C") played a part in the German occupation of Hungary. In April 1944 Streckenbach was replaced as 8th SS commander by SS-Brigadeführer Joachim Rumohr and appointed commander of the 19th SS division. The former 19th SS division commander, SS-Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock, was posted as an artillery commander of the II SS Panzer Korps.

It's not clear to me why Streckenbach replaced Boch - perhaps Boch, whose specialty was artillery (and was also, FYI, another former policeman), was unsuited to divisional command. Was is clear is that Streckenbach would be assuming command of a "Waffen" (sort of a third-string W-SS classification) division of Latvian conscripts and volunteers, many of them former schuma (auxiliary police) battalion troops that was currently in the thick of some pretty serious combat on the Panther line with Army Group North.

What isn't clear to me is why did Himmler and/or the SS-FHA assign Streckenbach to command a unit of non-Germans - was there something in his background that made him suited to command this type of division? Reviewing Streckenbach's command assignments makes me wonder if the SS considered him more of a defensive specialist than an offensive commander. What is clear is that Streckenbach's posting as CO to the 19th SS was clearly a "step up" as a combat assignment and command responsibility.

I don't take full stock in whatever SS-Obergruppenführer Walter Krüger (CO, VI SS Korps [Latvian]) may have written about Streckenbach as a combat commander - Krüger would have had a vested interest in presenting Streckenbach in a good light because it reflected on his own command capabilities. (Plus Krüger killed himself in May 1945, and thus never offered a postwar assessment) In addition, didn't Arturs Sigailis serve as CO of the 34th WGR (Waffen Grenadier Regiment) of the 15th SS Division? I only mention this because Sigailis seems to have served in a sister division of the 19th SS, and so as far as I am aware, wasn't around Streckenbach in a day-to-day fashion to assess his command performance.

Unfortunaltely, there doesn't appear to be a lot published in the USA about the military performance of Streckenbach and the 19th SS Division - or at least - not a lot in my library! Overall, the division seems to have had a mediocre combat record. In the first few months of 1944, the organization of the division proceeded slowly with the divisional cadre Lettische SS-Freiwilligen Brigade constanty being spun off to deal with the Soviet Army crisis du jour and police units like the 272F "Daugavgrlva" Schuma Battalion being rotated in and assimiliated.

By July 1944 the division seems to have suffered not only from unrelenting Soviet attacks and heavy casualties but also a pretty severe desertion problem. In August, troops from the 15th SS were sent to stiffen the spine of the 19th SS. In October the division seems to have fought well at the "Tuckum Positions" between Dzukste and Klapkalnice, but by December 1944 the division was bottled up with the rest of the remmnants of Army Group North, trapped in the Kurland pocket. As I mentioned in an earlier post, around this time the division may have experienced a couple of mutinies (see Stein, "The Waffen-SS" p. 194). The division continued doggedly fighting in the pocket near Frauenberg during the six Soviet offensive Jan-March, but by April 1, 1945, the 19th SS only earned a "sufficient" rating from in the Army Group Commander's report to the OKH (see Werner Haupt, "Army Group North", p.354)

This report is rating significant, for the "sufficient" rating is the second to last rating out of a possible four. One division was considered "very good", 9 divisions were considered "good" - mostly because of citations for "agile leadership" - 7, including the 19th SS, were considered "sufficient" (with no mention of leadership) and the bottom of the barrel was the poor 563rd Infantry Division. Streckenbach's capabilities as a combat commander need to be assessed with that ratings report in mind.

In his campaign history, Werner Haupt, who is not shy in waxing poetic about the combat prowess of various units of Army Group North, devotes much more ink to the exploits of the III SS Panzer Korps than the VI SS Corps in general and the 19th SS in particular.

My assessment of this forum is that it is run by an "alliance" of a handful of people in the USA and UK and others are getting a brief look into the interchange of information by this alliance. Don't let this forum slip into into a "right-click" medium of nice pictures


I can understand jv's frustration - there's always the possibility that the AHF could slide into the picture gallery kitsch of "blond-men-riding-panzers" war porn or be stifled by the tendentious posts about when Gruppenführer So-and-So received his EKII from members who are uninterested (or unwilling) to mention that such an award came from participation in some pretty unspeakable acts. But the AHF is perhaps the best WWII military forum on the net, because it is a place where the specialists and the newbies can rub digital shoulders and hopefully learn from each other. - Rob
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Postby Phil Nix on 04 Jan 2006 11:27

I have just completed an assessment of Streckenbachs career and persobnality and the reason i asked the question was because I could not understand were he learnt how to run a division successfully. My assessment goes fully into his career as a Security Police officer and the actions that occured because of his activities in this field. However I do not think his Security Police activities would lead to his becoming what is seen from most evidence an efficient and admired divisional leader. I am not in any way trying to obscure his war criminal activities early in the war just trying to find out what made him a good military leader
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Postby Dieter Zinke on 04 Jan 2006 12:00

Phil Nix wrote: I am not in any way trying to obscure his war criminal activities early in the war just trying to find out what made him a good military leader
Phil Nix
I think this statement will clear all other imputations. Phil Nix is a man of honour and a respected expert.
Rob - wssob2 and jv should finish a devious debate.

Dieter Zinke :roll:
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Let's move on

Postby jv on 05 Jan 2006 01:38

Dieter Zinke wrote:
Phil Nix wrote: I am not in any way trying to obscure his war criminal activities early in the war just trying to find out what made him a good military leader
Phil Nix
I think this statement will clear all other imputations. Phil Nix is a man of honour and a respected expert.
Rob - wssob2 and jv should finish a devious debate.

Dieter Zinke :roll:


Dieter, the debate had finished. People's integrity had never been in question. Little did I know that the posting of a translated Der Spiegel article to add a perspective in a one-dimensional characterization would have such a snowball effect to create an avalanche causing moderators to collectively come to each others recue. My final suggestion: let's move on. jv
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Postby Rob - wssob2 on 06 Jan 2006 03:10

Can we all agree to stop bickering please? :D

I have just completed an assessment of Streckenbachs career and persobnality and the reason i asked the question was because I could not understand were he learnt how to run a division successfully.


I think Phil is raising a very valid question and I applaud him for raising it. There may be natural leaders, but I do believe training is essential to being a good combat commander.

My assessment goes fully into his career as a Security Police officer and the actions that occured because of his activities in this field. However I do not think his Security Police activities would lead to his becoming what is seen from most evidence an efficient and admired divisional leader.


A trio of points in response:

1. I do think that commanding either pre-war police or SS paramilitary units must have played some part in Streckenbach's career development as a leader and commander - abilities that are only tangentially involved with his criminal activities and would help to answer basic questions about his leadership "style" - e.g. was he empathetic to his men or a stern disciplinarian? Did he lead by example? Was he overreliant on his staff? That sort of thing.

2. I'd like to see more evidence concerning Streckenbach's reputation as a combat leader. It would be great to get more refereneces from SS-FHA or Army Group North documentation referring to his command abilities and successes or failures, especially in light of

3. The 19th SS division's combat reputation, which seems to pale in comparison to say the 11th SS or 23rd SS (ned) or 20th SS or even 15th SS. What was his approach to commanding a unit of non-German foreigners? How did Streckenbach respond to morale and desertion problems in the division in the summer of 1944? What's the story behind George Steins references to the December 1944 mutinies and, if they really happened, what part did Streckenbach play in them and/or how did he resolve them? Again, that sort of thing.

I am not in any way trying to obscure his war criminal activities early in the war just trying to find out what made him a good military leader


It's clear you're not whitewashing Streckenbach's reputation and you're raising a valid question about his military command capabilities. And I am asking - given the evidence so far, can we be certain that Streckenbach's reputation as good military leader is justified?
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Postby Phil Nix on 06 Jan 2006 12:17

Hi Rob
That is exactly what I was looking for. He was described as a reserved man not very outgoing and his ability is based on his awards and the citations for them plus a letter to me from Arthur Sigailis.
He also seemed to have wanted to transfer to the Waffen SS from 1941, I wonder what his relationship was with Heydrich, why did he want to go to the Waffen SS
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