Why the Waffen-SS

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Feb 2020 11:43

Hi Guys,

It is probably true that "Without the threat of an allied landing DR and LAH would not have been in France."

But that was true of not only them but of the dozens of Feldheer and Ersatzheer divisions posted there.

Deployment to France was a useful mechanism for rebuilding shattered field formations, or building new ones, while simultaneously keeping them, or at least kampfgruppen of them, available for use in the unlikely event of a major Allied landing in 1942-43. The Ersatzheer moved much of its training apparatus (the newly created Reserve Divisions) to France in mid 1942 as well.

Not to have had a considerable number of divisions in France would have turned the unlikely event of an Allied invasion in 1942-43 into a far more likely one.

But the fact remains that in 1942-43 France was something of a backwater, and certainly not an active battle front like the Eastern Front. Any divisions sent to France in 1942-43, while still useful in deterring an Allied invasion, were absent from the real seat of war where global outcomes were being decided. All three senior Waffen-SS divisions, for whatever reason, good or bad, did not pull their weight in combat at a vital turning point of the war because they were in France rebuilding.

It seems inconceivable that, if the senior Waffen-SS divisions had been fully combatworthy, some, at least, they would not have been used for the invasion of the Caucasus.

The Waffen-SS seems not to have had a reliable flow of replacements in 1942 because (1) it was restricted in the proportion of Reich manpower it could cream off from the Army, (2) that manpower depended on volunteers, who were not always forthcoming in the numbers required and (3) because the W-SS didn't have the extensive training infrastructure or specialist schools that the Ersatzheer provided for the Feldheer.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Feb 2020 13:00

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Feb 2020 11:43
Hi Guys,

It is probably true that "Without the threat of an allied landing DR and LAH would not have been in France."

But that was true of not only them but of the dozens of Feldheer and Ersatzheer divisions posted there.

Deployment to France was a useful mechanism for rebuilding shattered field formations, or building new ones, while simultaneously keeping them, or at least kampfgruppen of them, available for use in the unlikely event of a major Allied landing in 1942-43. The Ersatzheer moved much of its training apparatus (the newly created Reserve Divisions) to France in mid 1942 as well.

Not to have had a considerable number of divisions in France would have turned the unlikely event of an Allied invasion in 1942-43 into a far more likely one.

But the fact remains that in 1942-43 France was something of a backwater, and certainly not an active battle front like the Eastern Front. Any divisions sent to France in 1942-43, while still useful in deterring an Allied invasion, were absent from the real seat of war where global outcomes were being decided. All three senior Waffen-SS divisions, for whatever reason, good or bad, did not pull their weight in combat at a vital turning point of the war because they were in France rebuilding.

It seems inconceivable that, if the senior Waffen-SS divisions had been fully combatworthy, some, at least, they would not have been used for the invasion of the Caucasus.

The Waffen-SS seems not to have had a reliable flow of replacements in 1942 because (1) it was restricted in the proportion of Reich manpower it could cream off from the Army, (2) that manpower depended on volunteers, who were not always forthcoming in the numbers required and (3) because the W-SS didn't have the extensive training infrastructure or specialist schools that the Ersatzheer provided for the Feldheer.

Cheers,

Sid.
This flies in the face of historical truth starting with the fact that you seem to ignore that Totenkopf was on the eastern front until the fall ,being rather busy around Demjansk :lol: . Das Reich and Totenkopf would never have been used for Fall Blau as only divisions of Army Group South would be involved in that. LAH probably would have been had it not been urgently transferred to the west against the imminent threat of an allied landing.
The most veteran Heer Pz div were not used either in Fall Blau because they were not part of AGS either. And a few were in France too.
LAH had had a much quieter time than Das Reich in the beginning of 1942 so was certainly in a good state contrary to Das Reich. LAH had started its refit in june behind the front and new units had been setting up in Germany for months for the stocking up to a division.
In Das Reich III O Weidinger it is mentioned on pp 337-338 that the personnel conditions for the refit of Das Reich were favourable so there was no dificulty finding recruits and cadre for Das Reich contrary to what you state. The refit of Das Reich had been ongoing for several months when the transfer to the west was ordered and at the end of august was at prewar level readiness but with much more experienced veterans( Das Reich III Weidinger p 444).
So the two SS divisions were not sent to France in order to refit; they were already far in their refit and simply continued it in France.
Hitler did certainly not consider OB West a backwater, exactly why he would order his trusted SS divisions there when he feared an allied landing in july 1942. Actually, plannings were being made later in the summer of 1942 to strengthen OB West further by pulling even more divisions away from the eastern front. I will put an excerpt of that study here even if it has nothing do with the Waffen SS.
And during Zitadelle, it was again the most senior SS divisions Hitler wanted to send west after the landing in Sicily, eventually only sending LAH. Not a coincidence.
Last edited by Aida1 on 09 Feb 2020 16:06, edited 4 times in total.

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Feb 2020 13:57

An excerpt from a study of august 1942 to illustrate how Hitler intended to massively reinforce OB West from 520.000 to 900.000 men before things went seriously wrong in the east. Just to make a point about OB West not being a backwater


"Operationsabteilung
Nr 908/42 g.K.Chefs H.Q 8.8.1942

To chef Gen StdH
O.Qu.I
Op.Abt

Approximate calculation of forces for the year 1943 and its impact on the combat strength of the eastern front

1. Force distribution of the field army on 1.7.1942
Norway 166.000 Finnland 150.000
France 520.000 Eastern front 2.635.000
Italy and Africa 55.000 East areas 212.000
Balkan 80.000 Others 130.000
Total 3.950.000
Comment 1) on 22.6.1941 there were on the eastern front 3.330.000(without Finnland)
2) only German forces were counted

2.Force distribution of the army in the summer of 1943

It is supposed that the strength of the field army will be 3.850.000 in the summer of 1943
According to the development of the situation, the organisational intentions and designs of the high command , the following possibility for distribution of forces is supposed:
a) Norway : Strengthening of the coastal defense and the 25.Pz div , consequently reinforcement of the total strength to 200.000
b) France : strengthening of the coastal defenses and lately the repeatedly uttered intention of the Führer to strenghten the forces in the west by further 3 pz div and 8-12 inf div , results in the following strengths for France :
7 pz div, 3 mot div(inclusive SS verfügungs truppen) and 35 inf div , that is 900.000 men
c) Africa inclusive Italy :5 pz div (15.,21pz., 90.,164. 22. , unit Felmy), therefore in total 120.000 men
d) Balkans: unchanged 80.000 men
e) Finnland : reinforced( (5. and 7.mountain div)to 180.000 men
f) East areas : unchanged 200.000 men (besides occupation forces, guarding of prisoners parts of the Ostheers suplly troops are included)
g) operations army to the south of the Kaukasus : 3 pz div, 3 mot div (inclusive special units), 4 mountain div, and 3 inf div result in a toal of 260.000 men
h) for the eastern front between Kaukasus and Ladoga see remain available 1.900.000 men

3) Comparison
1.7.1942 1.5.1943
Norway 166.000 200.000
France 520000 900.000
Africa 55.000 120.000
Balkan 80.000 80.000
Finnland 150.000 180.000
East area 212.000 210.000
Kaukasus 260.000
Eastern front 2635.000 1.900.000
Other 130.000

Total 3.950.000 3.850.000
………………."

histan
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by histan » 09 Feb 2020 17:01

The West was not considered an active front in 1942 - service in that theatre was shown as such in an officers records.

Regards

John

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Feb 2020 17:34

histan wrote:
09 Feb 2020 17:01
The West was not considered an active front in 1942 - service in that theatre was shown as such in an officers records.

Regards

John
Better to be there than on the eastern front at the time but the high command would not send a division there to have some quiet time, particularly not the pz divisions who were too precious to sit around .OB West needed mobile reserves .Without the deterioration of the situation on the eastern front ,1943 would have seen even more better divisions sent west with the growing probability of the allied landing.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by histan » 09 Feb 2020 18:03

But sending the burnt out divisions to the West to reform before returning to the East was exactly the army policy during 1942, as is outlined in the quote below.

"Filling up exhausted Pz and inf divisions which should be transferred to the west" taken from:
Der Chef der Heeresrüstung 25.1.1942
OB of the Ersatzheer
Nr 10/42 gkdos Chefsache
Chief of staff

Posted in another forum.

If anyone is interested, I can post details of the May 1942 schedule that details the divisions going East and the burnt out divisions moving West.

The allocation panzer divisions to the West was three, in 1941 these were 22, 23, and 24, new divisions forming. In spring 1942 they were combat ready for use in an active theatre and transferred to the East. They were replaced by 6, 7, and 10 Pz Divisions sent to the West to reform - the allocation still being three. When they were combat ready they were sent to active theatres, 6 amd 7 to the East and 10 to Africa.

At the same time it was decided to form another panzer division, and 23 Inf Div (already recovering in France) was converted into 26 Panzer Division.

When Hitler decided that the West needed more troops he transferred two Waffen SS divisions that were refitting, to continue their refit while providing mobile "Alarmheiten" as reinforcements. Later, a third burnt out Waffen SS division, Totenkopf, was also transferred to the West to reform.

Regards

John

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Feb 2020 18:55

histan wrote:
09 Feb 2020 18:03
But sending the burnt out divisions to the West to reform before returning to the East was exactly the army policy during 1942, as is outlined in the quote below.

"Filling up exhausted Pz and inf divisions which should be transferred to the west" taken from:
Der Chef der Heeresrüstung 25.1.1942
OB of the Ersatzheer
Nr 10/42 gkdos Chefsache
Chief of staff

Posted in another forum.

If anyone is interested, I can post details of the May 1942 schedule that details the divisions going East and the burnt out divisions moving West.

The allocation panzer divisions to the West was three, in 1941 these were 22, 23, and 24, new divisions forming. In spring 1942 they were combat ready for use in an active theatre and transferred to the East. They were replaced by 6, 7, and 10 Pz Divisions sent to the West to reform - the allocation still being three. When they were combat ready they were sent to active theatres, 6 amd 7 to the East and 10 to Africa.

At the same time it was decided to form another panzer division, and 23 Inf Div (already recovering in France) was converted into 26 Panzer Division.

When Hitler decided that the West needed more troops he transferred two Waffen SS divisions that were refitting, to continue their refit while providing mobile "Alarmheiten" as reinforcements. Later, a third burnt out Waffen SS division, Totenkopf, was also transferred to the West to reform.

Regards

John
I at least partially disagree with this. There was certainly no automatic return to the east or another front at the exact date when a division was totally refitted. It was the combat situation that determined that. When needed, a division would even return without being full combat ready which was the case for the 6.Pz which had to receive vehicles from 7. and 10. Panzer before moving east in november 1942. Same happened to Totenkopf which arrived in France very late and was far from refitted when ordered east. LAH and Das Reich had been combat ready for months before they went east.
Using divisions in refit as reserves for OB West was an unsatisfactory expedient as Germany never had the means to set up a general reserve of combat ready divisions that could be sent where needed. OB West did need full combat ready divisions in the ideal situation. Anything else does not work. When the allies effectively landed in Sicily in july 1943 , 2 SS Pz corps was initially going to be sent , not a few burned out divisions.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Feb 2020 11:04

Hi Aida,

To go to the core of this:

1) All three senior Waffen-SS divisions were burnt out after the 1941-42 campaign.

2) All three were sent to France to rebuild as a result.

3) Consequently all three missed arguably the decisive campaign of the war at Stalingrad over the winter of 1942-43.

4) France was very definitely a backwater. That was why the Germans moved rebuilding Feldheer divisions and Ersatzheer training divisions there.

You post, "LAH and Das Reich had been combat ready for months before they went east." Are you arguing that they were not at the centre of action when they could have been? If so, this does not show them in a particularly good light. Why were the two most senior W-SS divisions inert in France while the Feldheer and Germany's allies were trying to mount Germany's last strategic offensive of the war.

However one looks at it, the three senior W-SS divisions were absent from any active battlefront at arguably the decisive turning point of the war. In the second half of 1943 1st W-SS Division was in Northern Italy while the Ostheer was trying to hold the line after Kursk. Again, a senior W-SS division was absent from any active battlefront at a key time.

There may have been justifiable military and political reasons for these absences, but the fact remains that absences they were.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Of the eight fully formed W-SS divisions in the winter of 1942-43, only three were on front line service on the Eastern Front. One was on the static Finnish front, one was acting purely defensively in Army Group North and only one took part in offensive operations of Army Group South. The W-SS was not exactly leading Nazism's ideological charge against international Communism in the winter of 1942-43!

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 10 Feb 2020 12:00

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Feb 2020 11:04
Hi Aida,

To go to the core of this:

1) All three senior Waffen-SS divisions were burnt out after the 1941-42 campaign.

2) All three were sent to France to rebuild as a result.

3) Consequently all three missed arguably the decisive campaign of the war at Stalingrad over the winter of 1942-43.

4) France was very definitely a backwater. That was why the Germans moved rebuilding Feldheer divisions and Ersatzheer training divisions there.

You post, "LAH and Das Reich had been combat ready for months before they went east." Are you arguing that they were not at the centre of action when they could have been? If so, this does not show them in a particularly good light. Why were the two most senior W-SS divisions inert in France while the Feldheer and Germany's allies were trying to mount Germany's last strategic offensive of the war.

However one looks at it, the three senior W-SS divisions were absent from any active battlefront at arguably the decisive turning point of the war. In the second half of 1943 1st W-SS Division was in Northern Italy while the Ostheer was trying to hold the line after Kursk. Again, a senior W-SS division was absent from any active battlefront at a key time.

There may have been justifiable military and political reasons for these absences, but the fact remains that absences they were.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Of the eight fully formed W-SS divisions in the winter of 1942-43, only three were on front line service on the Eastern Front. One was on the static Finnish front, one was acting purely defensively in Army Group North and only one took part in offensive operations of Army Group South. The W-SS was not exactly leading Nazism's ideological charge against international Communism in the winter of 1942-43!
1) No as LAH was not in much combat from february 1942 on. Most of the Ostheer was burned out , particularly the divisions of AGC and AGN and it was not possible to do more than completely refit AGS given lack of material and men
2)Wrong again. LAH was refitting behind the front in june 1942 before it was sent to France because of the imminent danger of an allied landing. Das Reich was refitting in Germany for months before it moved to France in reaction to the threat of an allied landing. Totenkopf was in action until october and only had a very short refit in France
3) Wrong again as only LAH could and would have participated had it not been sent to France in reaction to the imminent threat of an allied landing. Das Reich was not part of AGS and would never have taken part . Totenkopf was in action in the Demjansk pocket and not part of AGS either. Almost none of the most veteran Heer Pz div did take part in Fall Blau (only the 3.) and 3 of them (6. , 7. and 10.) were refitting in France.
4) Your personal opinion which is wrong. The reason rebuilding divisions were sent ( 3 Heer Pz div in 1942 as a matter of fact) is that Germany never succeeded in constituting this general reserve of full strength divisions which had been thought about but the resources were lacking.

The only thing you illustrated again is your prejudice against waffen ss divisions as you would not make similar comments about senior Heer Pz divisions (where were they during Fall Blau?) and a serious lack of knowledge concerning the preparation for Fall Blau and who was going to take part in it because you seem to think that Germany was going to use its best divisions for it and not simply for the most part whatever was part of AGS. :roll: You may start to reflect also about how you would teleport Totenkopf from the DemjansK pocket. :lol: And german divisions have a Kampfwert between I and IV. Mobile divisions would rarely be below II so you would be hard put to prove that LAH and Das Reich were below II when arriving in France where they had an offensive mission by the way. When Hitler stops Zitadelle and initially plans to send the whole 2.SS Pz corps in 1943 to Italy, it is not because he wants to give the corps some rest in the sun. :lol: One could rather get the impression that Hitler intentionally sends his trusted elite(in his eyes not yours i know) divisions to the crisis point. He did the same in 1942 when he was convinced an allied landing was imminent and pulled Das Reich and LAH out of their ongoing refit to reinforce the existing pz divisions in France. If you read Hitlers order, you can notice the hurry in moving up Das Reich which needs to send units without waiting for the last piece of equipment.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by histan » 10 Feb 2020 15:43

Hi Sid

The reasoning behind deployment of the three Waffen SS Divisions (LAH, DR, and T) was a mixture of operational and organizational issues.

The key to understanding all of this is that Hitler and OKW were living in a fantasy world in the late summer and autumn of 1942. One part of this fantasy was that the campaign in the east was going to be successful. The second part was that, under pressure from Stalin, the Western Allies would attempt to launch a second front in France. The second part of the fantasy was fueled by British intelligence which was helped by the chronic failure of German intelligence, a feature of almost all of the campaigns in the West throughout the war.

It's worth looking at an example of this fantasy world, this is for 12.09.1942
"With reference to the exchange of divisions between the east and the west during the coming winter, the Fuehrer gives the following order:
The divisions which will become available after the capture of Leningrad and the Air Force ground units employed at the Eastern Front, which will be reorganized into brigades, will be utilized to free east divisions for the transfer to the west during the first phase of the exchange. As a rule, two east divisions will be transferred to the west for each west division which is shifted to the east in the beginning. Later on, after the rehabilitation of the east divisions, one additional division will be released in the west for each division which will have arrived there from the east. Ten divisions are available in the west for transfer to the east. The exchange of divisions will. begin in early or mid-October, with two east divisions exchanged against one west division a month.
Furthermore, eight motorized divisions will be prepared in the area of OB West for commitment under tropical conditions and shifted to the east, beginning in January, to be employed in the Caucasus as the attack group for the thrust toward the Middle East. At present,six motorized divisions and the "Goering" Brigade are available in the area of OB West. This number will be augmented soon by the 26th Panzer Division, which is being newly activated, the SS-Totenkopf Division, which will be transferred from the east (Army Group North), and by the motorized "Grossdeutschland" Division. Eight of these ten divisions are to be transferred to the east and, in exchange, four motorized divisions will be transferred to the west from the Eastern Front, namely from Army Group Center and Army Group North respectively, so that six motorized divisions will be available in the west again. The motorized divisions to be transferred from the east to the west are to be replaced at the Eastern Front by motorized units of Army Group A and B. [emphasis mine] [FMS C-065a]

They had no idea of the disasters they were about to suffer.

In actual fact, once the raid at Dieppe on 19.08.1942 had happened, there was no operational reason to keep LAH and DR in France. At that time they were still effectively motorised infantry divisions. It takes around 6 to 8 months to take a burnt-out panzer division out of the line, rebuild it, and get it back into the line. For an infantry division the equivalent time is around 3 to 4 months. DR had been rebuilding as a complete division since 01.06.1942 so by the end of August as a motorised infantry division it should have been ready to go back into the line. The same goes for LAH.

They didn't initially because of the second front fantasy but also because on 18.09.1942 "The Fùhrer orders that the "Göring" Brigade and other motorised units in the area of OB West are to be equipped with tanks" [FMS C-065a]

Another part of the organizational element was the creation of an SS Panzerkorps which was to consist of SS Panzergrenadier Divisions which were in effect equivalent to an Army panzer division.

It should have been clear once the landings in North Africa had taken place on 08.11.1942, that there would be no second front in France. If the LAH and DR had remained as motorized infantry divisions, they should have been ready to move back in the line straightaway.

They didn't because their panzer regiments were still forming. In November they were still undergoing individual training - collective training didn't take place until December 1942. Once that had been completed they went to Russia on the day they were planned to become operational for use in the East - 07.01.1943. {Source KTB SS Panzerkorps]

In fact, if you think of LAH and DR being taken out of the line and reconstituted as panzer divisions, their time out of the line is comparable to army panzer divisions.

Regards

John

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by histan » 10 Feb 2020 23:53

It's probably worthwhile going back to primary sources (wherever possible) to understand the background and timeline for the deployments of the SS Divisions from the East to the West, where they were deployed, the command structure in which they operated and the activities they undertook. Doing so should clear up a number of misconceptions about them and what they were doing from July 1042 to January 1943.

A good starting point is the situation in the middle of May 1942.

On 14.05.1942 The Wfst sent the following telex.:
0567 Wfst Telex A 01.jpg
0568 Wfst Telex A02.jpg
In summary:

The refit of LAH was to take place at Mariopol.

A Waffen SS Corps HQ was to be formed.

The remainder of DR was to return to Germany, where the division was to be reformed quickly and made ready for deployment either in the West or the East.

During June 1942, Hitler became concerned that, under pressure from Stalin, the Western Allies would attempt to create a second front in the West, as this summary from the OKW KTB [Volume 2]
"Nach Beginn der deutschen Sommeroffensive im Osten (28. 6.) steigerten sich die Besorgnisse Hitlers, daß der Gegner im Westen eine Landung versuchen werde, zumal von britischer und amerikanischer Seite im Zusammenhang mit den Besuchen Molotows in London und Washington (Mai/Juni 1942)
Andeutungen über die baldige Errichtung einer „Zweiten Front" zur Entlastung der Sowjets gemacht wurden."

As a result of these concerns, the Wfst issued the following telex on 01.07.1942
0530 Wfst Telex B.jpg
Units that had completed their individual training and unit level collective training could be transferred immediately, there was no need to wait until all the units had completed their individual and unit level training and the division itself had completed the divisional level collective training.
The whole division was to relocate to a Training Area in France [where more unit level training and divisional level training could take place - my addition]

At the same time, the decision was made to relocate LAH to the West. [Can't find a copy of the telex but I am sure one exists - more supporting information later]
Supporting evidence is this from the English translation of Halder's diary.
"The Führer does not want to release SS Adolf Hitler, which could have an essential part in the offensive of First Panzer Army, out of concern for the West. Let us hope that we won't have to pay heavily for that." [A very interesting comment that I will return to later, when posting details about the LAH]

Hitlers thoughts crystallized and on 09.07.1942 the following Führerbefehl was issued - it provides a wider context for the Waffen SS deployments:
"Führerbefehl vom 9. Juli 1942
betr. Verlegung von Waffen=SS*Verbändenin den Bereich des OB West
Fernschreiben
9. 7., 15.00 Uhr
An Gen.St.d.H./Op. Abt. ; Chef H.Rüst. u. B.d.E.; ; Ob.d.M./i. Ski.
Gleichlautend: OB West; Ob.d.L./Lw.Fü.St.

1. Die schnellen und großen Erfolge im Osten können England vor die Alternative stellen, entweder sofort eine Großlandung zur Bildung einer zweiten Front zu unternehmen oder Sowjet=Rußland als politischen und militärischen Faktor zu verlieren. Es ist daher mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit damit zu rechnen, daß feindl. Landungen im Bereich des OB West in Kürze stattfinden.
Anzeichen sind im besonderen
a) zunehmende Aussagen von Agenten und sonstige Ergebnisse des Nachrichtendienstes,
b) starke Ansammlung von Übersetzmitteln in Südengland,
c) Zurückhaltung der engl. Luftwaffe in den letzten Tagen.

2. Als besonders gefährdet sind anzusehen:
a) In erster Linie die Kanalküste, der Bereich Dieppe—Le Havre und die Normandie, da diese Abschnitte von der feindl. Luftwaffe mit Jagdschutz erreicht werden können und innerhalb der Reichweiten eines großen Teiles der Übersetzmittel liegen,
b) demnächst der südliche Teil der niederländ. Küste und die Bretagne,
c) ferner sind durch Fallschirm= und Luftlandeverbände sowie durch Sabotage besonders die Hauptverkehrswege, Flugplätze und Hauptquartiere der Stäbe gefährdet.

3- Ich befehle hiernach die sofortige Durchführung folgender Maßnahmen:

a) Gen.St.d.H.:
1. SS=Reich ist mit den fertiggewordenen Teilen, ohne jeweils die Beendigung der Aufstellung verstärkter Regimenter und die Erreichung voller Beweglichkeit abzuwarten, dem OB West zuzuführen.
(Vergl. OKW/WFSt/Op. (H) Nr. 002199/42 g.K. vom 1. 7.)
2. Die SS=Leibstandarte „Adolf Hitler" ist sofort nach dem Westen abzutransportieren.
3. SS=Gen.Kdo. (mot.) ist nach beschleunigtem Abschluß der Aufstellung dem OB West zuzuführen. Zusammenfassen aller im Westen befindlichen SS=Verbände, möglichst auch der Brigade „Göring", unter diesem Gen.= Kdo. ist vorzusehen.
4. Die befohlene Verlegung eines Regiments der 23. I.D. nach Dänemark wird zunächst zurückgestellt.

b) Chef H.Rüst. u. B.d.E.:
1. 3 Walküre=II=Verbände sind sofort aufzustellen und nach kurzem Zusammentreten der Truppenteile auf den vorgesehenen Übungsplätzen des Heimatkriegsgebietes beschleunigt dem OB West zuzuführen. Abtransport der ersten Teile der Divisionen von den Truppenübungsplätzen zwischen 18. und 20. 7. 42. Der Einsatz dieser Verbände ist nach Abschluß der Versammlung mit Schwerpunkt im südwestl. Teil der Niederlande und hinter dem belg. Küstenabschnitt vorzusehen.
2. Die für die personelle und materielle Auffrischung vorgesehenen Transporte sind beschleunigt nach dem Westen zuzuführen.

c) OB West weist Mil.Bef. Frankreich und Mil.Bef. Belgien—Nordfrankreich an, daß wenigstens je eine Haupteisenbahnstrecke und eine Hauptdurchgangsstraße nach den gem. Ziffer 2. a) und b) besonders gefährdeten Abschnitten schwerpunktmäßig so zu sichern ist, daß Zerstörungen und Sabotageakte unterbunden werden können.

Verkehrswege sind aus den in der Nähe ansässigen Einwohnern Geisein zu bestimmen, denen öffentlich anzukündigen ist, daß sie mit ihrem Leben für die Sicherheit der betreffenden Anlagen haften, sobald diese unter der Mitwirkung oder Duldung franz. Einwohner oder Eisenbahnbeamter zerstört werden. Alle holländ., belg. und franz. Gemeinden sind unter Androhung schwerster Repressalien verpflichtet, jede unbekannte Person, die in der Gemeinde auftritt, sofort festzunehmen und der nächsten militärischen Dienststelle zu melden.
Die Zahl der Geiseln ist so festzusetzen, daß der Zweck erreicht wird. In der Nähe besonders wichtiger und gefährdeter Objekte sind Personal und Material zur schnellen Wiederherstellung bereitzustellen In der Nähe von wichtigen Bahnhöfen und besonders gefährdeten Anlagen dieser.

4. Luftwaffe zieht im Einvernehmen mit OB West alle für den Einsatz verfügbaren Teile der 7. Fl.Div. und der Brig. „Göring" in ihren Versammlungsräumen zu sofort einsatzfähigen Verbänden zusammen und verlegt entsprechend dem Vorschlag des Ob.d.L. zwei Kampfgruppen aus der Ob.d.L.=Reserve im Osten nach Frankreich.

5. Gen.St.d.H., Ob.d.L., OB West und Chef H.Rüst. u. B.d.E. melden mir über OKW/WFSt täglich 08.00 Uhr über Stand der Durchführung der Maßnahmen zu Ziffer 3 und 4 mit Abschlußstand des Vortages 19.00 Uhr.

6. Ich werde mich im Falle einer feindl. Landung selbst nach dem Westen begeben und von dort aus die Führung wahrnehmen.

Im Entwurf gez.
Adolf Hitler
OKW/WFSt Nr. 551 213/42 g.Kdos. Chefs

[This is a complete version - part of which was posted as an English translation in an earlier post by Aida . I think that the whole order puts the Waffen SS part into an important wider context]

More to follow on the individual divisions and their activities while in France.

Regards

John
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 11 Feb 2020 09:48

histan wrote:
10 Feb 2020 23:53


At the same time, the decision was made to relocate LAH to the West. [Can't find a copy of the telex but I am sure one exists - more supporting information later]
Supporting evidence is this from the English translation of Halder's diary.
"The Führer does not want to release SS Adolf Hitler, which could have an essential part in the offensive of First Panzer Army, out of concern for the West. Let us hope that we won't have to pay heavily for that." [A very interesting comment that I will return to later, when posting details about the LAH]



Regards

John
Confirms my supposition that, as part of AGS, LAH would automatically have participated in the summer offensive. Interesting to see that LAH is highly regarded by Halder although not surprising. Sid Guttridge will dislike this posting as it essentially kills his whole argument.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Feb 2020 12:35

Hi Histan,

Thanks for your detailed exposition.

I agree with much of it.

I am not sure that the speed of conversion of the existing LAH and DR divisions into panzer-(grenadier?) divisions is equivalent to the Army. You will have to give me some more stats on that. In 1943 the German Army divisions entirely annihilated at Stalingrad at the beginning of February were already being used to invade northern Italy in July-September. W-SS divisions constituted at the same time took rather longer to field, especially the 12th. This was probably because the W-SS lacked the military infrastructure possessed by the Army.

Conversion to a panzer-grenadier division from a motorised division is an upgrade rather than a major reorganization and certainly not equivalent to reconstructing a division from scratch.

As the most political of formations, the conservation of the LAH is politically, if not militarily, understandable and, if I remember correctly, its overall casualties were rather lower than those of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions. Its use in politically sensitive Italy in 1943, rather than on an active battle front, is also politically, if not militarily, justifiable. No Army formations suffered from such political sensitivity in their employment.

But the fact remains that, for whatever reason, all the senior W-SS divisions missed arguably the decisive campaign of the war and this looks even worse if at least two of them were entirely combatworthy throughout. The rough equivalent in the German Army would have been to withdraw all the active Welle I divisions from the front simultaneously, which is inconceivable.

The fact that most of the mechanized front-line W-SS divisions could be withdrawn from the front simultaneously at a decisive moment was (1) because, though useful, they were not vital and (2) because they were behind the shield of the German Army.

Must go,

Thanks,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Feb 2020 14:16

histan wrote:
23 Jan 2020 00:00
Not a very good report at all.

Maybe the other Standarten performed better.

Some of this is perhaps what one might expect from units formed for internal security duties deployed in a combat role for the first time- lack of experience and lack of training. Exaggerated self-importance can be expected from men who have been told that they form a political elite within the NASDP and hence within Germany.

Lack of steadfastness and lack of aggressiveness are more difficult to explain - perhaps poor quality leadership.
I believe your work is well covered in various studies on SS that they received negative evaluations in the early war by skeptical army critics. However, I believe that it is quite clear- from the voluminous, detailed literature- contemporary or hiag approved- that the elite of the SS fought really well in the Soviet Union 41-44, Normandy 44', and details uncovered by Mark C. Yerger and others show that they were well trained a mixture of Army and SS resources and comparable to the cream of the german army.

There seems to be some later friction between the SS and the Army in the Ardennes, Hungary, and the Vosges in 44-45 with 17.SS PzG being labeled as an incompetent formation with poor leadership and volksdeusche personnel. It was also evaluated as having achievements below its structure and having an incompetent divisional CO prior to its assignment to making the initial breakthrough in NORDWIND. General der Panzertruppen Balck seems to made significant bad feelings and bad evaluations of the SS while commanding 6th (SS) Army in Hungary. Gille's IV SS Panzer Corps had issues with subordination to orders even prior to its attachment to the 6th (SS) Army.

Opinions of the WSS tend to range from over-the top admiration to biased prejudices, motivated by moral repugnance- the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Feb 2020 14:28

Hitler considered the SS and para to be more politically reliable and committed to nazism. There is a speech I read by von der Heyte of the Para arm prior to Operation Veritable (1945) that I found rather insightful. 7.FJD and 8.FJD fought in a dogged manner but were on paper, ill trained. While the Paras were not SS the contents of the speech seem to be something that the Waffen SS would agree with.

He basically stated that the German army's infantry divisions were failures and it was up to the Para arm, with its fanaticism, to carry up the fight in a war that a logical observer would consider lost. Political reliability seems to be the best that could be hoped for as the required skills and equipment were missing. The alternative is to surrender in mass like so many German units in the last year of the war. That 11.SS Nordland discussed in previous pages is an example of a dogged unit that wasn't good on paper.

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