Why the Waffen-SS

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Feb 2020 13:38

Hi Aida,

You post, "Repeating the same speech over and over again does not make it more credible."

Absolutely true.

However, if something is credible in the first place, it always bears repeating.

As you did not contradict, or even address, a single point in my last post, am I to presume that you agree with it?

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. I am glad to see that you have had a small resupply of "smilies".
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 17 Feb 2020 14:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 17 Feb 2020 13:58

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Feb 2020 13:38
Hi Aida,

You post, "Repeating the same speech over and over again does not make it more credible."

Absolutely true.

However, if something is credible in the first place, it always bears repeating.

As you did not contradict, or even address, a single point in my last post, am I to presume that you agree with it?

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. I am glad to see that you have had a small resupply of "smilies".
You know that i disgreed with eveything you stated from the beginning. And i am not the only one who presented you with information that contradicted you.
You will have to accept that Hitler and you clearly have different ideas about where to use the senior waffen ss divisions and other mobile divisions and what the importance was of the different fronts the German army was engaged in. You only see the summer offensive in the south of Russia. Hitler clearly did not suffer from your tunnel visison.

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 17 Feb 2020 14:07

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Feb 2020 13:32


I am largely aware of what you write.

However, fears of invasion do not make France an active battlefront, so it remained, in practice, a backwater throughout 1942.

Thus, unless they acted as a deterrent to a real invasion plan, (which they didn't, because no such intent, or practical possibility, existed for 1942), any deployments there were operationally redundant. However, they were still justifiable in terms of rebuilding and refitting, which had to be done somewhere.

France is not a backwater if you fear an invasion there. In the eyes of the german high command and Hitler France was not a backwater. Only you depict it like that out of a clear bias. Hindsight is always wrong. Decisions have to be viewed with the motivations and information existing at the time. And at the time there was no intention of sending SS divisons and other mobile divisions to what was considered a backwater .
And you are ignoring again that the ss divisions were not refitting in France. They were pulled out of their refit in Germany and Russia and continued it in France.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Feb 2020 14:14

Hi Aida,

You post, "France is not a backwater if you fear an invasion there."

It is if (1) none happens and (2) there was never any intention by the enemy to mount such an invasion.

However one looks at it, two of the three senior W-SS divisions were fighting absolutely nobody throughout arguably the decisive campaign of the war and the third was similarly unavailable during the Stalingrad battle.

Now, the reasons for this may be good or bad, but it remains a fact.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 17 Feb 2020 14:34

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Feb 2020 13:32


It seems that the desire to rebuild and upgrade all three senior Waffen-SS divisions to panzer-grenadier status simultaneously was contributory to their absence from any active battlefront anywhere at arguably the key turning point of the war.

Whether they should have been so upgraded is another matter, as it could only be done at the expense of diverting human and material resources from the Army. The same applies to the separate existence of the W-SS as a whole. It added not one man or weapon to the overall German Army order of battle and it was slower than the army to recruit foreigners from anywhere outside north-east Europe, where it was effectively given a recruiting monopoly for front line service from 1940. There seems to be little or no military originality or value added in the creation of the Waffen-SS. By contrast, its political raison d'etre is clear.

Cheers,

Sid.
Again ignoring that only LAH would have participated in Fall Blau without the invasion threat for reasons already explained. Therefore the upgrade did not keep the divisons from there as they would not have been there in the first place for reasons you decide to ignore .
An upgrade to panzer grenadier did not necessitate being pulled out of the front as it essentially meant a few units more which were set up in Germany and then sent to the divison as happened with LAH. Mot divisions being made into panzer grenadier was done with Heer mot divisions too so nothing peculiar in there. It would have been strange if ss divisions would not have been.
Good of you to explain your bias again. :lol:

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 17 Feb 2020 14:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Feb 2020 14:14
Hi Aida,

You post, "France is not a backwater if you fear an invasion there."

It is if (1) none happens and (2) there was never any intention by the enemy to mount such an invasion.

However one looks at it, two of the three senior W-SS divisions were fighting absolutely nobody throughout arguably the decisive campaign of the war and the third was similarly unavailable during the Stalingrad battle.

Now, the reasons for this may be good or bad, but it remains a fact.

Cheers,

Sid.
Hindsight again as they were sent to an area that was important in the eyes of Hitler and high command. They did have much more on their mind than Fall Blau . You have tunnel vision and also continually ignore the fact that zero ss divisons would ever have been involved particularly in the fighting around Stalingrad as LAH would have been part of 1 pz army without the threat of an invasion so it would have been far south where Viking was. The other two would never have been involvded in Fall blau in the first place as not part of AGS. :roll:

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 17 Feb 2020 16:55

Hi Aida,

You again complain about "hindsight". Well, this is the Axis History Forum. I would suggest that "hindsight" is very much a thing here!

The problem is less that the senior Waffen-SS divisions were not involved in any particular battlefront at arguably the decisive point in the war, but that they weren't involved on any active battlefront anywhere at all!

The reasons for this may be justified or not, but absent from combat at this key stage of the war they certainly were.

As explained several times before: ".....the Army Groups did not have a fixed establishment. For example, in mid 1942 much of Manstein's 11th Army was switched from the southern end of Army Group South in the Crimea to the northern end of Army Group North for an assault on Leningrad. It only requires the will an and order to send any division to Army Group South." In 1943 all three W-SS divisions served together in Army Group South.

Cheers,

Sid

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Aida1
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 17 Feb 2020 17:43

Sid Guttridge wrote:
17 Feb 2020 16:55
Hi Aida,

You again complain about "hindsight". Well, this is the Axis History Forum. I would suggest that "hindsight" is very much a thing here!

The problem is less that the senior Waffen-SS divisions were not involved in any particular battlefront at arguably the decisive point in the war, but that they weren't involved on any active battlefront anywhere at all!

The reasons for this may be justified or not, but absent from combat at this key stage of the war they certainly were.

As explained several times before: ".....the Army Groups did not have a fixed establishment. For example, in mid 1942 much of Manstein's 11th Army was switched from the southern end of Army Group South in the Crimea to the northern end of Army Group North for an assault on Leningrad. It only requires the will an and order to send any division to Army Group South." In 1943 all three W-SS divisions served together in Army Group South.

Cheers,

Sid
Hindsight is always wrong when judging decisions from the past.
OB west needed mobile divisons in reserve and it does not really matter whether they are ss or Heer. You make an issue of waffen ss divisons being sent in reinforcement to the Heer divisons already there. Makes no sense at all.
Hitler clearly disagreed with you concerning where he wanted the ss divisions to be in the summer of 1942 as he took the LAH away from Army Group south to the dislike of Halder who did not like to see it go. Exactly the contrary from your suggestion that the other two should have been added to Army group south which was even factually impossible for the Totenkopf. If it had been intended to use Das Reich for the summer offensive, its refit would have been done behind the front in Russia and not in Germany .
Referring to 1943 makes no sense as the 3 divisions could not yet have been used together in 1942 in the summer offensive .

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Yuri
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Yuri » 17 Feb 2020 20:22

My first Euro cent on the Waffen SS.
LSSAH in Italy - September 43. The order of the division commander, SS-Oberführer Vish.
43-09-14 SS-LAH PlunderungUndBeutemachen_In_Italien.jpg
Brief.
The division is engaged in looting. Everyone Robs and Robs everything - from socks and underwear to cars. Immediately stop. To get it back. For robbery, feldwebel (SS-Oscha.) Walter Häuber and senior corporal (SS-Rttf.) Otto Böhnke, both from the headquarters company of the 1st Panzer Grenadier Regiment, were shot
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Yuri
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Yuri » 17 Feb 2020 21:38

The Luxembourgers in the SS-Cavalry division.
43-01-07 CC-Brigade Funk(1-2).jpg
43-01-07 CC-Brigade Funk(3).jpg
The Protocol of the interrogation.
Defector corporal of the 3rd squadron of the 2nd Cavalry regiment of the SS-Cavalry division.
Joseph Funk, who defected to our side on 7.1.1943 in the area 2 km East of Lukino. Field Post #41328.

Socio-biographical data:
Born in 1917 in Medernach / Luxembourg/, education-higher education, father-bricklayer, nationality-French, single, father lives in Luxembourg.
Circumstances of the transition:
the Transition to the side of the Soviet troops explained the reluctance to fight against Russia. Further, he said: "the population of Luxembourg sympathizes with the liberation war of the allies against Hitlerism, which deprived Luxembourg of freedom and independence."
The population of Luxembourg resists German measures. For example: women do not hand over milk to the Germans, but pour it out. Men instead of serving with the Germans go to the army of de Golle, thus boycotting the military duty introduced by the Germans 3-4 months ago. The population of Luxembourg is waiting for the day when it will be released by freedom-loving peoples. The Germans began to settle the population of Luxembourg in other countries occupied by them, and to settle our country with their trusted people. In the squadron, the captive was taunted by steun, a luxembourger. Choosing a convenient moment, when 7.1.43 the Germans were busy with lunch, Funk went to the side of the Soviet troops. In the beginning, I had to crawl, and then, when I approached the Soviet positions, I raised the white flag that had been prepared in advance and the red Army soldiers let it in.
Passing the service:
Funk previously served in the Luxembourg police. After the occupation of Luxembourg by the Germans, the latter wanted to use the Luxembourg police to fight the Yugoslav partisans. Their two companies refused to fight against the Yugoslavs, and were arrested by the Gestapo. Those arrested – one part was sent to a concentration camp, the other part was offered to atone for their guilt at the front or will be shot. Funk and others with him chose the front. They were sent out by several people /2-3/ to different units.
In July 1942, he and a friend were assigned to the SS-Cavalry division. The reason for his appointment to SS units is that he had previously served in the Luxembourg police, whose service life is counted as that of the SS, and it is also more difficult to leave SS units. In the 2nd cavalry regiment of the cavalry division "SS" Funk was first a rider in the 3rd squadron, but due to the fact that the Germans recently, due to large losses, began to replenish the battle lines at the expense of rear units and he got into the 1st squadron. Before switching to the side of the Soviet troops, Funk was a machine gunner /second number/.
Organization, strength, and armament:
The SS cavalry division is the only one on the Eastern front and does not have a number. It consists of: 1st, 2nd, 3rd cavalry regiments and an artillery regiment, other parts of the Funk does not know. Each cavalry regiment consists of 6 squadrons, including the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sabre squadrons, the 6th scooter squadron, and the 5th heavy weapons squadron. In the first squadron of people-40 people of combat personnel, in the third about 50 people, in the fourth 60 people, in the rest-does not know. In total, the second cavalry regiment has more than 200 men. The 1st cavalry regiment has about 100 men and the 3rd 50 men.
In November and December 1942, the division suffered heavy losses.
National composition of the division: the majority are Hungarian Germans. The age group is 18-29 years old. The social composition is mostly peasants.
The division received 90 men from Warsaw in the first days of January 1943. / In Warsaw, there is a reserve of this division of about 3000 people/.
The service division:

Dislocation of units:
The 2nd regiment occupies a forest for defense, the name of which Funk does not know / 2 km East of Lukino/. Headquarters in some village in the rear. The regiment arrived at this site on 22-23. 12. 43; there was no one here before it and it filled the empty space.
....
Command staff:
The commander of the SS-Cavalry division, major General Dietrich ,has now left for Germany and is due to return one of these days.
The commander of the 2nd cavalry regiment – Colonel /obersturmbahnfuehrer/ Pender.
The commander of the 1st squadron, senior Lieutenant /obersturmfuhrer/ Amazer.
The commander of the 3rd squadron is senior Lieutenant Guyer.
The commander of the 5th squadron is captain Bruckman.
Political and moral state:
there are many soldiers who do not want to fight and at the first push of the Russian troops drop their weapons and run. Therefore, an order was recently announced by the commander of the 9th army, General Model, which States that " anyone who throws down their weapons and goes back without resistance will be shot". The Hungarian Germans are not allowed to go home on vacation, they are afraid that they will not return.
Conclusion:
1.The testimony of the captive Funk is trustworthy.
2.The SS cavalry division has a low combat capability, both in terms of numbers and morale.
3. It is not the first indication that the enemy does not have BUNKERS in this area and the defensive structures are not finished.

The survey was conducted by the Deputy head of the Intelligence Department of the 41st Army, Lieutenant Colonel Kalinin.
Military interpreter-quartermaster of the 3rd rank Diakonova.

True: Assistant chief of the 3rd division of the Intelligence Department of the Kalinin front headquarters
Major signature / Tyurin/
========

For obvious reasons, the spelling of names may not match the actual ones - Yuri.
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Yuri
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Yuri » 17 Feb 2020 21:45

And now a German from the same division
43-01-07 CC-Brigade Piscke(1-2).jpg
Questionnaire
A prisoner of war, unter-officer of the 1st cavalry squadron of the 2nd cavalry regiment of the cavalry division "SS" Willy Piske, captured in the area of the grove "Torchek" / 10 km South-West of Bely/ 7.1.1943 year.
Socio-biographical data:
Willy Piske, born in 1911, civil servant, teacher of the people's school, incomplete higher education, member of the fascist party since 1937. In 1938, he was called to strengthen the police.
Circumstance of capture:
7.1.1943 year Willy Piske, checking posts, stopped at one machine gun, at this time noticed the approach of the Russians, wanted to release a missile, but did not have time, did not have time to use either a machine gun or a pistol, as he was stunned by a grenade thrown by scouts.
Passing the service:
Drafted into the army in April 1940 and enlisted in the SS. In 1942, he took a three-month course as a Junior Commissar.
Organization and deployment:
The SS cavalry division was formed in the spring of 1941 in the town of Debitz /near Cracow/ as part of 3 cavalry regiments, one artillery regiment, a communications company, a sapper company, and an auto repair company. The cavalry brigade arrived on the Eastern front in the summer of 1941. After the winter fighting of 1941-1942 in the area of Rzhev-Olenino in March 1942, the cavalry brigade returned to Debits for re-formation, where it re-formed into the cavalry division "SS" and returned to the Eastern front in September 1942 in the area of Demidov and fought partisans in this area, and in mid-November arrived in the area of Baturino.
Previously, the SS cavalry division was called Dietrich's SS cavalry brigade.
Now the SS cavalry division has 3 cavalry regiments – the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, artillery regiment / without a number/ and a sapper company.


Losses and replenishment:

Characteristics of command and personnel:
Division commander- major General Dietrich;
The commander of the 2nd CR - Lieutenant Colonel Abider;
the commander of the 3rd CR was killed;
commander of the 1st squadron of the 2nd CR - captain Amizer;
commander of the 2nd squadron of the 2nd CR - senior Lieutenant Zimmer;
commander of the 3rd squadron of the 2nd CR - senior Lieutenant Reier;
commander of the 4th squadron of the 2nd CR - captain Schultz;
the commander of the 5th squadron of the 2nd CR is wounded;
commander of the 6th squadron of the 2nd regiment-captain Wenk;
the commander of the sapper company is Lieutenant Lindeman.
The national composition of the regiment is all Germans, most of them Yugoslav, Romanian and Hungarian, among them many members of the fascist party, especially among the officers and privates from the train.
Age 18-30 years.
By social status-60% of peasants.
Other issues:
a tank division operated in the area of the location, which suffered heavy losses and was withdrawn to the rear.
Conclusion:
The prisoner was seriously wounded, and he gave evidence very reluctantly. He answered questions because he was promised medical care, and most importantly-he was afraid to lie when he saw a defector from his Department / Funk/. The data is trustworthy.

The survey was conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Kalinin
Military translator – Eskina

True: Major (signed) Kuroyedov
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dgfred
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by dgfred » 18 Feb 2020 16:40

Good stuff... thanks.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Feb 2020 13:32

Hi Yuri,

Many thanks.

So, in brief:

(1) We have extensive looting by members of the senior regiment of 1st W-SS Division in Italy in September 1943 that is punished very severely.

(2) In January 1943 the W-SS Cavalry Division's Luxemburgers and Hungarian Volksdeutsch are apparently unreliable and the formation of poor quality.

The draconian punishments in 1st W-SS Division and the poorer quality of the W-SS Cavalry Division conform with what we would expect from other sources.

What is unexpected here (at least to me) is the break down of discipline that led to looting by members of possibly the most senior W-SS infantry regiment. I don't know why I was surprised - I guess I always assumed that the senior W-SS units had iron discipline. I suppose that the death penalties show that this was the self image of 1st W-SS Divisions commanders as well.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by WCM2020 » 20 Apr 2020 00:09

I am late to this debate but nonetheless provoked to respond to Sid's question. As I too, wonder why I am so fascinated by the SS dynamics of the war. After all, the SS in general was an organization that drove the extermination of the Jews. And the Waffen-SS history is synonymous with some of the war's most notorious atrocities.
Yet I read all I can in books about the Waffen-SS, study the photographs in detail and search the internet for forums like this one. I think what provokes my interest is the simple fact that these men were, for the most part, fierce fighters who rarely wavered in the face of battle. That their courage, no matter the failing of the cause, was forged from the depths of their human capacity and seemed relentless on the battlefields of Europe. Their history in the conflict with Soviet Russia is almost impossible for me to absorb, as it was unfolded in the vast, harsh and far-from-home expanses of a land that was utterly unforgiving. Most of all, perhaps, is my fascination with the capacity of the human body to endure it all, even in the face of total hopelessness that surely was undeniable by early 1944. And yet they fought on with a capacity for endurance that is hard to comprehend. I suppose many soldiers from all sides had such courage and capacity to endure to the bitter end, or death. But the Waffen-SS had an intriguing elan that would have been admirable if not for the manner it was wielded and the results that forever taint the fighting formations that wore the SS runes.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Apr 2020 12:26

Hi WCM2020,

I think you may have bought the myth.

The Waffen-SS made no indispensible contribution to Germany's conquests in 1939-42, and was in no position to stave off defeat even when massively expanded in 1942-45.

The W-SS was militarily basically a clone of the German Army. It added not a single man or gun to German resources. Nor is there any evidence that it outperformed equivalent Army formations.

Remember, all the W-SS divisions that performed well were motorized or armoured. Nobody ever claims that any other type of W-SS formation was elite. I would suggest that it was mechanization that gave the so-called "classic" W-SS formations their qualitative advantage, like the rest of the panzerwaffe! There was clearly no magic W-SS fairy dust that could make good formations out of bad.

W-SS losses in combat units seem to have been pretty much the same as in the Army. Indeed, far from being the spearhead against Communism, by the end of 1944 they had suffered a slightly lower proportion of their losses against the Red Army than had the German Army.

The good bits of the W-SS were all part of the panzerwaffe, and it is as a component of this that they should be viewed.

The main distinctive feature of the W-SS was its political connections - it was viewed as the NSDAP in arms and received political preference even when its performance didn't necessarily merit it, such as after the Polish campaign, during which its predecessors had not particularly distinguished themselves. Otherwise, militarily, it was a largely unoriginal clone of the German Army.

Cheers,

Sid.

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