12th SS POWs in Normandy.

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Michael Kenny
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12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Michael Kenny » 01 Aug 2021 22:51

Whilst checking on the Cussy/Ardenne actions on July 8th I found a few accounts of 12th SS soldiers simply giving up as the Canadians entered their positions. It would be interesting to discover how many of the c.1400 12th SS MIA ended up as prisoners. Pz Lehr suffered more casualties than 12th SS but don't seem to have garnered the same 'fight to the death' reputation. There were British Divisions that had more casualties as well. Any numbers out there?

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Sheldrake
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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Aug 2021 00:34

About ten years ago I attended a study day at RMAS. A German academic gave a presentation on the German army in Normandy. One of his conclusions was that the SS were more likely to carry out atrocities than the Heer. The only SS formation not to face accusations of atrocities was 10 SS. The SS were themselves far less likely to be taken prisoner - or to survive capture. His analysis of the stats suggested that far fewer SS "Missing" could be later found as PW.

I do know that 25 Field Regiment RA took about fifty SS men prisoners in their action at Snipers Corner on the first day of Op Epsom.

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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Aug 2021 07:07

Michael Kenny wrote:
01 Aug 2021 22:51
Whilst checking on the Cussy/Ardenne actions on July 8th I found a few accounts of 12th SS soldiers simply giving up as the Canadians entered their positions. It would be interesting to discover how many of the c.1400 12th SS MIA ended up as prisoners. Pz Lehr suffered more casualties than 12th SS but don't seem to have garnered the same 'fight to the death' reputation. There were British Divisions that had more casualties as well. Any numbers out there?
The U.S. XIX Corps counted 23 for the period 21-30 August.
The U.S. 90th Inf Div 199 for the period 11-31 August.
The Canadian II Corps 206 for the period 8-23 August.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Michael Kenny
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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Michael Kenny » 02 Aug 2021 07:59

Meyer has 728 MIA Aug 7 to 22nd and the (partial) POW total for Aug 8 to 31st is 428. We have a base of c 33% of the MIA (c.1400) as POW so far.

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Texas Jäger
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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Texas Jäger » 05 Aug 2021 22:55

Richard Anderson wrote:
02 Aug 2021 07:07
Michael Kenny wrote:
01 Aug 2021 22:51
Whilst checking on the Cussy/Ardenne actions on July 8th I found a few accounts of 12th SS soldiers simply giving up as the Canadians entered their positions. It would be interesting to discover how many of the c.1400 12th SS MIA ended up as prisoners. Pz Lehr suffered more casualties than 12th SS but don't seem to have garnered the same 'fight to the death' reputation. There were British Divisions that had more casualties as well. Any numbers out there?
The U.S. XIX Corps counted 23 for the period 21-30 August.
The U.S. 90th Inf Div 199 for the period 11-31 August.
The Canadian II Corps 206 for the period 8-23 August.
So these are just prisoners taken from 12th SS? Neat find. How does this compare to the POW numbers for regular army units like Panzer-Lehr?

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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Aug 2021 00:46

Texas Jäger wrote:
05 Aug 2021 22:55
So these are just prisoners taken from 12th SS? Neat find. How does this compare to the POW numbers for regular army units like Panzer-Lehr?
Yes, those are prisoners identified from 12. SS for those periods and captured by those units.

The 29th ID reported 37 PW from Lehr for the period 28-31 July. The 90th ID 52 from 21-31 August. The II Canadian Corps 27 from 8-23 August.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Westphalia1812 » 05 Sep 2021 08:53

Michael Kenny wrote:
01 Aug 2021 22:51
Pz Lehr suffered more casualties than 12th SS but don't seem to have garnered the same 'fight to the death' reputation.
There may have been some moral issues with Lehr's personnel. Peter Lieb notes:
,,Die britischen Militärakten geben eine konträre Einschätzung über die Panzer-Lehr-Division. In einem Bericht des britischen XXX. Korps vom 9. Juni heißt es über diese Division:
PWs were of low quality and morale, and made a poor impression. There can be no doubt that the Division is by no means fully equipped or trained." In späteren Akten bezeichnete das gleiche Korps den Widerstand der Panzer-Lehr-Division als „stubborn as ever" Vgl. TNA, W O 171/336. 30 Corps Intelligence Summary No.413. Based on Information received up to 2100 hrs 9 June 44." (Konventioneller Krieg, Peter Lieb, p. 426).

But this might just a have been a sole occurance of low morale. As you showed, the HJ div was also troubled by times of low morale.

Lehr also was also relatively quickly overwhelmed during COBRA. But one has to keep in mind that the div was bombed to shreds at St. Lo. HJ also collapsed during TRACTABLE.

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Re: 12th SS POWs in Normandy.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Sep 2021 15:17

Hi Sheldrake,

The members of mechanized formations had more possibilities of escaping capture. All the W-SS men in Normandy were in mechanized formations, whereas most Army men were in foot- and horse-bound formations much more vulnerable to capture.

I would suggest that only a comparison of like-for-like formations will tell us anything useful, and even then particular circumstances may apply to each.

Cheers,

Sid.

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