Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

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Rob - wssob2
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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 29 Dec 2009 05:20

I don't know the specific circumstances WRT the Germania regiment and this particular battle, but it is true that the Waffen-SS did experience some "teething problems" with its combat debut in the Polish campaign and did come under criticism from Heer commanders.

For example, on Sept 7, the LAH advance at Pabianice was initially rebuffed by a stiff Polish defense. Unimpressed with the unit’s performance, XIII Corps CO General Weichs gavethe LAH a secondary assignment for the attack on Lódź, ordering the unit to clear the area south of the city between Pabianice and Rzgów.

17th ID CO Brigadier-General Loch issued a complaint about poor fire-discipline among LAH troops and their tendency to burn down villages without military necessity. LAH troops continue to randomly execute Polish civilians in their path, including a troop of Boy Scouts at Chechlo. (see Hitler Strikes Poland, p.164 footnote 52)

The next day, senior German Army staff officers, including Generalmajor Loch, CO of 17th Infantry Division, complain about the LAH troops lack of training, fire discipline and propensity for burning Polish villages.

It might be interesting to dig up some German 14th Army reports to see what they wrote about Germania's performance.

I would also say that in pretty much all account of the campaign I've read the Poles fought doggedly and heroically. Despite whatever localized temporary setbacks there undoubtedly were, the German Blitzkrieg tactics overwhelmed the defense.

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Peter K » 29 Dec 2009 16:35

I don't know the specific circumstances WRT the Germania regiment and this particular battle
It might be interesting to dig up some German 14th Army reports to see what they wrote about Germania's


There is KTB of XXII. Panzer-Korps which says more or less the same as Polish accounts but does not reflect the scale of Germania's defeat which can be seen in photographs and Polish reports about captured equipment and POWs.

By the way - at the time of the battle near Sadowa Wisznia in which "Germania" was disrupted (14 - 16 September) individual units of "Germania" were subordinated to different Corps (XXII and VIII) but all took part in the battle.

Elements of "Germania" were subordinated as follows (but all of them found themselves in the area Jaworow - Sadowa Wisznia - their task was to protect the wings of 2. Pz.Div. and 4. Lei.Div. between Sadowa Wisznia and Jaworow - later on they also received another task - to block the road Przemysl - Lwow near Sadowa Wisznia and stop Polish forces which were marching towards Lwow - that's why also units subordinated to VIII AK were in the same area):

Reserve of VIII A-K (HQ of VIII AK was in Lezajsk on 14 September):

- II./Germania (after being overrun retreated to the area north of Jaworow according to KTB XXII PzK)

Reserve of XXII Pz-K (HQ of XXII PzK was in Tomaszow Lubelski on 14 September):

- pz. recon platoon (8 armoured cars - according to Polish sources all were destroyed in Czarnokonce)
- two companies from I./Germania (retreating in the same direction as II./Germania after the defeat)

XXII Pz-K (it seems that some of these units were subordinated to 2. Pz.Div. and some to 4. Lei.Div.):

- III./Germania (after the defeat one group escaping towards Szklo and one group towards Mogila - Tuczapy)
- rest of I./Germania (including two companies - including one MG) + the entire rest of the Rgt., so:
- regimental HQ (after the defeat HQ was escaping in the same direction as II./Germania)
- motorcycle-communication platoon
- platoon of sappers
- communication platoon
- motorcycle company (defeated in Sadowa Wisznia on 14 September, suffered heavy casualties - Hptst. Muhlenkamp was captured - later joined the rest of the Rgt. and after further defeats retreated towards Jaworow)
- motorized company of light infantry guns (it seems that Poles captured and destroyed all guns)
- motorized AT company (it appears to me that all AT guns were captured and destroyed by Poles)
- motorized transport column

Not only "Germania" was crushed in that battle but also (according to KTB of XXII PzK and other sources) "Motorized Advance Guard of XVII AK" - whatever it was (anybody knows what units might be parts of this group?) as well as some units of ARKO 30 (including III./AR.109) and maybe also some units from VIII KA / XXII KA / 1. Geb.Div.

On 14 IX HQ of 14. Army was in Rzeszow (on 19.09.1939 it was still there) and HQ of XVIII KA was in Chyrow.

III./Art.Rgt.109 lost 8 heavy guns 15cm and 4 AA guns calibre 8,8cm (which were subordinated to it before the battle but without crews - "nur Material") in Muzylowice. This is confirmed by sources from both sides and photos.

This map shows more or less the area where that battle was fough (Polish units were attacking from the area near Sadowa Wisznia and Rodatycze towards Szklo - Lelechowka - Janow - Dobrostany - Grodek Jagiellonski):

[img=http://s2.postimage.org/1yh1bi.jpg]

It is worth mentioning that after the defeat of Germania there was even a small victory parade of one of battalions from 11. KDP which took place in the afternoon on 16.09.1939 in the town of Berdychow (general Sosnkowski came there to observe the parade). Columns of POWs from SS "Germania" marched across the streets of Berdychow.
LAH troops continue to randomly execute Polish civilians in their path.
propensity for burning Polish villages.
Jochen Boehler proves, that SS-VT was only slightly better in war crimes than average Wehrmacht unit. :wink:

As well was the Wehrmacht burning Polish villages - there are entire chapters about it in his book.
17th ID CO Brigadier-General Loch issued a complaint about poor fire-discipline among LAH troops
According to the description of SS-VT training which I posted above (in Polish - I'll try to translate it) - very special attention was payed to fire training of SS-VT soldiers. Fire training was the most important element of training.
but it is true that the Waffen-SS did experience some "teething problems" with its combat debut in the Polish campaign and did come under criticism from Heer commanders.
Yes, I agree with You. We have recently discussed it here, on a Polish dws forum:

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=8 ... 4#p1416654

For example during the first day of the campaign LSSAH lost 45 killed or wounded, 3 armoured cars, 2 trucks and 15 motorcycles destroyed while inflicting much smaller casualties to their enemies (6 killed soldiers, 2 killed border guardians, a dozen or so wounded). Near Boleslawiec the entire regiment was halted for 5 hours by only a dozen or so Polish sharpshooters. As revenge soldiers of LSSAH burnt Boleslawiec and murdered over a dozen civilians.

But in my opinion the reason of such failures was not insufficient training but lack of combat spirit and high quality of soldiers of encountered enemy (during the first day they confronted Obrona Narodowa - military formation which was undertrained and underequipped but fanatical - only volunteers served there - and with huge will of combat).

On the other hand, during combats in Puszcza Kampinoska (14 - 19 September) I. battalion of LAH was completely cut off and encircled by Polish soldiers (together with many Wehrmacht units from 4. Pz.Div.) and despite all of that it didn't let the Polish forces to completely crush it, which happened to some other German units (for example big part of Pz.Abw.Abt.49 was completely disrupted and the Abteilung suffered over 20% KIA / WIA during the campaign).

On 14.09.1939 situation at the eastern bank of river Bzura was not yet as critical for the Germans as later, but yet then it was very "hot" there, which can be seen in German reports. 4. Pz.Div. reported at 17:00 on 14 September:

"The situation gets chaotic and unclear. Several messages say that enemy forces attack from Sochaczew and Brochow to the southeast and strong enemy forces threaten the flank at Kampinos from the north. Enemy forces broke through the lines of LAH at Mokas. The situation is very dangerous."

It is thus not a coincidence that on that day - 14 September - Obergruppenfuehrer SS Sepp Dietrich wrote:

"Polish soldiers were attacking with great tenacity and were again and again proving that they know how real men should die. Who would like to question bravery of these Polish units, yon would say a lie."

In this statement Sepp Dietrich is refering to Polish cavalry from Wielkopolska and Podolska brigades (the same which broke through the defence of LSSAH near Mokas but also the same which later broke through the defence of 1. Leichte Division and inflicted heavy casualties to this division - both in KIA / WIA as well as in POWs - west of Warsaw).

The fact is that all SS-VT units were involved in very heavy combats in Poland - Mlawa, further combats of Pz.Div. "Kempf", Warsaw, Bzura, Kampinoska Primeval Forest, Silesia, Sadowa Wisznia (about which this thread is), etc.

As Heinrich Himmler complained - SS-VT units were involved in one of the most fierce combats of the campaign.

I completely agree with Himmler. This fact can explain and justify most of failures that SS-VT units suffered.

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Peter K » 31 Dec 2009 00:16

Domen121 wrote:For example during the first day of the campaign LSSAH lost 45 killed or wounded, 3 armoured cars, 2 trucks and 15 motorcycles destroyed while inflicting much smaller casualties to their enemies (6 killed soldiers, 2 killed border guardians, a dozen or so wounded). Near Boleslawiec the entire regiment was halted for 5 hours by only a dozen or so Polish sharpshooters. As revenge soldiers of LSSAH burnt Boleslawiec and murdered over a dozen civilians.
Btw - according to some German accounts Polish regular soldiers who opposed them in Boleslawiec were "armed civilians" (sic!) and border guardians defeated in Gola (2 of them were KIA) were "regular soldiers" (sic!).

Just check "Blitzkrieg Unleashed", account of Hauptsturmfuhrer SS Kurt Meyer.

More about combats of LAH along the Prosna river - including combats near Boleslawiec on 01.09.1939:

http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=10674

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by redtiger18 » 30 Dec 2010 20:28

Hello, Musashi
I wrote a private published pamphlet titled "Cherry Orchard" in 1999 about this battle. I used Polish sources, including 1:100,000 maps furnished by the Polish Military History Instiute. The SS regiment had only the III Battalion, and I Battalion with only one company, the motorcycle company, the antitank company and the infantry gun company in the area, along with two batteries (15cm) of III/109th Artillery. Most of the equipment was destroyed. Polish forces in the attack were 11th Carpathian Division, and 38th KOP Division. The 24th Division was following. All were part of Army Malopolska trying to get to Lvov to relieve it.
Please contact me if you would be interested in purchasing a copy
Charles W. Raymond III
LtCol, USArmy-retired
Redtiger18@verizon.net

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Peter K » 31 Dec 2010 00:47

Hi Charles!,

Also regimental HQ of SS "Germania" was in the area (and took heavy beating).

And on 14.09.1939 at 4:00 PM II. battalion was already on the march towards "Oleszice" (Oleszyce I guess).

On 15.09.1939 II. battalion as well as 2. and 3. companies of I. were "hastily sent towards the area north of Javorov under the orders of XVII. AK" too, so they were also in the area (at least since 16.09.1939). In fact entire regiment (apart maybe from 2. company, which was in Tomaszow) was in the "area" of Javorov. Question is only which units took the bulk of the attack and if all units were dispersed by the Polish attack or not all of them.

Apart from "Germania" and III./AR.109 also "units of the motorized vanguard of XVII. AK" were in the area since at least the early morning of 15.09.1939. There is no info which exactly units were parts of that "vanguard".

I couldn't identify which units of XVII. AK were parts of that motorized "advance-guard" or "vanguard".

Here some interesting discussion in Polish about that battle (if you read Polish) + many photos:

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=8 ... a&start=75

I could identify three high-ranking officers of "Germania" KIA in those combats:

SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf Schomburg - adjutant of the regiment (from regimental HQ)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Heinrich Koeppen - commander of III. battalion -
SS-Untersturmführer Herbert Menzel - Ordonanz-Offizier of III. battalion
the motorcycle company
This one was attacked first, on 14.09.1939 in Sadowa Wisznia - commander (Muhlenkamp) was captured.

Thus combats in the area lasted for a total fo three days (14 - 16 September 1939).

Regards!
Peter

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by butgen » 01 Jan 2011 13:37

When a mass of surrounded troops launches a determined attack through a thin encircling ring, being run over is not an uncommon occurrence. No dishonour in that. Pretty much inevitable in the circonstances.

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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Peter K » 02 Jan 2011 01:11

Another map of the battle:

Apart from "Germania" we can see German 1 DG (Geb.Div.) as well as 7 DP and 57 DP (DP = Inf.Div.).

"Germania" with support units defended between parts of 1. Geb.Div. (groups "Utz", "Pemsel", "Kress" and "Reisinger", in total around four battalions of GJ with four Pz.Abw. companies and one IG company, as well as Aufkl.Abt.54, I., II. and III./AR.79, 12./AR.79, s.Art.Abt.445, 3./Pi.Btl.54 and two motorcycle companies) on the right and 7. Inf.Div. (less one regiment - IR.62, which was left in Przemysl for mopping up) with Kampfgruppe of 57. Inf.Div. (IR.179, Aufkl.Abt.157 and one Abt. of AR.157 + some of divisional services) on the left:

The remaining part of 1. Geb.Div. (apart from these four groups) was fighting at the outskirts of Lwow.

From the north also German 44. Inf.Div. was pressing on those Polish forces of gen. Sosnkowski - heavy combats between this division and elements of Polish 38. DP took place near Jasniska. German forces in combats near Jasniska were supported by local groups of armed members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists . Apart from that also some elements of 2. Pz.Div. were attacking towards Janow from the north-east (area north of Zolkiew).

And from the south Polish forces were under pressure of German 2. Geb.Div. Also elements of 5. Pz.Div. (including Pz.Rgt.15) were brought into the battle against Polish forces in the region Rzesna Ruska - Lwow. Also air pressure was reported high by Polish units under Sosnkowski - they reported many casualties from Luftwaffe bombers.

Area of Rodatycze - Hartfeld - Rzerzyczany - Dobrostany was already defended by units of 1. Geb.Div., thus only part of 38. Division fought against "Germania" and supporting units, while the rest fought against 1. Geb.Div.:
Jaworow_19392.jpg
When a mass of surrounded troops launches a determined attack through a thin encircling ring, being run over is not an uncommon occurrence. No dishonour in that. Pretty much inevitable in the circonstances.
Of course, I have to agree with this. The title of this thread seems to be a bit "provocative", you know.

No offence towards SS-Verfügungstruppe men was intended. Just to discuss combat feats of Polish soldiers.
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Re: Were SS men real tough guys? - routing SS Germania

Post by Peter K » 01 Jul 2019 21:31

Here the list of some soldiers from III. / SS-VT-„Germania“ who were KIA in September 1939:

http://radolfzell-ns-geschichte.von-unt ... inal-2.pdf

I'm also attaching the PDF file below, in case if the link above stops working in the future:

KIA III battalion SS Germania 1939.pdf
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There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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Re: Training

Post by I have questions » 24 Jul 2019 21:09

Paul Timms wrote:
30 Jan 2003 16:57
Does anyone have any evidence to back up this bold statement that Hitler/Himmler allowed the military arm of the party to go to war untrained . Also remember no German units had been in combat in before invading Poland.
I believe actually there were Germans who had fought in Spain during the civil war. I could be wrong, but I know the Germans sent tanks (if you can call a Panzer 1 a tank :lol: )

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