HG Div - "Elite"?

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Pascal. Kullmann.
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HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Pascal. Kullmann. » 20 Jul 2021 17:40

Good evening,

the HG Div is often referred to as an elite or "crack" division in the literature. Looking at the performance and the strenght of this division during the Italian campaign, however, I cannot understand how one could describe this formation as an elite outfit. The division wasn't even complete when HUSKY began. The situation didn't improve very much after that, even after Salerno, and the unit did not get much time to rest before being send to the Anzio beachhead.

AFAIK HG archieved the top score in the QJFM model. Was there something special about this formation that I don't recognize?

(Repost, I posted it in the wrong sub)

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 21 Jul 2021 16:19

Pascal. Kullmann. wrote:
20 Jul 2021 17:40
the HG Div is often referred to as an elite or "crack" division in the literature.
Hi Pascal,

Is it, can you offer some examples?

I think when first encountered by the British in Tunisia there was confusion between HG troops and paratroops - maybe that continued into Husky, etc.

I'll have a look in some books and get back to you.

Regards

Tom

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Urmel
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Urmel » 23 Jul 2021 13:24

Quick Google search throws up Ian Baxter (ha!), Doug Nash, Peter Tsouras calling it elite. And that's just with a few minutes of looking.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Jul 2021 16:18

I don't know about later in the war, but in Sicily in 1943 it was described in US OH as:
The German troops were divided into two divisions, the 15th Panzer Grenadier and the Hermann Goering Panzer. They formed the
hard core of Sicily’s defenses. The 15th Panzer Grenadier Division was essentially combat ready, but the Hermann Goering Division was significantly understrength and contained some inexperienced personnel.
https://history.army.mil/html/books/072 ... _72-16.pdf

Regards

Tom

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Ivan Ž.
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Ivan Ž. » 23 Jul 2021 16:29

Hello, everyone

The "General Göring" Regiment, formed in 1935 (originating from 1933) and upgraded to the "Hermann Göring" Division in 1942, was to Göring what the Leibstandarte "Adolf Hitler" was to Hitler: a bodyguard unit. So it was considered elite before even entering combat.

See for example: viewtopic.php?f=81&t=214892#p2292476

Cheers,
Ivan

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Urmel
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Urmel » 24 Jul 2021 08:34

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Jul 2021 16:18
I don't know about later in the war, but in Sicily in 1943 it was described in US OH as:
The German troops were divided into two divisions, the 15th Panzer Grenadier and the Hermann Goering Panzer. They formed the
hard core of Sicily’s defenses. The 15th Panzer Grenadier Division was essentially combat ready, but the Hermann Goering Division was significantly understrength and contained some inexperienced personnel.
https://history.army.mil/html/books/072 ... _72-16.pdf

Regards

Tom
I'm certainly not arguing that calling them 'elite' was right, just providing examples of where they are called elite. Doug Nash is on Twitter, maybe get his view there :milwink:
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Cult Icon
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Jul 2021 17:01

This is the most detailed unit history (before the Kurkowski haters pop in) in english. I read bits, didn't get a chance to read it in full. :

https://www.amazon.com/History-Fallschi ... 0921991258

It's a bit like the Leibstandarte or G.D., I see it as competitor to Himmler's WSS. Hermann Goering's politically reliable group of men. This was expanded into a Panzerkorps late in the war. Reality did not match appearances.

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Martin_Schenkel
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Re: HG Div - "Elite"?

Post by Martin_Schenkel » 31 Jul 2021 17:46

A while back I read "The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies lost their chance for Total Victory (Mitcham Jr, von Stauffenberg, 1991), and IIRC it seemed critical of the performance of Division CO at the time (Paul Conrath). A new Division, in the early stages of combat experience, with a less than stellar commander, is probably not going to give great results. It seems their performance was often sloppy and un-coordinated, they were inexperienced and under-strength, and often ignoring orders from above. I can't speak to what the Division's reputation became after that period.

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