Why the Waffen-SS

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Fallschirmjäger and the other Luftwaffe ground forces. Hosted by Christoph Awender.
offizier1916
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 28 Aug 2018 23:59

.

well histan, the allies knew about every major german movement and deployment of forces since Enigma, so im not surpised. not really.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Michael Kenny » 29 Aug 2018 00:49

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2018 22:29
I The Vistula-Oder Offensive in particular, in which firepower went into the operational depths and paralyzed the panzer reserves from even making a stubborn defensive stand. In Normandy there was no such success.
For 2 months the Allies had a foothold in France some 50 km wide and 20 km deep and the Germans held the high ground to the south that overlooked the entire beachead. . That distance is easily covered in a hour. Despite this small area the Germans never once were able to come even close to making any inroads to the beaches. It is absurd to compare a front of 1000s of km wide and deep to one of such a small and easily observed area crammed with at least half a dozen airfields. You could fire V1s blindly into the bridgehead and you were almost certain to hit something of military value.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Michael Kenny » 29 Aug 2018 00:51

offizier1916 wrote:
28 Aug 2018 23:59
.

well histan, the allies knew about every major german movement and deployment of forces since Enigma, so im not surpised. not really.
Them there Allies cheating again.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Lucien von Wilhelm » 29 Aug 2018 07:07

The media including... the uniforms and other regalia... the photos... the symbols... the personalities... the battles... the daring, and also the notoriety. You can't hang on just the mystique and fantasy heroism. You have to accept the inhumanity and the touch of evil that embued them too.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by ljadw » 29 Aug 2018 12:13

praetorianavis wrote:
28 Aug 2018 20:38
ljadw wrote:
28 Aug 2018 19:55
Der SS Staat was published in 1946 !!!!
Thus totally dated and worthless.
Contemporaries like Eisenhower and Kogon had a first hand experience and feel of the epoch, they grasped better what was in the air than we in our armchairs glued to our screens and digesting tons of secondary revisionist literature. The latest fashion is deconstructing and debunking everything the older generations, who were there, ever wrote as "worthless". Todays is a culture of adolescents.
Der SS Staat is only nonsense and has been debunked by serious historians . During the war Kogon was locked up in Buchenwald ,without any information about the functioning of the SS state,and when he wrote his book,he had no access on archives ,and replaced this by inventions .Things as the Röhm avengers who killed 155 SS officers, of the 1936 strength of the SS VT of 190000 men, while it was only 15000 .He was also hiding that (as in the SU ) the overwhelming majority of the prisonners of the camps were,before the war, common criminals .
Der SS Staat is good for under the bus , and people have proved that you used the Eisenhower remarks out of context.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2018 18:53

Cult Icon wrote:
28 Aug 2018 21:17
Pure nonsense!
I don't know how pure it is, but it isn't "nonsense", it is slanted and doesn't fully cover the topic, but then this is a forum argument, not an actual discussion of the various ramifications. :lol:
The Panzer divisions were fine for defensive work.
Yes, they were, except they were never intended for "defensive work". They were offensive weapons and were intended for such. Over and over again the Panzer gurus complained about the misuse of the divisions. Guderian went so far when made General Inspektur to expand the scheme for rehabilitating divisions in the West to make it a full-blown plan to win the war - offensively.

The problem for the Germans was that the offensive operations by the Panzerwaffen required extensive support by good quality, mobile infantry divisions and viable air support to work. They had neither in Normandy. The prospect of effective air support disappeared in February-March and the sole good infantry divisions immediately available, 352. and 91. Inf.-Div. were trashed attempting to repel the initial assault. So when the Panzer troops got to the battlefield they were confronted with gaping chasms in the front, which they were forced to secure in order to establish an assembly area for their offensive. That in turn should have been turned over to relieving infantry divisions as they arrived according to the contingency planning...but they simply took too long to get there. Looking at the mobile (bewegungs) infantry divisions in Ob.West we find:

352. Inf.-Div. (7. Armee) committed in place on 6 June
91. Luftlande-Inf.-Div. (7. Armee) committed in place on 6 June
77. Inf.-Div. (7. Armee) ordered to Normandy on 6 June, first elements committed to battle 10 June
KG 275. Inf.-Div. (7. Armee) ordered to Normandy on 6 June, first elements committed to battle 11 June
3. FJD (7. Armee) ordered to Normandy on 6 June, first elements committed to battle 10-12 June
353. Inf.-Div. (7. Armee) ordered to Normandy c. 11 June, first elements committed to battle 16 June
276. Inf.-Div. (1. Armee) ordered to Normandy 14 June, first elements committed to battle 1 July
277. Inf.-Div. (19. Armee) ordered to Normandy 23 June, first elements committed to battle 9 July
272. Inf.-Div. (19. Armee) ordered to Normandy c. 2 July, first elements committed to battle 14 July
Rest. 275. Inf.-Div. ordered to Normandy on 5/6 July, not committed as a division until 25 July
271. Inf.-Div. (19. Armee) ordered to Normandy 13 July, first elements committed to battle c. 23 July
363. Inf.-Div. (W.B.N.?) ordered to Normandy c. 26 July, first elements committed to battle 31 July
331. Inf.-Div. (15. Armee) ordered to Normandy 28 July, first elements committed to battle c. 11 August
84. Inf.-Div. (15. Armee) ordered to Normandy 29 July, first elements committed to battle 3 August
85. Inf.-Div. (15. Armee) ordered to Normandy 29 July, first elements committed to battle c. 10 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: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 29 Aug 2018 19:43

@ Richard Anderson:

do you think that the germans could have thrown the allies back in the sea in the first 24h to max 48h, if germany would have stationed all panzer divisions directly there where rommel wanted to havd them?

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2018 20:10

offizier1916 wrote:
29 Aug 2018 19:43
do you think that the germans could have thrown the allies back in the sea in the first 24h to max 48h, if germany would have stationed all panzer divisions directly there where rommel wanted to havd them?
Doubtful, since he never really stated exactly where he wanted them, but the evidence of the deployments of the divisions in HG-B under his authority indicate not. Anecdotally, he did remark the idea of placing 12. SS-Panzer in the Cotentin, which is an area I can't imagine much less suitable for placing a Panzer division intended to contest a landing. 8O

Anyway, look at the reality. XXXXVII. Panzerkorps was under the administrative control of Panzergruppe West, but was under the operational control of HG-B as its mobile reserve. Of its three divisions though, 116. Panzer was not operational and still rebuilding. The other two were assigned to each army under Rommel's command as an immediate mobile reserve, your Opa's 2. Panzer to 15. Armee and 21. Panzer to 7. Armee.

Similarly, LVIII. Reserve-Panzerkorps was under the administrative control of Panzergruppe West, but was under the operational control of AG-G as mobile reserve. However, all of its three divisions were rebuilding, with only elements of 2. SS-Panzer being provisionally operational, 9. and 11. Panzer were simply not a factor until late July. OTOH, the threat to the Biscay and Southern French coasts were considered less, and the near operational 17. SS-Panzergrenadier acted as a safety net for the Biscay Coast and/or Brittany and Normandy.

The real controversy of course is WRT I. SS-Panzerkorps under the administrative and operational control of Panzergruppe West, but of course subject to release by Ob.West via OKW as the west's strategic reserve. Of them, as we already see, 17. SS was already "forward deployed" and subject to release as a local reserve. 1. SS-Panzerdivision was simply non-operational. That leaves 12.-SS and Lehr as the real "strategic reserve". So we already see anecdotally, Rommel speculated about putting 12. SS at the base of the Cotentin as a western partner to 21. Panzer on the right wing of 7. Armee. That would imply Lehr would then be the same for 15. Armee, but there is no indication what Rommel's thinking was on that...at least that I am aware of?

However, both Lehr at Nogent-le-Retrou (east of Alencon) and 12. SS at Acon (between Dreux and Verneuil-sur-Aure) were WEST of the Seine, which made them more readily available to intervene in Normandy than in the Pas de Calais...but also made them available to protect Paris and the Seine bridges (in conjunction with 116. Panzer Division at Bernouville (east of Rouen)) in the event of the huge Allied airborne desant, which was Geyr's greatest fear. It is difficult to tell now how mcuh of their deployment was caused by the first or second reason...and how much of it was simply there were good cantonment areas there.

Overall, although the command relationships were cumbersome, the deployment was about as good as could be gotten without advance knowledge of where the allies would land. Meanwhile, Rommel's intent may also be seen in the deployments of the bewegungs divisions and conversions of some of the bodenständige divisions to behelfsmässige-motorisierte in order to provide the mobile infantry formations to reinforce the coastal crust, which was the true basis for his "mobile defense".
"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

offizier1916
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 29 Aug 2018 20:21

thank you for your answer.

Ive read in a military magazine, that Rommel focused on Calais and Normandy, because the peninsuala were perfect for a beachhead.

Und kein Gegenangriff begann. Drei Panzerdivisionen waren in der Nähe und hätten losschlagen können, aber keine wurde zur Küste in Marsch gesetzt. Die 21. Panzerdivision hätte in weniger als zwei Stunden von Caen aus dort sein können; sie harrte ab 4 Uhr auf den Einsatzbefehl. aber Speidel weigerte sich, sie der 7. Armee zu unterstellen.
Auch Rundstedt und Generaloberst Jodl, der Chef des Wehrmachtführungsstabes. hatten noch keinen Überblick über die Lage. Niemand hätte beschwören können, daß dies die einzige Invasion und nicht ein Ablenkungsmanöver war. Dementsprechend weigerte sich Jodl, der beantragten Freigabe der Panzerreserven des OKW zuzustimmen.
Für die Deutschen war es eine Tragödie, daß Rommel nicht da war; er hätte seine scharfe Zunge und sein Temperament genutzt, um den gordischeu Knoten der Panzerfrage zu durchhauen. "Wenn man auf mich gehört hätte", schrieb er hinterher an seine Frau, "dann wären wir am ersten Abend mit drei Panzerdivisionen zum Gegenangriff angetreten und hätten den Angriff wahrscheinlich zuruckgeschlagen."
Inzwischen raste Rommel nach Frankreich. In Reims ließ er um 16.55 Uhr kurz halten, um telephonisch zu erfahren, wie die Dinge standen.
Was sein Stabschef Speidel mitteilte, hörte sich hoffnungslos an. In einer Breite von 28 Kilometern war es dem Feind gelungen, einen Einbruch in den Atlantikwall zu erzwingen; sieben Divisionen waren bereits gelandet, und im rückwärtigen Gebiet, im Raum von Caen und auf der Halbinsel Cotentin, waren je zwei englische und zwei amerikanische Luftlandedivisionen abgesetzt worden.
Nach zehnstündiger Verzögerung hatte das OKW schließlich die 12. SS-Panierdivision und die Panzer-Lehrdivision für einen Gegenangriff freigegeben; aber die eine würde nicht vor dem nächsten Morgen und die andere nicht vor dem 8. Juni eintreffen.
Ungeduldig fragte Rommel: "Wie weit ist unser eigener Gegenangriff?" Speidel erwiderte, die 21. Panzerdivision erwarte weitere Verstärkungen. Rommel: "Lassen Sie die Division sofort angreifen. Ohne Rücksicht auf weitere Verstärkungen sofort zum Einsatz!"
Trotzdem war man in Hitlers Stab optimistisch. Der Oberbefehlshaber der Panzergruppe West, General Geyr von Schweppenburg, hatte inzwischen das Kommando über alle fünf Panzerdivisionen übernommen, und Hitler glaubte, sie würden am nächsten Tan ihren entscheidenden Gegenangriff eröffnen.
Ursprünglich wurde diese Zuversieht auch von Rommels Stab geteilt (wenn auch nicht von Rommel selbst). Lang schrieb nach Hause: "Im übrigen zeigen sieh alle Dienststellen von einer fabelhaften Ruhe, besonders der Chef des Stabes, General Speidel."
Man nahm die Dinge äußerst gelassen hin. Sobald Rommel morgens an die Front gefahren war, begab sich sein Stab in den Tischtennisraum; Speidel und Ruge spielten gegen Artilleriechef Lattmann und Luftwaffenoberst Queissner oder, was weniger anstrengend war, gegen den Anfänger Meise, ihren Pionierchef. Zuweilen wurde Speidel ans Telephon gerufen, (loch sonst konnte man die Kämpfe an der Invasionsfront vergessen.
Nicht jedoch Rommel. Er ist immer noch, wie in Afrika, von jener Unruhe erfüllt, die ihn immer wieder hinaustreibt an die Front. Er fühlt sieh verpflichtet, draußen "nach dem Rechten zu sehen", die Stimmung der Truppe zu erkunden, zu wissen, was der Grenadier im Deckungsloch zu leisten vermag, und aufzuspüren, wo Verstärkung und Nachschub herangeführt werden müssen.
Wie bei El-Alamein hat der Feind Material und Munition in einem Umfang in die Schlacht geworfen, mit dem sich die Deutschen nicht messen können

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2018 20:39

This may be of interest. I begin it a few years ago and it is still incomplete. I think it illustrates the problems associated with the command structure quite well.

6 June:
0030 – Major von Luck at Vimont notified of paratroop drops
0035 – 21.Pz.Div. issues alert order
0130 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. CO wakes up his CoS with news that the invasion had begun
0200 – 2.Pz.Div. issues alert order
0230 – CO Pz.-Lehr Div. notified of paratroop drops by OKW
0300 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. issues alert order
0350 – Ob.West notifies HG-B that it considered the drops to be a limited operation
0415 – Pz.-Lehr Div. issues alert order
0500 – Ob.West unilaterally assumes control of 12.SS-Pz.Div. and assigns it to HG-B, ordering it to move to the sector of 711.Inf.Div
0535 – Kriegesmarinegruppe West reports engagement with Allied naval forces west of La Havre
0624 – Ob.West issues invasion alert and requests release of OKW Panzer Reserve
0645 – HG-B releases 21.Pz.Div. to 7.-Armee
0700 – 21.Pz.Div. is attached to LXXXIV Armee Korps. 12 SS-Pz.Div. movement ordered halted by OKW
0900 – Pz.-Lehr Div. ready to move
1000 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. subordination to HG-B rescinded by OKW, but movement allowed to continue
1432 – OKW agrees to Ob.West request and HG-B is notified of release of 12.SS-Pz.Div. and Pz.-Lehr Div
1500 – I SS-Pz.K. with 12.SS-Pz., Pz.Lehr Div. and s.SS-pz.Abt.101. is attached to 7.Armee, with 12.SS temporarily under command of LXXXIV AK. When it arrives at the front I SS-Pz.K. is to take command of 12.SS, Pz.-Lehr, 21.Pz., and 716.Inf.Div
1600 – 21.Pz.Div. assembles west of the Orne and prepares to attack beachhead
1620 – 21.Pz.Div. attack begins
1700 – Pz.-Lehr Div. ordered to move to Normandy by 7.-Armee
c.1800 – 12.SS-Pz.Div. begins moving to Normandy

7 June:
17.SS-Pz.Gren.Div. begins moving to Normandy
AM – 2.SS-Pz.Div. alerted for movement to Normandy
c.0400 – II./Pz.-Lehr Regt. north of Alencon in the Foret d’Ecouves
0900 – Kurt Meyer of 12.SS-Pz.Div. establishes his HQ at Abbaye d’Ardenne
1000 – II./SS-Pz.Regt.12. arrives at assembly area with 50 Pz-IV
1420 – Counterattack by 12.SS-Pz.Div. begins

8 June:
1.SS-Pz.Div. alerted for movement to Normandy.
2120 – 1. & 4./SS-Pz.Regt.12. begins attack.

9 June:
1.SS-Pz.Div. movement cancelled.
0300 – 2.Pz.Div. ordered to Normandy.
AM – 3./SS-Pz.Regt.12. arrives at Caen.
1400 – 2.Pz.Div. begins movement.

10 June:
2030 – Panzer Gruppe West HQ at La Caine bombed.

11 June:
2.SS-Pz.Div. attached to HG-B.
AM – wheeled elements of 2.Pz.Div. reach Sées-Alencon.

12 June:
II SS-Pz.K. with 9. and 10.SS-Pz.Div. entrain in Ukraine for movement to France.
2.SS-Pz.Div. ordered to begin movement to Normandy.

13 June:
2.Pz.Div. begins arriving between Caumont and Villers-Bocage, minus Pz.Regt.3. detraining at Paris. Division HQ was at Lignou.
1900 – leading elements of 2.SS-Pz.Div. reach Domfront.

15 June:
I./Pz.Regt.6 of Pz.Lehr Div. arrives in Normandy.
s.SS-Pz.Abt.102 ordered to join II SS-Pz.K. at Paris.

16 June:
2.SS-Pz.Div. wheeled elements assemble in the vicinity of Mortain. Trains with tracked elements reach Saumur-Angers and are moving to Laval.

17 June:
1.SS-Pz.Div. begins movement to Normandy.

18 June:
Pz.Regt.3. begins arriving.
SS-Pz.Regt.9 and 10 begins de-training at Paris.
2.SS-Pz.Div. tracked elements reach Vire, Panther Abt./SS-Pz.Regt.2 on trains between La Fleche and south of Tours.

19 June:
Panther Abt./SS-Pz.Regt.2 begins de-training at Le Mans.
PM – Pz.Regt.3 assembles with 52 of 72 Panthers and 75 percent of Pz-IV operational. I. (Sfl)/Art.Regt.74 also arrives with about two-thirds of its Wespe and Hummel operational.

22 June:
Panther Abt./SS-Pz.Regt.1 unloads east of Rouen.

1 July:
PM – s.SS-Pz.Abt.102 begins moving to Normandy.

2 July:
s.Pz.Abt.503 reaches Dreux from Ohrdruf, Thuringia.

4 July:
s.SS-Pz.Abt.102 assembles at Cauville southwest of Thury-Harcourt.

9 July:
2300 – s.SS-Pz.Abt.102 goes into position 2 km southeast of Hill 122 at St. Martin.

20 July:
116.Pz.Div. begins crossing Seine by ferries en route to Normandy.

24 July:
116.Pz.Div. assembles southeast of Caen.

27 July:
9.Pz.Div. ordered to join HG-B.

4 August:
9.Pz.Div. unloaded and assembling in the area Domfront-Alencon-Trun-Angers-Tours.

6 August:
9.Pz.Div. in action along line Domfront-Mayenne.
"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

offizier1916
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 29 Aug 2018 20:49

Thank you for sharing your information.

interesting quote regarding Rommel and Rundstedt and the messed command structure:

Ein beschleunigter Ausbau der Küstenbefestigungen war deshalb notwendig. Nach Jodls Meinung war dies eine ideale Aufgabe für Rommel und seinen Stab: Rommel sollte die Führung dei Abwehrschlacht im Fall einer Invasion übernehmen.
So weit wollte Hitler freilich nicht gehen. Er wies Jodl an, eine Weisung zu entwerfen, die für Rommel zunächst lediglich "Operationsstudien" vorsah aber keine "operative Führung". Am Abend des 5. November 1943 teilte Hitler dem Feldmarschall seine Entscheidung mit. "Ich sehe", sagte er dazu, "in einer feindlichen Großlandung im Westen die Entscheidungsstunde dieses Krieges, die auf jeden Fall unter rücksichtslosem Einsatz auch der allerletzten Kräfte Deutschlands zu unseren Gunsten aussehlagen muß."
Rommel wurde Hitler unmittelbar unterstellt und ihm der Auftrag erteilt, den Stand der Verteidigungsvorbereitungen zu prüfen und Vorschläge für Angriffsoperationen gegen einen gelandeten Feind zu unterbreiten. Hitler deutete an, daß er Rommel bei Beginn der Invasion die operative Führung anvertrauen werde.
Rundstedt wurde von dieser Zusage jedoch nicht unterrichtet. Im Gegenteil, Hitler ließ ihm durch Generalfeldmarschall Keitel, den Chef des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht (OKW), bestellen, daß an seiner Stellung als OB West nicht gerüttelt werde. Keitel versicherte, der "Führer" wisse, daß Rommel kein Stratege, wohl aber ein "tätiger Soldat" sei. Keitel: "Es ist mit Rommel schwierig, weil er sich nur ungern unterstellt. Er ist in Afrika sehr selbständig gewesen. Aber ich glaube, daß Sie der einzige Mann sind, dem sich auch ein Rommel fügen wird."[/quote]

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 29 Aug 2018 21:21

Richard Anderson wrote:
29 Aug 2018 18:53
Yes, they were, except they were never intended for "defensive work". They were offensive weapons and were intended for such. Over and over again the Panzer gurus complained about the misuse of the divisions. Guderian went so far when made General Inspektur to expand the scheme for rehabilitating divisions in the West to make it a full-blown plan to win the war - offensively.
Doctrinely, yes, in practice, no.

The Panzer divisions were being used very heavily in the defense starting from Dec 1941 due to lack of forces. They fought the war mostly in the defensive. Naturally Panzer division commanders did not like this (Eg. G.D. complaining about their allocation in Rzhev, 1942).

About rehabilitating divisions in the West- there was not much change in practice except stuffing PRs with larger than normal numbers of tanks.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2018 23:07

Cult Icon wrote:
29 Aug 2018 21:21
Doctrinely, yes, in practice, no.
Well, yes, which is rather the point.
About rehabilitating divisions in the West- there was not much change in practice except stuffing PRs with larger than normal numbers of tanks.
Really? Which other point during the war was there when 10 Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions (11 counting 19. Panzer) were in the west for the better part of four months rebuilding?
"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: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Aug 2018 23:14

offizier1916 wrote:
29 Aug 2018 20:49
Thank you for sharing your information.

interesting quote regarding Rommel and Rundstedt and the messed command structure:
Um, but that is referring to a period when Rommel was not part of the command structure. He acted then as a special inspector general, working for Hitler/OKH to determine the status of the western defenses. Sonderstand Rommel/Heeresgruppe z.b.V. B had no operational role until 12 January 1944...and at that time is when the command structure began getting truly messed. :D
"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: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 29 Aug 2018 23:25

The Panzer division itself was not much innovated to a newer organizational form to more effectively engage with modern requirements. The reaction seems to just be stuffing the PR's with more tanks.

In contrast, the Tank Corps, Mech. Corps, and Tank Armies in the Red Army repeatedly saw evolutionary change that changed the nature of battle there from Nov 1942 onward.

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