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.
Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jan 2019 12:14

Hi Cult Icon,

Interesting stuff,

However, the problem with such awards is that the number put forward for recognition depends on the culture of the unit, which changes through time and with commanders. Sometimes strict criteria apply, but at other times a looser regime reigns. (i.e. An Italian soldier was several dozen times more likely to get Italy's highest award against Ethiopia in 1935-36, where most of his opponents carried spears, than he was against machine-gun armed Austria-Hungary in WWI.)

I would note that the average of Knight's Crosses for the four W-SS panzer divisions is higher than for all except one of the army's nineteen panzer divisions illustrated. The W-SS clearly had a somewhat higher opinion of themselves than did their Army equivalents! The question is whether this was justified, or whether the W-SS was just more medal-happy than the Army.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 31 Jan 2019 15:25

The Soldbuch/Wehrpass of a Veteran of the SS Division GvB I met during my charity work at a retirement home was very accurate until the LAST day. You could see how until APRIL 45 meticulously the "Nahkampftage" (close Combat day) and "Sturmtage" (storming the front in first line days) were enumerated. He was credited overall with 9 close Combat days during july 44 and january, march and april 45. Its crazy how this bureaucracy was followed until the end.


edit: i just read that the administration regulations were very strict and therefore could not be fulfilled by 44 and especially 45. Regarding the close combat day, the Company commander himself had to list the men who qualified for a close combat day and had to write down when and why/circumstances the soldier was credited for a close combat day. then he had to sign the list and hand it over to the staff so that the close-combat list was annexed to the Kriegstagebuch. Then it as forwarded to the next higher Staff-position. This strict Regulation could not be followed by 44/45 anymore, so that many men who fulfilled the requirements for a close Combat day were ignored/overlooked.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 31 Jan 2019 15:59

Cult Icon wrote:
31 Jan 2019 05:06
I looked at this Axishistory thread and copied a list of the most highly decorated German panzer formations in WW2 (as measured with RK/GCG) in the 25 plus / 90 plus range. German panzer formations overall got much higher awards than infantry formations.

That's 31 divisions that were highly decorated. The four Waffen SS origin units were more decorated than average but not as much as commonly believed.

viewto...+reich#p957322

Panzer-Division , Heer

#1 4. Pz.Div : 84 KC (73 RK + 10 EL + 1 SW) [p 5 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 167 , DKiS : 8 , NKiG : 38 , EBS : 78 , AU : 14 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 2 , RK KVKmS : 1]
#2 9. Pz.Div : 61 KC (56 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 6 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 130 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 53 , AU : 19 , AU (Fl) : 3]
#3 5. Pz.Div : 57 KC (50 RK + 6 EL + 1 SW) [p 35]
[DKiG : 152 , DKiS : 2 , EBS : 24 , AU : 4 , AU (Fl) : 1 , RK KVKmS : 1]
#4 12. Pz.Div : 54 KC (48 RK + 6 EL) [p 8]
[DKiG : 131 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 42 , AU : 12 , AU (Fl) : 3 , AU (Fl) unit : 2 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 1]
14. Pz.Div : 54 KC (48 RK + 5 EL + 1 SW) [p 27]
[DKiG : 149 , DKiS : 9 , NKiG : 5 , EBS : 44 , AU : 16 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 6 , RK KVKmS : 2 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 1]
#6 11. Pz.Div : 52 KC (45 RK + 4 EL + 3 SW) [p 8 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 140 , DKiS : 6 , NKiG : 28 , EBS : 20 , AU : 8 , AU (Fl) : 3 , RK KVKmS : 1]
#7 6. Pz.Div : 50 KC (45 RK + 5 EL) [p 8 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 124 , DKiS : 3 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 28 , AU : 15]
#8 3. Pz.Div : 47 KC (42 RK + 5 EL) [p 29 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 141 , DKiS : 12 , EBS : 35 , AU : 16 , RK KVKmS : 1]
7. Pz.Div : 47 KC (36 RK + 6 EL + 3 SW + 2 Br) [p 8 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 116 , DKiS : 8 , NKiG : 2 , EBS : 35 , AU : 12 , AU unit : 1 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 2]
24. Pz.Div : 47 KC (42 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 12 , incl 6 unoff]
[DKiG : 135 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 13 , EBS : 39 , AU : 14 , AU (Fl) : 3 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 1]
#11 19. Pz.Div : 45 KC (40 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 9 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 118 , DKiS : 4 , NKiG : 9 , EBS : 29 , AU : 15]
#12 13. Pz.Div : 41 KC (35 RK + 5 EL + 1 SW) [p 36]
[DKiG : 142 , DKiS : 1 , NKiG : 8 , EBS : 24 , AU : 6 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 3 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 2]
#13 1. Pz.Div : 36 KC (31 RK + 5 EL) [p 44]
[DKiG : 108 , DKiS : 7 , NKiG : 4 , EBS : 30 , AU : 11]
#14 16. Pz.Div : 35 KC (31 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW) [p 11]
[DKiG : 158 , DKiS : 4 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 25 , AU : 1 , AU (Fl) : 3 , AU (Fl) unit : 3]
20. Pz.Div : 35 KC (31 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW) [p 35]
[DKiG : 108 , DKiS : 6 , NKiG : 2 , EBS : 19 , AU : 6]
#16 2. Pz.Div : 33 KC (32 RK + 1 EL) [p 9 , incl 2 unoff]
[DKiG : 92 , EBS : 32 , AU : 8]
#17 8. Pz.Div : 31 KC (29 RK + 2 EL) [p 24]
[DKiG : 105 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 10 , EBS : 28 , AU : 18]
23. Pz.Div : 31 KC (29 RK + 2 EL) [p 30 , incl 2 unoff]
[DKiG : 121 , DKiS : 5 , NKiG : 11 , EBS : 27 , AU : 15 , AU (Fl) : 6 , AU (Fl) unit : 1 , RK KVKmS : 1]
#19 17. Pz.Div : 27 KC (25 RK + 2 EL) [p 33]
[DKiG : 164 , NKiG : 21 , EBS : 38 , AU : 11 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 1]


Panzer-Division , Waffen-SS
#1 2. SS-Pz.Div „Das Reich“ : 90 KC (72 RK + 15 EL + 3 SW) [p 42 , incl 15 unoff]
[DKiG : 156 , DKiS : 12 , NKiG : 27 , EBS : 33 , AU : 12 , AU (Fl) : 2 , RK KVKmS : 2]
#2 5. SS-Pz.Div "Wiking" : 67 KC (55 RK + 8 EL + 3 SW + 1 Br) [p 42 , incl 4 unoff ]
[DKiG : 180 , DKiS : 3 , NKiG : 20 , EBS : 17 , AU : 4 , RK KVKmS : 1 , FiOCrL, 1st Cl : 2]
#3 1. SS-Pz.Div „LSSAH“ : 65 KC (52 RK + 10 EL + 3 SW) [p 48 , incl 1 unoff ]
[DKiG : 101 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 16 , EBS : 14 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 2]
#4 3. SS-Pz.Div "Totenkopf" : 55 KC (46 RK + 8 EL + 1 SW) [p 41]
[DKiG : 125 , DKiS : 2 , NKiG : 33 , EBS : 22 , AU : 4 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 7]

Panzergrenadier-Division , Heer
#1 Pz.Gren.Div „Großdeutschland“ [Rgt to Div] : 59 KC (49 RK + 8 EL + 2 SW) [p 19 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG: 218 ; DKiS: 7 , NKiG: 3 ; EBS: 63 , AU : 28 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 2]
#2 20. PGD/ID (mot) : 46 KC (41 RK + 5 EL) [p 28]
[DKiG : 125 , DKiS : 3 , NKiG : 8 , EBS : 32 , AU : 10 , AU (Fl) : 1]
#3 16. PGD/ID(mot) : 32 KC (26 RK + 5 EL + 1 SW) [p 11]
[DKiG : 113 , DKiS : 1 , NKiG : 12 , EBS : 15 , AU : 4 , AU unit : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 4]
#4 3. PGD/ID(mot) : 31 KC (28 RK + 3 EL) [p 43]
[DKiG : 126 , DKiS : 4 , EBS : 28 , RK KVK : 1 , AU : 7 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 1]
#5 25. PGD/ID (mot) : 29 KC (26 RK + 3 EL) [p 47]
[DKiG : 110 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 44 , AU : 6 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 1]
29. PGD/ID(mot) : 29 KC (26 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [p 29]
[DKiG : 90 , DKiS : 3 , NKiG : 5 , EBS : 14 , AU : 4 , AU unit : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 7]
#7 18. PGD/ID(mot) : 27 KC [p 47 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 92 , NKiG : 2 , EBS : 31 , AU : 9 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 6]
#8 10. PGD/ID(mot) : 23 KC (21 RK + 2 EL) [p 47]
[DKiG : 90 , DKiS : 1 , EBS : 9 , AU : 3]

And using a somewhat arbitrary cut-off of 200 high awards to find the "top outlier" divisions, the ones are these:

4. Pz.Div : 84 KC (73 RK + 10 EL + 1 SW) [p 5 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 167 , DKiS : 8 , NKiG : 38 , EBS : 78 , AU : 14 , AU (Fl) : 2 , AU (Fl) unit : 2 , RK KVKmS : 1]

5. Pz.Div : 57 KC (50 RK + 6 EL + 1 SW) [p 35]
[DKiG : 152 , DKiS : 2 , EBS : 24 , AU : 4 , AU (Fl) : 1 , RK KVKmS : 1]
14. Pz.Div : 54 KC (48 RK + 5 EL + 1 SW) [p 27]
[DKiG : 149 , DKiS : 9 , NKiG : 5 , EBS : 44 , AU : 16 , AU (Fl) : 1 , AU (Fl) unit : 6 , RK KVKmS : 2 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 1]


Panzer-Division , Waffen-SS
#1 2. SS-Pz.Div „Das Reich“ : 90 KC (72 RK + 15 EL + 3 SW) [p 42 , incl 15 unoff]
[DKiG : 156 , DKiS : 12 , NKiG : 27 , EBS : 33 , AU : 12 , AU (Fl) : 2 , RK KVKmS : 2]
#2 5. SS-Pz.Div "Wiking" : 67 KC (55 RK + 8 EL + 3 SW + 1 Br) [p 42 , incl 4 unoff ]
[DKiG : 180 , DKiS : 3 , NKiG : 20 , EBS : 17 , AU : 4 , RK KVKmS : 1 , FiOCrL, 1st Cl : 2]

Panzergrenadier-Division , Heer
#1 Pz.Gren.Div „Großdeutschland“ [Rgt to Div] : 59 KC (49 RK + 8 EL + 2 SW) [p 19 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG: 218 ; DKiS: 7 , NKiG: 3 ; EBS: 63 , AU : 28 , Michael the Brave, 3rd Cl : 2]


The most highly decorated regiments of the German Army:

"Regiment , overall
#1 Inf./Jäg.Rgt 49 / 28. ID/Jäg.Div : 26 KC (21 RK + 5 EL) [p 3]
#2 Pz.Rgt 35 / 4. PD : 21 KC (19 RK + 2 EL) [p 3 , incl 1 unoff ]
SS-Pz.Rgt 1 „LSSAH“ : 21 KC (17 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW) [p 3]
SS-PGR 4 “DF” : 21 KC (16 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 6 , incl 4 unoff]
#5 Schtz./Inf.(mot)/Pz.Gren.Rgt 25 / 12. PD : 20 KC (18 RK + 2 EL) [p 6]
SS-Pz.Rgt 2 "Das Reich" : 20 KC (18 RK + 2 EL) [p 3 , incl 1 unoff]
SS-PGR 9 „Germania“ : 20 KC (17 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [p 6 , incl 1 unoff ]"

"Panzer-Regiment , overall :
#1 Pz.Rgt 35 / 4. PD : 21 KC (19 RK + 2 EL) [incl 1 unoff ]
SS-Pz.Rgt 1 “LSSAH” : 21 KC (17 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW)
#3 SS-Pz.Rgt 2 “Das Reich” : 20 KC (18 RK + 2 EL) [incl 1 unoff ]

Panzer-Regiment , Heer :
#1 Pz.Rgt 35 / 4. PD : 21 KC [as above]
#2 Pz.Rgt 36 / 4.,14. PD : 18 KC (17 RK + 1 EL)

Panzergrenadier-Regiment , overall :
#1 SS-PGR 4 “DF” : 21 KC (16 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [incl 4 unoff]
SS-PGR 9 „Germania“ : 20 KC (17 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [incl 1 unoff ]
PGR 25 / 12. PD : 20 KC (18 RK + 2 EL)
#4 PGR 33 / 4. PD : 19 KC (17 RK + 2 EL)

Panzergrenadier-Regiment , Waffen-SS :
#1 SS-PGR 4 “DF” : 21 KC (16 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [incl 4 unoff]
#2 SS-PGR 9 „Germania“ : 20 KC (17 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [incl 1 unoff ]
#3 SS-PGR 3 "Deutschland" : 18 KC (14 RK + 3 EL + 1 SW) [incl 4 unoff ]
#4 SS-PGR 5 „Totenkopf“ : 14 KC (13 RK + 1 EL)

Panzergrenadier- / Waffen-Grenadier - Division , Waffen-SS
#1 11. SS-Frw-PGD "Nordland" : 32 KC (27 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 10 , incl 5 unoff ]
[DKiG : 30 , DKiS : 4 , NKiG : 4 , EBS : 12 , AU : 1]
#2 23. SS-Frw-PGD "Nederland" : 23 KC (20 RK + 3 EL) [p 14 , incl 2 unoff]
[DKiG : 30 , DKiS : 1 , EBS : 2]

With Nordland/Nederland what stands out is the unusually high ratio of KC to DkiG-and also compared to the relatively short combat experience of the units. Looks like award inflation for propaganda purposes as these were the units that held the "Germanic" SS volunteers. Wiking may also have been impacted.

Overall, there were two Waffen SS formations that had exceptionally high awards (Wiking and Das Reich) while LAH and TK were more in the ordinary range for a top-awarded Panzer division. By measuring RKs alone, the 4 "classic" SS divisions were in the top 10 though. (the RK having a higher profile than the GCG)
thx for the list. Im wondering if there is a (remarkable) difference between Infanterie and panzer divisions concerning the number of bestowals of DKiG and RK

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Jan 2019 16:40

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4033&p=957322&hilit ... ch#p957322

The link provided has a massive list of infantry formations. Their top tier has a similar count to the average panzer/pzg division but the infantry arm was maybe 4-5 times larger than the panzertruppen.

A good question is why 4th Panzer Division and Das Reich had uniquely high RK's.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by PatrickBateman » 31 Jan 2019 20:01

Referring to the deleted Youtube video member offizier1916 posted, a pity that you probably don't speak Dutch/Belgian but if you could you must watch "De Oostfronters" (literally "The Eastern fronters"). A very extensive 7-part documentary about the Belgian collaborators in the German armed forces (Waffen-SS). The creator Maurice de Wilde interviewed veterans of the Flemish Legion and the Walloon Legion, some members of the NSKK and more.

I would call this documentary a masterpiece, compare it something like modern-day "The Vietnam War" from Ken Burns, but a bit less dramatic of course with a lower budget. It's a shame that it was rarely on television and never released on DVD/Blu-ray.

Part 1 is blocked on YT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6UzO-u ... bnzSlYRd7o

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 31 Jan 2019 20:09

Unfortunatelly I cant speak dutch/flemish. If you have the time, is it possible for you to briefly summarize the content?

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 01 Feb 2019 16:39

offizier1916 wrote:
31 Jan 2019 15:25
edit: i just read that the administration regulations were very strict and therefore could not be fulfilled by 44 and especially 45. Regarding the close combat day, the Company commander himself had to list the men who qualified for a close combat day and had to write down when and why/circumstances the soldier was credited for a close combat day. then he had to sign the list and hand it over to the staff so that the close-combat list was annexed to the Kriegstagebuch. Then it as forwarded to the next higher Staff-position. This strict Regulation could not be followed by 44/45 anymore, so that many men who fulfilled the requirements for a close Combat day were ignored/overlooked.
https://www.amazon.com/Obedient-Unto-De ... rte+memoir

This memoir has the author (in the armored recon battalion) identify when he was awarded close combat days. There were periods where days were not recorded at all and then periods where many were recorded. He was awarded the CCG and his days were well in excess of 50. IIRC he was only injured 3 times in the process of getting all these days . Not entirely sure but the a CC day seems more like a participation award. Very few men got the Gold one in divisions. The German Cross in Gold was linked to the Gold Close-combat clasp (automatically awarded IIRC from Yerger)

"Totenkopf" had the most in the Waffen-SS (33). I spotted 38 for the Army panzer unit.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by PatrickBateman » 01 Feb 2019 19:36

offizier1916 wrote:
31 Jan 2019 20:09
Unfortunatelly I cant speak dutch/flemish. If you have the time, is it possible for you to briefly summarize the content?
Sorry, it is far too extensive to do that. I try to summarize it very briefly.

Part 1 is blocked, so I have no idea of its content.
Part 2: It tells the story of the Flemish Legion, it's origins, political movements, combat history.
Part 3: Follow up of part 2, tells the story of the combat history of the Flemish Legion, education at the SS Junkerschule Bad Tölz, visits to the Dachau concentration camp, "female company" behind the front lines, story of Remi Schrijnen (awarded the German Knight's cross)
Part 4: The story of the NSKK and that of the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, told by several women (veterans)
Part 5: The story of the Walloon Legion, it's origins, political movements, combat history.
Part 6: Follow up of part 5.
Part 7: Follow up of part 6.

All information is extensively told by journalist Maurice De Wilde, combined with the personal experiences of the veterans themselves.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Feb 2019 07:02

Total high awards (RK + GCG), most to least among highly decorated formations

Army PzD, G.D., and W-SS PzD


G.D.: 277
4.Pz: 251
5.SS: 247
2.SS: 246

5.Pz: 209
14.Pz: 203
16.Pz: 193
11.Pz: 192
9.Pz: 191
17.Pz: 191
3.Pz: 188
12.Pz: 185
13.Pz: 183
24.Pz: 182
3.SS: 180
6.Pz: 174
1.SS: 166
7.Pz: 163
19.Pz: 163
23.Pz: 152
1.Pz: 144
20.Pz: 143
8.Pz: 136
2.Pz: 125


PzGD (Army and WSS):

20.PzG: 171
3.PzG: 157
16.PzG: 145
25.PzG: 139
29.PzG: 119
18.PzG:119
10.PzG: 113

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Feb 2019 02:17

Late War Panzer and PzG divisions with many decorations (saw combat starting 44-45).

To my understanding, the Heer largely stopped producing new numbered Panzer and PzG formations in the mid-war and the new formations were represented by the G.D. and FHH spin-offs. Goering's empire had the HG spin-offs. Then there were named ones from the Heer, largely in 45' made of liquidated schools and other assets.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4033&p=957322&hilit ... ch#p957322

I used 30 (RK + GCG) as a somewhat arbitrary cut-off (excluding 18.SS PzG with 24 high awards)

11. SS-Frw-PGD "Nordland" : 32 KC (27 RK + 4 EL + 1 SW) [p 10 , incl 5 unoff ]
[DKiG : 30 , DKiS : 4 , NKiG : 4 , EBS : 12 , AU : 1]

23. SS-Frw-PGD "Nederland" : 23 KC (20 RK + 3 EL) [p 14 , incl 2 unoff]
[DKiG : 30 , DKiS : 1 , EBS : 2]

12. SS-Pz.Div "Hitlerjugend" : 18 KC (15 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [p 47 , incl 1 unoff]
[DKiG : 23 , DKiS : 1 , EBS : 4]

10. SS-Pz.Div "Frundsberg" : 15 KC (13 RK + 1 EL + 1 SW) [p 54 , incl 2 unoff]
[DKiG : 20 , DKiS : 2 , EBS : 3 , AU (Fl) unit : 1]

9. SS-Pz.Div "Hohenstaufen" : 15 KC (12 RK + 2 EL + 1 SW) [p 54 , incl 4 unoff]
[DKiG : 15 , DKiS : 1 , NKiG : 1 , EBS : 3]

The late war Waffen SS formations feature heavily and were much more highly awarded than the majority of late war armored formations- this correlates with the increased role of the WSS Pz/PzG divisions and the I.SS, II.SS, III.SS, IV.SS Panzer Korps in high-priority defensive battles and counterattacks.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Feb 2019 07:29

Hi Cult Icon,

Interesting. This puts the W-SS nearer in line with Army rates of decoration than the earlier statistics.

The Army stopped creating new armoured formations at the same time as the W-SS was allowed to create new ones in 1943. Indeed, in 1943 the number of armoured battalions in existing Army panzer and panzergrenadier divisions fell by almost exactly the same number as new armoured battalions appeared in W-SS panzer and panzergrenadier divisions. Yet another case of the W-SS offering no "value added" by its creation or expansion.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 13 Feb 2019 11:34

the Waffen-SS gained much more attention by volontueer recruits in the later years than in the earlier years. In think this is due to the indoctrination process that the younger generation was exposed to. Also the general propaganda (Waffen SS as something "new" and "elite") should have played a role.


numbers (source:Auswahl und Ausbildung junger Offiziere 1930-1945) :

Jahrgang 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927
Heer 51.000 55.000 47.000 43.000 64.000 71.000
Kriegsmarine 43.000 61.000 63.000 46.000 47.000 44.000
Luftwaffe 41.000 38.000 35.000 46.000 56.000 55.000
Waffen-SS 15.000 21.000 28.000 61.000 60.000 47.000

The numbers are quite astonishing. Especially in relation to the actually manpower of Heer and Waffen-SS.
Note that these numbers reflect just the people who tried to apply to pass the selection process to become an officer Cadet. Most of them did not pass the Offiziersbwerberlehrgänge or later the Offiziersanwärterlehrgänge.

In a german WW2 forum, there was a member who showed documents of his grandfather, who was born in 1927 and applied to become a Kriegsoffizier in May 44. He had to sent his school degree and other achievements (like Sport and Hitleryouth) to the local military agency in his Wehrkreis. In july 44 he was approved to participate in a 6 weeks enduring Offiziersbewerberlehrgang (not to confuse with the Offiziersanwärterlehrgang = Junkerschule, if you passed the Offiziersbewerberlehrgang). But he did not pass.
Last edited by offizier1916 on 13 Feb 2019 13:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Feb 2019 13:04

Hi offizier1916,

I think you will find those are figures for all Reichsdeutsch volunteers for each year class for each service branch. The great majority of young Germans appear to have waited to be called up.

Early in the war the W-SS was severely restricted in the amount of Reichsdeutsch manpower it could have. This was gradually relaxed. In 1942 it began to recruit volunteers directly from school from year groups under the age of Army conscription. As discussed elsewhere on AHF, it is questionable to what degree many were really "volunteers".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by offizier1916 » 13 Feb 2019 13:29

Hello Sir Guttridge,


indeed the majority was called up. But its a quite complex subject. Especially in the later years, the peer pressure in the Hitler youth was big to "volunteer". Furthermore, people who volunteered profited from 2 weeks of holiday and could skip the Arbeitsdienst. As Himmler became Chief of the Reserve Army, up to 20% of the new recruits were sent to the Waffen-SS.


Nevertheless, these numbers leave some margin for interpretation that the Waffen-SS was "interesting" for the younger age groupes. I think its fair to say that.


On youtube, you have very interesting interviews with former Veterans (interviews were made at the beginning of the 00s).

For example one of the Veterans remembered that he was very proud to be accepted to join the Waffen-SS after passing the medical and sport exam. But he was only 17, his father was at the front, so his mother had to sign the recruiting documents. But she refused. He really hated his mom for that.


Another veteran (later Untersturmführer) joined right after the Abitur with 17 1/2 years the Junkerschule. He said, that he feared to "be late" for the war. Of his Abiturjahrgang, 5 out of 17 joined the Waffen-SS as Officer cadets (note: he made his ABitur at a Napola school)

another veteran applied to become an officer of the Kriegsmarine. As the training begun in Mürwik in january 45, the course was dismissed and sent to the Waffen-SS as part of the so called "Dönitzspende". After only 6 weeks of basic infantery training they fought with the Wiking Division in Hungary.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Feb 2019 20:59

The waffen SS PzG divisions of the late war (11.SS PzG, 17.SS PzG, etc. ) were generally sub-standard in their equipment and training. They had a severe shortage of trained personnel like officers and NCOs.

Pretty interesting to see these comparatively unproven units (instead of veteran, reliable Heer PzD/PzG) being used for major panzer counterattacks in the late war in 1945 like Operation Solstice.

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