Why the Waffen-SS

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Leprechaun
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Leprechaun » 09 Mar 2021 18:11

Did the 26 Pz.Div. not spend a year in France the summer of 42 till 7.43 ?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Mar 2021 18:30

Hi AQida1,

You post, "When waffen ss division were dployed to France there were solid reasons for it." (1) No, the requirement was for "mobile divisions" not "Waffen-SS divisions". (2) Furthermore the reasons proved to be illusory because no Allied invasion of France was planned or deliverable in 1942.

You post, "You are the one that never wants ss divisions in France". Nope. Where did I say that? The fact that you so often have to invent my arguments shows that you are incapable of addressing my real points.

You post, ".....including when the landing was imminent." No invasion was imminent in June 1942, unless your definition of "imminent" is "two years away"!

You post, "You will have to allow to Hitler the privilege of determining where his elite divisions go....." Indeed I will. After all, it is a bit late for me to influence events now! Pity he got it so badly wrong regarding Allied invasion possibilities in 1942, though, don't you think?

You post, ".....and he never send them anywhere to intentionally spare them from combat as you always suggest." Again, where did I ever post that? But the fact remains that Hitler's decisions kept the two senior Waffen-SS divisions in the quiet backwater of France for almost the entire second half of 1942, where they were later joined by the third. As a result, the senior, Reich-raised Waffen-SS divisions missed arguably the decisive moment in Germany's war.

You post, "And they would certainly not believe it was meant to intentionally spare them from combat as you always suggest." I have never suggested that, so I don't have to defend it.

But the fact remains that 1st and 2nd Waffen-SS Divisions were "spared combat" (your phrase) for nearly half the period between June 1942 and June 1944, 9th and 10th Waffen-SS Divisions saw only two or three months of operations each and 12th Waffen-SS Division none at all. By contrast, almost all their nearest Army equivalents were on active battle fronts for longer.

You post, ".....the sending of waffen ss divisions in july 1942 and in 1944 made perfect sense so no historian would find anything abnormal in this." Which historians have pointed out the absence of the senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions from any active battlefront for so much of mid-1942 to mid-1944 compared with their more operationally active Army equivalents?

You post, "DR was also upgraded so there is nothing peculiar in that the remnants of it would join the units being set up for the upgrade in Germany." As I pointed out above, its Army equivalents did not enjoy the luxury of being withdrawn from the Eastern Front and upgraded. They had to carry on on the Eastern Front while the DR also spent six moths inactive in Germany and France. Again, not its fault, but a fact nonetheless.

You post, "An upgrade is a more comlicated operation than just refilling a unit." Doubtless, but why were the senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions upgraded in 1942, and not their Army equivalents, which were having to conduct the war on the Eastern Front for six months in their absence? Why the special treatment?

You post, "Obvious nonsense given the small size of the waffen ss. In the big picture there is no disadvantage that there were waffen ss divisions." Well, since you agreed earlier that the Waffen-SS offered no "value added", that only leaves the possibility that the Waffen-Ss made no difference (so why bother?), or was detrimental to the German war effort (which in certain areas, like duplication of services and slow fielding of new divisions, it appears to have been.

The answer to almost all my questions is that the Waffen-SS was a political creation, not a military one. Therefore its foundation, expansion and deployment was subject to political imperatives and political interferences that were, on occasion, damaging to the German Army and to Germany's war effort, without offering any demonstrable military originality or "value-added" to compensate.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Mar 2021 19:25

Leprechaun wrote:
09 Mar 2021 18:11
Did the 26 Pz.Div. not spend a year in France the summer of 42 till 7.43 ?
Hi, the war diary for the 26 Pz Div starts on 15 September 1942 when the 23rd Infantry Division (Mot) was renamed and its reorganisation begun. I think one of the Infantry Regiments was removed to form the nucleus of a new 23 Infantry Division while panzer troops were brought in. I've not quite worked out whether the panzer troops were from an already existing unit.

I think you are right that they were sent to Italy in about Jul 43.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Mar 2021 20:20

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Mar 2021 19:25
Hi, the war diary for the 26 Pz Div starts on 15 September 1942 when the 23rd Infantry Division (Mot) was renamed and its reorganisation begun. I think one of the Infantry Regiments was removed to form the nucleus of a new 23 Infantry Division while panzer troops were brought in. I've not quite worked out whether the panzer troops were from an already existing unit.

I think you are right that they were sent to Italy in about Jul 43.

Regards

Tom
Hi Tom,

The KTB starts on 15 September, but the order for the reorganization was on 14 September 1942. The 23. Infanterie-Division supplied most of the personnel for the new division, only Infanterie-Regiment 68. and parts of Artillerie-Regiment 23. spun off to the new 23. Infanterie-Division. Panzer-Regiment 26. was organized from the Stab, II., and III./Panzer-Regiment 202, which had been organized in France in January 1941 as a Beute-Panzer regiment with French tanks. However, when the division was transferred to Italy at the end of June 1943, I./Panzer-Regeiment 26. was spun off to reorganize as a Panther battalion and never rejoined the division.
"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 Tom from Cornwall » 09 Mar 2021 20:26

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Mar 2021 20:20
The KTB starts on 15 September, but the order for the reorganization was on 14 September 1942. The 23. Infanterie-Division supplied most of the personnel for the new division, only Infanterie-Regiment 68. and parts of Artillerie-Regiment 23. spun off to the new 23. Infanterie-Division. Panzer-Regiment 26. was organized from the Stab, II., and III./Panzer-Regiment 202, which had been organized in France in January 1941 as a Beute-Panzer regiment with French tanks. However, when the division was transferred to Italy at the end of June 1943, I./Panzer-Regeiment 26. was spun off to reorganize as a Panther battalion and never rejoined the division.
Rich,

Thanks, I had spotted references to Pz Regt 202 moving into the divisional area in October 1942 but worried that my poor German translation was mixing up whether they were just being accommodated in the same general area as the new panzer division rather than actually joining it. Thanks for clearing that up.

regards

Tom

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Mar 2021 20:30

Further to the extent of the concerns of German higher command that the Allies were going to avoid much later in the "invading season" than most would think possible/sensible is another warning order recorded in the war diary of 26 Panzer Division on 20 October 1942:
Von der Armee trifft abends der Fernspruch ein, wonach für die gesamte Küstenfront vom Ob.West “Alarmstufe I” befohlen worden ist und für 26.Pz.-Div. “Vorwarnung” gegeben wird. Von der Division wird an die unterstellten Einheiten “Vorwarnung drohende Gefahr” durchgegeben.

In the evening, OB West ordered “Alert Level I” for the entire coastal front and a warning order was passed to 26 Panzer Division by [15th ] Army. The division sent out a “warning of imminent danger” to its subordinate units.
Any failures in my translation attempts on here will be gratefully received. :thumbsup:

Regards

Tom

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Mar 2021 20:37

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Mar 2021 18:30
Hi AQida1,

You post, "When waffen ss division were dployed to France there were solid reasons for it." (1) No, the requirement was for "mobile divisions" not "Waffen-SS divisions". (2) Furthermore the reasons proved to be illusory because no Allied invasion of France was planned or deliverable in 1942.

You post, "You are the one that never wants ss divisions in France". Nope. Where did I say that? The fact that you so often have to invent my arguments shows that you are incapable of addressing my real points.

You post, ".....including when the landing was imminent." No invasion was imminent in June 1942, unless your definition of "imminent" is "two years away"!

You post, "You will have to allow to Hitler the privilege of determining where his elite divisions go....." Indeed I will. After all, it is a bit late for me to influence events now! Pity he got it so badly wrong regarding Allied invasion possibilities in 1942, though, don't you think?

You post, ".....and he never send them anywhere to intentionally spare them from combat as you always suggest." Again, where did I ever post that? But the fact remains that Hitler's decisions kept the two senior Waffen-SS divisions in the quiet backwater of France for almost the entire second half of 1942, where they were later joined by the third. As a result, the senior, Reich-raised Waffen-SS divisions missed arguably the decisive moment in Germany's war.

You post, "And they would certainly not believe it was meant to intentionally spare them from combat as you always suggest." I have never suggested that, so I don't have to defend it.

But the fact remains that 1st and 2nd Waffen-SS Divisions were "spared combat" (your phrase) for nearly half the period between June 1942 and June 1944, 9th and 10th Waffen-SS Divisions saw only two or three months of operations each and 12th Waffen-SS Division none at all. By contrast, almost all their nearest Army equivalents were on active battle fronts for longer.

You post, ".....the sending of waffen ss divisions in july 1942 and in 1944 made perfect sense so no historian would find anything abnormal in this." Which historians have pointed out the absence of the senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions from any active battlefront for so much of mid-1942 to mid-1944 compared with their more operationally active Army equivalents?

You post, "DR was also upgraded so there is nothing peculiar in that the remnants of it would join the units being set up for the upgrade in Germany." As I pointed out above, its Army equivalents did not enjoy the luxury of being withdrawn from the Eastern Front and upgraded. They had to carry on on the Eastern Front while the DR also spent six moths inactive in Germany and France. Again, not its fault, but a fact nonetheless.

You post, "An upgrade is a more comlicated operation than just refilling a unit." Doubtless, but why were the senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions upgraded in 1942, and not their Army equivalents, which were having to conduct the war on the Eastern Front for six months in their absence? Why the special treatment?

You post, "Obvious nonsense given the small size of the waffen ss. In the big picture there is no disadvantage that there were waffen ss divisions." Well, since you agreed earlier that the Waffen-SS offered no "value added", that only leaves the possibility that the Waffen-Ss made no difference (so why bother?), or was detrimental to the German war effort (which in certain areas, like duplication of services and slow fielding of new divisions, it appears to have been.

The answer to almost all my questions is that the Waffen-SS was a political creation, not a military one. Therefore its foundation, expansion and deployment was subject to political imperatives and political interferences that were, on occasion, damaging to the German Army and to Germany's war effort, without offering any demonstrable military originality or "value-added" to compensate.

Cheers,

Sid.
If you allegedly do not pretend that waffen Ss divisions were intentionally spared combat then you have no point as it means certain divisions being out of combat in certain periods is a matter of coincidence as Hitler obviously did not know there was going to be no major landing in 1942 and obviously could not know when a landing was going to take place in general.Divisions in France Will obviously be out of combat as long as there is no landing. Those in Norway never faced a landing at all as the feared landings never happened.
Where the upgrade of divisions is concerned you are far out on a limb. You should read the recent postings on the 26 Pz as an example of how wrong you are. :lol: I Will also give the example of the 24 Pz which was a transformation of the 1 Kav and this was done in Germany and France.
Last edited by Aida1 on 09 Mar 2021 20:59, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 09 Mar 2021 20:40

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Mar 2021 20:30
Further to the extent of the concerns of German higher command that the Allies were going to avoid much later in the "invading season" than most would think possible/sensible is another warning order recorded in the war diary of 26 Panzer Division on 20 October 1942:
Von der Armee trifft abends der Fernspruch ein, wonach für die gesamte Küstenfront vom Ob.West “Alarmstufe I” befohlen worden ist und für 26.Pz.-Div. “Vorwarnung” gegeben wird. Von der Division wird an die unterstellten Einheiten “Vorwarnung drohende Gefahr” durchgegeben.

In the evening, OB West ordered “Alert Level I” for the entire coastal front and a warning order was passed to 26 Panzer Division by [15th ] Army. The division sent out a “warning of imminent danger” to its subordinate units.
Any failures in my translation attempts on here will be gratefully received. :thumbsup:

Regards

Tom
In october certainly mobile divisions were on the alert which proves that allied landings were still feared as late in the year as that. You translated well. :D A very good free translation

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Mar 2021 00:00

Hi Leprechaun, Richard Anderson and Tom from Cornwall,

Thank you for finding an exception that proves the rule!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Mar 2021 01:02

Hi Aida1,

You are still missing my point. Nobody here has ever argued that the German high command did not fear an invasion, so your repeated emphasis on this uncontested point is just displacement activity.

My point is that this led the German high command to mistakenly make deployments against an illusory threat which was never planned in 1942 and was never deliverable in 1942.

These deployments particularly affected the three senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions, all of whom ended up in France, a month away from any active battlefront at arguably the decisive moment in Germany's war, two of them for half a year.

Why were they available for what proved to be an entirely sterile operational period? Because a political decision had been made to give priority in upgrading them, leaving the overwhelming majority of Army mechanized divisions to carry on the active war on the Eastern Front and North Africa in their absence.

The problem does not lie with the Waffen-SS divisions themselves. They went where they were sent.

However, the result was that in 1942 the two senior Waffen-SS divisions spent only half the time on an active battlefront as almost all their Army equivalents.

A similar observation can be made about 9th and 10th Waffen-SS Divisions in 1943-44 and of 12th Panzer Division as well.

This all gives the impression that the creation, upgrading and expansion of the Reich-raised Waffen-SS panzer divisions over June 1942 to June 1944 was done behind a shield of their Army equivalents struggling on active battlefronts.

No, 26th Panzer Division is an example of an exception that proves the rule. Half of Army panzer divisions that invaded the USSR in June 1941 stayed on the Eastern Front until 1945. The other half made a single visit to the West. During the period from mid-1942 to mid 1944, the 1st Waffen-SS Division had two stints in France and one in Italy before engaging an enemy in Normandy and 2nd Waffen-SS Division had two such stints in France. Nearly half this time they spent away from any active battlefront.

Five of the six Reich-raised Waffen-SS panzer divisions were under engaged on active battlefronts compared with their Army equivalents over mid-1942 to mid-1944.

This is not at all the image that one gets from Waffen-SS literature!


Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. 24th Panzer Division was converted from horses, so it is an entirely different case. I believe that the then forming 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division inherited much of its horse tack.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 10 Mar 2021 07:02

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Mar 2021 00:00
Hi Leprechaun, Richard Anderson and Tom from Cornwall,

Thank you for finding an exception that proves the rule!

Cheers,

Sid.
Stupid comment as upgrades not taking place at the front was the rule when you are talking about more than just adding a few units . And senior Ss divisions being upgraded in 1942 was not the reason from them being absent from the eastern front in 1942 as has been pointed out to you before. Their upgrade was not so major as you imply.
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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Aida1 » 10 Mar 2021 07:17

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Mar 2021 01:02
Hi Aida1,

You are still missing my point. Nobody here has ever argued that the German high command did not fear an invasion, so your repeated emphasis on this uncontested point is just displacement activity.

My point is that this led the German high command to mistakenly make deployments against an illusory threat which was never planned in 1942 and was never deliverable in 1942.

These deployments particularly affected the three senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS divisions, all of whom ended up in France, a month away from any active battlefront at arguably the decisive moment in Germany's war, two of them for half a year.

Why were they available for what proved to be an entirely sterile operational period? Because a political decision had been made to give priority in upgrading them, leaving the overwhelming majority of Army mechanized divisions to carry on the active war on the Eastern Front and North Africa in their absence.

The problem does not lie with the Waffen-SS divisions themselves. They went where they were sent.

However, the result was that in 1942 the two senior Waffen-SS divisions spent only half the time on an active battlefront as almost all their Army equivalents.

A similar observation can be made about 9th and 10th Waffen-SS Divisions in 1943-44 and of 12th Panzer Division as well.

This all gives the impression that the creation, upgrading and expansion of the Reich-raised Waffen-SS panzer divisions over June 1942 to June 1944 was done behind a shield of their Army equivalents struggling on active battlefronts.

No, 26th Panzer Division is an example of an exception that proves the rule. Half of Army panzer divisions that invaded the USSR in June 1941 stayed on the Eastern Front until 1945. The other half made a single visit to the West. During the period from mid-1942 to mid 1944, the 1st Waffen-SS Division had two stints in France and one in Italy before engaging an enemy in Normandy and 2nd Waffen-SS Division had two such stints in France. Nearly half this time they spent away from any active battlefront.

Five of the six Reich-raised Waffen-SS panzer divisions were under engaged on active battlefronts compared with their Army equivalents over mid-1942 to mid-1944.

This is not at all the image that one gets from Waffen-SS literature!


Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. 24th Panzer Division was converted from horses, so it is an entirely different case. I believe that the then forming 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division inherited much of its horse tack.
Very weak. Upgrading certain Ss divisions is not a political decision. the senior divisions who were considered elite would obviously be upgraded. And forgetting that LAH was only in the west because it was made reserve of OB West as it did not leave Russia for its upgrade. Totenkopf was only in France for 3 months and not related to its upgrade as the new units were set up while the division was in Russia .The upgrade of DR was almost finished when it was sent to France and it was also undergoing a massive refit, not only an upgrade which only meant creating a few more units.
And new divisions specifically set up for to be made reserve of OB West would obviously spend less time on the front as one could not know beforehand when the landings would take place. All units that at some point were reserve of OB west would spend less time at the front over the whole war. Same for those in Norway. Pretty obvious but you make it in an indictment specifically for the waffen Ss. An indictment that is therefore unfounded and ridiculous.
Waffen Ss litterature will obviously not pretend the divisions were always at the front. :lol:

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Leprechaun » 10 Mar 2021 09:26

Thanks Tom,Richard
for sharing the info

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 Mar 2021 11:59

Hi Aida1,

Well, if you can't engage with a "very weak" proposition, what does this say about your own position?

You post, "Upgrading certain Ss divisions is not a political decision." Well, it certainly wasn't a military decision. The Waffen-SS was withdrawn from the Wehrmacht at its creation. The Waffen-SS was a political project from the start, whose independent existence was opposed by the Army throughout. The Waffen-SS existed only because it had political, not military, cover and rationale and its upgrading and expansion was driven entirely by the political imperative to give the Nazi Party a high profile in the prosecution of the war. Every man and weapon it had was subtracted from arguably the best Army in the world and added nothing demonstrable to the German war effort.

On the other hand, as we have seen above, there are serious question marks about the Waffen-SS's institutional ability to make quick and full use of the high quality resources allocated to it, certainly over mid-1942 to mid-1944.

You post, ".....the senior divisions who were considered elite". Yup, by the Nazi Party, which siphoned off Army manpower and resources to create them. It therefore had to double down on them for reasons of political prestige. That is why they "would obviously be upgraded". The Army would rather have upgraded its own formations.

You post, "And new divisions specifically set up for to be made reserve of OB West would obviously spend less time on the front as one could not know beforehand when the landings would take place." That is to miss the point entirely. Why did they have to be Waffen-SS divisions tightly tied, according to you, to the long passive Western theatre and not Army formations flexibly deployable anywhere?

At the beginning of 1942 the Waffen-SS had no panzer battalions. Two years later it had about sixteen. Did you know that in 1943-44 the Army lost almost exactly the same number of divisional panzer battalions from its mechanized formations as the Waffen-SS gained? Where do you think the Waffen-SS's material came from? Waffen-SS expansion was bought in a real sense at the expense of the German Army. To add insult to injury, it was the Army that had to train the initial Waffen-SS tank crews!

You post, "Waffen Ss litterature will not pretend the divisions were always at the front." Nobody said that it did, but it seems to be remarkably silent on the fact that the creation, upgrading and expansion of the Reich-raised Waffen-SS panzer divisions over June 1942 to June 1944 was done behind a shield of their Army equivalents struggling on active battlefronts and at the expense of the Army, or note that over the same period five of the six senior, Reich-raised, Waffen-SS spent significantly less time on an active battlefront that their typical Army equivalents.

Again, this does not reflect on the Waffen-SS divisions themselves. They had to go where they were sent. But it does seriously put into question (1) any military justification for an independent Waffen-SS in the first place and (2) the selective nature of Waffen-SS historiography.

You are guy with a considerable Waffen-SS library and apparently steeped in the Waffen-SS ethos, yet this all seems to come as an inexplicable surprise to you.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why the Waffen-SS

Post by Cult Icon » 10 Mar 2021 14:33

Peter89 wrote:
08 Mar 2021 16:12
The Waffen-SS was established to create a party army, and as such, it received special treatment. However, it doesn't mean that every single Waffen-SS unit received better treatment or that all the Heer units received bad treatment.

I thought it's obvious that Waffen-SS existed primarily for political reasons; for example, it allowed foreign nationals to fight for Germany, or exempt ethnic Germans in other Axis countries to serve their time in the military of their respective nations.

Other than my relatives who were forced into the Waffen-SS and thus generally despised it, I have no dog in the fight, if I'm using that phrase correctly. :)
IIRC 101 SS Heavy Tank battalion had Romanian Volksdeusche drafted into the ranks. British troops in Normandy, during Operation Bluecoat captured infiltrating Asian and Russian troops of the II SS Pz Corps that were, in interrogations said to know nothing but a basic use of a rifle.

I just pointed out to you that using divisions/unit as a metric is wrong. If you have the divisional histories/study the war operationally you can see that the situation was complicated. Favoritism or lack of favoritism often happened due to strategic circumstances and randomness of bureaucracy. Blanket generalizations don't work.

For the most part the "premier" units of the SS, the Leibstandarte, Totenkopf, and Das Reich fought on the Eastern Front until they were shattered remnants like any other division. "If" they were favored it was when they were earmarked for strategic hot spots- something that also happened to the more effective army formations. This often entailed a rebuild or a field refitting. At best one can argue that the premier units of the SS were, in general, larger (more personnel, more equipment) and correspondingly saw more action in the hot spots than most of the Army formations. A while ago I posted the awards of SS and Army formations, in general the RK/GCiG awarded to the premier SS formations were slightly higher than the best army formations and to a degree that is similar to larger size of the formation. These award proposals were processed by the same state agency.

A few obvious times where strategic/operational favoritism happened was for the forces that accumulated in the spring of 1944, where a lot of equipment was shipped to the Panzer units there. The Pz Units in Normandy, SS and Army were larger and better equipped than those on the East on average. And for the 5th Pz Army counteroffensive in the West the Panther production got siphoned into hastily organized Heer Pz Brigades (not SS) and duly wasted for a short time before they were rolled into the divisions. And the Pz units that were withdrawn from the front after Falaise/West wall fighting for the Ardennes offensive. These units were better equipped than the Pz units in the East (SS and Army) that were fighting in Hungary, especially in the Konrad offensives. Then after that the East was favored and the bulk of Germany's armored resources was shifted there for the duration of the war.

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