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Picture credits

Ian Baxter/History in the Making: 19,,126,127.141, .155. 182.

POPPERFOTO: 38. 42. 58/59. ;,)::')-

TRH Pictures: 1, 8/9,~~d;~,t~~h~~~~~~~n:I~~~i!~!:/2~\25~'2~~~'8~~6,,~~!f3~~4' 35, 36/37. 40, 41,

45,46.47,48,50/51,52/53.55.60,63,64.67,68,69. 70, 7~{7.}~74h5, 76, 78. 80, 81, 83, 85, 86. 88,91,93,94.96/97,99,100.101,102, 104.105,106, 1p~,jHO, 115.116,117, ~23.125, .128.130,

132.133.134,1::7,l::(/::(/::5,1:S4{1::i/::~.1~Jt~2,1i~5.1i¢8~::9:U:8~~~;~~1 Archlves),155.

Con ten ts;-:_J\l":_Y"-

)J )J J~

1 Foundation 6


, ,,:-)-2 Organization 22

, -j,,~~


jJ ol jJ- 3 First Action 38

6 Barbarossa 86

7 Kursk 106

8 Normandy 128

9 !}lJlie - 148


J .r-ro Final Battles 160 jJj

11 Key Figures 176 ,,"-

_I S)vS}~~

Appendices 1J~Ii>\'0)/ )j

Index 190


,.-j.. '(~))~

SS-Panzer~Division l}aS J J )"


ed by Gennany's defeat, 'ODS'!W on the lessons ~"""'IAAII"II,"_~~Jast year of the war.

" VJ

}_~~l~r; ~~~c~l~~~~~i~li~..r°~~~t ~~:~l~~h: ::~IC~16~:;~


Left: Adolf Hitl~r, Ch~nccllor or Germany, addresse, a rally at Templchor in Berlin in the mid-1930s. The 5S men in [he immediate forcgTollndarc members of his p"rsonal bodyguaro, the Leibslaltdarle.SSAdo/fH;/Ier.

,;miJarUllils_i";I(C in November.asuccessful counterau,l!;k b)' Sloss/nL/I/!ell commandos enabled the



paramilitary gl'O'lpS ll,rr!llgilOlll lho.:

COllllll")' ,,"d in org"ni,,<;d "jolenec ngainst

GCl"Ill;'IlS l<> rCGI]JlUrc BOllrlQ11 WQQd "C'"- Cambra! illlpn;sso.:d with ,Ito.: rCSllll~ or these actions. :H1d

B"],,w, Slfl.\·.'lr"N'~" lInd"rg"ing lr;.illillg wi,h Ihm"

:~;;::,::::;,~:::::::'~,;:::;'I:~~d;'~;l:':e' !~:;':::":':p:::i ,J J J/"


To protect Nazi leaders from

possible alle'lIplS, [ile party formed a

scclI';ly org"rrj/~'liun in 1923


):::y»;':?_' --;-,"'.,;'cc-o"'5_).,'_')_"' _ JJ~:._r

s,c~)ecJ" to form a larger and more fomlid~'blc S~<.:"nry service after the two men served" bncl pnsun

N~w, BODYGUARD ,''': ~,~p_:.j'"

Within a few montl!~,SHlf1er had dissolved the Headqllarters,~~l~9'::!IKrl replaced lt with a new 00\lit, know\, ~J)thf Sioss/rup/Jen (Shock Troop)

Hrlle'j §)nll November 1923, members or this disdnglLlshed ,hem~elves ri1l1-ing the fleer Hall

one of Hitler's most loyal lieutenants

Nominally attached to the 1l111ch-lilrger SA, the SS

Plltsch, a notoriou~ fia~co in which Hitler led a small [irew quickly establishing local units throughout

th,-ow Ihe gm'ernment of Bavaria ~l~:,:~~~nt~~~~~~=~'l~,~;~:d ,::~:::~shott ~:~,,:~i:,~~~:;'

fought with gU\'I:rnmenl forces, his shock troops \"Ol\l{,~e'ers, he allowed it to increase its membership

placed themselves in harm',. way 10 prel'entan}, i,~uJ:y~),~:rthal it would serve as a co,l1l,erweight to Rulun and Front befalling theirlender. B)' the time the at~"'il\lt:

cd was over. at least 10 StUHllj'}J/kll had Below: Hitler supporters during the abortive Munich

his unrul)" ,nIIOlI0TllOllS, brown-shined orgauization. Above' The 120-strong Slabs",,,chc, Hitler's lirsl budy·

Tu create more ora \';.'"al (iiSLinoion between the I\\,O g\lard, formed up ror" phologral)h onlhe steps of Lhe


all rl Cl~ ,Ii ica ted II Lt: la~1 rc Ill·

hlocks ofnn


):;.s:»~'_':?_' =;T>,\"j,_S)_"' F_OU_'_D_AT_1O_'

LEIBSTANDARTE-SS ADOLF HITLER ;~::~::\':r~b~~:~f0::, ':~CO~::H;:':",:,',,,~:;":,,:;:;~:;

Hille,.. lhe Gerlllan Arllled F()I·ccs higil tllIlllIM"d and thc Sb

light. B)"thi" lime. li,..:s{: SSoljiciais warned dll' clccillIalion of the SA i" order that their OWIl network

( .. >::::--' :;J,.>:J/ SS·OAS REICH


~~~s>~all who had won several I f ;::3:'

. . nd continued to sc .. TI~;;'~IJ ... in the Gre'

"'g m 1932. Mo.' ""'I~" ",'!~~m',' b,fmn,,:;' set vcd briefly as a tfl .'~'b~ ~thc alllly. Haussc .. I veterans orga~i~;ticm cr or uie Sia/he/m Worlr h:'d.

joill ll,," 55):', II,,: ·:.",7~1 ~'.l(~ the SA before clCCl~Il\\;lI

~~" ",,,,,ld ""1"""",,, :,:":::::,,,,,,,,jil",,, (Co,,.,,~,,O (col:':::;~":Jlflil/J1!I. 111111 Grll':"~ltJll~,l~r; ,:1111. or ss.

eueral). .. rm II'tlffplI.SS



rcsponslbl gyM. I" hi' new ,,,I," ',"'_

"d. 1,""~::";,~'~"'~'I,,g the ~'I"I",":I':;; "":);"jJ ,J-'


,,,,,,d.e, r",I1I'~"i."}(,'" "",,,,,,1,.,,. the ss '" loIZS$~i"ef"''-'' SS:lIIIlII,:,.sr"lIl~ Bad " 11.\(1


,,,"v,,, 55"T ,,:;,,';:~"~'." '"jl?di," ,,,,:,:":,,""1"



COJlllllamlcrs COlIl""l will, Iheir VWIl h:.l<:"l pvw..,,; i-Ijllllllier peJ"lllilleU tI,e]1I Iv r"lain Ih"i,- aUlOllvmy, H.., also ,I\'oided an)' (vllllin wilh Di"u-kh, his

,/)))~::?-' .d,Y:;';

;::::;J:~~~~:~~~~~;':':'~;'::,:;',~:",::,:::,~~ ',:;,,',::'::

Ihe Ccnwli I'VWCI1S_ III Ihl'ir view. storm b;lll;tiioll'

))S~-DAS REICH ~'2 S)~

[lominal subordiJl"lc. oj' allvwiJlg


Ldbslll'1u/arlcparad"s 0111)' a,,, passive 9b~ervcr while Dietrich r"l"il1,,1I total Wlllfol O\'entj;"ftlmiL DC5pilc Ihiscollce.>sioJl,li·icliOllbe1-w~I'ill~~Leil','I{/"'I""IC;md othcrSx oudlts conlilllltilS~


~,~~:~~T~~:u~: bccame less hostile 10 outsiders

,,"em more illllomlive 111;1" Ihe \\",11"1>111,.11111';" I),,:

Ihal conflict as the key lO achieving vic WI')' in ~::::;svv.'~!}u.lI,.e lI'ar~f the conservative generals ill me

the use of'small-unit rnntunuoo iacucs as an erner-

streets and in,ide 1;I\'erns, At higher levels wilhill t.11<'


):;.s:»;_'>_' ~=:7,9'>'-II-)"'---F-O-UN-O-AT-1O_N

The training fa~ilities at Bad T(ilz and Braunschweig dra",alicaUyill'pro,"edlhe'l" .. lilyoflheSS-Vr.


);':?S-S-IJAS REICH ~'2 S)~

real accomplished. the SS lLni\li marched into Lhe

him 10 lake the Gcnmlll-spc,lI'-ing Sudct<;!"l,md

1i1Ori,,1 concession "'''tS his last. Wil.h Ihis diplomalic

[real), with u.e USSR. urereby onsunng Russian



engulfing Europe IllC~1l1 that the SS-VT would ;11111051

for outfus. the generals in the

~~".:t·lIIuchl (the High Command of the Armed Forcgs.-;$r OKW) had the power (0 deter-

::~;~~l~:~i~~~f:l~':C~~il:t;~ I;;~l~/~~'::~ ~·~il~.li~J~·:~\:~'~

:(~?61i1'Lit the 55-VI' from adding more men 10 their J Jj~ ranks and. not surprisingly, senior officers in the .l II'dmlracil/ ruthlessly exercised this prerogauve to prevent it from reaching division-size su-cngth.

Fortunately for Hausser, Steiner and otherS'S olli';.;,::::;

eel's. had a champion who \':Y.9Id Above, Felix Steiner, commander of the SS-VT's

~:I~::~. ~l~.elel~n ~;::)~.~~~,:~ ~:1:~~ ~::~:~~a~:~;'~~~:'~ln,:;'~:;n:V:::~~:i:;:::t~~:;:~'!I::i:

wounded as <I Second- Lic\1\(lll}!'11 ~;;;:;ding (I-OOPS in regiments Or units on their currs. as seen here.

b,utJe, SS-B'll,,'fUkjii">l'rG'1I!ldH Bergerw;1s;1 long-time

NSDAJ' acrivlst who had served in the SA before lrnns- ,w"i,i"'''''''''h>

felTing \0 the SS after the Nighl of the


',~S-OAS REICH ~':::I>/

S/(II/I/rlf/"" (I)ealh's Head Rcgimculs). lhe \'~Irtim{' ,·cinlvrc.cmcll1 llnilS of the SS. Fin:llly. Himl1l1cr had "'[ hisdispusa1 "section of the

,.~ .. ,


of them criticized the SS-\'l' fur bcing Inn willing ("


plicarcd opcrnuons. 111 reaction. ss-vr (UlIlIl\;IIUJ"rl' blamed these problems in [he fidd 011 1I~'-dllh~"i1lillgness of the Ill-1mllll.11I to provide enough hc,,'~' weapons and adequate supplies. 1'1i\'llcJ~'. Ill,m}, ul

SCCUlld order. proclaimed in ,\b)' 1939. granted them conceded rho lnadcqu •• cics .IIU;1.>ul,',['O II,,-il

~:;~:;~~:fi;'~,;ir:~~;;~i:i:f:;;:;:'::,'~;::~:§~;',~~~~ J s~t;:;~~i!::~:i;::;:i::~;::~:;:'~ ~~:;::;:,;::;~,::::::::,'::

ncnt. was poised 10. """?"?" a"""'yIJqu::~_/ SS DIVISIONS

sizeable Illi;; ::;,ITI~:"~a 1~li~~\lt~:,\""fllgllllg~I""11'1"J il110 a ~~;~;~~:I1I~;~:'~' \:,Jill~,I1:;I~I;~r;l~~~I;~: ~l:~'(:~~r I~l;~~:~~~~

i~~2~\~~~:~:,i~;i~\:~;;i::;"~:;;',:~~~~::~':2,;~: ,s:,','~~\i:'~hf.,;'i:'.~'·:':"'O"':'::[::"'~'i"'",i:;,::~,;,i,~~~,:::o,~,:,',',\,')l,~,\;,i,',:,~"",'~;~,OO""~o:,:,""":":""';'~"~:~';"~':';:"o-"'~'I,';,",i,:,::i,',;,:,~,~,:,~,;~,f,;::,',:,;"'~,:,,,'~0:"

JJ JJy:):,:~,,~,:,',~';':;O::~'~Gr,;~,:,.,:,:,_~\:,:::~,~",':;,::~:~:':::~:",',::I,'"i,,:,:,:,:',:',',,~;~m,:'~'~~F':,:,:,t,. ':", "" " , .. ":' :-, ",,' 0 ,

". ....~ ~ ~ v ~ _, 11"-",, divisions wilhin Ihe armed org"l1i~,:lIiol\

SIC Iller and his f)ell/sehll/lld joined the Ullil1l'lIel)" 1](: succeeded in creating uic conditions

(livision, ;IS did other ss-\rr l)e~pilC 111l' Ih-- ,'h"l wOllld h'ar! If) the fonuul ":slablisI1l1l<'1l1 01" Ill<'

:,:,~,::£;:g~;;:':::'::7.:;::::~'i::::.,':'~~:::i:3~it;::: )"::::~::"~:':~:,~:)';:',:~~::"'~~~~' ';~,~O',:::,~:::,~:::; ':i,::.

Ihe coming ,,~\r '/ ',-:'; O""/5rlll",,,I, Cr,.,IIIIIIIII, anfl f),',-FiihW'-r<:gimCllls illlO"

'",,,,\\,',',I.~I,",,',,~,:~I,,~I,','io"r"I,:go"I';',',"d1le(o\,\,:r9,',~,i~.I,",\,~:,','",I~"~)},',,~~,,':,,',",',',:: <;ohcsi"", IIlulOri~t'(1 nrg'lIli7_'uioll_ Originall)' known

,., ~ ~" > .><: ~ ...." .... as rue SS-\'1~fii!!''''/,,'l Oi"i,ioll or ss-vr ])i1'isi"II, il.~

55 Ionnanous experienced their baptism 01 lire, A[ name wuuld ulldergu ~e,'cl~11 cklllgcs before hcil1~

best. the performance of [he SS-VT uuirs received

Regillleni achieved similar disrinctiou nt Lwow, 111 ccnn-al Pohuul. the l.i!ibJ/rwrimudistinl(llished uscltat rho Ri\'er l.I1.ura and other areas,

\~!:/ -'



3rd SS-P:mzer-Di\'isioll To/rul;0pf In 'lIhlilioll,


,.-j.. .~ :,.-:)~

popularity of the~;l JJ-'

Left: New recruits being drilled in 1938. At firs! the Waff",,-SSwere clothed in standard lVehrmoc/,/ uniforms, and were indistinguishable from their army colleagues aparl from illC SS rUDes on lheircollars.

gave successful applicants a sense of superiurity uvcr

~:~~;·I:~l,ii~il~I~.personncl. CI'Cll ~f~~r~~l:S'Y had begu"


_/ :)j>~>O::;""

, :_../


~l~~ ;'~~~:\~i:;;~::::i:~~;~~~nlil~::;;:~:::~~l il'~:i:: ~'~~~~'

for 2.'> years. III order LO gaill adruissiou to cadet school alld Ihus earn an oniccr's commission. a r"cru;L firsl h;ul 10 sen'c in the ranks as ;' common

Steiner and other SS-VT cnnuuauders were able to

17,,9. At rt:cruiunell1 centres. inspectors verified this develop their own ~raining l'rngy;mls for their units

racial suuus by measuring facial features and other When first eSli1J:Sli~hed, the SS-H"jiig,wgslrup!m,


provided grounds for r"j"niun. ;\'luI"I.''''·':I" . .'1.'1- lllird I{(:ich as foundation upon which tit.;- SS-

purit)" of Lheir current or fllL"re wi"es


J J J J;,,;~~~~;:~~~~~,~~:~~::;;::;::::~£~,~I;~~:::;::':::

u;millal records. past involvement in political activiti<:~ deemed repugnant 10 N,r,-i ideology, and other


formed. the two regiments collectively possessed roughl)' 5000 \'OlulIlccrs. while III<" l.I"ib~l",uf""le had

by Hitler and other high-milking i\i,u;onai Soda liM leaders. Such a mimiscl w~"dd ,,"ahle SS nffid"b to Il\oulc! their )'O!llIg \'ulwllecrs illlu [;1;llIf,,1 N,,~i


and this I":lricd according to I,mk. t\ common (;II'I/(II[il'r or SS-SdHilu [Private] enlisted for a tourYC;II" term of service. t\ Sdlllljiihrer{Sergc,lllt) or ourcr

I'crh;,ps the 111051 imponmn of the SS-VT fo,.",,,Lions in the history arLit.:: WfliftyS.J; ;he D,."lsrh/(II"/

~;:i:"':i',:;'::;:~i~;:\:iF:~,:';:'~~:~::::::,: :~;,:~~~:,

"Ollllllcy'.~ J that mostly h,lilcd from southern Gel]t}any. I" 1931'.i1 received a pcrmanc!u home in the ~hmidl Fre;m,ml1 barracks. '1'111"<;\: }"e"rs later, the facility bCC;III1~' II,,, headquarter s of the regiment.

pose for a sludio shol during lca,'c from Ihcfronl line.

and other specialized companies .The man second from leflwears a Deulsddm,dcuffl;11e.

In the spring or 1935. a group or Austrian SA and;.;,~a--;;d lher all WeaT Infantry As<;ault combal badges.

SS cxpau-iatcs under the command or ~ar~-~!,irirt

Demclh"hc(" the Deul.lc":lIlId r~~m~nt and

l)eCallle 1~ati~I~~~31~~1~~:~~~r;~I:~~~:~~c~eli~:"::~

then the Ni!j;>1<u:r!rO.l'h,rn,idl. aud

';,-""·i.\".,"6,,,. rUlldeci

e'll,ipped. ,"'"11'

;.~.'i.fIl-rrO'-'l1' \lIllil ,\-I"rd, 193·1 ,=-",;.V



1938, the battalion leftthis re~rn~fit [0 form the core Although it h"d joined the Dl'lmrhfulld Kcgimcll!

ora 11<':"' Ol\e [hal would tJ ~110W";lS Der FrilliEr. hcforc Ihe 211d ,lIul !Jrd B"lwlions. a foruuulon

AI the Munich Freimann han~,cks. members of the lSI and ,!th Baualious formed the nucleus of'what be designated as the Srd Hallalioll of the Regiment in Jill)· 19!Hj. Th:wks In :111 recruiting campaign, lhe ""il quickl),

known ,IS the ,',,{iliJd,,' flrrril5r1uifi lI',j""Cllllm"g was


the wnntemberg region in south-western Ucrmauy. a strong' pro-Nazi region orrhc country.

from Bavaria :",(1 W,u"llcmherg ensured that the banalion would achieve Iull ,lrength and complete its tI~,ining sched"],, hy .he folluwing )''';'1",


,;'2.... , ~;J..:~'2s/~

),,/ -----------------,?,"';;;'~'----------

Bat\;llionJJf1~e /Jel'/lcllimui Regiment, was srauoned in Vi~lna. the site of the Der I'iilncr regimental headquarters. The 2nd Battalion ofDerFfilm.-rwasbascd ill Graa. while the !lrd Ballalioll mainmincd " barracks

IlllhesurnmeroflY35. Felix Steiner served as the cummander of lhe 4lh Battalion lor about a year before being prollloled \0 the 1';.l11k of SSS/ulI//mlenjiihn:r (Colonel) and assuming control over the entire regiment. Unlike manyoth!;.!:,§s-\rrmgauizanons. the unit had a gnod reiatjon:;(hip with the


Ihe mfanu), division allowed NCOs of the SS battalion

These twu Ilnil.~

G"I''''a1!ia Regiment and :jJ..

the Lrivs/IlIuiurle 10 help the Ausman volunteers with ,<::.) .. lheir [llIi!ling. III Mll)' 1939, during war game", il~~~ Pomerania. the men of the Dff /·"hrff RegirpJril had

llve ammuuhlon fired o\'er their heads, a standard

practice in SSVf Iraining. Assigned 10 gll,ml dULY in

10 be attached to military formations in order 10 learn Prague until the outbreak of war, they later spcm

effeClil'e IIIll11agement techniques. Whcn the banal- time in the lllack~YfeSt before being sent co Pilseu to

ion lJe';llIIe a motorcycle unit in November 1938, it join the s"<;-!Jffii1full/,'S Division

l~ft the regiment. III ;I:1dit.ion 10 these regiments, the SS-VT also

In October 1936, the 55 assembled a group of ::;'Jlf;SS-;:~scd ind~pf:nd,mt b<1tlaliol1s.

battalions into ." sccon~ SS-Vf regiment. Call~dl ~1.I~J) ES."lbllshed 1;1'.'': I" 193~,. tJ,c ..

GefllW111I< Rq\,lnlCnl, It possessed a barr:;oks III (Signals Battalion] drew us volunteers prlnuu'lly ("rom

Hamburg and contained three infauny hattaliolls cdSlerli Gcnnan)·. Al its peak strength. lt possessed

along with three specialist companies: mOlorcycle, aml-tauk gun and inranll)' g1ln. Although (;"nMmin was a cohesive l'egim;;ll1 on paper, its bnualions rarely M:1'\'Cd IOgclherjl1'6cl, only its lSI Baualion and the

'J ~;~~ ~:~I:~::\111Ii.e~le ~~~:I~li:!~~ d~~Cno:edg::~;~~~~:

J J J J~) ~~:;,:~I~\::::ze~IIl~~ai~;:~.I:~ltl~/~n~~ct:I:I~ °1~~:be~/9t~~~

regiments in the SS-Ve/jt'igullgs Division. although

IWO horsed platoons. one motorized platoon and a '}'2:"

:;~;i~fl:c:lr~~e s~::I~~_n7;toU~:e~II;:~~~~;;I~:~~~~~:'i~e~,:~J'l'~:::~~>~7-~:;~~,J~LII:~ ;;~;~ ~~'~a~~~::

participated in the invasio_) if Poland Sevcral months hiler, the SS.Pimti;Hlurmvrmn (Engineer ()I Pioneer l1a1talion) iJm.llk" assembled in March 193!J Containing volunteers mnstly from ce!llml Gcrnl<lIIY,

Gcn,UIII;O would leave the organization the following Saxon), and Thuringia, Ihe Llnil l""r;arnc f<Llly motor-

year to serve in thc 5th SS-Di\'isi~r1 \Viking. Its rcpbc,;," ).f?'cd withiu a few weeks.

rne;;\~::.~e ~~rt~~~~~~~:'klt~lRIC;~::~:I;}an~)t!tli~'2~- CEREMONIAL DETACHMENT

~/~~~~:~;~:!':i;~~~I\II::;C':::~c :O\U:i~::~:;;:~:e~ :~:::: I~u:;;r~;: ~~~i~~~ISi~~:: ~111~U~~j:;';~;~~

the al1ncx;uion of ALlslriaJ~'llh Ihis counll)'urOllgh[ SS-S/unnbll1lfl 'N' (Nurcmberg) was a mounted

i1l10 the Third Reich. SS officials found a new source of manl}o,,"er for their SS-Vf formations. Thus. SSObep'/urmblllllljlihrer (Liciucnant-Colouel) Georg ;,Jcppler reccivC,d orders 10 form a new outfit. A dcco-

~:::;;;,)" rated veteran 01 World War f who also had experience ali a police oflicial before joining the Dcul.lchlnnd Regiment in 193.'}, he was well-suited for the task.

The fkr Fiilmrr Regiment possessed three banalThe lSI Battalion. which had heen the 2nd

infantry banaliou odginallycstablished asa cc:remo-




slreng~h\ 11 comamed unee rifle compumes. one machine-gun company, a band, a signals section and '1 headtlu>lrters detachment. The unit later becamea


);':?-SS-DAS REICH ~'2 S)~


Toward, lh" ,,,,,I of l.h.: 19.'\Os. lhe SS-VT csr.rb-

1 wii.l, his OWI1 innovations.

AI I,is I",,,,~,cks in Munich, Steiner de-emphasized

LeCI:An U"'e'·"',,rmfi;/,rcr(seeondlie,l1enanl) "rlhe D~r I'iil!rt>r Regimen! of Ihe Reich Division seen in Ihe Balbus in 1941. His cufC tille isjusl visible. As he is no! in aClion, he is wearing a forngecap.

Like other military personnel. SS-1'trfoK!III~lnl"pt:I( Above: 55 troops undergoing n,achln.., gun training in

recruits had [0 f:u:c tile drlldgc,y of c1c:millg the .1935. soon after lhe lVaJfet • .5Shud h~'<!" officially formed.

,,:,~,~,~,:,~:,::,:,'~,~"', 10",,°, i:"";'.'O":'o:;i~'~'~':~O~I',;r:,·,::,,~~,',::;!~,\~o.:I'~'~'~I;:~;~')'~ :::,~:::~:::::::::~::,::,:',:~:,,;,:":,:~:';~~,::,::~,~

,~ ~ ~. . L ".L" "L ~ into larger formations when situations required (;011-

required La keep Llll:jrJlt,:',dk"n::hic£, folded in a solidation. To maintain orderamong the ranks in Ihe

certain way and placed ill " specific [rollser pocket. field, he and other leaders .. tso cnslIl'cd that soldiers

However, they also lil'..,d i" lirst-nlle au:ommodal;oll in their command learned how LO'fulfill the dillies of

'\lid cl!joycd food tlun was both ~a"u"ry ,,,,d 1I(111,-i,lI- :~:~:"~~':r~l~,~~c~:I.~~~::;l ~'I~~;l~~~~l~S ;:~~~;~::~c::,::;

,~S ~))~~:~;l~'~l~:~~ll~(;\:~l~l~C~:l~:~i~~~C:-;':i\~'~~ c:~:;'~~;li~~ :.~~~~ - ~ri

J horses in prepar~ti(lll for a grcal comcsr. I'C11ICl1an~~J~:~Ptal s when necessary

During U'lining for combat situations, Steiner IMf_ORTANCE OF COMRADESHIP

strcs.. ... :rl thc imparlance of flexibility, in which thc In addiuon. Steiner and many olher s.s-VT cornman-

mcn in his command would be capable of mauccu-

ders stresscd lhc imporlauce of comradeship among





otlice_rj "in' the first 10 lead ussauhs 011 enemr PU,iliuliS "",I !I,c !:lSI 10 ,..ithdr.,w, performing n:::lrguard aCLions Ii)r Ilu;;r i'clJ'ealingforccs. During the

all ranks. Unlike their lI;'h"'lj(wl!t counterparts. ss. l'"jiiK''''/.,>Slmpp.", olliec]":; and sergeants fratcrlli~cd and bonded with their men and realized [II"L they shouldbcallhci'l'Ollloflhcirullilsdllrillgcuull.><I(, inspirit I!:; others with ,their hc!'OiCt<':~I~pl"s. In lh~





"~,r, this adndrahlc bdmviollr led LO a

ratio of

officcrcasualth:s wilhi"lile ranks of' the

::;:~:~:;·,,::,~::::::::::;~;:::~t;:::~;:,:;!:::;~:::;::;;:;: )),>-I,J

h",~d WIlh the d{:vclopmclll of close comradeship among the ranks within each unit. In addition tothis training. SS-VT recruits became proficient "ilh the t:"pc of we"ponr}, (~~ <:quipmenl bcfluing' mobile. WhCH tile GCrtlhU1S invaded the SOI';,,1 Union and hgln infantry fO~)1atlons. Such hardware induded

i;~~!:[i:,;;,(:,:\~;~t~\~\f~,I):ft}t:':~::(~~;')ji;'~~J::::~::~~~;::~:~ y:;~:::::,:~:~::::i,",:::::

I .. !:/-'


troops' learning. Sdllll:5laffrl C()11111""l1jers also sought 10 en5ure that practice manOeuVres and war games would be as realistic as possible. During Sitch exercises, 5S soldiers cr;lWlcd acrossthcgroulldwhilclivcmachinc-gunroundsnch

~::::, '::~~:~;~'::';:::::::~~~*;:':;:~:~::;'I;;':~

'/ 1):V';'-


for realism could lead loscriousinjurrordeath.


):::y);':?:" .,-'-',._,,,/""·5_J,_s>_"' _ J J~)

~1~e.t~Tlf1iCI ifnot for the treachery of social iSIS, lib",""Is andjews. cnrhusiasric Sc-Vf men resolved 110110


;, ,0 d::~::~~'~:~':~":~'~:~;::d "dm ,::,~'::':: ':';:'~':Fj~~i~~:~;;~f':;:~~:)::~~:~f,:,~!,;~::::;iiC:::,~

alice, his helmet would dellccl lhe shr;'pnel fr<;),h-'tJlC and other adversaries was a weakness Ihal would lead

exploding grenade and leave him wilh !;'~Il\rng more 10 another 'stab in die back' lor their nation. Thi"

than ringing in the cars. Ifhe panicked an<i Ilinehcd. the device would fall and explode on lhcgrOlindnexl 10 him. infliclingserious injury ordeath


;~~~~~~1!~~~~~~1 of ssvr lmining \\,;IS merely :111

', ..... , .. S)~ii1'~licalion 01' lhcgrilll idcol()gicaJ \\"od~l-\'ie\\' (hal the

J~)cr NS])/\I'leadership held and obliged SS \'ol"nleers 10

_)J J lollow. Thus. political and rncial indoctrination was

Slcin~r hin~,elf ~\eJ'(:~' Sllcclllllbe.d. 10

:~,::,:,::,o:,/:;~;;;,~;::;'~:'~:O~~::' ';~,::~:::~

Righl:1~fl.ak gun crew supporting ground lroops in t»o'}"mandy In 1944. The crew wear one of the SS eamou· nage design patterns thai were palented by tl,c WufF".ss topreventlheiVehr",ochifromusingsimilardesiglls.

'''crifkc Ihctnsclvcs (0 the SI<I1C

Beeau",,, SS-VTvolunl(:crswcre alrcadv cnthusias-


~':?SVV.:;.-' the nation. mOSI wen: inclined (0 embrace Nazi


,_!:ISS-DAS REICH ~':::I>/

Abo,'c- S~_W nnc~ ""d bay.,.

J J J J;.;o,-:;~=,;':,::"O:::7~::::;:Oo::.:"::~·.:~;;·::.:",~:~:


,i<;nollllc(;d the SS as all atheistic c\i<jllc and di.'!<:m,r-

"t",,,·,·,,t's "'h,',, his .• olr;li."" ",,:<1 I.\WI11 while capture il1~:' f,.nificd positi ... ". A rear 1;lIer. Hill,:,' personally

1 .. ':::1-'


,.~ .. ,

~"i ~lj~l~r;:.I-:~~:~;':I:~::'/~'r:','~,::~,i:I'~~):'lr~~~~,\ii~~' I(\~"~~::~

potcutiul ill Ihese NSUAI' shuck Irool's, As a !"esull. he pcrtulucd lhc.s$-\rrlu rOl"m "" anillcryrq;"illlO'1i1

From the gUll and heal'), 111:1(11;""-1>'1"1

companies within 1'''lfi;gPlllgsl!"llP/II~'' rcgililclllS. , .-l.-

During the course of ~hc deem!". lilt', ssvr al~~P~ de\'clol~cd a collection 01 spccmhSl tnl111,I1lg s\lIyPIs'.

In addition 10 tile two cadc! acadcll1~Cl' Jthc S,~ jllllhr:rsr/w/r Ihd Toll. and the SS:1"11kcfsr/mlr


8oldie;l-';. F'lI" 1""11<-, SS troops also had greell-and-

b1"l\\I'1l e;"II<Jllfl;'!;t: paucrus, with shades \'al")'ill)::.


also wore this emblem 011 their light coll;"

On the left collar of [he uniform, a patch indica[ed the rank of the soldier, Not surptisingly, the higher ranks had more ornamentation on t,hi~ pari of the outfit than [he lower ranks. The Sdtiilu! (private) and the Olm:ldrii/:ii (lance-<orporal) possessed a plain black r,« collar ~alch, ~vhile th~ ~)tl)1nmlmn (corpo-

~~'~L;~~~'~"~~·:~~~I~;;i'~i;,~~~.~~:~:~\;t~~::f ~~:

diamond on his coJ,la'?W~ile higher-ranking sergeants had two. J JJ;)

Am9hg the ranks of the commissioned officers. the left collar patch was even more elaborate. The Untersturmfuhrer (second lieutenant) wore three in a diagonal formation. The

diamonds plus a \'~::.t~al ~lI;pe <llong ,he left end of the collarpatch.r y-"

~I~~EW Ri~~~ \ J j J

:(~bol'e the level of (lieutenant- Abo\"e: Pre-war training Wa. undoubtedly coloured by

.lJ Jj~ colonel), higher-ranking officers not wear the German)"s experiences in World wer t, Here a pioneer

double Sig rune 011 their light collars. Instead, both practises "ire cutting: during the B/it.krieg, the enem), bad

of their collar patches were adorned with their rank lit~eti",etoerectsucbdefe"ceb.

emblems. TllU~, the S/~IIII{[r/ellfii!i~'ffr (colonel) wore ;,;,::1:"

an oak-leaf design on his left and I1g1n collars. T9.o'je~ boards (for general officers) similar to those of the

holding the rank of Obc'ji;!irer(brigadier, q.r.~i'g:1.iUer- Ami}'. As in the case of the left collar patches, higher-

general) and Brigadefillrrer (ll1ajoril"f'.!$rall~Osse""erl ranking officers wore more elaborate should",]

collar . bearing tl,l\e5J-o'ak lea\'es. The board decorations than did the lower ranks. \\~lile

(heutcna'jl;gel'lercII) had three oak the private wore plain black straps adorned only with

a diamond posilionerl on the ellrl of the his 1.I"Wenjmve (service-brallcl,.colollr '. i~ldicating his

collar, while [he had the specialization] asa coloured u-nn. ~he.:folonel-general sported an elaborate set O~S~19ulder boarcts, both of which were covered ,','i;!.tthfee diamonds and gold-

:l,::~t::~~~:' a~]~~~~~~:~:;l~~l:;~~~ ~~:e~.P~l~a;·'~'~I~:~~~I~

rel\1c)a}l.tl~ cons~ll.ted to their .llll.rO~\1C,llO!l' despite harbdnriug nusgrvmgs over their sll11!lanty to regular

also adopted shoulder straps and shoulder Army shoulder boards




tangible benefits and imposed a great deal of risk 011 rhe panj-member,

The 55 version of the Old Fighter's Chevron included three, sih-er V-shaped stripes stitched UpOIl a black, triangular cloth, Another "crsian with a sikel StarbllrSI design placed between thc arms of the

armed forces. 55 units also had 111<:~r ~'~1 cllf(~lillc,;


YCI nuothcrudorruucut forsome mcmbcrs or rt«- 5::;-\rr ;111(1 11'/({fplI-SS was Ihe till" K,i'/IIf,(r'" (Old

this chevron ,,~\,; considered a gretn h(,C:\II~e ir illltiCIlNI:\ Iny:lIl)' 10 lllf' N~/.i part), going

::~~~e~: ~:~~1,:~);:i~\I~ S~'l~~:~o~~:~l ~~:~':;~5:11~f';~:':~'II-~C~~

o·'J,y;/ '~~F~ JJJ,'




Left: A German column enters a 1o"". in the Polish C"""iclor. Not" 'he c;,·ilian giving a Hil1c~ ~"lul" 1u 1h" pa~sil1gsnldiers. The atlackon Poland would see IheSS_ VTge(i\slin;(la.o;leofa<:tiOll.

, );':?S-S-DASREICH ~'2 S)~

RcginlCnl, observes the enemy during the invasion of

[" 1I.hrch 1939.1'1";"''' Mill;>!!!)" Neville Poland. The regiment was par! of Army Group North'S

brought Creal Britain ;11\0 this bloc IhmSl into Poland from East Prussia.

~::::~;,::.:: :;::,~~~~::~:,::::;~~~:,:: :.:,~.':::::':i.:;~~; ,~Jl:j b::::::';'h q,,;,::; ~~~~::,;r,~,:::'~:,~;:'::::'

In April Parliament supported, )ius .d!!cl;mnlOl1 by

Ing la~',rj~~i~;~;; ':::.~~~~\\;l~~.~::

of lime 10 develop a size-

able W<II machine. the significance of the measure WaS nOI lost 011 Hitler. He now realized thai London


~::::;S August 1939. a for-mal military alliance signed between Crear Britain and Poland contu-mcd this.

If this end ,,"on)' for Hitlel


):;.s:»;_:;J'_'_' -c-"(3.,_c'''~0<'>_11_)''' _


~~:;J?;j~:;::l~ l~;,Vl~ii~;~~~l\l~~ ~I~'::::":~~~l';'::.;.' ';;;i~~;;::~

and six c>ll'alf)' brigades ready 10 flgtu. Despltereceiving accurate intelligence reports confirming 1.l1i, massing of'Oermau forces in East Prussia, Silcslaand Slovakia, the Polish armcd Forces were slow mobilizcll1orellnitstoll1cclthedlre,l(

The of' Invasion devcloped by the

numdo Heem (OKH, or Arm)' High

was a lwv-prOllged pi"!;,,,. operation aimed atexploit-

war, Throughout the summer of 1939, soldiers ill the


.Above: German trOOps ro.-ding a river art~r (he hridge has (1250 mil",~). Since this arcll)::::; !leell blown by the retreMing Poles on II Sepmmher

the capital ,md the most i!ldY:'~'i1ir- 1939, As the SS-VT discovered '0 i.s cos., the P"les werc

ized regions in Poland. us (]l!ick caplure-iY&ctfZt con- determined to make the Germans ligh( ror(heirconntry.

suture a decisive 1';::\Or)' lor [h~, l~!:j.!"&)Rdich. Poland was unprepared. "0 defend ym area, as well as the Danzig Corridor. the g9li~l\ Army would be able to raise 45 divisions at the most

North (01" 'A') was under command

:0 ~Iarshal Fedor von Bock, and included two armies. In .::::;p)~ Pomerania, General Cumher Hans von Kluge and his _ 4th AmI)' contained six infantry divisions. uvo motorized divisions and one panzer division. His task was to


>':::y»;':?_' ---,D,;,''''-~'__I_)''' ,,_"'_'_A_,,_'O_N

- ,J;'I"'; "

standard number. OKH had authorized this scheme done aSJ ~concession to the Wdmnllr.hl, which was oppclskd to the formation of an autonomous 55-VI

minme diplomatic seulernent over When this prospegj ~roved impossible, he RUlldsledl, this ,u-,ny gTOUp included three ,Inn;!;!, his two <1r~gr<fl;p, to resume their preparations for

~'I~':~O'~::'~~~ h~~n~th ~~~;~' WI~:~:r:,~t};~~l;'~:~~ '/, :~~~~!~as:~:_ t~~.c~:~n:~~C' the Polish ~\'~~;:,:~:

infantry divisions ,~Iong with the LeibSlandarleandlt2~~~-'-forccs along its borders ordered a general

S5 pioneer bal!~holl - prepared to cng.a~cj Polish mobilization of'its OW)] forces

forces ill the '-eg,on of POlnan-Kutrlo, ,,-h1le the rest Across the border from East Prussia, the

fortifications, the army included the Sth and 20tll

Pioneer Battalion served in southern command and was an a ched to XV Corps. Meanwhile, the Der ""iilm~r

prove themselves in baulc, Hiller had chosen lO di\"id .. them Iindr.!" diffen::nl commands. This w,,",



, .. >!:I~S-OAS REICH ~':J ....


.~> .. ,,-

.~f..~GB'manoH"nslve :':r~ -v _.. Soviet offen"",,, ,)J J J~J

In southern Poland, the (..,.rmnnill Reguueru and . ,Abo",,: A map showing the German Quack ft. the begin_ other UlliUi a'(ached to lhe 10th and 14th armies ha4'?-'ning of September 1939. and the Soviel Union'sorrens;,,»

to (011I<:l1d with three large enemy forces c9v~l;g";n a Iew weeka Iater, di'iding up Poland in the mann(,f that

~r:\.~e~:~~~~:11~~:~~;. ~l: ~:~~:~;i~°ft~~:~::~J~ bad been agreed by the earlier German-So,~ct Pact.

;~~~::11~e;~171f i::~:nt;;J~tLi~::':\i~~~"::'~:llt~~el ~~hd up ~:~~:;:I:::l~:~~:;~rl::~:. bt;:~k :~:~:r::i,~,~ ~:l~

and Srd mountain brigades, In rhe sourh-west corner of Poland, [he Kr;:.kolV Army occupied the city of ,KrakOW and surrounding areas. Its strength included

)~':j ihe 6th. 7th, l!lsL. 23rd, 45th and 55tl! infantry rlivi-

;.':j))'- sicns. along with the Krakow Cavalry arigade. Furth .. r north. the Lodz Army straddled both banks of rh .. River wana. Another- large force. it possessed the 2nd. l Oth. 28ul. and 30th infantry divisions and 1\\'0 cavalry brigades. the Wolh}llia and the Border.

and 141h armies in their march, nonh,,'ards [0 warsaw, Between the Bug ~1J§:o Vislllia Rivers. the Pyskor Group had ~force consisting of the 39th Infantry Divi~ioJt~and the \\'arsaw Armoured Brigade. AI l,h_5):ity)of Piou-kow, the Prussian AmI)' ocCUpi5dj ~n'" area .due SOUUI of the capital. This Or~ni7.lniol1 C01wmled the 3rd. 12ul, 13th. 19111. 29[h and 36[h infmnry di,~sions. along with the Vilna Cavalry Brig"dd".

I .. !:/-'



):::y»;':?_' .;«: __ '_IA_'_T_A_''_1O_N

'\~ g~rliJ~~::~i.1l the invasion of POLtild lI.e Ss.-'>'lf ""llS bec.mc involved in an t'xpenmClll:01 SI)k of warfare Ihat \\'<mld bc popularly known as til{· War·).

Although Ill"ll)' or these armies seemed 10nlli(1,,-

hie on p"per. they were 110t at full

(:,,'·,··"""1('nt did IIl,t en';Il l'l""cbilll a generalmohi·


I ";J}):;J

d"'iog,lh,J::';;;'i'o Who" the niglu rains soaked thd (andscape, this problem only worsened, as the dry, dusty trails became streams of mud puddles. Not surprisingly, the sandy terrain also causedmechanical problems for vehicles. Frequent breakdowns - along

with fuel shortages - forced SS and regular Arm~ ;,:Jf...

soldiers alike to abandon their transports an~~) advance illLO Poland on fom. Marching throu~h!t\re

loose soil under the hot., slimmer sun, ma·n~' ~f them

began to feel tired and worn down even before they

had engaged in combat.

Despite these /hardships, the men of the Delll.>ddmlli Reg~n-;;nl were eager to play their pan in

Be]ow: The Poli.h defeoders of the Danzig posl office the Kellll_i;Di\'ision when the organization reached its

seen being escorted from the scene by SS soldiers. Here, firsr'pbj~ctil·e. This was a group of defensive positions

as elsewhere in Poland, Ihe Waffen.SS acquitted the""!'s~~,)al:-'rdi'ed along the nortllc:n ol~!!;kirts ~f the border sel .. eswell, allhoughwilh higb casualty rates. J JJ~ town. of Z,,,,,,dski and Dvierznis. At this site. the SS


of the invasion, the terrain and weather of Poland created problems for the Deutschland Regiment and

other German units. l~ the d~yt.imeJh...e weather was

~;~a~a:!~sJ:~1 t.:~~:;~~_~'fl~;!"~e:;;~l~~:d~~l~ 1,(> ~::~~;'~g(;Q~3_;~1a~~a~~,',ld~~~;~~rll Poland was

co\"eredJvihi. crude trdck. that were embedded inLO soil.i.J\,'1~hadaloose,sandYlextllre.Asareslllt, u'uch and other vehicles were liablE 10 get bogged dO\\'ll


):::y»;':?_' .;»: F_"_S_T_"_T_"_'

allack_ On the kn. lSI P,'lIi;.lioll was 10 assail enemy

pUSiliul'~ ;'1 Zuvadski while to the west. 3rd Battalion ~as SOnIC capll'red Polish WZ 3] grenades with which 10

;~~~::-'·~,~k~~~: 711~~:;- ~:\:.~~~~~)::O):\~~ f~~~t~~i:tll~\;~;~l.~~»~rCPcl any Polish connleranacks.

proceed further south. attack encmy ?O~~i.tll\?:;;:: the Prell recalled.

town of Mlava. and converge a~aJ~~I!:.£allCd POIllI 1\12.


nOI be slowed dow". D"ri"g Ihe <;OllO'"e orlh<: hallk,

1he firSI ,,?mnlde of OlIO

defence ;::;;li~~ ~~::;::,;;i,:'~~:~~'~ :::"1:~::~;

pushed LhrO,,!lb~tlit:·B~liSh defences in a dC.1Cl'lllincd

:~':;~I;J~~ ~::::~,:,:~~,:;;'~"'~,::~ ,:;,:::::1~:~:~;~~~:



))SS--DAS REICH ~'2 S)~

the SS soldiers proceeded _...,(hove: Troops entering Sochaczew;n Poland. The while S));'Ycross 011 the armoured car was the standard identifkation

• \_ j)::''? mark at this time, but it was changed in 1940, after it was

'-'", )_~ discovered that the enemy used it as an ainting poim.

Much to their surprise. thej_oaua1iom of the

DIJU/_,chltmrl Regiment f'l.CJ~jitli.:, opposition during in front of the Mlava Line. the SS battalions found

their advance to Mlava, \Intl] they came close La a net- themselves in an exposed position, vulnerable to

~~l;:il~~~nr~ O:~l:,l~~~-g :;:: c;'~~~:~~~~~ge~he Polish

In another s~ow of; ~'3(JfJg:OUS behaviour. the

~:;/;c~:.at~: 1~(~~_T-1~{~~:~~;~~el~:~iS~I~;fc~~dCl;~ w~I;.~

mor~ ~e.r.il.(;lJ~" pouring down a ha,il of bullets that stopped the German advance III Its tracks. Aftel launching another unsuccessful attack, the 55


work of permanent Ionifications established to the north of the settlement. Marching Oil a secondary

} ~~:~~ :;;.o~~~ e~i~~~) o~~t:~:t \:~St~~:~~ll~;~t~~o;i:l::~~':

)::i} V only to discover that the facility had been abandoned When the regiment reached rhe Mlava Line, however, its member~ confronted a formidable obstacle blocking their drive to Warsaw, At the foot of a sleep slope


,,0~ ,O_Jy":-y,,J

~,,:/ ------------------;-,,;7.:- "---------OKH h(!CI.()(~C::d them to accomplish, 'n.c ('zKpfw [ c01{[."lined ani)' two machine guns within its turret. while the I'zKp(w I[ h a d on I)' one small 37mm (IA7il1) C;lt1I1()11 and om: machine gun- Both tanks

thin armour; and did nOI ha\'ca

topspeed 'r,:;-p:_J.t


Despite [he lack of support from anil1e,·)'..c~e~,'s ;",<1 armoured formations. '!Ild ull"blc 10 lise their mOIQrizcd capabilities due to [iu:l shortages. the SS mell "f

regiment received an order from iL~ di"ision commander instructing it [0 dispatch n,connaiSS'lllce patrols into the Polish defensive posiuous ill:1I\ dfon [0 find weak .pOL> to explon. Before Sieiner cOllld


detailed a 1.1C\~' plan. h~ t~~P;1c(dIC of the alkrn~oll,

:~~~;·~~l"~I~I;~~:~~i~;.were to launch a combined

In IhiS; ~IJack, the Dtu/schlulld Regiment carried OUI itJ~riginal task: the seizure of Point 192. After a

massive artlllerv barrage on the hill. the SS troops the Deu/schlulld Rcgimcm still acquiued themselves

moved up its slopes in a two:pronged assault. "'it,h bat- rather well, d~~'!Jig -""'thc 0:11111' for xuaca. Under

lie tanks From rhe 1st. Battalion. 7th Panzer Regiment const~IV}'!!pfrolil sh:lrpshool~rs and arutlerv bauer-

accompanymg them 1Il the ascent. Unfortunately for les,:.,ihey travelled a good distance Pomt 19:!,

the Dell/sclt/n.m/ Regiment. 1~le arti.llery batteries '~~i,r.EJ;ing" p.oSiti?n less than 150m Front till'

proved II) be "'effectual. DespIte Ihe lntenslry o~ lb~~ first row of Polish bunkers. before superior

bombardmcnt, the t:nem)' b~mker", positjon~cl ~ithil1 officers ordered them 10 retire at the end of the day.

the high ground of Point 192 suffered liule more In its first da)' of battle. the SS formation was one of

than minor scratches. In addition. the Luftwaffe failed in its promise to send ,I squadron of )11 87 'Stuka' dil'e-bon~~~o soften the Polish defences

The lank crews did ncr fare an)' better during thc assault. ;V"~;~ra"elling only short distances. most of • J the;UI'eame ensnared in railway lines that had been J J~j~l~planted into concrete to act a~ anti-tank ob~mc~cs.

.JJ Because the armoured battalion was operaullg PzKpfw I light- and PzKpfw llmcdium tanks that were

~eu~~~'~~~~I!:.~~~:I~:~t;I:~l:lt~,~~~:b properly, and ,it :I~~;~~--

The following dal', the Krill"! DilisiOlI/ IciP the

~~I~::(~~:~~I~llt~51\!:I';;~:~ t~o:;~~~~;A~~~il~~::lt.Ol~~~

fighliug went \\"1'11 for ~1~cJGtir,l1Ians. :\~ter another Army Corps had pUllchcd;[ g"plIlg hole III the Polish lines. the tom billed ~trellglh of Lilt: DellHr:hI(IIlIi Regiment. " dctucluucnt from Ihe 7111 Pan~l:r

not large or po','erful enough to roll Ol"er these ,)~gill1enl ,111£1 other battle groups poured inlO ti'l' obstructions. it became an easy target for Polisl~:')-4:>reach, routing enemy forces. In a furious pllr~"it.

~,~i,~~~; 1~1;:tl;~:~r:ea~~ 1~:~11~:~~~~11~~~':':~~~~~~'~:1~ ~:n~'~l~:~:l~,":~~~~:::::ti~gC~~~~:iZ~,~rO~I~r~~,.I:\o,~:.~

destrOl"cd. hca,~h' d"mageo or brokfn'c:fo~n man '18km (30 miles) south-east of Chorzelc. at ,111

F"nJ~II~l1ed "~;h Ihe r~S~~I..~J!f" this assault, and area around the town of Rozan. the Poles took up

alanncd al the amoum cf devastauon inflicted upon positions within a complex comprising fOUl" old forts

his baltali01l, Ihc commander of u.e ilh Panzer which had been built by the Russian Tsars

Rcgiment gOlined perrni~sion fn)llI r COI'PS headquar- Within uiese ancient fortifications:'" Polish rests-

,"l,~l~'~~£~:~~~::i~:~i:::~;~:~:;~',,::;:~;,:,~::,:~~:~:l:,:(::::: ~~:~"r~::;::'::'.,:;;,~,:~;;\~;~::,~":';y':":,~: ;~,"~~

II. During the Polish campaign. the tendency of these ~:~::~J~I:I~!~~'~~:~~! h~:;~ h~rl bSa:I~~h:l:I~:~ ~lt~:~I:

"chicles to break down frequently, as well as lhc h.ck relel!JcJsTr hilling these ,,-'sailanL'; wilh enfihlde-

of firepower mcurucd within their hulls, pre\'cnted them from performing as decisive a role in battles as



and frOlllal gunrll·e. In Oldditioll, the Poles knocked OUI II bailie I:mk~. whilc another 20 suffered from

rucchnnical rualfuucrlons. Although both sides sustained heal), losses. the Gel-mans were gcuing the worst or it. Moreover. the batlalio)~::,of the 55 regiment eventually became too pcpJetfd to dislodge the Poles from their po~iri01{!lf:,(fter n:pulsillg" this

~,~,:,:;::;",; '::~~i;~¥;,::;;~::~:::~;,,:::,i:~ or ""0")


motivated soldiers who successfully kept the Germans at b,ay. During this stage in the c,llnpaigl1, the Corman

c ,~j)j)~);:'~~~~~~:~;~:;::~t~ :~~:~:P~~~~::~l ~~ :;S:;~:~,I:t~I:~~:';~:~



aud Zelcchow before lurning east and

for FiftYllliles clue castOr

Warsaw. the Regiment ~aP..ti:red Siedlce



Line. Arrayed across the llonl~7rn)itliski:'l5 of the t01l'11 of Medlin in the e~.,:;. ;\l~<L..J:rcrozym in the west.

:11~:I~~II~a~~.~l~~~I~;:ll~i~~~~:~: ~~':' ;":~C:, ;~:~ ~:IU::.~~

nonh"",,;\SI of .. Modlin. Both of these structures wen:

before inili"ting funJ,er action. On 22

~;~,'.~,:,,~,,~~:~~;::':::"~i::::;~:::~~::::: i::~~J;~:;-:; I "I'

long and blood)' baule for theJ5ilV.~LlIftw;lffe supremacy ever lhe sky enabled th~ Cermans to fighl more effectively ngaillSl their well-entrenched opponerus. While Sruka dive-bombers (known a.-; the 'l1y-

lug artillery') softened up enemy positions, (I pioneel Scptemher. The defence of the Modlin Line was effec- comp~\~!:)::ifrO~l dlC.Df.uls~h1nlld Reg~mcnl man~ged to


.0 parttclpate m an attack all an enemy squadrons of Stukas swooped down on the forts and

~~~:::~~:~d ~tll:;kOl!~~l ~~~:;~:~Vel:~~I~~ d~~;L~~~I~ ::::

evening of 27 September, an !Jf'f11i'1ifmjiilm:r (first lieutenant) from Steins,I;:,-,fil~'1'bttaliQn returned From a patrol and Je~1l.:..l.ed that the garrison at No. I


Kempf Djvj~on IllOved soiuh-wesr to Ihe 10wn of N'I~zB9Isi( (I",n.headed north until it reached a lo':g c,.'J..S}!.!:lv;iork of Polish defences known as I,he lIIodhn





command In surrender. The fall of II1i5 SIL"Ollgl,uld with $1)IL and precision. ln udduiou. hI: ,,"a~


general eit.ied the SS Signals UnjJ 'f.;.:p~;(:"~lling to" degree of perfection th~~,b~)0a--;;e\'er seen before.

The. Polish c~nl~:.pgii' was also an invalnuhlc cdLl~auonal f)penence for the DP.II/,w:h/"I11/ Rcglmcru. Dtldng the month of Sept em bel; tllc rueu in this unit learned to of

experiences ranged from [he assaults on encmy fortification. to cooperation will. la"k unhs. ln

Berlin. both Hider ,Inel Himmler WI:,",': plc;,>t"d wuh ',~

[he performance cr u.eoss )'J JJ>

While the Dculsch/allli R~giment swooped illlO


J10mc of Germania's baualicns and much of their limo: gua,-ding tilt: left

Corps during its pu~h to Ihe eastern lOw" ufC)""lm.

~~;~~~::,:~,:;~:;~::~~::i?~:~:,~:::;';':;,~~::;:~}:;" I _,I'

Panzer Division J )~~/


Krakoll' <:harged tbe Ccnuans in an through tl'e S5 roadblock and reach Lelllberg.:'.fterslIslnining Lite SSsuldier.;reu-entednordllojoinNu. Cumpany.WhJIc..lhc


mined precarious blockil}g py;;lJid;;~ to help prcvcm enemy troops from r~'9~i;,(th" beleaguered town.


.\le,lIlwhile, G~"''''''';I1'-,2I1d Ballaliunwelllwithlhe

autonomous formation, the new division II'"S to



'j...~ :;:.

IncM.yI940 the

I'aul Hausser look charge of the SS.\'er[iigllllgS Division. becoming the first commandcl' of the unit


Shorti)' after the conq\l~sl of Poland. LlJ9 !:C~CIllJ)' their division cOI1,mandcr, whom Lhc)' affectionately

promoted 55-CruppmJuln!'/" (Licurcuant-Ocncral) referred 10 as 'Papa' Hau.'scr.

on Denmark "11(\ N01"wa)'_ Concerned thai these 1\\"0

April t.he tlt:'" division n-ceived more countries r.[11 into Allied hands. Hiller ,md

:,:::1,',:,:;;\,:, ,",:,;,':I,~::,',li~(·;':i~:~:':'."~':'~"'~":"':';,:,~~~~:",~ :.,:, '",;",~,')'i"',:,~:";,:,:_~,<_:~~'",,i:,~l,\,',~:l,!,_ )'? '~:l:~h h'~;'~~1 and 'Ii ,~ I;~,_~~;i~~ 1~~S~;~~:rb:CS

~ vv ~ v ,,~<:> _~R (\ u Ol\sow<lmcdIOohlain:orcaslhalh"CrclichiniroIlOro:.

of rheso f,'csh troops and the.Jfigorhlls training' Denmark fell to the Germans "ilh liule resiSI:\IlCC.

n'gi"u:,,' illll.;OM:d up;',,' t,heJ'!Plrli;;I'S of Ihe S&VT while Norw<ly capuulutcd ~ftcra campaign that lasted

:~~:::~:I:II,,\'II(~~I:~(~hl: ~::lli~I~~IN~:c::II~~~~:~~~~;:~I~;I: uruiljunc.



co!lccll~n,ol}!J'<:tlll::h~ltls known as the Siegfried Line


,'0" Lceb, Ihis group COlllailled twO armi"s and was

SSnwn \\'Om: highl)'IllOli\',ued to pCrfOl'1ll1hcirdul)' D"ring lhi~ period had devol-

,~'QP<:d a strong SGIl.';C "~


_,.::..' I.'fl: -n,« "m"mand«foflhe SS·Ve'fiig""GsOi\'ision. S5- GruPJ""ifiiiHl"'Paul Ha",,"ser, discusses the bmllesituation wilh One of his officers in France. in May 1940. I" Ib" b~ckgrou"d ....., SOrll« of Ihe dhision in foxhol"".

I .. !:/-'


lal~~:::'~~ i~:'~, .. :~tl'~l~:1 ~er::::n)~S~~~~~~:;:f:r ~,~~::~; .. 0:'

lOp mi1ita.")' s!l~Hegi.~I$ of the Third Reich r\cI"!;Ioped a plan for the conquest of \\'cslern g,ii/o~. Even before " beg.all FilII &1& (Case ~eJIO":. ~tI~ codcnamc

~~:I:~~) : ni~~s;~:~'iTf! ~~~ ~:: ~~'IJ; t~::lla~:~n'(l!O~t;I~~~

German Armed Forces (01\.\-\') launched ;H1 assault

loph)' to

~~~Il~~ O~]~~:i~~~~:~~ Lo~ ~Ollllll'iCS. Allied tortes

J Jf:~l,f~~~~f}:r~;:J:i::~;:?::})f!~~~{,{:~it~

south, [he 2m! Ann}' Group contained three French

,,,-mies occupying Ih" Magillol Line frum Verdun 10 ,

~::':~;';:C~I~::S~:;1~~:~r7~;:·i~,~:~;:."I~I; :11,'; :'~:I\:\:;l;:~:)?:'"

Genn,,,, ,[[(ack, 11", 'lnd ami 3rcJ Al"lll)' Grove~. i..c'~


J Months hefore Ihe Ccnuuu '11'111)' groups ,":osseo

J j J ~~;;'~~:I~ ~:::~'i~n ~:::tI:;C~::~ ~:~l~~:r a':.::~:,. I;:~ ::::::~ l~lr~~:,.b~::::'''~·il;~~ ,~:~I~:;a:~"'l(illl~c::i;;::u~~;'~~:::


1"li[lel' and OK\\, inl,:mh::dJc'o' provide derails 01" tlie i",,,,,inll plan 1"01"101111:11".1 1.»'

the most di,"i~~I(/ bcli,,\"il'l; thai Undeterred b)' Illis IlIisllap. Hitler nud Ille

German Bigl, COIIlIl""ld wcn: <.klcm,itled II.) iaUIII;ll

~:';:; ;~;:~,~;,' 'I;:'::::::'~~ :;,;~:!,~:;~:~~:~']~~::;:::,:,~: ~1:·18;~'·;I·~':~~A~~";,,,I:"'::"~~'::'~"li;';~lii~":':':':'~:I:':]:'~'I":I' ,:~,.~,:~,'~':"~k:~)":I:~,~,I:":':~"':':I:']':'~",.r,:,:',:.~,I:

~l_,~'~1 Erich von Manstuin, el"e!ltllally persuaded "L" _'" OJ ~ ~ .,

,-J).:/ J .lJ~~

,,~>~ ;J.l



l ",~~) .. ~

,):;1'" r-}.)~:/

(J.)J ,,~P~

:.;}.),::?J ---------------7"1 JcJ_J_J-_' _

famv[,s /l1:lgintH Li,w. an i fortiflc.uions rOllstrllrT,·rI 9~ \ . Fn'lIch Ann)' 10 ]In''"':tll ~ Ccnunn hrcaktlu-ongh LIllO F':l11ce across Ihe Ri"cr Rhi,w. Whilc Army Croup C remained at lhis location "nd kept Alli,:d f(HTCS distracted in (he

0'!y"y,~?i:::"I:~ :I:';":~::~:: '''''''I'' were to ],,],],'" 0([",,]"<1

Belgium. then ~,,"ing- uorth-wcsr until i", panzcrand motorized divisions reached the English Channel nr :m area north oftJle River SOnlmc. OK\\" hoped that if Rundstcch's forces accomplished Ihis feat. lh",) mifihl be able (0 trap sc"el~lltl,ous:Ill(l:Pjlicd trO(>ps


Cerci "0" RIIIl(lswdt and included loul' :.,.,n;cs. The task of Ihi., orgunizatlou was t" cross the Ardenlles Foresl "lid ]lush IhrnllJ.;h I..uxcmbolu·? ~(Lsollthe1"11


:ocross soulhern Holbnd. C.:;nel~ll Georg "011 KII<.:hlel

and his 181h Arm)" was to cross dIe River ~!(:1I.<e and

help two airborne divisions 10 capture ROllerd:IIIl :md


~f:~~~::;'i l::~:;;'~ ::~s~~th~~(;;~::~; :~i:~:::

paralroopcrswhohadlaQ~dlea14icrlhDlmOrniQg.b"l sc,·cralcanalsDndri\·e~st;;odi"their ... a, ..

)JJJ '

the F'lilrcr to (ommit more dlvisious (V Ann)' Group A, So [hal Rundstcdt"s ,mnies could push deeper into France and pre\"elU enetn)' forces from mounting an effecttve couuter-offensive Ircm (he south. With this

~;,~~::;:: c~~,~~I:II;~::I;;:I;II~\~~;~t:~i~:rn~li~:U~~;'lhd~~. J~'~~

Scd:m with Ie!;:> difficulty. Hitler's acccpmncc of (ilisJ JJ J suggestion mean\ Ihat the 18th AI"1I1)' would Il<I\'t fewerdivisious to LISe ill Holiaudalld Belgium


~'2 S)~

what appears to be a Kettenrad half_Lrackmolorcyde dur_

III lJI(: eMI)' Illonling of the 10th ~,[,,)'. F(l/{ Celb ,,..j~g Case Yellow. Howe,"er, the calibre of Ihe gun w;u; 100 ~)Cg:lll whell tWO _ groups of G<;rmall panlLrOrOP;.CJ~);'VSmalllo thrcaten Allied tanks like the British Matilda.

:; :.l~II~I~:~~~~~O~~III:~~' .~l~::.k~:':;; l;~~,~(;,:~n:9;~;~~~~~~:

Protected b)' squadrons offighl<J~,,;;Uf dive-bombers,

the soldiers of the 22Ild.~I~ahd.y Division descended North Sea and launched a brill"] coulIlcr-alla(k.

upon ;\ designated landing zone near The UIC

the Luftwaffe ilh

repclfed ,1 Dutch counter-auack. Aided h)' close


, ':;I:" _;/j):;,J THE WEST


a;"-"']11"..-I, II re d;"i,inn n,lls,.,lirial,'d rOIlI.."i 0\"" 1"",g,g"',·n'~1'\'.·""I'.J •. ,!.h1;r~~L:;lllali0I1 or~.",,',', :.!i\,:~~,',O,,~l,:~ :0"""""""'"

Ill<' ;on:"" ;1 1".1<1 ;lIld 11,,:11 wi",-"'] a ""rlioll of land ,n _ ., ,,~~ ~ ~


lVilhi" Illi~ ;Ire", I hI:! pal-al rll"pcrs u.~rlJpi,:d hOll,


bridges 111,11 crossed t!,e~(\lall' 01 lhe nn"r bdon" the Dutch collldQculUli~h Ih(!1ll


WILii<: Lhe

,,' ~Ge'manoH€n";ve ---- Counlryborder

, '3-"


~'2 S)~

,/)))~::?-' ,;j,S>:;,J

1,,;'l,'~:~:~~:~'::~~;'i~~:I~':h~::'~':::':' ;~~,,~;;

and entJlllsiasm for lile 1:lsk. \Vithin I\\"O hUlll~, 1.1,,:

regimenl caplun;d " stronghold ar \\'CSICIYOOrl and ljtterscized Arnhem , );../

that ran POPfl1DuTCH MORAlE

east of" Amsterdam down to l-lertogcnbosch. (hell,..., s5_,;ni'6i· milir'lI)' officers in the Dutch armed forces

[limed west along the RiverWaal, covering Dordrecl~t~_/ h"d hoped this area for

and Rotterdam before reaching the Nonh, Jf'~a.1 ~ a at least ll,lree ~aJ's until .. forces ~rri\'ed, \\~len

last resort. La stall the German advance rhe OUlch [he soldiers III the D~r Fuhmr Regfmetu seized


);::y»;_"_' =i,,}"'''-Il-)'''----TH-'-W-'-''

Unlike the soldiers or the Dl'r F'lltrel' Regiment bUI:.k,·,~"\·',·lr,·~,i,'g~(~,i,',"!/,"S:"I~,rl\h,',,,',0, "'0'11 f'0of,.,NI"'·,',:bO\'I-,~,h":,,ll\,,~:I,-~~,'

those or the 5S Reconnaissance Detachment and ,,~",_ '". to ,,;'';; .,,- ',;

",;thoul being delayed by well-pl;1c(!d Dutch troops. rUler lhe conclusion or this mission. Ihe Reconnaissance Detachment returned to Ihe l11ain

Above: A.n SSNT arliller)·glln team inaction in Ihe Low

with its westward drive 10 the coast, ICounlries;n Mar 1940. Inlhe lert foregrOllndan officer

umrlit.ions ror the Allied armies in the Low COllnlrie,s)::i ",,'ilh his back 10 Ihe camera scans the surrounding area

w<)l"sell{:!I. Wltil!' lite three Dutch corps pUllt;.rl:blcl forpolenLiailargelS

from tlte C~·"hhe and Peellines. lhc, B:,IJI~h't·mJ' 10 rhc ,"lIlIt wllhdn:w from us derell~'<-~Iong the Albert Canal and look lip ncw PO~iltO\l"~'H an area.exlending 10 ~lbJtown of LOtL\"'\]l1. These the 1st Light l\1"(;h'lIli~.erl D;"i';011.


,,0~ "P..l~»..1:::;'"

~",~/_----------------..,,:--;;-, ?~-:;,.::::-----from thf ~go;tJJ(~IC }~J1icd armies. which were sumucd far.to the south at Holl;tud. and escape was possible only l'i:1 the sea. Encouraged byrhe resuru or u,c battles fOllght elsewhere in the country, the Oennans

goillg lIlltil ;1 reached the coastal IOWllS of [jmuidcn :1t,,1 7 .. 111<1\'<)"1"1. Although the troops garrisoned at these !OWIlS defended themselves COlII~,g"OlLSI)'. they could II<.>ll-'rc,·cII[lhc DnFii/ne,-Rcg"illlclll r"uill O"CI'-

:,;~I,',~:",',,~,:,:,:,~~hDI~I;;",',';,:;"o~g,:,iil1,,',' O""'~,l:,,;,',';'~,';:";"'~6'~,,:,'li~I:,f,~t;1 ~:~~1~~~.l1,I~'lc1:~;' ~'~:-~u::)I:~:~~I~: i ,~ It;: :.j ~:~y ,,~~; Il~~;;l~~;'~:~~~;l:(; hi.~ , " J.-

',,)'.,; ";' _~ _= . .;- bnIWliolls.jusl;lslhc),liaddulicincarlierb;mles. 'r:':;.-P~

Allilollgil (he Ocr l~iIL"..-f(cgllllenl had nclucvcd a Allhol'gh thrcntcned with the prospect of facil1IlJ-,'

COIl.\irlcl~,blc ;lIll?;.ftH"';r di~liIlClio" for itS. actions ill 21 battalions of heavy artiH{'I")' and an air f05<'~ t61l-

Holland. ,(~t.i reJt of the SS-I'erjiigwlg:I" Di\'i510n did not sisting of six Stub and llvc heavy bomber squadrons.

see IIllll~h action in the country, During the carty the W<Ilcheren garrtscu declined an offer b)' Ihe

phase of Cast: 'rcilow, the main bod)' of Hausser's Germans 10 surrender ~;lhoUI bloodshed. Moreover.

lurn's 1>':'$ ad'~II\<:illg in LWO motorized COIIlI1lIl.~ 10 lhe Allied troops ~t~tioned on the island stayed there

;~:~ 1~'~;·I~~'~C~~;I~~t~';_~::{::~~·.1 ht I~'~ A~~;::~I;~~; A~:.: :~: p~:~~ :~e~.~~~~7~~~:t'~~:.:e bt~ \:\~:\'~~:~~S b;'l t~~r~~~~ ~i::

Command had dispatched the dil'~siOIl to the area ill. '~~bi(d. l-~dJlc(! hl' ;1I'rillclY ba](cr~es il1 AIl~,~erp and order to prolecl 111(: lcti flank 01 the 1t!lh AnI'Y'JljJ-, wal1;I.,ps IrOll' tll\' Roy;,1 N<l\'y stationed 011 rhe coast

such all a~sault were to occur, the division was J9 h'old ofthe Bcvel;md Peninsula. the garnscn commanders

its pn.~ition long enongh to enable German inl;lIl11)' knew that their men could extract a terrible price fu,

rciuforcernents 10 arrive. the island

when this expected counter-offensive failed to :-::::;-'"

marcriuljxe OKH 01:9:e:ted Hausser's division to attack ~:'~~\~~~~CNg~:~:~I~cal situation f~o:C!~~:~(~-~

J J J J)""':~'~'~':;I;~I\:,I~"\,;,.~,,,~,bc':C"~.~;I'~O:~:1:':"~'~rl'}",~,~,,\~!,il::':~:';:O,',~, :,:,.~,~~j;,:',,~,',:~,~,';::,r,:,,:~,~o: ~~:~;::~S;'~~:~~':~I\;~E,~~;;~~:r~~~:::I~~:.:;~~~~~

" ,,_ .• _ _ ,,~sailillg Ihe isl;lIld ill " 1100- or three-pronged ()ITen·

Belgiulll. Hausser sent reconnaissance patrols into sive, bill also much uJ" Ill{, ten:tin was Iluotled. This

IIII' rountryside. Their mission 11':15 to 10C:I[e rural forced Hausser to selld his b:l1taiiOIlS down a n:l'TOIO,


~~:~:\lt~I:~~;:r~:~;';So~~t~~~::;~I:~·~.'~:::~11 ;::;;l~~ ::::~II~::~:I~:;:liC~:I:~~!':'~(I~~;:':~I;lltit: ail~~I'~:~I:I:ll:~I:~\~

Holland. roarlanrlasingl"_I'lIck railway acrossthetop.

Located ;It the end of Bc\"ch,Il(i- a narrow pcuin- For his nnnck "pOIl Walchcr.,n HQu'sser selected

Slll;t north of the River Schcldt esuuu-y-. the island 01" .,I,'g_O"",I,',",m"JI,',·~I""I,',',',°rll1l",,',I,",,','o~~""I/~;'!f~,',',;~k"b",'",:',',~',:,",',',I",'OF',',""',

)\'iiI1.hcrell wa~ the last part of Holland still ill Allicd·· ,., . , oN"" ~..

_):;::;S) ... h;1I111s b)' lIIirH'lay. With the rcs( of rhc country Wilt led thc lst',B;.).llalldk while .'is-SI,,rmblll1lifiillll~

lIIuslly overrun b)' rhe German 18th AmI)'. the demor- Matthias Klej'\h~istcrk;.l1lp commanded the :Jrd

nlizcd Dutch Arm}' had capimlarcrl. and Queen B..1.Il"li91~.Jj(hhollgh they had planned to approach

Wilhelmina :tlld h.,r govcnuueut ned to Cn:;l1 Ihe island in :t two-pronged formation. the flooded

Britain. Thlls. lhe g;misoll at \\'"lchcrcll "~'S ,:"t ofT

'en:'!;11 Oil th.! Bevcland Peninsula forced the l st

\~::::; ...


Battalion LO clost: ranks behind Klcinhcister-


011 the afreruo ... u "f the 16th May, as the SS hau"liuns ;,pproached d,,! island, Ihey began to encounter stiff resist"" .... : from lhe garrison. At an



:~~\~l~,~~,~f:~:::~,I:ii':,"I:':::;~":::":':;:' '~~;:;;:,:::

and bcl.ind raihv;,)' cars, till: s.<; t ..... ul" h<:ld l.lwiJ ground as Allied macilin(.'"glll' and "nillery crews shot at them from the other side of the dam. DIll'ing

this engagement, the Germans lost another 17 "WI' , _},..

killed and 30 wounded. Sausflcd ..... hh the amOUIII <>1~S)-V damage that the), had inflicted "POll the DeU.WJIUjlllf. Regiment. the Wakheren garrison fillallj~cvaL1atC(1

the island

While the SS-I'erfiigu.tlftS Division secured Gem"'"

Antwcrp shelled the SS baLlalions, as did (I.e H,'ili,h comrol o\'er the ..... estern end of I-Iollalld. the reSI of

warships pat.rolling near the island. Dllring Lhis Army CrOllp ~ h2-d-:Capl1lrcd Brus.-.cls, swepl through

advance, the Lertnaus lost rc men. ~~~~~~~;~;~'~;~~~~I:~::~~'\~~:~r:I~~~I~~::c~I;:,:~,~

ATTACK ON THE DAM 'or, SG;"p,;t;"tlaLed. the main body ofthe I!:!t.h Armyw,,-,,,bk

~:u~ ~;;~I~~~::: ~l i ~f t~~a~Sl~~~I~:tr;..a~~~:lc~::/.:};;,::: / :1!~1~'.~~~1' i~;;::~'~:::e:~ldil:l Crlll:,~,~:,(;~ .~ :.::~~e~ II fr~~:::

l:HuiJchfand Regiment. described ule nlltonsr1y of Ih" lI.nse along Lhe Ri"er Sornme. During this "cLion. the

figllling.·1 sec one man lilll: he recalled, '(helllwo on the right and then another comrade who IiI.."; firee

J .>' ,;;;~~fj\~~;i[::;,t~~,~~:![::~:;:'~tt,::~i~:~~

JJ.J "' During a pallsc in the advance, Schilr",,,,,"

noticed more carnage. AL one point Itc observed a

18lh AmI)' \V;IS preoccupied with protecting the !1an~ ':.-:._


0" the {:I·elling. of the 2}r~'1:"M;iy. XIL Corps

~:'~~;(;~I ,,:~:~ ~~~~:~;:;~!,~ii~~.~!t~:r~r:~e;~~l~;.

("~I"i.~ in order 10 help strengthen Germa" positions "".,,,;1 .lJld south of the Dunkirk perimeter; as well as

comrade wandering aboUl ,,'ilh his shin 10m fro'" tighLt'n the noose "round this pocket of resistance

::,:~~;:,:;:;,:::;:::::'~:~,:,~';':::,~;~,:::,:i;;~~i~;,':> :::::::,~:',::~;~::,,~:;:~:;i,~; ,:::,:::~:~:~:i:i~::::

orme anotl:cr comrade goes b~yjl1l6St mard~iTlg. Lhcwat"rwaysullLh nfthe town ofCll~'K:1. In addition,

~~~,~'g'~O~~/:~, ~:, t:;l~~J:kb;~iS~~~~::1 ;l~:~ ~~~~~;: ~~~I{~~~;~~!:~;:~"I,~~~~~~ P:l :~ri ~::;~~~lpsb:~~g~;

covered in field dressings. arc blood soaked. His the Nieppc Forest.

unfocused cres arc wide open. his face is grey and he looks straight past me: To the righl. Scluu-manu

~S~)):::i ~~:~i~~~~~~;';:~:~ f~'l::~:la:~11:~c:il:.17ing Oil his back. His

_,.:..' Despile Lhis punishing counter-attack. the SS battalions pushed forwards and fought their w·.lY across the flooded, muddy ground to reach the \'\'"Icheren Dam. Herc the Gcnnan attack stalled in

bl'eak from the figbting around the DUllkirk perimeter to

south. ,ncar the IOwn OfSainl.HiL~i,.e. ,. ~njoy the sun and a bottle of wine. The speed of the

Uufortunau-ly for Ihe sol(lIel"S 111 (he SS-Ibjug'"(!l>;') German success meant there was much 10 cdebr,de.

Division, enem), troops did nOI allow Ihel~lil~l)ifijo).

,o;\~,:,:,~I~O·:f~~~':I":':::D·I~'·"."':k,:,I;,'ek:~~gp~'O:~':~~~".:::Bi:;)!~,:I~,~~~:.t,:,::,~)':::,:,:,:o)l~,',:,.~,',::,:,: :::i,;:::;;;;~::::;~:: ':~::~~:~~~::;::~;;,~i~:::~;

~~ ~ ~ cornered animals. During the bailie. K.'ld Kn:nlz, a ris--

l)n Fiihrcr Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the SS Artillery

iug star in the SS-VT Division. witness,~d0he dead! of a careless battalion command",;: '!Ji;I\;,'Erpselllllilller

:~~;:::':::;;:;\~:i1:k~:\~:i~~~:~:,~~;'~~ ~:::,~; :::~~ ~T:Jt;\:~,I.~ \:iJ;17\h~I:~~~~~lt~1I:~illl~~::~,'ill;~'

left hand.

hours ofthe :!3rd M"y. all amu)lIfed buuulion had overrun No.9 Cump;1l1)'. Dn' Fiillwr Regiment. while

, ",).,~>~>O::;""

( :::;SS-DAS REICH _ , .:;,<

... ':;/>I~" ------------------",-,'-i",z-------

~-;::~ J~':;~~:p:~;,~~~;, .. Fl'el LrI, an no. I :~: 1;~~I~~l;~~~~~~,d ~;:~

2nd Compuny, 1)PI~chlllcnl, VO~I had already WOIl dislinrli,_Il, 1<,,. I,is b-adcrshlp ill ,h" auack 011 the Dutch garrison .u II", ~...rcll,;t>-\ra;,l em,d. Itl France. his acuone :'J.::,ill.<, nus "nll<.ltn:(1

f'-"'11 II". ~hnck of the French

nunck Gnlll;LI'.' rallied and

rh-lcusivc :I(I;UII. Allh"II);1I


baulcl:tuks.:tpl:II(),,,,,.r"1l1i":tllkgLI<lIlt·rsfroll1iJrr J.I"i/I1r:>'., No.7 C<'1UI'''''Y dCSlm)'ed :It 1~"'_'1 I."> enemy vehicles. As 11l(' IlHlrning progn,;~!: !I". French


"1,,,,.. h"d dcslro)"::d J~ ;mllourcd vehicles and Ihe

After k'H..:killg ""I these rargcts.Yhcarui-rauk crcws


>vy»;':?-'-----------------.,.;::+-, ~CL-~_S)_~ _

»< 'I""

Kent Regil~~:lt wreaked havoc lIpon the Gtmllillia RcgitAc;ll. Despite this difficulty. the 55 units made substantial progress in thclr effort to push the British garrison out of the forcsl.c:o.:ploilinglhcirnllmcricai

in rue baualion-sizc armoured unit surrendered to

rheSu-manrcconnaissance team


h"ads f"r other German forces

,):~~S-DAS REICH .;:;,>/

illg C..,;" R"t1. Ih~ d;ItIin,niun of france from the conniel.

111~ ~;"",I. hut it. was .11;11 several mik, :lw~,y wilen A!i in P(ll~ntl, IIlceh""i,ali"n or ""its was only pnnilll al

Hriti,l, armOllred IInits l;1llllch<:d ;1 P'llliShijlB" ~SI.alltl",oSlsoldicrswcrcrorccdlomarch.

~:~::::;'::,::;::~:::~:~~~:~:'£'::;~:~:~:;~:;;i~:~~1 ':~~::;~,::~ '~::::::,,::::'::~::,~'::'i:::,,:;;::, O.:~,:'::~

Ihe enemr bautc tanks Aftel' SIIffl-'9.l1gJ1C'tl'Y cas,nl- ;\IOllt de Cats. the rm'I'I'/IIrrlkgimenl mU\"L'"(] illtu lht:

:D:'~,.~,s~':'~:"~:'~':;~""":~"',:~id-:,.,:,'~k,'11,~~,:",~Pk_:~f~~,9,.·,f,~,:~~~,~""O,:lh,~',·,",."iOII'::'d~~i,:,;,;~ :::::~, ~~ ~~~(~:;,,~t;:::~:~':'dO~:llh):~;:I1:,::il:i::i,~II~t; :::::

v ~ ~ ~ v ~ ~ ~ ~ Dunkirk perimeter. Tlll"Y wu"ld 1](" get the UPIJOrtll-

British armoured assault. Covered b), protective ,lI'lill~l"y lire from nearby bauerics. the surviving ,_)~J'ili.\h lank crews withdrew From the area



Al'!er tI,e b.lIl!t:s "1 ti,e Lys Callal "lid die Niel'pt:

Forest. the SS-1'nfiigllllgsDilisioll was allowcd 10 enjoy :, short period of rest at Cambrui Ix:furc r~sllming


2000 officers and men to rt'place those who had been


):;.s:»;':?_' ~~,~Co:-j,-I-)"'------

Lurtw"lfc Warpl>lllC:\ Hccausc of these disadvantages,

Rim Ai"" 1'"", clays ,,'''' Bock, forces '''g'''' ,hi, :~,,:;~~?:.~::,~~:~~:,;~:,::::'::,:;:~,:',;,::;:,;~:~ f\ ~~11\1,~::~~11;:\:;~~c;,ro~ce~~~~1~~:~:~;c~a;:;;~~a:p:~;l:~~ \~~'~::~~O:~~. SS-\'T hod

c,"''',' ":'::::~"':::'~~;~;:::;;::~r.¥:::;:~~:.~:~~

from Group B 1I~(;h~d unopposed into the


NOI silillrisingl)', the rail or the capital devastated the morale of the French armed forces nnd encouraged the Gennans tn prCliS llJe;r dl:I,mni"aLio,1. Tl'fCC days lalcr, French dison!cr,

Ihis nrea slIITcmh::n::d Case Red, the

, ,,~~~:~~tE~~f~~

)J J rerauackcd. Uutluterrcd by the destruction of a hridge Lh;!I liler Wefe pLl1IlIing to lISC. gUJlllcn;frolll Ihe S5 Artillery Regiment and various hem')' "'capons


division hecmlt! ,,,ure stubborn_ Although lhe lJ~ Fiiilrl''' Regiment had succeeded in crossing lhe Ri\'er Aisne, concentrated t:ncmy lire roru:,d H"us~cr to

oj!-\>"'»~;~~~::~~:~::' ~:::w ''''''''':: "~~~:.~:~:~:~~,~~;~:::

RighI' Men of rhe SS-Verjiig""1J$ Division in a victory parade across a bridge at Hend8ye On the Franco-Spanish bonier on !lJuly 1!l40. Hitler and Franco,thcSp3nishdic. tmor,wcrchoidingaconferenceinthclo':":d::'


divisional co",,,,,mdcr, Pn,,1 Ha",;scr, in Scptcnthc~r I!I,HI, The Knighl'~ Cro"" wa~ a highl)' prized dCcol"alion

',;,'~":~;:":'~':;":""'~':'''U;~':':~b::;'~:':~''~,;"i":':":':"·:"~~I~'!"'~"'~':O'~':f'~i'I:U~'~~':,:I.;,',;~,~,',·~ .. :,::,:I'~f;2;;;;:;~,:~:;:~'~;~:::~:~ ,::::o~,:~:;;::i~,~:::::~;

~ ~ « ~ J~' ~ Germans disarmed" s",,,11 g;miWIl ~[:lIjolled ,,";Ihill

troops as Ihe), procccdcqjctoscr rc rhc Spa11lsh d,,, 1011'11 ;",t! 1",1 Ih ... Fn;nrh I"i,ollers "(""'f h,u:k In

border. Ncar the [OI,'n JtAngollleme, Felix Sleiner. a 51"i"",'\ hc"d'l"arters. The division spent lit .. ' resr .)f

company from the /Jell/sell/,wd Regiment nnd a wuup ofS5anillcl)'l1lenll"ereslIlYC)'ingslIil:lblelocalionslo

j~ S )~) ~~::~~~:::Tl.::::I:,~i~~~:;:~:~~~~;,{::\:;~~::li~~~e c'~'~:~':'I~l :;, i~)ll~~:~elll~;~:

/\fI,'r subduing these "''')'''111'([ troops. ille 5S ntliL, surrounded Angoulemo. The Ccrmnn (U'llTnand.!,"S then met with the mayoroflhc 10"''' ,,,,d ,,~,,·t1ed him Ihat Ihe)' wOllld destroy Ihe :lfe;! \\"ilh "II ;I1'lillcl)' bom ..

\ .. ~ ...


the c;~II1P;!igll cllgaging ill more 0D ~ICS'~ 1)"]lC:S 0' 1ll0ppll1g .. Up opcr.uious. Culle~I',_;sLy,--tl,e S5 L'tlLIS I,ad


The resullil1g nnuisricc IMrlilioned france into lWO sections. ThesOlllhentSCCli"" rernaine([IInoccllpicd


>'/.s:»;':? __ ' __,,'C7'-'O:L-~_I_)~ _

»< 'I""

l~oJ' ~h~.J~~n ofrhc \\'II[("'i·SSdil'iSiollS. the lig-IILing in WeSlern Europe hadserved


Left: lIo"pt"i!l",ufiihre,-FciIZ Klingenberg. 'the man who captured Bel!"T"de'.~eenhcr .. preparingforhisnc"lmission, Klingenberg used a mix of dash and bra"ado to caplUrclhccily,;rnmUysinglc·handed.

pn~ssure to neutralize bo<"Yo,o.',,',. =d

as possible in order to leave time to invade Russia.

Corps. which was under the command of General

Georg-H:Hls Reinhardt all(1 attached to Field Marshal ~~ld thus distracted the Fuhrer from hi, plan to


~~~ll~~:I'~"~:~;Il~:":~':O': :;:~:e.~~;;\t~;,:,~~~~:'~~'e ~~~~:~ ~(~11:::::::::;1Il?t ~;.~:! ki~I;~~d J:~:~:~:~ ali'i::I~f ~~~ I~~~:'_~

in the SS divisioll we,-e J\l)lJ~lllirel)' certain of Ihe;, Reidl whell Iheir I" .. d"rs signed the Axis

destination and wondered where their next

cunpatgn would take place


o;...,)V For several months. Hiller had been intending to ~.;_I laullch an in\'a~ion of hi. one-time all)'. the USSR.

Originally, he plauued to.Ininate this action in the spring of 1941. However. a series of events in the Balkans undermined Axis hegemony over Europe

ra«. When Bulgaria sign"(~ the lre;~l)' ilJ

the ?erlllall~ seemed a~. t! they [~~g!J.l-'achie\'e tot.rl


AnllJ_.\grdAed the River Danube and took up positions near Greece and province of Serbia.


):;y);':?:.. 7";C,~:.5'--j,-S)-"'------

A,,,,, that l;:~);:i~;~! ;;~~~:; ~;:,~:::~ ':;;,:~l~::gi ,,::~ll:'~'~~:;

\vilho"I""ydillic,,lly, l-!;Ller,-t!ce;ved rllll'''Pf''"·1 frOIll his regional allies by g"""IIlI.eeing their territor-




AI Filll11t:, Ihe hal ian 211(\ Army consisted of \4 divisions. wilh IWO of Llu_;m motorized and one

little liml: to reSI before springing into action. To <:ncoll]-ager;lpidl11o,-elllCnl<lCrOssliJeYugosl""'Otlll- 1.1](: i]]\~,sioll I'l""ide. GCllcn'I.~cil:~lardl issued a directive (kcn:cmg


of'ucucn. 111 the midst of one Irai'ftcj;"'" nn 55 "mC"'l Only a few 311-weathcr roads cxi_.;lcd in the cuuntry,

ital_ NOI ",rpri'ingly. Hansser and his men wen: the riverside in Relgr.lde arler Klingenberg's spectacular

dele"nined 1<.> see Iheir division win ulis honour. c.o"p.OrganlzedreslsiancesouuCJ"un,bledin\l,eco,mtry

althuugh Ihe SOfl, wei lerrain that covered Ihe, ~'::;:"aflerthefDllof'heCllpllal.

~~~:;~;III~I~';:~':.allil~I~:li~~(~'ltt.heir Obj:C~~:~~O:\lld" To Ille "'eSI. the German 2nd Anny swept in from

,_. } .. -"V


Wh,le Ihe SS,U'!lrh Divi~j_b,,1 and other groups within hc,nled ensr 10 capture the towns of NOli Sad and

XLI Panze,. Corps lJl-epared 10 attack Yugosla\ia froll]

southern Ausrriaand Hungary. While Ihe8th Panzer and 1611, Motorized Divisions of XLVI Panzer Corps

Ihl;!-nonh, Ihe L"fmo,ffe in:n'gJ,r.lled the Ocnuan i~"o,siun "';Ih " "i(iom bombing c;mlpaign "g:\inSI p:,::::<I3c\)j,-,,,lc_. ~-Jca"\\'hi\e. the main part of Panzer Croup

o;...,S~'" KleiS. 1I1111alcJ Ihe ground assault by crossing the

~_:;..; border from Suli". Bulgaria and seizing the ciL)' of Nis. From this point, the group's XIV Motorized Corps travelled 194krn (312 miles) towards Belgrade withina w,,<·k.

Rum". tI,.. 141.h Panzer Division moved weSI. seized Zagreb. "ud liukcd up with the l~ali!f!:2nd Anny at


YLLgJJa~ia had iJegun. on Ih" mommg of 11 April. XLI Panzer Corps swept across the border from Romania. During the advance on Alibunnr, the

011 lJI1l 1:,1 d,ke~. L!lc in the afternoon. whcll these mo!orcydi.,u;. ;liol1g with elements of the Druischllllll!



~"'~/ ------------------,-\-';7-""'--------

troops requisitioned a motor boar. brought their appears 10 m, 8 dcspald, .:1'-'" "" hi" ",,,bLo;lIg. ami has 3

:',~~i;;:~;~i~ the opposite bank. and headed Str;:ig~ ~~l»)~ti~k grenade lucked ;"'0 his bell.

;tll)~~~~~Silllil~~~I~'il~~n~:;;~n~.I~;.I~:~~~:v!:::~:~ ~:~l~:SS~";:::~:J l:'~:'::<~~:1 '~~~il~~P~~ S\~~:' o:~ s:~:~~c::;: ~~1~1~~~:71~:~1 :1::a:i:~,::Xl!t~~;~~~~I'~:,:'1I~:::~~:~l: Fin;!. he 1>l'rSII;ulc:d the German ~lililall' Attache

to d"'''''''ld rhnt ti,e 1\'["y<)l- nrBelg.:lde aucnda rncct-

~:.,:~",~,;:~"~:;:;',;~::;::, ,?::i;~,:::::~:?,::~f:~::::,~::

LUn\\'arrt-~Lrik(, "nics, 1,e sur~'cll[lcrcd the cit)'. Alrc;\d~Jwe;lr)' Froru the devastation that had bcellj~lliclcd ull Bclgl1ldt:.thc mayor-acceded 10 this ultinuuum ;"'([ capitulated. Several hours later, the ~oldicl"s in Ihe ,,(homee guard of the Illh Panzer

lkC:ItI-';t! II)(! Yngoslavian Amly "~IS preoccupied with "11"ck~ from Ihe 2nd Anny in the north-west and the rest of III.: 121h Army in the south-east. XU Corps had relali\'t:lr few enemy troops to deal with in the

;::::":,;:,:,~:::,:i::~, ~;~~:,1~:!~,~;1~~::~:~:;';~:':~

REST ORD~~~D"-/:.J-::)

~~i~~:ht~Il:~'~:::1 ;~';I~~:i:':~~ e~~e~:g;~:~~~ ~:l~~:~

in front of his divisions before tht."Y had tillle 10 rccovr-r and re-group from the bombings. Howe\'cr, the

night on the north bank of the River Danube

One officer in the division either did not receive this order 10 ~la!;, ~,- simpl)' ignored il. As the

'.'. ;ii~~ii~;~:~:::~~,; :::~:i::t.~~::~:~~~~;,".:~",:~

j J J J~ J~~~~i~~;:1 t~; hlil;:~:ll~::l~. ~~e t~~~ r;~e:';l:llll~;~I~l ;~~::t::;;

patrol. Along the shoreline of the Danube. he and his

gun posts. While the SS soldiers performed this task. an official from the Ccrrnan Embass)' ;n"l"ivcd on (h" SCfll<! and requested protection for hi~

o;...,SJ)~3<li'ngenberg then went wilh inc diplom:\t to


Len: A map showing the invasion rout., Qf th~ Reid,

Division from Romania. itself a satellite ally Qf Nazi German)', A1thQugh YugQsla,ia was quickly subdued. Gro:e<:e pro\'ed tQ be a tQughernut to crack.

\~!:/ ...


AbQ\"e: A sQldicr from the Reid, Divisi"" ill tile Balkans ill 1941. As well :oS" p"ir "I' bin"culars, be ~arr;cs wh,lI

Divisiull "Illncd the capital, Is\Un;shedluseelh"lil W,"S ilnd",. me secure ccuu-ol or fewer than " dozen


,_0\ " ":;.!-:o",,y'"

,,,~/ ----------------J'J-"''';-'-=--------

Norr.Jy)Ocnmark ,1Ild other (o"'lIIies, 1\;1111.· (;""up Nr)lli became" full·size di,i~iun by September 19·11.

After f\tllilling their rut.: in the CI)"'1'U:sl OJr Yugoslav;a_ the soldicr~ or lhe SS·H,';ell Divisi""


the lfeirillroops expected to be selll 10 ",,,nh ,\f,';";' 10 aid Ficici M:\I"Sh,,[ En,';n Rommel in his c""'I''';g''

Rrilish and C"""lllollwcalth forces funhcrSOlllh IlI1lil lhe Allied lro<>ps C'~IC;lI"l(:d the country. By the end of lh~ ill\~,sioll, the Germans had taken more th"n 12,OOOprisf>lleI"s from lhcGrcekArnl)'



:~~~I:::nLII~~~CO~li:~~O~r~~~:~dSI~~~~' ~il~::~: :~~::~~ :~~l~:;,\~~cl;~~~~I~~s~.lS\~~;~~~'r,l:;~~.r\,::~:~~,~::::::~'s;:;~':::,

'''~:';:~~:,:~::~'::~~:~:'::;,,::'~;;::;l;;;';~,.fi.~~~i:ti{:;~j)~~j~t~;i;;:~::;l:£::::~::;: ~,::~:~::::~:::; l:~:

FI"",k,! Willi volunteers From Hoiland. Belgium.

0p"".givi"ganindicmionoflh ... lackofspacei,~,irlc.

I .. !:/-'




,; ... J/~'" " ... y~V

~~'~subJ~tion of e ;J Now, buoyed by his

comb'llatll.\ who were unlikely 10 gin: 01 :\1\1' quanc'-_ This, (;o",b;I1('o wilh Ihe h'u-sh

Lefl' Men of the Dey Hilm:r Regimenl wearing ClJslomi •. ed winlCrCnmollnage-l1sual1}'sheelsorblankelsobrained fl-o"'Rus~ianhOllses_duTingthead"auceonMoscowiu lhe lal" ,,"tllmn of 1941.


on Lhe! "Ielll F"m' \\o"ld set ""llc of th" g'Clit,,1 \)'?~

il~fhl::~:~.111 C[Uell) II1IS"'V d~i\;I:~~lcl>'"

'J I)~)":"-


Ocrmao streugth at start 01"

Barbarossa' seemed

'::1.<1, Ill<: senior c;",nlll:lI]'it.: .. S "r,b ... (;e,-,,,,,,, ",."wd Iorces had al"'u~1 7200 artillery pieces ,,,,d 1830 W<Ir-


):::y»;':?_' -----;OU>"'CL'J,_I_)"' '_'_RB_'_RO_'_"

:::::i,~:l,'1 ~::~::,;~~~,:,:;:: ,',':: O~::~,: ,~,,~O;i:,,:":i~.::

tic zone. the SS soldiers were keptiu the dark about



,,!:ISS-DAS REICH ~':::I>/

IU~( <IS the relief column clllcrcd the \-il1:.g" and linked lip with the Motorcycle 1\;111,,1;0", three 111,11"" Russian Wilks approached from Ihe [''lSI. Will! lillk difficulty. one or the 51' crews knocked ""I all Ilm'e <'llcmYI·chidcs.Alh:rslIst;ti"ing" tllin'''idan';'gt' rnHll


.. ~ .. ,


,kill "POll tI,... .~kill ,II1d bravery of their cllgillc.:;ring' lInil'_ Onlllanyo{:c;tsions. while

r.,.." II",,,; "").(;,,,:,,1" n:pain:d damaged


tilt: t:nslIillg bailic. Iht: 50\,;<:1>; killed all'7~ lIlen in the S5 lIniL The .:nginccrs ill [he dil'ision ai""

IlfO((:Clioll for all cngineer dc["d""':111 th'l1 W;L~ cie:tred mindidds and performed other d;mger""s

rep"iring a nearbr bridge. While 1111'1'" of !I,,<!;C tasks to facilitate '.quick movement tln-ullgh all

:~~:~I~~:::l' g:~~;':~'~;ll'(/:::le ~~;i\':lC;tltt r~'t'llr~::, I,',~;~:::;: ;;:: i;tl~;I~~~:~~:·(:;;};;Sk. the fMrh di\'isi""


~ ~~,. ~'"~~ ~ ~ ~ ,Heir! Rl,hl rec:tlled the problems cncourucrc.l

managed 10 Iil-e 20 rutllHls ,,,,russ 11,,· ri,.,.,. into till' rc:t.rearillg'CllCIll),c"lmnn,desrru),ing f"nrt,mi<s. The next murning. thc,Gcrm,ms di.<o>l'o:re,l eight mOfe

~::~~1~~I~;~:(~!IP:tit<10'Wd ranks "II tin: "tiler side or


j J J J~ J :~;~til~;"I~;I~'lC::I~~:~~'~;:~,'_~:vsil::iit~~~c;I":,~~(:

h,,~ollling\'ery skilled "I actillg i" d"s" n,lbl",ratioll.

<;oldicrs ""d ""hicles att"mpling to cross a wooden bddg".lll"xeite<ip",-slIit.""eortheSl'dl·i\'el"l;

~ S J) ~'d ~~·~tl." ::;'r::::~~~::i li;::~~:~C~";:;i'~:'S: I~~'I!,),I_-::l~l~ (~I~:: tl.'~l\,l,~t~:

y::.-' ",,"'" halr",IY'lCfOSS tlu:l,,-idg'!, Russi,,,, "Il~ineerso" tire "ppusit,· side d"I0",,,cd th(: structure, sendill~ (he sclf.pmpdlcd 'l,sa"h gun intn tlr" rh·,;r. The crewuK'nem"rg"d rr .. ", tire SP ,,·el. hut unhur1.



during this "rh,mc<:: ·Cros.,ing" the swamp IV;I~ "cr)' , difficult as we had to jump from one clump orgruss. ,,'2-"


:I'~:,f:;~e o~~:~:)tr,ll~~)~I:'~I!:~\~rtlliUZs'~rc 'uuuckcd hy Illig"

North 01' the swamp, other cUllfl'U{lI<.:,1

I.he SS soldiers, t\s lhe)'

increasingl)' scarce. forcing their vehicles OWl' ,,,ud)'

[ustJikc inbJl[ry"elc'~lllS


)::i By 'he end of the the SS artillery unit had

repulse!] the Ihen enjoyed a day of rest

During this hiatus. rC(Ollllai~sancc patrol:; obtained iron rations left behind by the Russians al a nearby

when 'some of the men found SII<l",:>.o..l'ered of vodka which proved to be lOf}!lhef: even forhard-


!~~'~~~~:~d~:~IlI:~l'~U~~;;::~~:~;I~~·~lli.'! ~;;~~ -. ~::t;~ ;.~

p'isingly. the Gennans confronted tough opposition



at Stuolcusk. although they Glptul"ed the cilY ill lllid:July. To th" south-cast. the lVicil Dil'isiol1 received an order to '''plllr" Ydn}"a and " piece of high

situated e;L,1 of the town. Thi" objective wa~

to the Germans because }he town was


would h" \'{;r~."~,,erlhincd in us effort to keep the t"WIi fr"m S'~li1'l.g inlO CIH~Ill)' hands

~J~ 221Jlll),. l.he :ll1:u:k on th" h<:ights ncar Yclny;t iJcg"u. Soldier-; f1"(J1ll Ihe f)rlll.-rhl",,,1 Regimen! and


_/ ~..I!:J»)j'"

::::;:~::~~r;~:::-;~g~,: I:;:':"~ ',~:7;:"~~',7.',' ,7:,;::

th;u 'one "r ow' sln·teher-hearers WOII the Iron ero." here by knucking Ulil a" enellly la"k Wilh " hanrl· grenade. He lhrewil inlutl'eupen halch_ Finish!Tlw

lik,: f\l:~~~:'~:.~;'e I~~'~n ~'~~I~~:~C;:\:: )):JJ-

g'-C;ll('I·strenglh·. t JJ)-:'::.-

ex~~e~lel~~;1 ~::;'1 i;;~~I:~;I;;~lll~~c:~::.~~-~~n~Jli~~~lt~~:C;;:

eight Soviet armoured I·chicles. After rho Gcnnans knocked OuI the le'lding lank. a fbme-throwilill

;:':;::;~I,I;':;~~~ ;,~;~::,:::~;~:;;::::;'~:::::',i'::,,;,:':';::~ ;:::;'::~:~;~E~:::::":~:~~:,7:!":;~:,~:~,:;;::::~,,:,:;:,;

1101 , with ~hcll, IO:~'~,~~n;;'::'/~::i~~'''I~~·I:~~.~::~;~\-:'::.-S~!~~;;: e;:~:~~II~::~I~~1 1~1~~:":'L~I':1 the "'),,,

Ihe Soviettroops in the trenches on the hill~l.gJO{I1l.d fired relentlessly into the Ccrrnans. D~.Iplle llllS

;td\'ersit)" the soldiers from the Deilischium/ and lJn their lives and ,,·hcn.;\l last. the Russian rankmcn had 1)C(:n killed. the SS gunners went back to their l'ak~!:J'"

~:::";~:"'~';~':~";;'~":::;::~o~~~:;'~}y~~i. 'I';


As the ranks or Ihe )l\rJnlry battalions dwindled

Fiil"rr regim"I1L~ maintained a steady. diociplincd advance. alld collqllcrcd the firs! ridge of Ihe heights

J J J J;>s/~;~f:\~:~~):.i!~;\t~j;{j,~~;~~~~~::::~:';

began to take their loll 011 d1C soldiers "I' Ihc

Division. :lIld utter muny SS troops (oll:lpsed from ,l\lolorcydc

:,.:~_:,I~o'i""':'~'''~·I·:I~~~~'~!\~:'"I:,,· .. ~.'~.:1:ll'o·:~~,~ .. ,~,;,;'.i~"I:';:~~R,,~~·,I;I_,~~l,:o~.,:,;I';I:"d~)'d ~~:~e'I~;111~e~~lr~~::)I~~dr~:il;~ ::':~~Ci~lJ~lac" c"gi,u!("

... v V'~ ".. .~. ~ .... _? 1'. wal'c auacks. some of Ihe linest tn)ops in the SOI';"1

~,',I:,·,',:,:",',~,I~,:,:g.,~g.:~·':I:'Y~.~S:;;'~':';"'.~.:"';~;p~',i,'~.r,,:",·~,~.':',;,:,~·,:,',:.·.,~,"":Y'~;~G'i!.:,~,~,',~.:.',:~,",· ~~~~;:~i~~l~:::~::~:I:~;I::"::{:~~~:~IS:~:;:e!~~se:;:ii~:'~

.... .... ~ .... L "L L able to beat back these assailants. with hcaw losses

pO~ili~>lls, ;,lIhullgh Ihe SS r\cr"l1rlt"l"S "I'I::!1tllaliy threw

Illc ass"iI:u'I.\"tTth" high g[""'I,,1 "lh'I'M"'crall,ours

~ S ))~!:J ~~;il~'I',1i\I:~:\~:;~' ~:'lI~~II~~:~~'e~:'~::rl~;I'll~ 1::r~;'I' ';~ ,:i,; '::'O:~I'~

y::.' last for lour weeks.

During this lengthy operation. the al111111111ilioll shortagc bc,"mc serious for the SS unils. As a result. artillery commanders ordered their ).,runners to fire

I .. !:/-'



E"(~l1lU"IJv:Gfid"ria!l pulled the Heidi Division 0",

~'~·Ii~r ~I~~-~;~t ;:1111~~cl~CJ:~:;~,~ 1::";;;U:l'I::'~::":::;-~,;:::::~;

Soviet auacks. Wilhin lhis PQc:kct. mohile, mech:lII;zed

JJ Ihe city. from the south, Ihe lith Army ;lI1d the Ist in 1941. Rubber "ssm,h hout .• like the one ahove WeTC

Panzer Group were to pcrfOnll a similar manOeUVre used to cross ""ch uhsladcs wh"" the Soviet .• h"d blnwn

::':~s'~"',.~,:,::,;",:',~,',~,,':,i~,~,r~,~o~:;,:,,~~_;,"':dI~ Ip~~':'~~';'G~~I~,Ool:l":':':'~'~;Ri:i,';~,',' ~ ~~'P ::f:~cd~I:: ::ri~~~(llli~~:'~ :::~~:Il·c,.cn I~~n executi ng

~ ~ ~ " ~ :y:u ..... , theirassault. the ')I'leI~l!jOIl went :lwry. The "~lrpl,,"es

,O;"ls;on served as the right win~J!r:x-XI\' Corps ~hile had failed to " .. rive on lime. An ho",.lme r, Glider;:",

~~,;:~~:~~:;~:::~;~~C;:;',~~,~t~~ll'~'~::: '. C:I::"d;~.:;::; ~C;,:::.~:1~:~:.::2"I~~:';:~~:·~'~ t:::I~:~I:O~J~C:~ r~~~II~I~~II.:

made considerable progress nnd '1l1icldy wplllrerl:1I1

imporuuu .junclion at Sosnitsn. Wi1h lhL, ta~k uccorupltsbed. Guderian ordered Hausser 10 ~\:nd hi .. )~~'(OI0rC)"c1C B~l1<1liol1 10 Mako~hil11. rue sile of a

~:::;;)~ railway bridge. Ariel' wailing for SlIlk:t di,·,,-bmlll...,l's tosOflcnSo\,iclddences.theSSmolorcydislsw,a·el<J capture the bridge and establish a bridgehead 011 lhe southern bankof,he Ri\'erDe511"

, _1_:)j>~>O::;""

... ':;/» .. ::;, .... -----------------:-:-"-"cr-'------d(!~p(;l'a~C,Yjr:r::~ ... :ffort to hn::ak,olil. They assailed 111:1'D'JplllIlIS throughout the PCI'IlHCICr. only 1.0 1)(; Ihrown hack wilh he~\'y losses. AI "!Jlil'l. the Ut;,:" nj"ision'sm:lrhjl1c~lInno:rsraccd~]lall:\Ck laullchcd

d"fuscd the cxplosi,'cs placed ";lhiI11h,ch,idgc. II)" ,'a(leL' from the Kh"rko\· Military Academy,

However, the ""'!orcydiw, did~~' I",,",:: lung 1v Singing :os lin:)' ch"rv;cd il110 lh(: Oerman lines. Ihe -J

~::;~: '~ I~I:~I:~;;~;:~; ';;ii::~-~~~~~~:ii'l~k 1;~L~':~;~II;~~~ ;,',,',:~,':',,'::,',_, ::::,:, ~","',_:,_i,':~":,~"~".,:,,,,",',,,',,;,',,:,:,'',",;,:,~, "r,O,;,:,'.';,'"~,';,,:,~,'.',~,,'; •• ~(,',:~,::,,,,~",'!:,,"l-~,','::.~!',~~,~,:,;,- ;::,Y »:

,~,:,:'",'~~J~~':"""~";",~,:):~,'\,!\~~~,~~",:~,:,;,~:;,'",~~~_'~,_~~,'",:I;a,~I;~':"~::P~"(:~d·:1:;~,',',~~,~:,- ~.- ~ . _", ., . " ~ ~'" v •

"" ,,' ~ ,~~ "', ,,~ ~ So";,,, '''.'";'-_' II~IPI){"! ill the Kie\' pocket -,IInell-

"~!,I'''i'''-'' "POll lhe hlid).(chcad.lca\·;ng 10 men dead tiered. n.II,,,-li\'ci),. tlw Rel1 Army had I"SI ahout aile

;:::::,,:,:;'~,',~~:, ;;'~"::~'::,:~~'",:'~,,,::'::::':;,;:, also :;'::::;'~:;'0';I~~;::~:i;:';:::~,::,::::~:::::~:::~::;':::~

~~~:~::~;::H~'~'~;:~::':::::"::::'(:::~:':':;~t;~';~::~~!1'y2:~,::": ',:,',~ ':;~:"::~:;:';~~:';',;~:,:,:.:~'::' :::~:::: :~::'

1..,11;,,<1 (h"111 "",I rOillillllC performing their task. industrialized an,,,s.

,;':::;~;:::,::',~~::;~~"I,::~,:~~~:i;::~:;:~:::i:~:~:'::,~ :,;,::;:,:~,~,',;,:,~,~,:,:,;,':,:,":,:,~:,~;',:,:,;,~,:>:;,:,:,'~,~,::,:,~:"::s:~,,;,,;":,,,::,;,~,(;,i,,~,;",~;~,~,:,~,:::,:,I,:,~,:~,~,:,~,~,:,::,~,':,',';,~,"',:,:,':,:,,:,';,)'"" >

J J J J;>: ;~,:,,~,~,':~~~p~,:,",:::,',,~,',:,:,,~i,:):,:,~,.:,:,:,:;",:::',::,',:,:,::~,l:,:t,~~,~~,;,:;:,:,~,':~,":c,;,'I:",'~~,:o:'I,~,~S,:." , • L.

" ~~ .,., _, .~ '" ~ ,~., the Iktl/5ril/ml(/Kegilllellt "h"", It;,,! lllst "'1)"'- tlt;1II

inl;mlry reb"lIIent_, lIIanag,:d to r.nlS.' th,: river and 15()(lll1enkillcd.\"""ndcd."I-",i_"il,)(_Tlw/Jn-/oi'/,,-,,y

attack cnclII)' forces Reb"IlICnt ;lItd other IInits withill tlw /("irll Oi\~,inll

~,I:":"~;R:~,,~,'~,:~n:;:,':,:)i:.;,~,:~,~,:;:,;,;:,:,:,,:.,~.,,~,\,~,l[,;,·~,:,t,I?,: •• :,;;,;,::'~,i;,~r;:,i,:,:~~,f,:,:t;,~.; ~",,~~~:::fl~;~~;;;\f~]~;:,::::~~~:~~,:::,::,",::',:::::',:::~:~::

~ ~" ,,~~ ~"_. ~ "-~ ~ ~ wasWaherSchlllinke.whodescrihedhi_,nnHilllpn:s ..

"lun)('''~lh the IOWlL' ufl\O"-,,,,,, alld Prilllki, Whenlhc sion, nf life On lhe front line while serving willI tl ....

the sidecar); kept the Soviets pillllcd <.1"\\,11 with hnt lead.lhecirive)'set"a_,hedlltrUlIghliteelll:III)'harTi-

/(l'i,hOj"i,ion achieved lhe,egu,tls. il f"I!iIlt;,1 ;lsrole ill lhe ellcil'clement ,-,f Kiev alld r"Lt,i"ell a !t'ltt:rnf

~ S ~))~ '~:;t\\il~~~::::(2-t:~~ ~:I~o~:;~;~"::)\~u~~; ;~.:::;~ ~', ,: ::;~~it' '~:

__,.:..' point along the edge of the pocket ;11,,1 ht'll','d lllain1ailltheGenl1an !{:lIl1lllctaround Kiel'.

By this time .. the !ted f\nn}'di,~siollS tI~'pl'.:d i" ,he light pocket had "uthing left to du hUI flghl


m"" hadslI"gullr'''''g .. ,,'e heard applause conung fmm the OIIIt:r side of the Vol!{:. Then they sallg

teeming with cncnw sntpers. the GcI1l1af"ad~';~; un the right slo,,"e(\' down sOl;llcJ,'h~f While the grenadiers WC1:C 1:erfoI111~1J~)hi~,ction, a rec~nnaissauce patrol IIlfllmllei:\-ule southern outskirts of Oshauk and alllJ1Ils\1;d:t group of transport trucks carrying RlIssi;;1 soldiers. Early in IJleafternootl, rhe rest of the 55 auack force entered the (OWIl and

On the morning of 7 October, tbe /)""I~·,,'hI'lII" ,


progress ""d Glplllrcd" piece of high gruund nortllWest of Silanlpunova in ilL" "ftenl()on_ All huur bier, lhe bi)H,tiion pushed enemy forces lilr[ilet- nonh III

o_p,,,,,)~~~:.~:::,:':;:;II;::i;~'::,:~'E::~:~,::;;o,, uud ,I""

Right: Dismounting ready for action, soldien; from the Reich Di\'i~ion ad\'aoce towards a burning village somewhere in tile So,-iet Uuioll. Note tl,e divisional ~)'mb(J1 On

tllebackoflhelruck. .::;--'


Dlll-illg thc cucirclcmcm or Ki(,,', Hit)er and his


Awa,-,; y_bIJc~cI-Y malt! or female Russian cil.il:en

Cillxlhlc of wielding ;1 weapon or a wOllld be

involved in cithel- con~U-lIcting 01 the

dd-",,,ccs arollnel lht, capilal. senior OKW slrategists

that the operalion wOllld h<: costly and lOacr.ompli8h

~eiz(,(1 KUlllyenk" ,It ;lrmLlld micll,il;;11t r..1cal1wl1ik, with lSI B,utalioll m;[nl1il'g Ull " route right of the

3nl Bal1ali<..>n estlhlished a blucking position aCl'Us'; high~'~l)'~\ .. ":ilil;:: 31'[1 Ballalion proceeded 10 the left.



· Moscow

""I'm:::::;'1 \, Ukra;~~

known as the 'Stalin Orlfom' or ~~"Ii)'(':li~:: "dC\~Cl' Lha(COllldhllrl20pr~jCCliIcJjnlJthcair;nalimc.OII the receiving end orthis barrage. an oftlccrtumchcd If) di,'i~ioll,d tncrical II<!adll'''"'lcn; recalled the effect <;n;a({,d Ill' Ihcwt:apoll: 'A~ I had not d((;'::;1 slittrench.

,'j I ,~I ~'ji~:~,i:,,;:,,~~,::::':::~~:';;~::::~::::':':::; ,:; ~,;;;;:;::~,:;

J Moscow highway untilit reached III!' ,,'U,·'I' dcfclICI::s of thecapital

found several dead ci\'ili"", Iha( had been hanged by IJIIS! flung myself behind a tree and watched the ter-

~~~~::~0:;~~~~~;III:so:.~.~::::r~1)' ~:::~:I:~: I~~~:;~;~.E:) )~~:.~~;:g1~!;~~I~~;;)I:~:::~;.'::~~~~:~;~:::~~ ::~~,:~~;;~!~::~

~~~::;S~~:~;:I" S~':·~::~iIOI1;OI~~:I:~:~I~;;'~;I~~g;::;~S::t1.:lll,:~ ~~l~::i'; ~:,~I~~ ~:,;~I::I:~:;:'I::,~~li::'::! :::;~l\~::dl~,'~:::~:~~

troop bllild-ILP~ ill !h"ar~"~fll" ,,,,niordi"isional «()[11- the advance. Paul Hausser had been severely wound-

mandel'S dispaldled lh" /Jr,. Fiilm~' Rt:gim.·t11 10 an cd ill action and was replaced by the COIl11l1;II[{kr 01

area cast 01'111" town ill an effort to disrupt Iltc m",'c- the lkllisrh/lllllllkgimenl, Willi Bi~t1i8{-

Bymid-October, the Udrl~l>j~iol1 "'as I;~"n~h;ll~" full-scalc nuack 1I1)0I1"Ii).t9"I~rdef';llccS OIII",So",('1 ,/, I'.)

:g:::J::tt~~'~:::':O~::'::~:I~;'::::;t1adsl:~::7, d~:,]~

'10 ,~10p the ad,,;t"cl', R"d Ann)' :11'Iil]"risls 00,"- divisiUl"s progress was Slcad)', but !lIe weather "'as al..,ad~

barded Ihe division with nx:kels li .. ,,(1 f">II' " w""I)(>n

beginning 10 wo'Wn as autumn approached

I .. !:/-'



,):SS'·OAS REICH ~':::I>/

capital. Spearheading this assault. tile baualious of IJu ,..ri/lfff pushed through five roadblocks. dug-in tanks. and reams of name-throwers and man;tgcd to ric."roy,cI',:rnlconcrctcpillbu>:cs,]Il,lb,utlclh:ul,ISI-


~'~r1~~'~'i'~t ~:~~:~jl:;k.~ltl:: \\~~:~g::~~o~:~:;s:·u;;::(t::

chnuue thar ",",sbecorningincn·asingl)'r.olrl.


,md cll[n:lI<:hiltg tools. Evcnruully, tht: /)rlll,dd'lIIri

'-' p:j.t


Several weeks after Ihe Sian of 0pclwiun ·BaJtj:u1.},.s:". the wei autumn ,,"c:.ther pl:.ycd all imJ>onal1l role in preventing thc Gcrm:1II war machine from laking Moscow. The inahi1iI~' of s\lpplr trucks 10 reach Iho:

i:~~~::::: :'~::f~:::~::~:~i~~~::~:;:,',:,:,~',~~:i';::;;'::~ ::~:;:;ii:~i';E~~::I~i:~::~,i::~~~:~~~:::;;~::~~:

:~~l~~;·~~~:~;~~i;~I:l,'~~,~I~~':~I~·li~~.:iI,:~:~')~C~:"::U'::11:1~1J~~~~:;~'::~I~\,::~1l11'~:lll::I.e~l!lp;~::~;. 1:::i":~'~::Il\\:'~~:~il,~; ~~~:c II :~\S~'II~~;~~:;~;~Js C!~::~;~:~~~C~:d ;::"il:rlt~n;~::~~ ~~:~\:~lI~~ :~i I~:~:~J~':::,:: :~\~; ~;;::J;'~:~'~';:: ;,~~,I":I':r~: I~(~:;

::?;j:~~~f;[:;t~:~~::,;:::;;:,~~;~~~~]~~~~-:-~ ~

C!l(~ of the r<:ar '. they ~Iid "1t J.jcI1Jc'onSidcr c'I"ippi"ll" Ihelr soldiers "'lIh \\'lUlI.:1' 1.1!1llorn1~_ \Vhcn lCIllPCI~\' lures dropped to levels from -30 10 -50'C. 0111 within Ihe

without anesthesia. To save themselves from their second cue-my, 'General Wimer', German soldier, acquired eXII'<I layers of clothing from the Illany dead comr,l(icsandadl'crs;Irieslhallilicredthecollntrysidc \\~lCn their boors rollcrl al'l")" "ftcr se\"eI~tI months or


" I'.)


suddeJl fall iJl Icmpe",m.-.:s causcd by the OJlSCI ofam"mn.

I .. !:/-'


Abm"c: Au ominou!! portell!: soldiers of the Reich Division

III ill the fiTli,slloW of willi cr. Tberar .. marching past an


u ~, ~ ~ ~ "J ~ ~ ~ ~ Within a week, the SS units had fought their way to

conquered areas.


ciOnSI)t "ncr four da),s of combat the Germans finall)' took Ihe hciglns. wilh tanks from the 10th Panzer

Arter absorbing these coruuer-puuches. the

j~ S )~) ~~~~.:~~;I~~;::~\~~:~l~II~';:~~;I~;~[:I'~I~::t~'II~'~·~~:i~;:~,I:~

Division constituted the right wing of the operation. while the 10th Panzer Division took the left. By caplming this cit}' and other important areas around

I .. !:/-'



,,!:ISS-DAS REICH ~':::I>/

Division providing cruda! assistance for the SS Above: So closo _ men urlhe /U:;("h Di"isioll puse for (he

p;rcnadier~ storming up the slopes camera ncar the outer ~"burbs of Moscow. The solitl


< • ., ~ ~~ ~ " '. " " assist the SS division in future operations against the

closed in on the <:apila~Jo'';s~}ile Ihis continuous Moscow garrison. Only the sheer determlnauon of

fom~,rd progress Ih,lI!Jseemed \0 be c;"Tying the Ihe division's soldiers and their faith in their own

division to its destination. he'''')" losses frOIl1 comb:n lind the cold wC<llher "'ere depleting' the 55 llniL~.

~ S ))~'d ~'h~)~\\\;:~\\;:~t :t;:'~~\I~!I'I\~~i\\\ll(ll,i.n~i:~r:~;:;~\~;IS furce,! 10

y::..' disband Ihe /J"r Hllnl"'~ 8t:\"t:rtdy depleted 2nd I~>ll!>llion "nd ,,"sign its sUl"\'i"ors 10 miler parts of the regimelll. He also had 10 break up OeIlI.lch/(llUr~ 3rd Bauahon for Ihe same reason. Meanwhile. the 10th

fighling abilities seemed to hold the ullil together and keep it 011 the field as a :ia~b]e::n\ffitaJY terce.

When Luftwaffe bombgs'flew overhead to catTy uul missions ag:li\lS':..tjl~~~\iet garrison at the capiutl. the SS sOldidf.1odnll encouragement in their miserablels~aJe.1 Despite. their prcdicamem. lh.cy ,,'CI"C still mQ_t;\,aled 10 ccnunuc iHlackmg the capllat. In carl) December. the vanguard of the German offensive

I .. !:/'"



., ",_",~»)::?'"

',!:I-' __ s- BARBAROSSA

,,,,~/ -----------------; __ -;-"'c,-"'~i"'-------

h<:o::a';''1Jis9Ialeri after the ~nllan 911,' .. \.rm}:.had :'''ll.J1g northwards and established blocking posmons IOlheire;tSI

reached its ea:ncrnlTl()SI point wlien No. I Compan)' of [he MOI()fCrdc Baualiull ~itcd tenino, a SlIburb situated only I ikm (IO.5miles) from cel1l1~d Mo.\Cow

Occupying arcus ncar the terminus urIbe Moscow Formo!"e lhanlwowccks, the SS units and olhe.

11';111\"'''), system. the 55 soldiers could ,s,..:" the dumed Germ;", 111;1;1:11,)' fcrmnrious bnuercd the enu-apped

:::~;~i::,~:';::,:~'~:~::;J"~:!f.~:i:~~~:::"" :':;',:::; ~:::,~ :::::'~; :::::',' ':~:k:':';'::'~:~":'~:"':;';'~:::::'::_ -- \,j-

anack on uie ;;aB{m(:-{"oncning weather conditions ~::~::~~~~o::;~~. ~:~:f K~~:::::~I::I:~::nll~all;~:~li:~:~~

forced Illc;n\~t';- stop in lheir n ... cks, Their final Dn'Fii/u-rrlkgimem, noted in these baltle~~hal 'lhe

offeJl,h!e ,,"as, so they thoughl, onl)' delayed, bUI after enemy dead formed walls of corpses in from of the

:1 three-day pause in the fighting, the So,';ets companies' p<»iliollS', Although ther continu .. r1 10

launched n couruer-offcnsivc. It was so great IIl"1 the suffer hig~1 C:OS~.al9''.r.lles, the SS soldiers remained

~~;'I:~:'i:~el:~,:I::I~I;e~h~~~e), :~ll~~a:l'~~ll:::~;~l ::I~~~:S :~~~;:~~S~~ti~~s~'01]g as lhe)' were able 10 perronn

:;:'~~lll.h~ ~~:':;~~~lt i~l\~lr~~ :ltIJ,::~~~~~hl~ll~~clhl~O~;;:e~})~;II;~~::~·il;:~e. t::~C :~I;U:;~~; b~~~:~~~, :~n 1~~ld~~,~:~::::

Soviet soldiers pushed ,[heir enemies h;ICkj tohll~g m:lchine.guns and rendering these ,weapons useless

Ihe German Army HIgh Command let order The merciless willtcr climate al.w d.sabled "II of Ihe

I:\c,,,,, .. ,1 rei real 10 more defensible positions SP vehicles of the llrirh Division. causing Biurich 10 ,

HUMAN WAVE ATTACKS ~~S~~;~!I;'ii~~rt~~i~;~~e:~'~!::;:/:I~:~ts,;::~:;~~>~--

Al its P()Silion~~ltRrMoscow, the Ueich Division 5100d ~~.e~~~I~;;:. ~:;:~{cC~~ol~::;~~n~::;~:iJ;,,::r,;;.~;

-,,,,~;~E:::::r,~~~~::::;~E~ ,:::~~~:;:~,,::?;:d;::: through the N';;f.'~::;~l,i'):;:;h,:,;;:"~;:,~~',:~:,

J J J~J r~i\'i,'i')11 received its order to retreat on 9

.J Dcceruher and, ~llho"g-h ils soldiers were

dcspoudcutut Ihl' thouglu of gtving lip so ll111Ch ter-


~, , v , , " '; fiih"I'TRegimenl lK:c:mll: a pa,uergrcnadier nnit.

On 16J<lnllal')' 1!H2, the I("jr/i Di"isioll received In ~rafch. the 5S banle group went back into

anolher order to retreat and Ihus back lu a

\\'('S( of GSh;IlSk_ Dw-illg execuuon or

sir.ucgtc wiliu\r.\\\'als, Soviet ntr.u-ks the


Rzhev, after the Russian 2!hh and :i!hh Armies had punched through Ocrman lines. Sweeping into an area west of the city, the Russian armies suddcniv

( .. ~ ...



')SS-OAS REICH ~':::I>/

,.~ .. ~

be B:~tlJ:~;I:~·nl~l~o~::~~~:~~~~j:~~i';~:~:.le:~.rn~:~r~:

dive-bombers arrived in the lLiek of lime. 'Those pilots really knew tho;irjob: Schwillkc ""cried. noting that 'tank after tank ""lli blown "pan.JlIst before

~ll;~:S:~d:;V :~~CI:'~~~ ~~~~~~ldl~~~n~:~[ ~~~~\,'Ii~~:;;\~)):JJ-

Shortly afterward. friendly ranks and 51's appc'"'ftJ 9n' the scene and helped lhe 55 rcgimcllL jP~Sh the Russian assault on Jackboot Wood, thus enabling the

Abo"e, A well_armed palrol from the Dc~ FiiJmJr Regiment. The cold was so o,,\'ere that lubricpling oil

his company headquarters. where his commander attempted to remove his jackboot. BUI the leg proved

(0 be lao swollen. so the officer 'eUL the boot off'and y.:" pus and blood poured out from the leg which was' ~:J now coloured dark-blue and black frpsWi~e-< Ordered !O report to a field hospital, S;ch~/JI(e' noted

tn'll 'because there were no an~~ularlces I had to

;;:::~~e:II:~;~C:'I~o~~'\\'~~~~,rl .foot and om of th:1t


froze weapons solid. rendering them useless. Grenades ~;1slern From 10 al least some rest and

were unaffected. which is why the n,en carry so mal: ~ _~))~~:~l':,~~~~;I:~l;;';:~:·~l:~I:)~I~::~d~:I;~. r~~~.;:~i;:.~17~:;i:~~:;

overcoats of the advancing Russian soldie,rsJl)li?'nas, reco:ive yel anOlher name. In November. il became

ofmcn r~"ed towards us. [erril}ing)~.9mk' Ih~I' cmlle known as Ihe S5 1',II\~ergn::n"dier Di'1_,ion D(I.I Rrirl~

forward Silently and without ulY!J_l1sllal ShOllll1lg.' [I "Iso aUjllired a p;-'n~er 11;11",liol1 llml contained

During this battle. ~<:i soldiers in the DeIl/5ch/mld three comp:mies and P~Kpfw III and IV hall\t: I:lI\ks.

Regiment repelled wave after wave of massed au:lCks Prorecred with ,II'Ino,,1" th;l1 ,,",S;l1 It:aSI 501ll1ll (1.9in)

The Russians fell in rows: Schwinkc asserted. 'piling lhick in some places, the I'zKpfw I [J.,-S,,-, c,"p"hl,' of

up huo a r;real heap oi dcad.Mosr of thar lil);t wave had reaching a speed of (j'lkI11/1l ,(49lri~]). The I'd,pl'",

_. (,))~~!~~nl~pr:~:::;:::~~,:~~~:~~~])\.\:e~~:~~,~,~::::~~~:~~:~l~::,~]:~ IV had "milar dO:"~I{~lC)J;!i;~fl;l "',15 equipped with a

_)::;.' nition. the Ccrmans were forced to bear back Ulcir 1l11~~~' ~a(;·~~II;;~:.!J~~~:~~;dl1il~lil: l:~tl~\I:;"Ct(I'le division

~11),~~,ll~:t:I~:~,~:;~~~,I~a~l~~::::::l~~:I~~~~ ::~allit ~:~~~;t) ~,:::.lg~e!~~lI~he fl~j~~ter~!·:~~'i:~;;.'·i~:~;::

primeval beasts they came lumbering towards us.'

Reconnaissance Baualion exchallged trs I11OlorC)'rks

t .. !:/-'



.vy»;':?-'----------------7OC+-' ~CL-~_S)_~ BA_R_'_AR_O_SS_A

»< V/

Recoonaissance Battalion prepare to CrOSS a river. A pro-

the S\lrviving remnants of 4th p$'llerat tbe rear of the vehicle meant that it could CrOss

Deutschland consriuued t,hc regiment's ;,;,:::-...ater at a maximum speed of Ilkm/h (7 mph).

In early July. the DeT. ~il:lrer R~gi21em' .. .

went to Lc Mans. TIle rest of the d1l1S10n ~'en!llally defence If the Allies were to land on the Medi-

followed ;CillO remained in that P<lJyf~F'(ance until terranean coast of France

tare in the year. I JJ~) At the end of the rear. the DrIS Reich Division

In November 1942, }\l.cJnas Reich Division and underwent more changes. It received an SP battalion

several other German military formations moved that contained three batteries. each o~e possessing

south and occupied Vichy France. the pan of the s~ven guns. In additi~n. the La'I~~rg; Regi~ent was

country that Hitkr had spared from conquest back ,dh':bp',""d.~.~~ BS,0'::'I,.~"f"":'hm,._,'.h7'~:-~"'O"""I',,'ge~a~",O~,',g'dh "00

~jil~1940. The Fldlr<~r ha.d ordered action a1- this point '- ,_". .... v ~ ",. " '-

~::::;p) because the Allies had invaded French North Africa. be a full-size regimenr:.~hile l st Battalion resumed its role asasleB¥~:;{-:eCOnnai5SanCe unit. Thus reorganize1jt.lte division returned to the Soviet Union in January 1943, ready to belp Army Group South repel

Laval would not be able La mount a successful a Red Army offensive in the Ukraine.





J J C1ivision, Das Reich

early 1943 the German fo

B;II:~ca;i~l~'t 1;;1: t~~~ir~f ~~~;l~~ ~l~ar [[

German forces under the command of Field Marshal

the best

di\~.ions iJ~nl:11CD~sCI;:;;~~;. ~::::~~~ ~~~~c~~~\~c:~~I~;,~ai,:~))'Q ~

of Georg K;P.!!!9r.,?All

~~I;~l:r;:c~:::r formation, j :~~~l~epg~!llZed as


Panze," Regimelll of Do. Reid, aner their success in tbe retaking of Kharkov in the spring of 1943. The Reic"ifii'u-er-SSwas careful not to be 100 close 10 the fronl

forces ,,"(',-e \0 l1Hlinwin a bridgehead situated between Volokomovka and Kupiansk on the River oskor. Ahhough the 55 corps was ~upposcd 10, operate unified orgall1zation';.ll[~exigcncics of war forced Arm)' Group .§p}llh to disperse its clcmcnlsintoditJcrelllajlas:'

Das Reich Wa~3l(?-(jh;t SS division 10 reach the front. Arril·ing';n the middle of January, the Der "'iihres.fcJil~lent was in the area before the olher dements of the dh·ision and immediately went 10 work ''If.lillSI uic Soviet war machine. W("st of d1C


'/ ~,0;":~~s/~

JJ if the), were about to achieve a breakthrough at IV tanks bringing up Ihe rear dnring Ihe operation to

Voroshilovgrad. To prevent such a disaster for th", retake Kharkov in early 1943. Note the divisional 'll)'mbol

~l::~~~:S~:~~~i~~o~~ ~;t~;,::::l~:~ ;~~I~~\\:~:'~;.~>~ :_on th" rear of the lank resembling an inverted pi.

~;~p:~I:~:r}~r::te:;~rOl~:r~akofbf"lt~j;(;~~:;~'~ ~~~::~:i~:~';~;tl;:;:~ ~~:::~i~~:i~:~~~tl;~~'~~lr8::.~;~nllt~

Attached 10 the 6th Panzer Di\isi9IY,t1~is banle group addition, several depleted German units filed past the

was to aid in the defence ofjt1iJ"iown. On ZZJanuar}". SS formations. induding the 320th Division,

the SS troops marchedJZbSkm (127 miles) \0 their Hausser's troops quickly learned from the demoral-

banle 1.One and remained then: until early March.

B)' the end of the month, the main p:trt of ISS ~an~er Corps had arrived ,md was arrayed at its )~~assigned position 011 the River Oskol. While 2nd

~~)~ B~t\talion, DI'I' Fii/m,rRegiment occupied a sector close to the ri,,~r, the Deulschland Regiment covered a piece of woodland south-west of Kamenka. as well as areas ,,'eSI of Borki, Kosillka and Olo va tka. As the SS troops moved into their positions. they encountered the

ized state of these withdrawing for~;:s)hat the), would face formidable adversaries in, ~~e-s6uthern sector of

the Eastern Front. , vS;

Shortly after l<lkifil·u'p their positions along the River Osko\, i~S_~O~llanding o~cers in the SS ""!"

~1~'6~:::~~::~e~:~ ~~:l:t:~~e~;:~~r~:r;ec~~~~(~~:.~

able amount of territory, including the important cily of Kursk. The Russians were also in close pursuit of

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