History Community ~ All Empires Homepage


This is the Archive on WORLD Historia, the old original forum.

 You cannot post here - you can only read.

 

Here is the link to the new forum:

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Forum LockedMilitary Effectiveness of the Waffen SS

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Brian J Checco View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar
Eli Manning

Joined: 30-Jan-2007
Status: Offline
Points: 926
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Military Effectiveness of the Waffen SS
    Posted: 19-Nov-2007 at 20:27
Everyone already knows about the atrocities committed by the SS during WWII, and this thread is not intended to be a discussion thereof. The SS also had a fierce reputation as soldiers, not just as terrorists. Apparently other soldiers feared to face them in battle, as they were rumored to be fanatical soldiers and expertly trained; but were they crack troops after the fashion of the Afrika Corps, the Falschrmjaeger, or the Panzergrenadiers, or just overly-glorified Gestapo? Were they effective in the field? Could they hold their own against crack Russian, British and American forces? What tactics did they use, how were they deployed, what sort of mobility or armor did they operate with, what was their battlefield designation? 
Back to Top
Justinian View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar
King of Númenor

Joined: 11-Nov-2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Nov-2007 at 20:59
Wow, a lot of questions.  It really does depend on which divisions you are speaking about.  Some of the Waffen SS divisions were just as good as the wehrmacht.  Others less so.  The fanaticism of the Waffen SS I believe comes from the battle of berlin where the SS consisted of brainwashed boys (~14-15 years old) using grenade launchers against soviet tanks and fighting quite bitterly to the end.  Also from some of the more fanatical SS formations that did fight the "holy war" in the east with more zeal than the regular army tended to. 
 
The SS panzer divisions I would say were expertly trained and some of the best of the SS divisions, (the SS panzer corps were the strategic reserve for germany in the east and later on the western front as well) on par with the wehrmacht. 
 
As for how they fought, again depends on which divisions and where they fought, (compare ones fighting in france or russia to the balkans) overall they fought in the same manner as the regular army. 
 
Not sure what you mean by battlefield designation, please forgive the ignorance.Embarrassed
 
The idea that others feared to face them was mainly because the SS was also the best supplied when it came to equipment and usually fresh coming to the battle as the counter-attack spearhead.  Not to mention the zeal among some of its formations for the fight.
 
There were upwards of 35 SS divisions, with nearly a million men having fought in the SS at some point during the war. 


Edited by Justinian - 19-Nov-2007 at 21:04
"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann

Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Nov-2007 at 22:08
nah there were not even 30 divisions at one time, especially not full strenght. toward the end of the war a lot of divisions were set up but only existed on paper and were sometimes not even 1000 men strong. the elite divisions like armoured divisions were feared because they had the latest equippment, but they were not necessarily the best trained soldiers of the wehrmacht.
Back to Top
pekau View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Atlantean Prophet

Joined: 08-Oct-2006
Location: Korea, South
Status: Offline
Points: 3344
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2007 at 00:34
Few and divided divisions, and training superiority was often overexaggerated. They initially accepted men who were at least 6 feet tall for psychological impact... and they were well-armed and fed. I don't think there were any special training stuff... it's just that professional soldiers around the world under the influence of Nazi Germany simply were added into Hitler's idea of supersoldiers.
 
A little trivia. Waffen SS was divided into two groups. One who were loyal German men, and others consisting foreign soldiers with loose loyalty to Nazi ideology. Ideology and loyalty was favored rather than military skills... 
     
   
Join us.
Back to Top
Justinian View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain
Avatar
King of Númenor

Joined: 11-Nov-2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1405
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2007 at 01:20
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

nah there were not even 30 divisions at one time, especially not full strenght. toward the end of the war a lot of divisions were set up but only existed on paper and were sometimes not even 1000 men strong. the elite divisions like armoured divisions were feared because they had the latest equippment, but they were not necessarily the best trained soldiers of the wehrmacht.
My apologies for not explaining myself.  I meant that there were upwards of 35 Waffen SS divisions that had existed at one time or another by the end of the war.  Not all at the same time.
 
Same goes for the almost a million men fighting in the Waffen SS; almost a million men had fought in the Waffen SS at some point during the war, not all ~900,000 of them at the same time.  Hope that clarifies things. 
 
Correction:  there were almost a million men in the Waffen SS in 45'.  I knew what I had said didn't seem right. 


Edited by Justinian - 30-Nov-2007 at 23:41
"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann

Back to Top
Challenger2 View Drop Down
Baron
Baron
Avatar

Joined: 28-Apr-2007
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 473
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2007 at 13:22
Originally posted by Brian J Checco Brian J Checco wrote:

Everyone already knows about the atrocities committed by the SS during WWII, and this thread is not intended to be a discussion thereof. The SS also had a fierce reputation as soldiers, not just as terrorists. Apparently other soldiers feared to face them in battle, as they were rumored to be fanatical soldiers and expertly trained; but were they crack troops after the fashion of the Afrika Corps, the Falschrmjaeger, or the Panzergrenadiers, or just overly-glorified Gestapo? Were they effective in the field? Could they hold their own against crack Russian, British and American forces? What tactics did they use, how were they deployed, what sort of mobility or armor did they operate with, what was their battlefield designation? 
 
I suppose as the Nazi "elite" they got the newest, best equipment first.
 
In the period 1939-41 the German Army had a low opinion of their abilities but their experience in Russia and elswhere, where their superior mobility and fanaticism made them a "fire brigade", to be sent into the heaviest fighting, honed their tactical skills. By 1944 I'd say they were amongst the best troops the Germans had.
 
As regards battlefield designation, the SS had just about every troop type from Panzer Division, through Panzergrenadier to Cavalry.     
Back to Top
deadkenny View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Status: Offline
Points: 994
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2007 at 19:28
Many, but certainly not all, of the Waffen SS division were 'elite' formations. In this sense they got the pick of replacements, equipment etc.  For example, many 'regular' divisions were still using older tank models, in some instances even old captured French tanks, whereas the SS divisions would regularly get the latest and best models (Panthers and Tigers).  One shouldn't equate the Waffen SS divisions with other SS units that were simply committers of  atrocities and not real combat units at all.  Of course there were other elite formations were not SS (Luftwaffe, Wehrmacht) 

Edited by deadkenny - 29-Nov-2007 at 19:28
Back to Top
ambiorix View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 15-Nov-2005
Status: Offline
Points: 0
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ambiorix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 00:35
mecahnization and equipment actually differs with what division you are talking about, in general the german SS divisions, as well as many such as 11. SS Nordland were among the best equipped, others, however, were equipped somewhat like the army, these were usually later formations of foreign volunteers, try SS Galizia division for an example, they were not even totally mechanized (or really very near totally).
 
I must stress, as deadkenny said, The WAFFEN SS is NOT the same as the allgemeine SS who were the committers of atrocities (primarily), the Waffen SS were combat soldiers.
 
on the subject of fanaticism, one Heer veteran i talked to said the SS were often very much a fanatical group, and that some men in the Heer regarded them as being deangerously fanatical, however, another one I talked to said they didnt really strike him as too different, so i guess they varied.  just my 2 cents
John S.
Back to Top
beorna View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Dec-2007
Location: Germany
Status: Offline
Points: 552
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 08:42
A lot of correct things are said till now. If we speak of SS we have to recognize that there in not one SS. The SS is the "Schutzstaffel". That can be translated as Guardians. When it was founded, the men who could join the SS were strenghtly selected. They usually needed to be blond, blue eyed and tall and had to have an Arian passport, that means their ancestors, I don't know yet exactly, untill 1750 had to be German. Himmler tried to enlarge them to be a 2nd Wehrmacht, because a lot of Nazis didn't trust them. During the war the SS increased. There were people from all over Europe, there was even a muslim SS-Division. But this mass of soldiers didn't lift the quality up. There was a Polizeigrenadierdivision e.g. too. Here were police men forced to do their duty. At the end of the war the ss drafted soldiers from the young aged people.
 
The SS usually got the best material. But this wasn't the most important point. They were very encouraged, especially the officers. They led their troops from the top and not from behind and were more open for modern tactics. But unfortunately for the ss leading from top was the reason that ss officers had a very high rate of casualties. That weakend the SS troops by the years as well.
 
Then there was the Verfügungs-SS. They served in the KZ's. They were different to the Waffen-SS but usually men from both parts could serve in the other. When ss men were hurt or so they could be send to the Verfügungs-SS e.g. In this SS there served e.g. criminals who were let free.
 
I look for some more data.


Edited by beorna - 19-Dec-2007 at 10:43
Back to Top
Sparten View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Totalitarian Iconoclast

Joined: 18-Mar-2006
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 5009
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 11:32

I think they were as good or as bad as any Heer division. Pound for pound the troops of the Afrika Korps were better, their divisions were amongst the best the Germans indeed anyone ever fielded, 21st and 15th Panzer. In the case of the Waffen SS, their reputation I think was unintended; if captured they were likely to be shot outright, so they typically perferred  death to surrender for them their was no difference.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
Back to Top
Challenger2 View Drop Down
Baron
Baron
Avatar

Joined: 28-Apr-2007
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 473
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 16:29
Originally posted by ambiorix ambiorix wrote:

I must stress, as deadkenny said, The WAFFEN SS is NOT the same as the allgemeine SS who were the committers of atrocities (primarily), the Waffen SS were combat soldiers.



I think you'll find waffen SS  committed it's fair share of atrocities; Leibstandarte at Wormhout and again later at Malmedy, Totenkopf at Le Paradis and Das Reich at Oradour are the three that instantly come to mind in the Western theatre. I have no doubt there were many many more in the East.
Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Dec-2007 at 20:10
yes thats true, it should also be noted that Heer units alike committed actrocities. what beorna wanted to say, i guess, is that the Waffen SS was primary a combat formation and not one of ethnic cleansing. however from what i remember the SS-Verfügungstruppe was the initial name of the Waffen SS, not the KZ guards. not sure what they were called specifically but the SS units intended for ethnic cleansing were called Einsatzgruppen.
Back to Top
beorna View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Dec-2007
Location: Germany
Status: Offline
Points: 552
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Dec-2007 at 10:21
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

yes thats true, it should also be noted that Heer units alike committed actrocities. what beorna wanted to say, i guess, is that the Waffen SS was primary a combat formation and not one of ethnic cleansing. however from what i remember the SS-Verfügungstruppe was the initial name of the Waffen SS, not the KZ guards. not sure what they were called specifically but the SS units intended for ethnic cleansing were called Einsatzgruppen.
 
You're right, I'm sorry. I didn't care about these theme for long. The Verfügungs-SS is the later Waffen-SS (since 1940). What I meant is the Totenkopf-SS. They looked for the KZs. They started in 1933 under SS-Standartenführer (colonel) Eicke in Dachau. 1934 became Eike, as Brigadeführer (brigadier general), inspector of the KZs and leader of the Totenkopf-SS. So these parts were no longer under the control of the Allgemeine SS (common SS). These troops did not only serve in the KZs. They joined the occupation of Austria, the Sudetenland and of CSR. They educated the members of the Allgemeine SS as well. When the war started about 40.000 reservists from the Allgemeine SS were drafted by the Totenkopf-SS. 6.500 man from the Totenkopf-SS were installed as SS-Totenkopf-Division under SS-Gruppenführer Eicke. A short time before the war with the SU the Totenkopf-troops were included in the Waffen-SS. For the KZs they use members of the Allgemeine SS. When the casualties increased, the most members were send to the front. Members of the SA, wounded soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS were send to the KZ troops.
 
The SS was founded to protect Hitler and other prominent Nazis. It was a small group during a lot of years. But in January 1933 it increased to 50.000 men. That wasn't good for the high standard. So a new unit was created, the Leibstandarte. There was a Politische Bereitschaft troop , too. So beside of the Allgemeine SS there were three other units. They weren't stronger than an Inf.Reg in 1934. They weren't good educated in warfare and had no good equipment. After the Röhm-Putsch it changed. In march 1935 he ordered the Verfügungs-SS as fighting division, but the 1st division was installed 1939. After the retiring of Fritsch and Blomberg Hitler made the SS to a combat unit beside the Wehrmacht. There were about 25.000 men for the Verfügungs-SS in 1939. In 1940 there were about 150.000 SS men, 1942 about 200.000 an d1943 about 350.000 men. The totenkopf-SS men had to be taller than 1,70 and those of the Verfügungs-SS and of Leibstandarte had to be between 17 and 22 and taller than 1,70, sometimes 1,68. Only the Elite-Leibstandarte was searching for men taller than 1,80. There were a lot of voluntaries for the Waffen-SS but not for the Totenkopf-SS, so old men of the Allgemeine SS were commanded to them.
 
Before the war the SS soldiers for the Leibstandarte had to be taller than 1,80m, the other had to be taller than 1,78m, untill 1936 there was no man allowed to join the SS with a plombed tooth. Later there were two Kosak-Cavalery-Divisions, one East-Turkish unit, a Caucasian unit, a Serbian Voluntary corps, an Indish Legion, a British Free corps, romanian and bulgarian Regiments, a norvegian batallion, a lethuanian and aestonian grenadier division, the SS-Mountain-division Skanderbeg and Kama from Albania and Croatia, they were later transformed to the SS voluntary-Grenadier division Nederland, there were to hungarian divisions, to from Belgium, two Russian and  one french. But sometimes the name division is not really correct, because they just had the amount of regiments.
Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Dec-2007 at 19:59
Originally posted by beorna beorna wrote:

Before the war the SS soldiers for the Leibstandarte had to be taller than 1,80m, the other had to be taller than 1,78m, untill 1936 there was no man allowed to join the SS with a plombed tooth. Later there were two Kosak-Cavalery-Divisions, one East-Turkish unit, a Caucasian unit, a Serbian Voluntary corps, an Indish Legion, a British Free corps, romanian and bulgarian Regiments, a norvegian batallion, a lethuanian and aestonian grenadier division, the SS-Mountain-division Skanderbeg and Kama from Albania and Croatia, they were later transformed to the SS voluntary-Grenadier division Nederland, there were to hungarian divisions, to from Belgium, two Russian and  one french. But sometimes the name division is not really correct, because they just had the amount of regiments.


actually only a few of those foreigners you mentioned were part of the Waffen SS but the Heer. only in 1945 it was descided that all foreign contingents were to be part of the Waffen SS. the Heer had troops from Cossacks, Turkic people, Uralic people, Caucasian people, Russians, Croats, Spanish, Indians and Arabs. as for serbians, i've never heard that Serbians officially were part of the Wehrmacht other than in local auxiliary troops. foreign SS troops were mostly from benelux, france, scandinavia, italy, hungary, baltics, bosnia, albania, ukraine and Belorussia and a minor contingent from Romania. not sure if the british Free corps was Heer or Waffen SS.
Back to Top
beorna View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Dec-2007
Location: Germany
Status: Offline
Points: 552
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 09:06
It was the Serbische SS-Freiwilligenkorps, but you're right there were only a few Serbians. There was also the British Freecorps. From 38 SS-Divisions in 1945 there was no one without foreigner and 19 Divisions had more foreigners than Germans. About 500.000 foreigners served in the SS during WWII. About 125.000 of these came from Western Europe, most of these were voluntaries. About 60.000 of these were commanded 1943 from the Wehrmacht to the SS, or were asked to change a life as recruted workers with such of a soldier. Among the western Europeans were 50.000 Dutch, 40.000 people from Belgium (Vlamish and Wallons), 20.000 from France, from Danmark and Norway about 6.000 and 1200 from Switzerland, Sveden, Luxemburg, Danmark (500), Britain. About 1000 finnish soldiers served until 1943 in the SS.
 
In eastern Europe served 42000 Volksdeutsche from Hungary, about 20.000 from Serbia, 54000 from Romania and 17000 from Croatia.
There wer about 20.000 voluntaries from Estonia and Lethuania. There was a muslim-division wich was planned with 26000 men, but  I don't know hom many served laster. In 1943 there were 100.000 voluntary Ukrainians, but just only 30.000 joined the SS.
 
In 1941 the Indian Legion was build, with EIGHT men, it became bigger as a fact of british POWs until a maximum of 2000 soldiers. The Britisch Freecorps started in 1944 under John Amery, a son of one of Churchill's ministers. There were about 50 voluntaries, but the corps was not more than an instrument of propaganda.
 
The motivation of these soldiers was very different. It was sometimes the believing to the Nazi movement, a lot of adventures, hopeless people, people who hated the Bolschewists or the Serbians and so on.


Edited by beorna - 21-Dec-2007 at 09:07
Back to Top
Roberts View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain

aka axeman

Joined: 22-Aug-2005
Location: Riga
Status: Offline
Points: 1140
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 10:57
Originally posted by beorna beorna wrote:

There wer about 20.000 voluntaries from Estonia and Lethuania.

You probably mean Latvia instead of "Lethuania".
In total there were around 80000 Latvians and 30000 Estonians fighting for Nazi Germany in SS units.
Back to Top
beorna View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Dec-2007
Location: Germany
Status: Offline
Points: 552
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Dec-2007 at 11:15
Yes, sorry axeman. Latvia.
Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Dec-2007 at 19:58
Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:


You probably mean Latvia instead of "Lethuania".
In total there were around 80000 Latvians and 30000 Estonians fighting for Nazi Germany in SS units.


wasn't there also a Lithuanian SS?
Back to Top
Roberts View Drop Down
Chieftain
Chieftain

aka axeman

Joined: 22-Aug-2005
Location: Riga
Status: Offline
Points: 1140
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Dec-2007 at 00:15
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:


You probably mean Latvia instead of "Lethuania".
In total there were around 80000 Latvians and 30000 Estonians fighting for Nazi Germany in SS units.


wasn't there also a Lithuanian SS?

No, though I don't know why.
Back to Top
Challenger2 View Drop Down
Baron
Baron
Avatar

Joined: 28-Apr-2007
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 473
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Challenger2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 17:45
Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:

Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

Originally posted by axeman axeman wrote:


You probably mean Latvia instead of "Lethuania".
In total there were around 80000 Latvians and 30000 Estonians fighting for Nazi Germany in SS units.


wasn't there also a Lithuanian SS?

No, though I don't know why.


No Baltic Germans in Lithuania as opposed to Latvia and Estonia? Just a thought.


Edited by Challenger2 - 31-Dec-2007 at 17:46
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.