What did the waffen ss do?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Dave--, Apr 22, 2006.

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  1. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    I remember reading somewhere that no Waffen SS were in North Africa or Italy.
    There were four SS Divisions operating in Italy.

    Following the fall of Mussolini, Nr. 1 SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was rushed to Italy to disarm the Italian army. They were rushed east again in October 1943.

    Nr. 16 SS-Panzer Grenadier Division Reichsführer-SS assembled at Grossetto, Italy, in May 1944. Some units of this division were in action at Anzio. They fought in retreat up the coast. From August 1944 they were in action against Italian partisans. They committed several atrocities in Italy.

    Nr. 24 Waffen-Gebirgs (Karlsjäger) Division der SS from the Italian armistice were in anti-partisan operations in northern Italy up until 1945. They fought some British units in the Julian Alps in early 1945. Their main operations were against Italian partisans in 1944 with no quarter given or asked for.

    Nr. 29 Waffen Grenadier Division der SS (italienische Nr. 1) raised in September 1944 for operations against partisans, with some actions against Allied forces.

    Peter
     
  2. ourbill

    ourbill Senior Member

    There were four SS Divisions operating in Italy.

    Following the fall of Mussolini, Nr. 1 SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was rushed to Italy to disarm the Italian army. They were rushed east again in October 1943.

    Nr. 16 SS-Panzer Grenadier Division Reichsführer-SS assembled at Grossetto, Italy, in May 1944. Some units of this division were in action at Anzio. They fought in retreat up the coast. From August 1944 they were in action against Italian partisans. They committed several atrocities in Italy.

    Nr. 24 Waffen-Gebirgs (Karlsjäger) Division der SS from the Italian armistice were in anti-partisan operations in northern Italy up until 1945. They fought some British units in the Julian Alps in early 1945. Their main operations were against Italian partisans in 1944 with no quarter given or asked for.

    Nr. 29 Waffen Grenadier Division der SS (italienische Nr. 1) raised in September 1944 for operations against partisans, with some actions against Allied forces.

    Peter
    Thanks for that! It seems that they didn't get involved in set piece defence along the Gothic Line etc. Anzio was a bit of a rush job at the time then. But were acting as partisan control, a really difficult task at the best of times, though some of their actions and tactics were more suited to the Eastern Front than Italy.
    Were they involved in Rome and did they have a seperate command HQ talking orders from Hitler and not really intergrated in the Kesselring system.
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes! And I saw some pretty nasty action against some of those SS Divs,The ones we came into contact with most often were the Hitler Youth 12 SS Panzer div and in my opinion the toughest of all the SS divs.
    They were certainly our traditional enemies.

    We also saw action against the Number one Adolph Hitler Personal guards SS Panzer div... and the number two Das Reich SS panzers div amongst others.
    I also saw what happened to them inside the Falaise Pocket, where I witnessed scenes that are more in keeping with a vision of hell. Death and destruction on a massive scale.
    Sapper
     
  4. ourbill

    ourbill Senior Member

    Sapper

    Did you have anything to do with Villers-Bocage?

    I recently met a veteran Sgt Quartermaster with the Warwicks(I think) who was there not long after the action. Unfortuneately didn't get much time to talk as I would have liked, as long as it takes to drink a pint in a calm manner, and he moved house soon after. Life gets very frustrating at times! But the good news is he will be moving again back soon. I intend to have a good chat, and a pint or two when I see him.
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes I did get to Villers, and what was worse Tilly, both places were flattened, I have a photo at home of the place where I kneeled down with my Bren pinting down the street. I can still pick it out exactly.

    WE had Warwicks in our Div.The reason I got to thes places was that due to the shortage of field Company Sappers, we were sometimes loaned out, In that way we saw parts of Normandy that ordinarily we would not.
    Those places were a bloody awful mess.
    Sapper
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From my earlier post
    In the Forward to "Arnhem Spearhead" by James Sims, John Frost CB, DSO, MC ex-CO of 2 Para has this to say.


    ..the author is wrong in asserting that the soldiers who brought the wounded out of the burning building [page 85] were other than troops of the 9th SS Panzer Division. Although at times these men were a bit 'quick on the draw', during our battle they were a chilvalrous foe. Their sympathy and kindness for us wounded I, for one, will not forget.

    Once the Author is captured some of the ugly side comes out.
    ie A captured prisoner protests when a German goes through his personal items, the Para gets shot there and then.
    A Captured Dutch lad gets dragged away and shot in the head.
     
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    With regard to the Waffen SS, I wonder if I can add a new slant to this thread with the following item.

    In 1946 I found myself in post-war Trieste serving in the 4th QOH under Major George Kennard. “Loopy” as he was more commonly known, had previously been taken prisoner in Greece and had only recently re-joined the regiment.

    In 1990 I happened to read an article in the London Evening Standard that told me he had just written his biography so I wrote to him, received a delightful reply and subsequently bought a copy of his story.

    The book itself made fascinating reading but I was somewhat taken aback to read about a letter that he had written to The Times in 1970 which went as follows:

    “Sir, I had the honour to command Churchill’s old regiment, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. We were opposed to the Waffen SS for the whole of the Greek campaign.
    We found them magnificent soldiers and very fair fighters.
    History, after so many years, should be the truth.”

    As a result of that letter, he received a letter from a Colonel Shultze-Kossens who had been a Colonel in the Adolph Hitler SS Division opposing the 4th QOH in Greece and subsequently he invited Shultze-Kossens to a Regimental Reunion Dinner.

    “Loopy”s autobiography (entitled “Loopy”, of course) described in detail how he travelled to Dusseldorf to meet the man and questioned him about his time as aide to Ribbentrop at the signing of the Hitler-Stalin pact.

    Now back to the Regimental re-union......

    At the time in question I had only been to two previous post-war Regimental Re-unions and certainly did not attend the particular function that Shultze-Kossens was invited to so I was spared the decision of whether or not I was obliged to take wine with a member of the Waffen SS !.

    Finally, I am, as always, quite happy to accept Peter G’s assessment of the Waffen SS’s role in the Third Reich, particularly when it comes to those of the Waffen SS who served in Italy.
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    SS Hitler Jugend counter attack in Normandy, with German commentry.
    Keep an eye out for the RTR sweatshirt [at 1min 44 sec] on the floor, looks very "modern", didn't think they wore tops like that then. Made it feel closer in history seeing that.


    YouTube - Normandy 1944
     
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    There is a couple of frames showing what looks like a Bren Gun Carrier complete with white star and in German use.
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    1:10?
    By coincidence I've only just been reading more on German use of captured carriers.
    With the usual Prussian precision redesignated:
    'Gepanzerter MG Trager Br 731 (e)'.
    ('Br' standing for Bren, though I only learnt today that there were very few actual 'Bren' carriers in use by the time war began and most were of the 'Universal' type, still having trouble telling the real differences between 'em though...)
     
  11. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

  12. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Keep an eye out for the RTR sweatshirt [at 1min 44 sec] on the floor, looks very "modern", didn't think they wore tops like that then. Made it feel closer in history seeing that.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Attached Files:

  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Instinctively I'd say reenactor based on the tone of the film colours and the cleanliness of the blokes. The decalled lid would be unusual for the period represented too.
     

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