The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

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John P. Moore
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The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by John P. Moore » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:13 pm

I have read this book and thoroughly studied the content. Here is the review that I recently posted on Amazon.

"The text of this book is well-written and the English translations of the many German documents cited in the book is excellent. It is an easy book to read. This 160-page book provides an abbreviated history of the division from its roots in the riding schools of the 1930s to its actions in Poland in 1939, the June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, reorganizations and later combat in Russia through its end in Budapest in 1945. I did not see very many new previously unpublished photos and many of the photos in the book suffered from low resolution and darkness.

The notion of SS Cavalry gallantly charging across the plains of Russia to do battle with the enemy is a truly romantic concept. However, the truth concerning the SS-Kavellerie Brigade’s actions is far from the images of glory that have been created about this formation since the beginning of its actions. One has to drill deeply down from the code words in documents, SS propaganda and post-war revisionist writing to get at the truth.

Unfortunately, the author appears to have limited his research to only those sources that provide a favorable image of the SS cavalry. This book completely overlooks the deliberate mass murder of tens of thousands of Jewish men, women and children in a manner akin to the Einsatzgruppen. One example is the murder of 7,000 – 8,000 Jews in the town of Pinsk in August 1941 by SS-Kavallerie Rgt.2. The Ritterkreuzträger Gustav Lombard reported that his SS-Kavallerie Rgt.1 executed 6,450 Jews and 411 Red Army men up to 11 August 1941. I don’t understand how a serious writer could overlook these atrocities while focusing on “anti-partisan” actions and battle with “looters”. However, the repeated references to partisans in this book and in German after-action reports can be better understood by taking note of this comment made by Gustav Lombard in September 1941 at a joint-service anti-partisan conference hosted by Herres Gruppe Mitte, “The Jew is the Partisan!” These crimes and many others are established by the extensive records of investigations and judicial action of the post-war German legal system against leading SS cavalry members maintained by the Bundesarchiv Aussenstelle, Ludwigsburg. There is no indication that the author consulted the records of that archive.

The widespread atrocities and brutality committed by nearly all members of the SS cavalry, even cooks and clerks, during the early part of the war reflects so negatively on the on this unit’s membership to make them completely unworthy of any future glory. Yet, throughout the book the author constantly attempts to glorify these murderers with his prose. He even refers to the “Tragic End of Herman Fegelein”. What could be tragic about the death of a mass murderer?

The effort that the author put into this book was clear, but it could have been so much better if a more objective approach had been taken and such excellent references as these being consulted,

Pieper, Henning Fegelein’s Horsemen and Genocidal Warfare, 2014
Cüppers, M., Wegbereiter der Shoah: die Waffen-SS, der Kommandostab
Reichsführer-SS und die Judenvernichtung 1939 – 1945, 2005

I do not recommend this book because it lacks objectivity, appears to be poorly researched and does not present a complete story of the SS cavalry."

The doctoral version of Henning Pieper`s highly recommended book can be downloaded here –

http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/2911/1/Dissertation.pdf

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Massimiliano Afiero
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Re: The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by Massimiliano Afiero » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:17 am

Preface of the book

Preface

The Florian Geyer Division crystallized around it all that represented the worst as well as the best of the SS. The worst related to the massacres it committed during the summer and autumn of 1941, and the best because of the valor it demonstrated in battle when called to the front line. The apogee of its military story ended tragically amidst the ruins of Budapest, an apogee that took the form of a waning sunset. And it was thus that its most important battle was also its last battle, a useless sacrifice that heralded the apocalypse of the Third Reich. The battles of Toropez during the terrible winter of 1941-1942, however, should not be forgotten, nor should those that were fought west of Orel during the course of 1943 nor on the plains of Hungary in the autumn of 1944, defensive battles which saw the division fight with steadfast tenacity. It is therefore indispensable that its history be told in order to shed light on some little known episodes of the Second World War.

Max

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Re: The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by Massimiliano Afiero » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:22 am

It is not true that the book does not mention the crimes committed by SS cavalry units on the Eastern front, perhaps they were not deepened, but it was certainly not the main objective of the books to discuss these difficult arguments, having little space (pages) available . I'm pleased that Mister Moore has finally read my book, but I'm sorry to know that he thinks that in the book the Knights SS is exalted, only the story of the division from the strictly military point of view has been told. Then everyone is free to see or read what he wants.

Max

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Massimiliano Afiero
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Re: The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by Massimiliano Afiero » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:06 am

Regarding the employment of SS units in the Pripjet marshes, I would advise you to read:

"Unsere Ehre heisst Treue", by Europa Verlag Wien, edited in 1965.

Max

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Re: The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by Massimiliano Afiero » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:34 am

Last comment: I would like to acknowledge the comments made by Mr. Moore in his review of this book, and put them in what I consider to be a more proper perspective. I would invite Mr. Moore and any other readers to refer to the Preface and my own Introduction, in which it is clearly stated that the Division engaged in massacres and the Division had a troubled history and that its actions are worthy of condemnation. I am in no way an apologist for the abominable actions of this Division. It is true that I chose not to delve deeply into the details of these horrific crimes; my focus was meant to be on the combat operations of the Division. The atrocities committed by “Florian Geyer” are amply documented in other works. My intent was neither to glorify nor present a “favorable image” of the Division, but rather to accurately chronicle its combat activities and achievements.

Max

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Re: The 8th Waffen-SS Cavalry Division

Post by John W. Howard » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:07 pm

This thread is indicative of what I used to love about Feldgrau: a meaningful and polite discussion between two members about an issue. I am much better informed about the subject than I was before. Thank you. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

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