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Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:12 pm
I know officially there were only 38 waffen ss divisions but i keep hearing of more. Were there more than this and if so was there a 40th.
Cheers in advance
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:17 pm
Sven, I think part of the confusion lies in the fact that at least a couple of divisions re-used numbers. I don't have anything on hand that will back me up, the more so since wssob.com is still down. Still, I'm rather confident of that statement.
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:37 pm
One could actually say there were 41 nominal Waffen-SS "divisions", at least designated thusly, if not actually at divisional strength. The divisional numbers 23, 29, and 33 were utilized twice:
23rd Waffen-Gebirgs Division der SS "Kama", the second Bosnian Muslim division, was disbanded, and the number transferred to the 23rd SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier Division "Nederland";
29th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS, the former Kaminski Brigade of Russian renegades, was disbanded during or shortly after the Warsaw Uprising, and the number transferred to the Italian 29th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS; and
33rd Waffen-Kavallerie Division der SS, a scratch Hungarian formation, was wiped out in Budapest, and so the number was transferred to the 33rd Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS "Charlemagne", the French volunteer outfit.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:55 am
Note that there NEVER was a 33. Waffen-Kavallerie Division. Instead, there was a proposal to form a 33. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier Division out of the Hungarian Heimwacht (the home defense force of the Hungarian ethnic-German community). This never amounted to anything, but there was a lot of confusion when postwar veterans and historians first tried to sort out the history of the Hungarian ethnic-German Waffen-SS. In Hungary during the spring of 1944, the 18. SS-FPGD HW and the 22. SS-FKD MT were forming with masses of ethnic-german conscripts. Then the last available manpower was rounded up in the late summer, and used to form the 31. SS-FGD. Meanwhile, the home defense forces in Kronstadt and surrounding ethnic-German areas of Romania formed the understrength SS-Reg. Siebenburgen, and it was proposed to organize the Hungarian Heimwacht in a similar manner, as alread mentioned.
It was hard work to sort all these formations out (prime credit goes to researcher Rudolf Pencz), and along the way, the never fully formed 22. SS-FKD became confused with the 31. SS-FGD and the proposed 33. SS-FGD, creating the mythical "33. SS-KD." See Pencz's book For the Homeland (a history of the 31. SS-FGD) and his various articles in Siegrunen Magazine, and/or see my own Waffen-SS Encyclopedia for more detail on this subject.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:35 am
There is further cause for confusion. For example, in 1945 divisional units were in formation to back up the two W-SS Romanian infantry regiments. However, no number was apparently ever allocated to a potential Romanian W-SS division.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:26 am
Thanks for the additional info, Sid.
I might add something I forgot to mention--there was a "26th SS Panzer Division" briefly existing on paper during the late summer/early fall of 1944, but eventually, that "division" just disappeared, and the number "26" was taken over by the 26th Waffen-Grenadier Division der SS, a Hungarian formation (not to be confused with the earlier25th "Hunyadi" division) "formed" at least on paper in March 1945.
It's enough to give a researcher a headache, eh?
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:12 pm
Actually, the intention in the summer of 1944 was to expand the 49. and 51. SS-Panzergrenadier Brigades into the 26. & 27. SS-Panzer Divisions. But the continual heavy casualties suffered by the 17. SS-PGD GvB necessitated using those two brigades to refurbish the existing division. About this time it was also considered to expand the SS-Panzer Brigade Gross into the 28. SS-PD, but instead, the brigade was used to add replacements to the divisions of the 6. Panzerarmee prior to the Ardennes Offensive.
In the event, BTW, the #26 indeed went to the 26. WGD Hungaria, but note that the division began forming in November 1944. By late 1944, it looked improbable that a 3rd and 4th Hungarian Waffen-SS divisions could be formed anytime soon, so excess men were sent to Hungaria, which added a 3rd WGR (WGR 85) on December 24. By this stage it was a full division of roughly 20,000 men, but it had barely begun training (the hard core of Honved veterans was supplemented by recent conscripts and Levente Youth volunteers, so a lot of training was necessary). The point is that it is wrong to indicate that the 26. WGD Hungaria formed "only on paper" and only as late as March 1945.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:06 pm
Well, I said it was enough to give a researcher a headache, Marc.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:29 pm
Sorry, I mean no offense to you Paul, but I get tired of seeing information from the same outdated shallowly researched books getting quoted still in 2005. I had hoped the state of the art had advanced farther than it has, but I realize that these books are all that is typically available to many readers, who don't have the time or especially money for obtaining rare and expensive small press releases.
Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:40 pm
I was just kidding around, Marc. Fact is, I can't afford to upgrade my library as much as I'd like to, so I depend on forums like this to learn new and updated things.
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:14 am
Paul, Marc's book is available at a very reasonable price. I have a copy, and there's a lot of good information in it. It won't tell you everything about the W-SS, but it'll point you in the right direction in several areas!
Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:24 pm
Thanks, Tom, but I'm living on a fixed income and it's a struggle every month just to pay my bills, much less have money for amusements.