best Waffen-SS Division?

German SS and Waffen-SS 1923-1945.

best Waffen-SS Division?

Post by Peter » Sun Dec 29, 2002 10:53 am

What was the best division within the Waffen-SS and please why?

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Post by Timo » Sun Dec 29, 2002 11:39 am

Hehehe :D
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Post by Abwehr » Sun Dec 29, 2002 8:08 pm

Best as in most accomplished combat record?

In that case, "Das Reich" and "Wiking" both had exemplary careers and took part in epic battles from Modlin to Moscow, the Mius to Mortain, Charkow to Cherkassy. (sorry, had to use non-standard spelling of "Kharkov" to make the alliteration work out ;)).

Just a step down would be "Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" and "Totenkopf." They had many great successes (and several less-than-successes) but simply not as many as the aforementioned divisions.

Another step down are "Hohenstaufen", "Frundsberg", and "Hitlerjugend" - the other SS panzer divisions were fierce fighters but were simply not around long enough to gain the elan of the classic divisions.

Not to be forgotten are the numerous panzergrenadier divisions, "Polizei", and even the SS gebirgs divisions "Nord" and "Prinz Eugen", all of whom made do with less than ideal equipment and supply to great effect.

But by and large, most Waffen-SS divisions after 17 ("Götz von Berlichen") were rarely elite and, in truth, rarely even divisions in the proper sense of the word.

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Post by Sebastian Pye » Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:34 am

what about 11th Nordland?


Sebastian: what about Nordland?

Post by Peter » Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:02 am

Sebastian: what about Nordland? Is Nordland your 'favorite' . If so, can you explane us why ??



Post by Peter » Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:36 am

I think that its not completely fair to judge the combat skills of a Division on how long he had seen combat. In that case LSAH and Das Reich, as they were the longest in existance would come out as the best. But is this fair.
Do not forget that all Divisions received a lot of losses during the war, so the 'Das Reich' that took part in 1941 did only exist by that name in 1944. How many men (or %) of forinstance Das Reich were still with the Division in 1944 since 1941?? I expect not much. So its hard to give credit to a division for its action during the whole war. It is also difficult to compair a battle of the 1940's in France with those of Normandy in 1944.
I think if you want to compair a Division you must compair it within the same period of the war under the same battle conditions.
So lets take Normandy: LSAH, Das Reich, Frundsberg, Hohenstaufen, HJ, Götz von Berlichen.... Tehn we can compare them on almost equal terms.
I think that Hitlerjugend was then the best. Realise that the majority was very young. If you also realise that these boy's, had no combate experince at all, withstood attacks of battle harded Divisions in Normandy where the Germans had no air nor mobilit superiority such as Das Reich and LSAH had in 1941/1942 and all Division received the same fate....
So the battle hardened LSAH got the same fate as HJ with no experience at all. In that case HJ did more than could be expected from them.

(Sorry but English is not my basic language so I hope that those who read this can understand what I am trying to say..., if not let me know)

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Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » Mon Dec 30, 2002 11:32 am

The Hitlerjugend Division certainly fought very well in Normandy, but it is worth noting that its offensive operations in the first days of the invasion weren't conducted especially well, because due to time and fuel shortages, the division had never conducted large scale unit exercises.

Meanwhile, the Leibstandarte had only begun to properly rebuild during May 1944, so as it joined combat in Normandy in pieces from the end of June, its performance was considered not up to previous standards due to the large numbers of very young men who had not finished training.

The point that the stages of a division's career must be considered is well taken, the Totenkopf Division of early 1943 was substantially different from that of 1940, and the 1943 version was largely destroyed before the unit was rebuilt again during June 1944.

Many units suffer from poor coverage in any language, but as more information becomes available, it seems clear that that the SS-Polizei Division, Nord, Prinz Eugen, RFSS and Horst Wessel all developed into good units. GvB suffered from constant overwhelming casualties, which prevented the cohesion necessary for superior performance. But Nordland delivered consistently good results, and the Nederland Brigae/Division was only a bit behind in its service.

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Post by Mark C Yerger » Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:54 pm

Best is relative as well as an opinion, probably better to say have most interest in studying. Performance depends on leadership, equipment + training, scenario, the opposition and soldier’s luck. I’m sure units from all countries had exemplary moments worthy of historical status. Units that were less than spectacular in one situation would have excelled at a different place or time.

Defensive engagements are never as notable as offensive ones, so some are not considered for that reason for the short duration of their existence. Awards are based to some degree on the superiors motivated to take the time to recommend them (and length of time the unit existed for the number of awards).

That just being my opinion, the units I have most interest in are:

Das Reich
Kavallerie Brigade and Florian Geyer
Polizei Division
Latvian and Estonian Divisions


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Post by rayman » Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:32 pm

Hey Mark,
Good to hear someone mention the Latvian SS divisions. I like them a lot too. They earned the deep respect of other Geman units in their area of operations by their sheer determination (especially in defense!). There was a book written on Latvian units "Latvian Legion". It's VERY hard to find now - I have kept my eyes peeled, but haven't seen any for sale for some time.

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Best Division

Post by Wolfgang » Thu Jan 02, 2003 1:17 am

I would vote Nordland :D Good record in combat, More medals than most the other Div.'s of the late war period. Plus they were the last men fighting in Berlin in 45. I would have to say because of their discipline. Even agianst overwhelming odds. They fought until ordered to hold fire. Afterwards they even had to fight their way back to American line to surrender if they were luckey.
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Post by jaegermeister » Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:18 am

I think the best foreign divisions are the Latvian 15th an 19th division because they got the half of the Iron crosses that were given to foreign volunteers. It was 12 out of 24 iron crosses.
Dont forget the Latvian Legion!

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Post by jaegermeister » Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:29 am

The 19th Division held the Kurland pot against the Russian army from the autumn 1944 until the day of German capitulation. They didn't let the Russians, who were 3 times stronger to take the last piece of Latvia. They did withstand the attack of 100 divisions, and the losses of russians where much bigger than the losses of latvians and german. And even when the Germany did capitulate those men joined the partisan movement to fight against communism.
Dont forget the Latvian Legion!

heinz kling

A lot of non classic Waffen SS divisions were good

Post by heinz kling » Wed Feb 05, 2003 5:25 pm

That include those staffed with Volksdeutche and West Europeans, like Nederland, Langemarck, Wallonie, Maria Theresa. Other East European/Balkan divisons were only suitable for security duites (except the Baltic ones) and tended to disintegrate once their homelands were lost to the commies/Red Army. The latter were also the ones that gave the Waffen SS a bad rep in terms of atrocities.

heinz kling

Well, even Hitler rated the HJ higher than his beloved LAH

Post by heinz kling » Wed Feb 05, 2003 5:34 pm

Hitlerjugend is the best division in the Invasionfront, compared to the other SS divisions there (LAH, DR, GvB, Frundsberg and Hohenstaufen).

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What’s your standard?

Post by renwei » Sat Mar 01, 2003 1:29 am

Hi, guys
How do you rank these divisions? According to their KC holder’s number? 2ss and 5ss has won more KCs than 1ss and 3ss, so they rank first?

If I have to choose one between LSLAH and Wiking, I would prefer LSLAH. 1ss has seen more bloody battles than 5ss: Kursk, Kharkov, Normandy, and Bulge. 1ss has also contributed cadre to 9ss and 12ss. It is the first ss division indeed.


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