How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

German SS and Waffen-SS 1923-1945.
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:36 am

The poltical indoctrination was as far as I can remember was a core issue from the beginning along with anti-semitic education lessons
Andy - it was very much the same with the religious aspects of various organisation in thg period we are more familiar with.
Obviously there are aspects that would be akin such as fieldcraft etc but the degree to which the HJ 'Militarized' these activities went far beyond what Scouting was
Andy - you need to look at betwen the wars Scouting and earlier. You'd be amazed just HOW militarized Scouting was then, depending on the nation. This was EXACTLY what BAden-Powell intended. I've seen BB colour parties of older men at reunions - my dad when he was alive for one - who would put the Coldstreams to shame on a parade ground.
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by haen2 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:40 pm

There is one thing that comes to mind. reading through this thread.
In our leadership courses we were taught NEVER to expect your subordinates to do what you personally would not do. (it loses something in the translation).
Therefor, the Waffen SS had a far greater number of officers killed that any other branch of the Wehrmacht. Their officers were, (with the exception of some of course) right there with their men in the thickets of the action.
Naturally that lead to decline of quality towards the end of the war, when we got Ustufs that barely had come out of officers training, and had little or no field experience.
But yet . . . . . . . they (or at least most of them) also stuck it out to the bitter end, and as stated not necessarily for Führer, Volk. und Vaterland, but more for their unit, comrades and of course the "homeland".
I quess you had to have been there to really understand the feeling.
Oh, and before someone accuses me of sanctifying the Waffen SS. YES !!!! I admit that we had SCUM amongst the ranks, as in any other army.
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by gerhard2 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:26 pm

Matthias
I looked forward to my leave when discharged from hospital and sorry when I had to return. As for loving to fight ? after being wounded twice and once driving my bike into a bomb crater, somehow I did not think that was much fun.
Do you think I was the exception ? I can assure you my comrades felt the same.
Incidentally when you mention Partisan, I believe now they are called Insurgents, that wasn't war that was plain hatred when both sides intended to make examples of each other.
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by Hans » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:58 pm

Gerhard,

My reason for my posting was simply to show that the HJ etc was no different to other youth organisations elsewhere, not the opposite. As for small calibre weapons, nearly every kid here in Australia when I grew up either had or used his mates small calibre rifle. Mind you the kids in the Army etc. Cadet units in the schools here used the big stuff and strutted around like little Hitlers, oops Churchills. I remember baby sitting an elite schools Cadet unit. Some smart arsed little Cadet Underofficer, all of 16 or 17 started to bawl me [Sergeant at the time] out for not standing to attention when he entered "my" tent. I booted him out and he went screaming to my company commander to report my "insubordination". Result? He got kicked out of another tent and went home to mummy. No doubt like this young kid there were some little bastards in the HJ, but from what I've read and been told by people "who were there" they mostly had a good time as kids are supposed to do. Besides a little character building never hurt anyone.

cheers - Hans
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by Matthias Fritz » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:01 am

Gerhard and HaEn, i realy apriciate your answers since you have bought expiriance first hand how it was a waffen SS solder but what i know and belive is a truth i was told by my grandfahter who also expirianced everything as a proud waffen SS solder ! I also remember that he told that when the PE receved new solders ( that was during last stage of war ), they were even old or around 17 years old, anyway they didnt receve proper trening and they didnt last long, he sade that other solders simply didnt have time to take care of new ones during the battles !
Yesterday i was tooking to my uncle who was a member of HJ here in Slovenia and i ask him abouth their activities at HJ, hes answer was that he enyoy beeing a member of HJ but the mayority of ther activities were abouth learning how to be a yung solder, they were shooting, playing with their knifes, playing battles ( i belive that is not quit normal for boy scouts ) where they get wery entusiastic and the wining group receved badges and was threted with respect by other HJ members. As he remember now, they were trained for future solders, that is what he sade ! If the war woud turn diferente way he was already predisposal for SS yunker schule ! He also told me that the mayority, he included felt that they hade to fight agenst all anemis of germany, they specialy hate the comunists, russians and of course yudish nation ! They hade techings abouth purity of german rase and how to protect it ! Nacionalsocialis teaching hade priority !
I can understand why so many fealt on naci propaganda trick !

Abouth waffen SS solders i yust wont to add that i belive that their frendship and helping ichather was very high but on the other hand they were also ready to act without thinking if their actions are right or wrong, perhaps that is how real solders mast act but that was also what the wining side use ageinst them at the dahau proces !
Perhaps at the last stage of 2 WW the mayority didnt fealt their obligation towords Hitler anymore but after Hitlers suicide a lot of waffen SS solders ( specialy higher ranks ) toke their lifes, i belive that was becourse their lieder was death and their obediance was until death ! Like the SS song, "we are fighting for Hitler, we are fighting for Deutschland" !

There is another think conected to the early Waffen SS solders and that was their oposition towords christianity and how they destroyed churches and crusifixes without mercy, why such hate ?

Waffen SS vets aften stated that they were yust solders like all others and all crimes comited by the name of SS was dane by diferente branches of SS, for example Gestapo,anzac grupe, concetration camp guards, etc, but i was told that waffen SS solders offten rotade from camp guard duties to extermination unit and back to the front ( that was specaily rutin at SS Totenkopf ) in order to make the waffen SS solder abel to act in every situation adlist that was Himmlers idea !
I cant say that this was practise in all SS divisons but it sure raise some doubts !!!

So what do you think, were waffen SS solders ordinary solders like Heer solders or were they politic indoctrined SS solders prepared to do everything for nazi regim and never raise any questions ?


Please exept my apoliges if my post ofend you but i yust wont to know what was the maine force which push waffen SS solders to achive such fearlesnes and battle abilites and on the other hande comiting some wurst crimes nowing to mane kinde !?

Matthias

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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by Andy H » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:03 am

phylo_roadking wrote:
The poltical indoctrination was as far as I can remember was a core issue from the beginning along with anti-semitic education lessons
Andy - it was very much the same with the religious aspects of various organisation in thg period we are more familiar with.
Obviously there are aspects that would be akin such as fieldcraft etc but the degree to which the HJ 'Militarized' these activities went far beyond what Scouting was
Andy - you need to look at betwen the wars Scouting and earlier. You'd be amazed just HOW militarized Scouting was then, depending on the nation. This was EXACTLY what Roberts intended. I've seen BB colour parties of older men at reunions - my dad when he was alive for one - who would put the Coldstreams to shame on a parade ground.
Hi Phylo

I haven't denied that there were areas in which the two organisations were akin, but equally there were areas where they were not, and IMO these latter areas far outweigh the former. Organisations evolve over time and these two organisations certainly did but down two divergent paths. Obviously Scouting varied in different countries and maybe Scouting in Germany was much more akin to the HJ activities which the latter absorbed when Scouting was banned in Germany.

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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by Cott Tiger » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:44 am

Hans wrote:
My reason for my posting was simply to show that the HJ etc was no different to other youth organisations elsewhere, not the opposite.
Hans,

But they were very different. Very different indeed.

As Andy has pointed out, the Hitlerjugend was a paramilitary organisation of a political party. Membership was (by 1936) compulsory and it’s child members conducted active war-time duties, were used as reserve manpower-pool and as we all know were eventually used as front-line combat troops.

The Boy Scouting movement may have had some quasi-military practices and methods but to put the two organisation on an comparable footing is very wide of the mark.

Regards,

André
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:05 am

Andre -
Membership was (by 1936) compulsory
By December 1936, HJ membership stood at just over five million. That same month, HJ membership became mandatory, under the Gesetz über die Hitlerjugend law. HOWEVER - because of the number of parents who objected on behalf of their children, the legal obligation had to be re-affirmed in 1939 with the Jugenddienstpflicht and HJ membership was required even when it was opposed by the member's parents. But even by the end of the war, some 10-20% were able to avoid membership!
it’s child members conducted active war-time duties, were used as reserve manpower-pool and as we all know were eventually used as front-line combat troops.
The Home Guard's bottom age limit in the UK was "officially" 17...with literally hundreds of listed exceptions locally of 16 year-olds in the ranks. Conscription into the British Army officially began at 18 - so it can be said that the British ALSO had "children" - not of legal majority - carrying out active war-time duties. By the way - are you aware that in the last two years of the Home Guards' existence in the UK before Stand-down in December 1944...under the 1942 National Service Act membership of the Home Guard at 17 was ALSO COMPULSORY??? :wink: And in the UK there was NO 10-20% avoiding it!!!

As for the militarism of the Boy Scouts...even THEY realised it!!! And had to do something about it...

http://www.netpages.free-online.co.uk/sha/military.htm
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by ghp95134 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:43 am

Phylo,

[Probably off-topic (okay, way off-topic)]

What were (are?) "Boy Soldiers" in the British Army? Aren't they "underaged" boys who are somehow on military service? Perhaps drummers, pipers, etc.?

--Guy Power

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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by John P. Moore » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:26 pm

I don't understand why this question should really matter to anyone. I also know veterans of the "Prinz Eugen", both Reichsdeutche and Volskdeutsche. These men very smart and were good soldiers too. But the "Prinz Eugen" also had plenty of men from the other end of the spectrum. Some Waffen-SS units were considered "elite" by many at the beginning of the war. Some Waffen-SS soldiers may have still felt that they belonged to an elite division in 1945. The late war Volksgrenadier divisions from late 1944 and early 1945 could probably be considered elite units because of their special organization, staffing and equipment, but as we all know - Victory was beyond their grasp! The Germans lost! So why does it matter?

John

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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:55 pm

Guy,

Indeed. PRE-war many youngsters enlisted at the ages of 14 to 17 years, and served for long periods away from their homes. Boy Soldiers had to sign papers at enlistment to serve for 9 years with the Colours and 3 years on the Reserve. This meant that this service did not commence until he had attained the age of 18 years. A boy enlisting at 15 years therefore could not complete his terms of service until he had completed 12 years with the Colours.

Though the ubiquitous drummerboys and RN "powder monkeys" of a bygone day "visibly" belonged off the battlefield by the 20th century, don't forget where Baden-Powell's idea came from! During the Siege of Mafeking in the 2nd Boer War, Baden-Powell recruited and trained 12-15 year old boys as scouts, thus freeing up the limited number of men in the town for the actual fighting. At the outbreak of the First World War, boys as young as 13 were caught up in the overwhelming tide of patriotism and in huge numbers cheerfully enlisted for active service others to avoid the harsh and dreary lives they had working in British industry. Many were to serve in the bloodiest battles of the war, such as ex-miner Dick Trafford who took part in the Battle of Loos, and Frank Lindley who, seeking to avenge his dead brother, went over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Both were just 16. Typically many were able to pass themselves off as older men, such as George Thomas Paget, who at 17 joined a Bantam battalion (The Bantams were [email protected] recruits who came in UNDER the minimum height requirement initially, but as manpower ran out...!)in the Welsh Regiment. George died of wounds in captivity just 5 weeks after landing in France. George Mahers who served briefly in France when he was just 13 years and 9 months old. He was later sent back to England along with five other visibly under-age boys.

Regarding the HISTORY of British Army "boy soldiers" - this page details the Archive material extant about them -

http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.go ... _1795-1959


And of course in WWII children frequently fought in insurrections. During the Holocaust, Jews of all ages, including teenagers such as Shalom Yoran, participated in the Jewish resistance simply in order to survive. Many members of the youth movement Hashomer Hatzair fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. Many other anti-fascist resistance movements across Nazi-occupied Europe consisted partially of children (for example, Szare Szeregi in Poland). A number of child soldiers served in the Soviet Union's armed forces during the war; in some cases, orphans also unofficially joined the Soviet Red Army. Such children were affectionately known as "son of the regiment" (сын полка) and sometimes willingly performed military missions such as reconnaissance.
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by ghp95134 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:03 pm

Phylo,

Thank you for a succinct and informative response!

--Guy

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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:42 pm

And it's not commonly recognised outside the UK....but with the National Sevice Act of 1942...something ELSE happened to British SEVENTEEN year olds...THIS, starting in late 1943 -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevin_Boys

I have the feeling they'd have PREFERRED schlepping shells at their local AA battery...
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by Hans » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:02 pm

:D Andre,

There may have been some differences. However the aim was the same and that was/is to subvert the young to the will of the State. If Gerhard and many other members of the organisations devoted to youth eg. H.J., BDM, Boy Scouts, Jung Volk, Boys Brigades, School Cadet Units etc,. etc. are amiss in their appreciation of what was/is going on then of course I have been lied to, and you Andre of course are right. I can't help thinking however that I am right in remembering my primary & secondary education here in the land down under in the 50s which relied heavily on racism and anti Judaism. Then there was my military service in the 60s which certainly tried to convince me that if you were Asian you were somehow less than a human being. Actualy I was quite dismayed at what they all tried to teach me and luckily had my German mother and Polish stepfather to deprogram me. Incidently my mother belonged to a Catholic Youth Group and never had pressure put on her to join anything else. Then again the photos could also be a figment.

Then again, my university lecturers must also have lied to me and thus alas my many years of tertiary education have been wasted on me and my fellows. Damn, and here I am a British subject, and thought I knew it all, by divine right.

Ah well, really the only thing I ever learned is that I know nothing, but at least nothing is something, therefore ....... .

Back to the tons of paper - why I bother I don't know. Bound to be all a fabrication.

- Hans
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Re: How elite were waffen SS solders at the last stage of 2 WW?

Post by gerhard2 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:49 pm

Mathias:
As for your question:
"So what do you think, were waffen SS solders ordinary solders like Heer solders or were they politic indoctrined SS solders prepared to do everything for nazi regim and never raise any questions ?"

I can only speak for myself and as far as I was concerned the only time we were considered fanatic, criminal Nazis was in the POW camp. Before that in the East as well West we were the same as anybody else, the one difference I noticed was age. We were generally younger and maybe more patriotic but what can you expect from us who grew up in Hitler Germany. Our political indoctrination we received while growing up, certainly not in the SS. We were far to busy training, why we had no square bashing. The idea was to make us into fighters not parade soldiers, so we were told. And we did as we were told because our officers set the example.

"There is another think conected to the early Waffen SS solders and that was their oposition towords christianity and how they destroyed churches and crusifixes without mercy, why such hate ?"

Where did you hear that? Just another horror story, one of many. Read my quote at the end. We thought Goebbels was far out but compared to the Allied PR people he was more like a novice.
Gerhard
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