ϟϟ-Panzergrenadier-Division „Leibstandarte ϟϟ“

SS-Untersturmführer Werner Wolff
Panzergrenadier of the Leibstandarte SS
The desecration of the graves of Waffen-SS men killed during the January 1943 battles, and the mutilation of the bodies, made the Leibstandarte SS very loath to show any quarter to captured Soviet commissars. Many captured commissars or senior Soviet officers were executed as a matter of routine. An alleged massacre took place on March 13 1943, at the Soviet 69th Army Hospital in Kharkov. Leibstandarte troops are supposed to have killed some hundred wounded Soviet soldiers, but the factual reliability of these Soviet records has occasionally been questioned. On the other hand, however, special German security units and Einsatzgruppen followed behind the victorious German divisions. An estimated 10,000 men and women perished during the German short reign of control in the city of Kharkov. Left image: a photo of SS-Untersturmführer and adjutant Werner Wolff taken by SS-Kriegsberichter Max Büschel, probably taken in connection with the award of the Knight's Cross on August 7 1943. He served with SS-Sturmbannführer Joachim Peiper's SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 2 Leibstandarte SS during the battles for Kharkov. Peiper recommended Wolff for his actions after he stopped a Soviet tank attack. Wolff destroyed one tank single handedly and refused to give ground to the Soviet attack. In November 1943 Wolff was shot through the thigh and was due to have the leg amputated. However, when the medical orderly arrived, he drew his pistol and warned the orderly he was not losing his leg, even firing a warning shot into the ground. According to German author and Knight's Cross Holder Walther-Peer Fellgiebel, Werner Wolff was seriously wounded in the head by shrapnel whilst in the turret of his Panther during Operation Spring Awakening in Hungary on March 20 1945. He died in the military hospital of Gotzendorf an der Leitha in Lower Austria on March 29 1945. Right image: a Panzergrenadier of the Leibstandarte SS takes aim over cover with his MP-40 submachine gun during the Third Battle of Kharkov. U.S. National Archives and Bundesarchiv. Fair use.

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