Classic Waffen-SS divisions

Waffen-SS troops at attention
SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Das Reich
The so-called classic SS Divisions – Leibstandarte SS, Das Reich, Totenkopf and Wiking – began receiving small quantities of ethnic German replacements by the spring of 1942. The classic divisions were able to maintain a degree of quality, and the divisions reached a comparable level, because their experienced cadre carried on the traditions established in the pre-war SS-VT. The Waffen-SS were created to act as elite formations for use at the decisive points of the front. This became true of the first six Waffen-SS divisions, as well as the later-formed Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions. Credit: Marc Rikmenspoel, Waffen-SS Encyclopedia. The military advisor and former Generaloberst Heinz Wilhelm Guderian, founder of the German armoured forces and their chief in battle, at the same time Chief of staff of the German Army wrote in 1953 to disperse the clouds of lies and calumnies piled up around the multinational Waffen-SS: Our Honour is our Loyalty. This was the motto according to which the Waffen-SS was trained, and it was the motto according to which it fought. It was loyal to the oath and brave to self-sacrifice. Whoever saw them in battle is bound to confirm that. After the collapse this formation faced exceptionally heavy and unjust charges but they never forgot loyalty to themselves and to all those who performed their duty for Germany. Their exemplary conduct during hard post-war years in POW-camps and before Tribunals their unshaken attitude, comradeship and helpfulness prove it. Heinz Guderian was one of the few generals who had a consistent track record of opposing Hitler. Top image: Screenshot from a German propaganda film showing a Waffen-SS ceremonial guard at attention. Most likely 1.SS-Division Leibstandarte SS. Fair use. Bottom image: Tiger panzers from SS-Panzer-Regiment 2 Das Reich during the Kursk offensive in July 1943. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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