ϟϟ-Division „Totenkopf“ in Heeresgruppe Nord

SS-Kriegsberichter Ernst Baumann
SS-Totenkopf convoy in 1941
After the older men were replaced in the Totenkopf with young wartime volunteers, and the division was thoroughly trained, it fought during Barbarossa with Army Group North under Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, plunged towards Leningrad. Russian forces in this sector were thinly spread and the panzers covered 800 km in three weeks. It's manpower strength was 18,754 men in June 1941. By mid-July they were only 95 km from their objective. The SS-Totenkopf division had used its time wisely to train for the challenges of fighting in the Soviet Union. The main emphasis in the new training was on mobile warfare over much broader and more open expanses of territory. Special drills included assaulting fortified positions, fighting in villages and heavily wooded areas, and the practice in developing camouflage techniques for long distance moves through open country. The tank-destroyer battalion concentrated on the tactics for fighting large formations of tanks at close range. As part of Army Group North, the Totenkopf division fought desperate engagements south of Leningrad in 1941 and was trapped in the Demyansk Pocket from January 1942. When they pulled out in October 1942 they had the combat strength of a battalion. Credit: Charles W. Sydnor. Top image: Photo showing SS-Kriegsberichter Ernst Baumann who was assigned to the Totenkopf during the opening days of the invasion of the Soviet Union 1941. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use. Bottom image: Motorized troops of the Totenkopf division during Operation Barbarossa in September 1941. Photo: SS-Kriegsberichter Weigand. Commons Bundesarchiv.

No comments:

Post a Comment