Greatest military units of all time - Page 9




 
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September 18th, 2008  
errol
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
The best Waffen SS Divisions were Liebstandarte and Das Reich, along with Totenkopf. In other words the 3 divisions that made up the II SS Panzer Korps. Up until mid 1944 they could be considered as elite status divisions and were well regarded by German commanders as 'fire brigade' formations. In other words, formations that could be reliably used to plug holes and prevent Soviet breakthroughs.

The Totenkopf were certainly not just fancy concentration camp guards. As part of II SS Panzer Korps they formed the main offensive wedge of 4th Panzerarmee at Kursk, and along with the other two SS divisions achieved the furthest penetration of any German formation. This was mainly due to the tactics of Hausser but make no mistake, Totenkopf in 1943 were as good as any other Panzer Division in the German Army and better than a good many of them.

Many of the other Waffen SS units you mentioned were formed towards the end of the 3rd Reich and were not of the same quality as the big 3. Hitlerjugend for example was formed by transferring a core of veteran NCO's from Liebstandarte to look after largely green troops, most of them Hitler Youth, hence the name. The Hitlerjugend did actually fight very well, but it was no elite formation.
Thanks Doppleganger,

Totenkopf fought very well at Kursk. Not bad for a "bunch of camp thugs".
September 18th, 2008  
Papashah41
 
Points taken Doppelganger and Errol, I suppose my natural pejudice comes forth when trying to deal intellectually with the Totenkopf Division. They certainly did deserve the moniker Elite. But their early years were spent in the concentration camps. Hence, my prejudice. I suppose I will agree to disagree with you about Hitlerjugend. True, they were formed in 43 and their NCO's and officer's came from the Leibstandarte. I hope you didn't mean that to be a criticism? But even though they were crash-coursed, they did have some Ostfront experience and seemed to gel quite amazingly. They were also in my view, the most effective fighting force in Normandy. If they had been used properly they could even have been more effective. This is no criticism of Witt or Meyer. They were both excellent commanders. I also have a prejudice of Theodor Eicke who came from the same stock as Sepp Dietrich. They were both fanatical Nazi's and basically thugs with little tactical knowledge.
September 18th, 2008  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Papashah41
True, they were formed in 43 and their NCO's and officer's came from the Leibstandarte. I hope you didn't mean that to be a criticism?
Not at all. Leibstandarte evolved into an excellent formation. What I'm saying is that the Hitlerjugend was basically a green formation augmented by battle-hardened veterans. It was never really an elite formation in terms of training, combat experience or equipment. Despite this, they fought very well in Normandy where the type of close-quarter combat suited their aggressiveness and idealism.

The German doctrine of a mission-based orders system also ensured that they fought very effectively, despite having very inexperienced troops. So long as there existed a well trained NCO/Officer core, almost every German formation in WW2 fought above what could be expected from them simply by looking at them on paper. This was especially true after 1943, when the quality of German combat replacements rapidly began to decline. Yet the Germans still fought very well and inflicted lop-sided casualties, especially in the East. Even on the Western Front, against the Allies with their overwhelming air supremacy and logistical structure, the UK/US Armies still had a 1.2:1 kill ratio against the Germans who faced them. In other words, the Allies generally lost 12 soldiers for every 10 German soldiers killed.
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September 22nd, 2008  
Easy-8
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger
The best Waffen SS Divisions were Liebstandarte and Das Reich, along with Totenkopf. In other words the 3 divisions that made up the II SS Panzer Korps. Up until mid 1944 they could be considered as elite status divisions and were well regarded by German commanders as 'fire brigade' formations. In other words, formations that could be reliably used to plug holes and prevent Soviet breakthroughs.

The Totenkopf were certainly not just fancy concentration camp guards. As part of II SS Panzer Korps they formed the main offensive wedge of 4th Panzerarmee at Kursk, and along with the other two SS divisions achieved the furthest penetration of any German formation. This was mainly due to the tactics of Hausser but make no mistake, Totenkopf in 1943 were as good as any other Panzer Division in the German Army and better than a good many of them.

Many of the other Waffen SS units you mentioned were formed towards the end of the 3rd Reich and were not of the same quality as the big 3. Hitlerjugend for example was formed by transferring a core of veteran NCO's from Liebstandarte to look after largely green troops, most of them Hitler Youth, hence the name. The Hitlerjugend did actually fight very well, but it was no elite formation.
As far as elite status goes I would consider the LSSAH, Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking to the best of the bunch. clearly intended to be elite and outstanding formations.

Hitlerjugend fought very well and could be considered elite but probably not on par with the classic Waffen SS divisions, Gro▀deutschland or Panzer Lehr.

Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg may or may not be considered "elite" but they were good formations and I am still debating with myself about if or if not they can be considered "elite".

It is also amazing how many people think the Waffen SS as whole was elite. Most of the units were average and some were even sub-standard.
September 22nd, 2008  
Papashah41
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy-8
As far as elite status goes I would consider the LSSAH, Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking to the best of the bunch. clearly intended to be elite and outstanding formations.

Hitlerjugend fought very well and could be considered elite but probably not on par with the classic Waffen SS divisions, Gro▀deutschland or Panzer Lehr.

Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg may or may not be considered "elite" but they were good formations and I am still debating with myself about if or if not they can be considered "elite".

It is also amazing how many people think the Waffen SS as whole was elite. Most of the units were average and some were even sub-standard.
I agree with the Divisions you mention as elite and if not elite, at least above average. I still think the Hitlerjugend was elite and no other division could have done better in Normandy.

And yes, many divisions were lousy, especially the Muslim Divisions and some of the other East European Divisions, which I can't name at the moment.

Note. I'm pretty sure GrossDeutchland was not an SS division.
September 22nd, 2008  
errol
 
 
Correct Papa, they weren't.
September 22nd, 2008  
Easy-8
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Papashah41
I

Note. I'm pretty sure GrossDeutchland was not an SS division.
Correct it wasn't. It was a Heer formation along with Panzer Lehr.
September 29th, 2008  
Radar
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComsDown
The Finnish Army during the Winter War against the USSR in 1939-40.
Very good benefit ratio..missing people are almost all dead too..

December 12th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar
Very good benefit ratio..missing people are almost all dead too..

Stats are fun and they do give us a better understanding of the calibre of troops involved.

You are speaking of the amazing military determination of the Finnish people to stop Stalin's armies in their tracks for a short while. Mannerheim was one of the most gifted commanders any country would want. The spirit of the Finns themselves was mythic and if I dont mind saying your use of what you had on hand was inspired. Did you know, the Molotov cocktail was a Finnish invention. When a country is up against a bully it's citizens will pull together and fight to the death.

The initial battles certainly showed what the quality was of each sides troops. The average Russian soldier at the time had no wish to be battling with a neighbor and their performance showed it.
The Finnish troops on the other hand were fighting for their existence, or so they thought. As I said earlier the Finn's fighting ability is now mythic.


The original question was who do you believe the best fighting units are.

All I believe is that only in the heart of a volunteer can we in the democracies defeat the thugs in this world. The best units are made up of men and women who volunteer their lives to the safe-keeping of others. If that sounds too sappy for some------To Bad..
November 12th, 2009  
MIRV
 
what about ANZAC?
 


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