Hitler's Death's Head Division by Rupert Butler

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Hitler's Death's Head Division by Rupert Butler

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<ul><li><p>HITLERSDEATHSHEADDIVISION</p></li><li><p>WPEN&amp;SWORDMILITARYCLASSICS</p><p>ehopeyouenjoyyourPenandSwordMilitaryClassic.Theseriesisdesignedto give readers quality military history at affordable prices. Pen and SwordClassics are available fromallgoodbookshops. Ifyouwould like tokeep in</p><p>touch with further developments in the series, telephone: 01226 734555, email:enquiries@pen-and-sword.co.uk,orvisitourwebsiteatwww.pen-and-sword.co.uk.</p><p>PublishedClassicsTitles</p><p>SeriesNo.1 TheBowmenofEngland DonaldFeatherstone</p><p>2 TheLife&amp;DeathoftheAfrikaKorps RonaldLewin</p><p>3 TheOldFrontLine JohnMasefield4 Wellington&amp;Napoleon RobinNeillands5 BeggarsinRed JohnStrawson6 TheLuftwaffe:AHistory JohnKillen7 Siege:Malta19401943 ErnieBradford8 HitlerasMilitaryCommander JohnStrawson9 NelsonsBattles OliverWarner10 TheWesternFront19141918 JohnTerraine11 TheKillingGround TimTrailers12 Vimy PierreBerton</p><p>13 DictionaryoftheFirstWorldWar StephenPope&amp;Elizabeth-AnneWheal14 1918:TheLastAct BarriePitt15 HidersLastOffensive PeterElstob16 NavalBattlesofWorldWarTwo GeoffreyBennett17 Omdurman PhilipZiegler18 StrikeHard,StrikeSure RalphBarker19 TheBlackAngels RupertButler20 TheBlackShip DudleyPope</p><p>21 TheArgentineFightfortheFalklands MartinMiddlebrook</p><p>22 TheNarrowMargin DerekWood&amp;DerekDempster23 WarfareintheAgeofBonaparte MichaelGlover24 WiththeGermanGuns HerbertSulzbach</p><p>25DictionaryoftheSecondWorldWar</p><p>StephenPope&amp;Elizabeth-AnneWheal</p><p>26 NotOrdinaryMen JohnColvin27 Plumer:TheSoldiersGeneral GeoffreyPowell</p></li><li><p>28 RommelasMilitaryCommander RonaldLewin29 LegionsofDeath RupertButler30 TheSwordandtheScimitar ErnieBradford31 BySeaandByLand RobinNeillands</p><p>32 Cavalry:TheHistoryofMountedWarfare JohnEllis</p><p>33 TheMarchoftheTwenty-Six R.EDelderfield</p><p>34 TheFloatingRepublic G.E.Manwaring&amp;BonamyDobree</p><p>35 TugofWar:TheBattleforItaly194345DominickGraham&amp;ShelfordBidwell</p><p>36 Churchill&amp;TheGenerals BarriePitt37 TheSecretWar BrianJohnson38 CommandontheWesternFront RobinPrior&amp;TrevorWilson39 TheOperators JamesRennie40 ChurchillandTheAdmirals StephenRoskill41 TheBattleforNorthAfrica JohnStrawson42 OneofOurSubmarines EdwardYoung43 TheBattleofTrafalgar GeoffreyBennett</p><p>44 Fire-Power ShelfordBidwell&amp;DominickGraham45 SiegesoftheMiddleAges PhilipWarner46 HaigsCommand DenisWinter47 HitlersDeathsHeadDivision RupertButler</p><p>ForthcomingTitles</p><p>48 TheLastAssault CharlesWhiting49 TheBattlefieldsofEngland A.H.Burne50 HowtheWarWasWon TimTravers51 TheRedBaron ManfredvonRichthofen52 CommandoMen BryanSamain53 BomberOffensive ArthurHarris54 RememberNelson TomPocock</p></li><li><p>HITLERSDEATHSHEADDIVISIONSS-TotenkopfDivision</p><p>RupertButler</p></li><li><p>FirstpublishedinGreatBritainin1985bybyArrowBooksLimitedPublishedin2004,inthisformat,by</p><p>PEN&amp;SWORDMILITARYCLASSICSanimprintof</p><p>Pen&amp;SwordBooksLimited47ChurchStreet</p><p>BarnsleyS.YorkshireS702AS</p><p>CopyrightRupertButler,1985,2004</p><p>ISBN1844152057</p><p>TherightofRupertButlertobeidentifiedasAuthorofthisWorkhasbeenassertedbytheminaccordancewith</p><p>theCopyright,DesignsandPatentsAct1988.</p><p>ACIPrecordforthisbookisavailablefromtheBritishLibrary.</p><p>Allrightsreserved.Nopartofthisbookmaybereproducedortransmittedinanyformorbyanymeans,electronicormechanicalincludingphotocopying,recordingorbyanyinformationstorage</p><p>andretrievalsystem,withoutpermissionfromthePublisherinwriting.</p><p>PrintedandboundinGreatBritainbyCPIUK</p><p>Pen&amp;SwordBooksLtdincorporatestheimprintsofPen&amp;SwordAviation,Pen&amp;SwordMaritime,Pen&amp;SwordMilitary,</p><p>WharncliffeLocalHistory,Pen&amp;SwordSelect,Pen&amp;SwordMilitaryClassicsandLeoCooper</p><p>ForacompletelistofPen&amp;Swordtitlespleasecontact:PEN&amp;SWORDBOOKSLIMITED</p><p>47ChurchStreet,Barnsley,SouthYorkshire,S702AS,England.E-mail:enquiries@pen-and-sword.co.ukWebsite:www.pen-and-sword.co.uk</p></li><li><p>TOJOEANDREGINAROSEThesurvivors</p></li><li><p>ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS</p><p>In the preparation of this book I have, as always, been assisted most ably by variousmembersofthestaffof theImperialWarMuseum,London,notablyTerryCharmanandGeorgeClout,whoweretirelessinansweringquestionsandsearchingoutrelevantbooksand documents. I am also grateful for background on Josef (Sepp)Dietrich andMaxSimonsuppliedbyJamesLucas,coauthorofHitlersElite:Leibstandarte-SS(Macdonald&amp; Janes).Many other invaluable detailswere providedwith unlimited patience by theInstituteofContemporaryHistoryandWienerLibrary,London.ThestaffsoftheLondonLibrary andWandsworth Library also supplied much material. No one writing on SS-PanzerDivisionTotenkopfcanfailtobeindebtedtoSoldiersofDestruction:TheDeathsHeadDivision19331945byCharlesW.Sydnor,Jr(PrincetonUniversityPress).Isalutethe cheerful courage of my good friend Joe Rose who, with complete absence ofbitterness, talked of his appalling sufferings in Buchenwald at the hands of theTotenkopfverbaende, and also supplied many details about the camp. I also wish toacknowledgesuggestions,informationandeditorialassistancefromAndrewMollo,PaulWatkins,JoyceRackhamandVickyClayton.</p></li><li><p>SELECTEDBIBLIOGRAPHYBarker,A.J.,WaffenSSatWar,(IanAllan,1982)</p><p>Berben,Paul,Dachau193345:TheOfficialHistory.(PrivatelypublishedinLondonfortheComitInternationaldeDachau,1975)</p><p>BrownBook of theHitler Terror: Prepared for theWorldCommittee for the Victims ofGermanFascism.(Gollancz,1933)</p><p>Carrell, Paul, Hitlers War on Russia: The Story of the German Defeat in the East.(Harrap,1964)</p><p>Carrell,Paul,ScorchedEarth:HitlersWaronRussia,Volume2.(Harrap,1970)</p><p>Clark,Alan,Barbarossa:TheRussian-GermanConflict194145.(Hutchinson,1965)</p><p>Deschner,Gunther,ReinhardHeydrich: Statthalter der TotalenMacht. (BechtleVerlag,1977)</p><p>Erickson,John,TheRoadtoBerlin.(Weidenfeld&amp;Nicolson,1983)</p><p>Foley,Charles,CommandoExtraordinary.(Longman,1954)</p><p>Gallo,Max,TheNightoftheLongKnives.(SouvenirPress,1972)</p><p>Graber,G.S.,HistoryoftheSS.(RobertHale,1978)</p><p>Guderian,Heinz,PanzerLeader.(MichaelJoseph,1952)</p><p>Hoess,Rudolf,KommandantinAuschwitz.(DeutscheYerlags-Anstalt,1958)</p><p>Horne,Alistair,ToLoseaBattle:France,1940.(Macmillan,1969)</p><p>Infield,Glenn,SkorzenyHitlersCommando.(StMartinsPress,1981)</p><p>Jolly,Cyril,TheVengeanceofPrivatePooley.(Heinemann,1956)</p><p>Kogon,Eugen,DerSSStaat.(Farrar,StraussandCudahy,1950)</p><p>Krausnick,Helmut&amp;MartinBroszat,AnatomiedesSS-Staates.(Walter-VerlagAG,1965)</p><p>LeChene,Evelyn,Mauthausen:theHistoryofaDeathCamp.(Methuen,1971)</p><p>Lucas, James and Matthew Cooper, Hitlers Elite: Leibstandarte-SS. (Macdonald &amp;Janes,1975)</p><p>Manstein,Erichvon,LostVictories.(ArmsandArmour,1982)</p><p>Manvell,Roger&amp;Fraenkel,Heinrich,TheJulyPlot.(BodleyHead,1964)</p><p>Mollo,Andrew,TotheDeathsHeadTrue:TheStoryoftheSS.(Thames-Methuen,1982)</p><p>Mollo,Andrew,UniformsoftheSS:Volumes4&amp;7.(HistoricalResearchUnit,1976)</p><p>Musmanno,MichaelA.,TheEichmannCommandos.(PeterDavies,1961)</p><p>Quarrie,Bruce,HitlersSamurai:TheWaffen-SSinAction.(PatrickStephens,1983)</p><p>Reitlinger,Gerald,SS:TheAlibiofaNation192245.(Arms&amp;Armour,1981)</p></li><li><p>Schneider,JostW.,VerleihungGenehmigt:AnillustratedanddocumentaryhistoryoftheKnightsCrossholdersof theWaffen-SSandpolice, 19401945. (BenderPublishingCo.,1977)</p><p>Shirer,William,TheRiseandFalloftheThirdReich.(Secker&amp;Warburg,1960)</p><p>Stein,GeorgeH.,TheWaffenSS,19391945.(CornellUniversityPress,1966)</p><p>Sydnor, CharlesW., Jr, Soldiers of Destruction, The SS Deaths Head Division, 19331945.(PrincetonUniversityPress,1977)</p><p>Vincent,Adrian,TheLongRoadHome.(Allen&amp;Unwin,1956)</p><p>Ziemke,EarlF.,StalingradtoBerlin:TheGermanDefeatintheEast.(OfficeoftheChiefofMilitaryHistory,UnitedStatesArmy,1968)</p></li><li><p>The sight of a large number ofmen, bothmentally and physically disciplined and co-ordinated,withanobviousor latentwill to fight,makesanenormous impressiononallGermans</p><p>PfeffervonSalomon,headoftheSAinthe1920s.</p></li><li><p>1Opochka,northernRussia,1941.ItwasJuly,butnotsummerastheGermansunderstoodit. At onemoment, the sun would smile, then themoodwould switch and the Stormscome.</p><p>Thewavesoftwogiganticarmieschurnedupthecloying,suffocatingdust;thesoldiersflame-throwers intensified the already appalling heat. Out of the sulphurous darknessbayonetswerethrustdeepintoGermanandRussianbellies.</p><p>TheprizethattheGermansweretosnatchwasthetownofOpochkaonthevitalStalinLine,andtheRussianshadflunginalltheyhad.</p><p>RightinthethickofitwereveryspecialmenoftheWaffen-SS,fighterswhosedivisioncouldbeidentifiedbecausetheyworeontheircollarpatchesthedistinctiveDeathsHeadinsigniawhichwasalso their titleSS-Totenkopf,mostbrutal andmost fearedof thebalefulblacklegionsofHeinrichHimmlerssinisterSchutzstaffel.</p><p>The Russians, in the seventy-two hours of fighting before Opochka was wrenchedaway,learntgraphicallywhatsortoffightingmentheywere.</p><p>Atonepoint,aTotenkopfradiotruck,detachedfromthegeneralmle,rumbledtotheedgeofaforest.Tothedriver,thesceneintheclearingaheadrecalledoneofthosestarkmuseumdioramasofbattle.</p><p>TherewerefourRussians in theclearingand theywere indisputablydead.But itwasnotthiswhichheldthedriversattention,northefactthattheRussianshadobviouslybeenshotatcloserangebecauseofthewidepowderburnsontheirfieldjackets.</p><p>Attention was rooted because they lay in a semi-circle in the middle of which wasanother corpse. Thisman had been an SS-Obersturmfuehrer of TotenkopfDivision.Hehadstoodhisgroundandshotthemall.</p><p>Afterthathehadsuspectedthattheremuststillbestragglersagainstwhomhewouldbepowerless.Evenafterhesurrendered,theywouldmakehimintoahumantorchandhackhis body to pieces. So the young Obersturmfuehrer had turned his machine-pistol onhimself.Therewastobenoneofthedishonourofsurrender.</p><p>Here, to the radio truck crew, was displayed the stark reality of waging war in thedreadfulnightmareofStalinsRussia.TheSSmansfateandthatofthousandsofothersflungintothisvortexofslaughterhadbeensealedsixyearsbeforeinanothercountry.</p><p>Nuremberg, southern Germany, 1935. An atmosphere of feverish tension gripped theancientcity.Throughoutthenight,crowdsnumberedintensofthousandslinedthestreetsandjostledthepavementstowitnessthehighspotoftheNazipartysannualrally.</p><p>At just after 4 p.m.AdolfHitler, Fuehrer and saviour of a rebornGermany, flew toNuremberg and began his swastika-bedecked procession to the elaborate openingceremonyatthecitystownhall.</p><p>There was a distinctly operatic air about these occasions; particularly in September</p></li><li><p>1935,whentherallywasgracedbytheproudnewsymphonyorchestraprovidingajauntymusicalbackgroundtotheseeminglyendlesssuccessionofspeechesandparades.</p><p>The event was merely a series of magnificently staged set pieces above all thecandlelit scene in the chamber of the town hall where Hitler received a replica of theImperialSword,theoriginalofwhichhadforcenturiesbeentheprideofNuremberg.</p><p>Theeyesof theworldwere focussedon thestill infantNazistateandnoopportunitywaswastedinextollingthevirtuesoftheHitlermiracle.</p><p>Long before the rally began, foreign visitors were accosted by swarms of hawkersselling postcardswith portraits of Frederick theGreat,Bismarck, PresidentHindenburgandHitlerwiththeembracingcaption:WhattheKingconquered,thePrinceformed,theFieldMarshaldefended,theSoldiersavedandunified.</p><p>This, however,was primitive stuff; education designed to impress the visitor becamemoreprofoundwhenhewaswhiskedofftoathree-dayintensiveseminartobeacquaintedwiththerecentpoliticalchangesofthenewGermany.</p><p>The superficial observer saw only a distinctly carnival occasion. After all, Nazipropagandistsmademuchof the fact that ten thousandworkers fromall overGermanyhadbeeninvitedtoattendtherallyastheguestsoftheparty.Alltheirexpenses,includingtransport,hadbeenpaidbythegovernment.Atspecialcampssitedinfieldsnearthecity,guestswere treated toelaborate fireworkdisplays,which thisyearhad the themeof thefour seasons.Representations of blossoming bushes and flowers symbolised the spring,large fruits the summer, sheaves of grain the autumn and, inevitably, therewas a fieryswastikawhichrecalledtheancientGermanheliotropefestivalsofwinter.</p><p>Yet other visitors, perhaps more discerning, saw the 1935 party rally as somethingdecidedlymoresignificantthanapieceofconsummatelystagedtheatre.</p><p>ThecluesweretheretobeseenfromthemomentHitlersaircrafttoucheddownandhewasgreetedby thepartyfaithful:devotedacolytes includingdeputyparty leaderRudolfHessandhissubordinateMartinBormann,FranconianpartyGauleiterJuliusStreicherandHeinrichHimmler.</p><p>Aboveall,HeinrichHimmler.Of the leadingNazisother thanHitler, thepresenceofHimmlerthatdayprovedthemostsignificant.Theprudish,studioussonofaformertutorto the royal Bavarian household had but two years before held the minor office ofBavarianpresidentofpolice.Since then,Himmlerhadmovedswiftly toconsolidatehispower.ByApril1934,theformerairaceandnationalheroHermannGoering,creatorofthe Gestapo, had relinquished control of that organisation to Himmler, along withresponsibilityfortheconcentrationcamps.</p><p>In the late 1920s,Himmler, the bespectacled,weedy bureaucratwho firmly believedthatthefuturelaywithblondNordicpeoplerearedinpagansimplicity,hadassumedthepompoustitleofReichsfuehrer-SS.TheSSweretheblack-uniformedlite,theknightsofNazism.About twenty thousandof themwereonduty inNuremberg thatday.Thirteenthousandwere detailed as honour guards along the route that Hitler followed and theyformedaringofsteelaroundhishotel.</p><p>Aside from the parades, the beery bonhomie, the boy-scout camaraderie and the</p></li><li><p>fireworks,thepresenceoftheSSrepresentedthetruefaceofNazism.HeinrichHimmlerliterallycontrolledNurembergthatday.</p><p>TheSundayoftherallybelongedtotheSSanditsrivalorganisationinterror,thebrown-shirted street thugs of the Sturmabteilung (SA).A year beforeHitler had organised theslaughterofmore thanone thousandmembersof theSAandof its leader, thescarfacedhomosexualErnstRoehm,allofwhomhadbeenaccusedofabidtooverthrowthenewgovernment. But rivalries were laid aside for the moment in favour of an elaborateprocessionatNurembergculminating in a ceremonyhonourin thosewhohad fallen inthecause.</p><p>Hitleraddressedtherepresentativesofbothorganisations.HeinrichHimmler,theracialcrankandformerchicken-breederwhohadproudlycalledhisSSasworncommunityofsuperiormen,wasinseventhheaven:</p><p>AnotherofHimmlers followers thatdaywas, ifpossible, evenhappier.ForTheodorEicke, one-time sub-postmaster and deranged patient of the psychiatric clinic atWuerzburg,thisrallywastobeofconsiderableimportance.</p><p>For Eicke had the job of administering the SS-Totenkopfverbaendeadministering theSS-Totenkopfverbaende,theSSDeathsHeadunitswhosedelicatetaskwastoadministerthegrowingnumberofconcentrationcampsthroughouttheReich.</p><p>AtReichPartyDayinNurembergthatSeptember,EickeheardhisFuehrerAdolfHitlerproclaimpubliclyforthefirsttime:TheTotenkopfverbaendeconsistsofpartyformationsintheserviceoftheThirdReich.</p><p>Itwasasignificantmove;previously,eachregionofGermanyhadbeenresponsiblefortheguards.Nowtheycameunderthefullembraceandapprovaloftheparty.</p><p>The hitherto shadowy arm of Nazi terror which, via many metamorphoses, was tobecomeamilitarydivisionsportingtheDeathsHeadinsigniaonitscollarpatchesandoneofthemostnotoriousoftheWaffen-SS(armedSS)divisionshadalreadyenjoyedabriefbutbloodyhistory.</p><p>Now itwas getting amost agreeable seal of public approval as a party organisation.Further confirmation from Himmler came the following March when theTotenkopfverbaendewasallowedtoincreaseitssizefrom1,800to3,500menandbecameindisputablytheconcentrationcampguardorganisationoftheThirdReich.</p><p>EickethemanhismorefanaticalfollowerscalledPapaEickescentedrealpowerthatdayinNuremberg.</p><p>However,hehadseizedhisfirstbigch...</p></li></ul>