16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
The Osprey series of Men-at-Arms is not a uniform and heraldry book, nor is it a complete history of the unit. Being only 48 pages the book cannot even hope to include every piece of information out there about the HG Division. What it does, however, is give you a general overview, along with some outstanding black and white photos, as well as color plates to show the unique uniforms of this division (no other division that fought in the Wehrmacht had as many unique and varied uniforms as the HG division did during WW2).
As to whether or not the division was elite, you have to look at the beginning. The unit was formed by Hermann Göring in 1933 as a police unit, specifically known then as Polizeiabteilung z.b.V. Wecke. The unit was just that, a police unit, but was destined to be remolded again and again, by Göring, into a unit that could fight in the coming war.
In 1935, the unit was then known as Regiment General Göring, and had changed from a police unit, to a unit under the control of the Luftwaffe. At this same time that the transfer under Luftwaffe command took place, RGG was was asked for volunteers to form the very first Fallschirmjager units in Germany. From the RGG (the HG Division discussed in this Osprey book) came the men who would go on to storm Eban Emael, land on Crete, and distinguish themselves on the Western and Eastern fronts as some of the most elite soldiers in WW2. Oh yeah...and the Fallschirmjager even had time to rescue Mussolini. Elite? I think so, and the men of the HG Division were among those Fallschirmjager elite. The men of the HG Division were the very first to train at Stendal airfield as Fallschirmjager, during the months of May-June 1936. Later on, it was decided to not make the RGG a Fallschirmjager unit, and those men were transferred out of RGG to form the 1st Jager Battalion.
In 1939 the unit was basically formed as a FLAK unit, but in 1940 it went to war with France, and Norway. In France, the FLAK units of the RGG engaged the heavy French armor with devastating effectiveness. The FLAK units of the RGG advanced with army units, and took part in piercing the Dyle position, capturing Löwen, and occupying Brussels. The men of the RGG were always at the forefront of the French campaign, as at that time no weapon in the German army was as effective against heavy French armor as the 8.8cm FLAK guns that the RGG possessed (I should say they were not the only ones to possess the dreaded 88's, and I do not wish to imply this). In action at the Mormal forest, the 3rd and 5th batteries of the RGG destroyed heavy French armor that nearly broke through advancing German lines. The French armor advanced, with cannons blazing, and machine guns spitting death, yet the brave men of the RGG manned their 8.8cm FLAK guns and took out the tanks. If not for the men of the RGG, a French breakthrough, and the loss of countless German army soldiers would have occurred. Elite? Well, consider this...the men of guns Casar, and Dona, who fought in the Mormal forest, continued firing even though French tanks advanced up to within 15 meters of their position. You judge for yourself if you could do the same...or if that is the bravery, courage, and tenacity of an elite soldier.
The RGG further distinguished their unit by fighting in the Somme and the Aisne, crossed the Marne, and joined in the pursuit to the Loire.
The Kluge Detachment, also fought in Operation Weserübung, the march through Denmark and the occupation of Norway in 1940. The unit even advanced across the Arctic Circle, fighting against the Allies, 70 kilometers north of Mo i Rana. The Kluge Detachment fought many battles here, as well as in the action to take Narvik. Only when his men were outnumbered by more than 3 to 1, did Kluge withdraw to a ore railway just east of Narvik. One week later, the Allies ordered the evacuation from Narvik.
The unit also fought in Russia twice, Sicily, Italy, and North Africa.
Eastern Front '41: The unit fought under the command of the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, in the Sokol area. It also fought battles in the Radziechow, Dubno, Kiev, Briansk, Cherkassy, Kremenchug, and Dniepropetrovsk areas until November 1941. The units 88mm guns were used to engage the bunkers at Sokal Heights, as well.
Here, HG Division officer Oberleutnant Karl Roßmann, and his men of the 16th company, IV Battalion RGG fought with distinction, and Roßmann earned the Knight's Cross. Together with a handful of men from the Heer, and the Waffen SS division "Wiking", they helped to crush wave after wave of Soviet infantry trying to escape the Uman Pocket. They captured over 100,000 Soviet soldiers, including the commanding officers of the 6th Army, Lieutant General Musytshenko, and the 12th Army Major-General Kyrilov. 317 tanks, 858 guns, and 242 anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns were destroyed or captured. Without the FLAK guns of the HG Division for support, the men in this area would have been overwhelmed.
Well, at this point I am at 960 words, and out of space for the 1,000 word limit for this review. I haven't even scratched the surface of the actions of this elite unit.
This Osprey book is a good start, but if you want to know what this unit did, read The History of the FallshcirmPanzerKorps HG, by Franz Kurowski (HG division veteran). Maybe the other reviewer never thought to read it, or HG: from Regiment to FallschirmPanzerKorps by Bender and Petersen, as I have. If you do, you'll get the whole story, and you won't be confused like the previous reviewer when discussing the elite status of the HG Division.
All of these books about the elite HG Division are 5 star!
13 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
R. A Forczyk
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Lest my review seem capricious, the reader should be advised that Osprey's Men-at-Arms series claims on its own covers that its purpose is to describe, "the uniforms, equipment, history, and organization of the world's military forces, past and present." Unfortunately, the Men-at-Arms series seems to be deviating more and more from that mission statement in recent years and veering toward the exclusive interests of those interested only in uniforms and heraldry. Gordon Williamson's latest volume, The Hermann Göring Division, is far too focused on uniform issues at the expense of providing information on equipment, history or organization of that unit. Indeed, the author spends 20 pages on uniform-related issues and only 17 pages on the unit's history and organization. While the color plates are wonderful - as usual - the text and photographs are far too bland for such an interesting topic.
Williamson skims over the history of the Hermann Göring Division so rapidly that he misses vital facts. He spends only a single paragraph discussing the unit's participation in the Russian Campaign of 1941, but fails to notice that the unit (then a regiment-size battle group) was part of Guderian's panzer group in the final lunge toward Moscow. As for the unit's organization, Williamson provides outlines of the Hermann Göring formation in its regiment, brigade, division and corps-size incarnations, but none of these provide information about authorized or actual strengths. Other than the division commanders, only a handful of other HG formation leaders are mentioned. The discussion of the unit's equipment is practically non-existent; Williamson never discusses artillery, engineers, signals and supply troops. Did the panzer grenadier battalions have trucks or SPWs? While the size of the Men-at-Arms series is certainly a constraint, this author has made no effort to provide anything like unique information about the Hermann Göring division's strength or composition.
It is also odd that this author accepts as Gospel truth that the Hermann Göring Division was an "elite" unit. Yet was this unit really elite or merely the beneficiary of excellent propaganda? Readers should have been cautioned by the author - and were not - that the HG division was established to make the Luftwaffe and its boss look good. Nor does the fact that the troops in the HG division received so many more personal awards and decorations than soldiers in other German panzer divisions necessarily mean that the HG division was better or "elite." In order for a combat unit to be considered elite, it generally needs to have superior training, highly selective personnel recruiting and/or superior equipment. There is little or no evidence that the Hermann Göring Division had any of these benefits. The division began forming in October 1942, based on the original regimental battle group and the remnants of the 5th Fallschirmjäger regiment. The regular army provided tankers to form the HG division's panzer regiment. Much of the division was promptly committed to Tunisia in November 1942 and lost in that campaign. Where was the time for specialized or elite training? Two months after the end in Tunisia and barely into refitting, the re-born HG division had to face the Allied invasion of Sicily, followed by a year of continuous tough fighting in Italy. Not much time for special training while at Salerno, Anzio or Cassino. When the HG division was sent to the Russian front again in July 1944, Williamson notes that the unit still had some Pz III tanks (so much for better equipment!). Indeed, for much of the war the HG division had to make do with the older Pz IV tank as its mainstay and only received the better Panther tank in 1945 as the war was ending. After some initial success against the Russians near Warsaw, the German High Command then made the incredibly stupid decision to upgrade the Hermann Göring Division to corps status. Even before this point, the HG had been forced to induct conscripts into its ranks and this expansion further diluted whatever quality the unit had possessed. Most of the HG Corps, which was never anywhere near full strength, were isolated or destroyed in the heavy fighting around East Prussia in early 1945. Clearly, two factors that worked heavily against the HG unit(s) gaining elite status were constant, non-stop fighting and continuous expansion.
The original HG regimental battle group, which saw service in Scandinavia, France and Russia did enjoy more selectivity in personnel recruiting and had more time for ground combat training. Yet it must be remembered that after 1942, the Luftwaffe was constantly cannibalizing its rear echelons to form ground combat units and few of these men received extensive ground combat training. The eighteen Luftwaffe Field Divisions, formed from excess personnel, were all conspicuous failures in combat - so why should HG have been any different? It is clear that the Hermann Göring Division never held superior training, personnel or equipment to significantly distinguish it from any normal German panzer division. However what the HG division did posses was a high-level sponsor who could extol and exaggerate everything his namesake unit did in order to burnish his own diminishing reputation. There is no doubt that the HG division enjoyed some tactical success in Tunisia (but less than the not-elite 10th, 15th or 21st Panzer Divisions), Sicily, Italy and Poland, but the extent of these successes in comparison to other Wehrmacht units may have been exaggerated. Putting the Hermann Göring Division in the same league as the Grossdeutschland or SS Leibstandarte divisions is a mistake, since those units did enjoy superior equipment, personnel recruitment and had more time to train before combat. Historically, the Hermann Göring Division should probably be viewed as a "wanna-be" unit that was heavily promoted by its benefactor.