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!