German mountain warfare by United States. War Dept. Military Intelligence Division

By United States. War Dept. Military Intelligence Division

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5epp" Dietrich and Theodor Eicke were old guard Nazis, who liked to cultivate images of themselves as gruff, no-nonsense soldiers. They loved visiting the frontline trenches and swapping war stories with ordinary 55 troopers. This bonhomie was largely a way to cover up for their own inadequacies as commanders and tacticians. Both, however, were sensible enough to leave complex technical problems to more talented subordinates. Others of the old Munich gang who joined the ranks of the 55 remained behind in Germany and the occupied territories, supervising the mass murder of enemies of the Reich rather than serving at the front.

Bers of motorcycles, of the action during the halftracks and light The only tracked artillery. It fought armoured fighting invasion of Russia during the Blitzkrieg vehicles assigned to campaigns against them at this point in Poland in September 1939 and the Low the war were 5turmgeschiitz (StuG) III assault Countries and France in May 1940. The guns armed with short-barrelled 75mm guns. To tenkopf and Leibstandarte also took part in The Waffen-55 motorized divisions were these operations, although the former unit in the thick of the action during the invacommitted a number of atrocities.

After loading up the ambulances, Peiper's men headed back to German lines, but a Soviet ski battalion had moved into place to block their path and destroy the main bridge over the River Udy, which the Waffen-55 column had to cross to return to Kharkov. The Waffen-55 kampfgruppe attacked and cleared out the Russians in house-to-house fighting, before repairing the bridge for the ambulances. However, the improvised structure could not take the heavy Waffen-5S assault guns and armoured halftracks , so Peiper ordered his men back behind Russian lines to find a more suitable crossing.

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