The first volume of the tactical and operational history of World War II Germany’s fourth SS-Panzerkorps division and its leader. During World War II, the armed or Waffen-SS branch of the Third Reich’s dreaded security service expanded from two divisions in 1940 to 38 divisions by the end of the war, eventually growing to a force of over 900,000 men until Germany’s defeat in May, 1945. The histories of the first three SS corps are well known—the actions of I, II, and III (Germanic) SS-Panzerkorps have been thoroughly documented and publicized. Overlooked in this pantheon is another SS corps that never fought in the west or in Berlin but one that participated in many of the key battles fought on the Eastern Front during the last year of the war: the IV SS-Panzerkorps. Activated during the initial stages of the defense of Warsaw in late July, 1944, the corps—consisting of the 3. and 5. SS-Panzer Divisions (Totenkopf and Wiking, respectively)—was born in battle and spent the last ten months of the war in combat, figuring prominently in the battles of Warsaw, the attempted Relief of Budapest, Operation Spring Awakening, the defense of Vienna, and the withdrawal into Austria where it finally surrendered to U.S. forces in May, 1945. Herbert Otto Gille’s IV SS-Panzerkorps was renowned for its tenacity, high morale, and, above all, its lethality. Often embroiled in heated disputes with its immediate Wehrmacht higher headquarters over his seemingly cavalier conduct of operations, Gille’s corps remained to the bitter end one of the Third Reich’s most reliable and formidable field formations.
The first volume of the tactical and operational history of World War II Germany’s fourth SS-Panzerkorps division and its leader.
Author: Douglas E. Nash