Why SS divisions such strange names

History 28/12/19 Why SS divisions such strange names

for the First time a complete list of all of the divisions of the Wehrmacht and the SS were published in the work of B. Muller-Hillebrand “Land army of Germany” (Müller-Hillebrand, B., Das Heer), published also in Russian language. An extended list of compounds in the Russian language appeared in 2003 in the directory “German Armed forces”, K. Shishkin.

Some divisions of the Wehrmacht, and most of the divisions of the Waffen SS, except the rooms had their own names. First SS division generally differ only in the names and numbers had. The apparent exception to the rule is a police division, but she was not SS, in its name until 1942 was not the abbreviation SS.

Many names are quite clear and does not need any explanation. This, in the first place, like “Great Germany”, “Adolf Hitler”, “Reich”. It is clear, and the name of the SS division “Nord”, which operated in the far North, in Finland. SS division “Viking” got its name, as it was staffed with foreign volunteers, primarily from the Nordic countries. The regiments of this division also had their own names: “Norland” and “Westland”. On the basis of one of the regiments was established by the 11th SS division, equipped by the Dutch and Scandinavian volunteers, called “Norland”.

One of the most famous SS division “Dead head”, derives its name from the special police units of the concentration camps on the basis of which was formed. However, the name that goes much deeper into history, to the hussar regiments of the Prussian army, which had black uniforms. These hussars wore hats the sign “Dead heads”, that is, the skull and crossbones. In the Middle ages it was a symbol of courage, readiness to die for the victory. By the way, something similar happened in other armies, for example, the Alexandria hussar regiment of the Russian army also had a black uniform and noil on the shakos of the skull and bones.

A newly formed in the second half of World war II SS division bore the names of various historical characters.
7-I gornopehotnoy volunteer SS division “Prince Eugene” was named Eugene of Savoy, Generalissimo, commander of the Holy Roman Empire (7. SS-Freiwilligen Gebirgs Division “Prinz Eugen”).
8th SS cavalry division “Florian Geyer” (8. SS-Kavallerie-Division “Florian Geyer”) is named after one of the leaders of the Peasant war in Germany in XVI century.

9th SS Panzer division “of Hohenstaufen” (9. SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen”) is named after the dynasty of emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (the First Reich).
10th SS Panzer division “Frundsberg” (10. SS-Panzer-Division “Frundsberg”) its name was in honor of the leader of the German landsknechts of Georg von Frundsberg.

17 motorized SS division “Gotz von berlichingen” (17. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division “Götz von Berlichingen”) was named in honor of the Swabian knight, participant of the Peasant war in Germany, Gottfried (GEZ) von götz von berlichingen.
the 21st gornopehotnoy the SS division “Skanderbeg” (21. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Skanderbeg”) was formed from Albanian collaborators. The division was named after the Albanian national hero, leader of the anti-Ottoman uprising of George Kastrioti, known as Skanderbeg.

the 22nd volunteer cavalry SS division “Maria Theresia” (22. SS-Freiwilligen-Kavallerie-Division “Maria Theresia”) was formed from Hungarian volunteers and was named in honor of the Empress of Austria-Hungary.
37-the volunteer cavalry division of the SS “Lutzow” (37. SS-Freiwilligen-Kavallerie-Division “Lützow”) is named after the Prussian General who organized volunteer corps and led a guerrilla war against Napoleon.
was among the German divisions and those that have received names associated with the history of the Third Reich.

18th motorized diviZia SS “Horst Wessel” (18. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division “Horst Wessel”) was the name of the deceased in 1930 year, the head of the Berlin branch of the SA, the Nazi propaganda elevated to the rank of a Martyr.

Panzer division “Feldherrnhalle” (Panzer-Division “Feldherrnhalle”), named in honor of the so-called “Hall of the Bavarian generals” in Munich. However, the name of the division was connected, not with the history of Bavaria, and with the fact that this place was “Beer hall putsch” in 1923.

32-I volunteer SS Grenadier division “30 January” (32. SS Freiwilligen Grenadier Division “30.Januar“), also has a direct relationship to the history of the Third Reich. Date 30th January — the day Hitler came to power. Interestingly, she is officially the division was formed on 30 January 1945.
13-I gornopehotnoy division of the SS “Handshar” (13. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Handschar”) recruited from Bosnian Muslims. The city is named in honor of a short sword, a historical national symbol of Muslim Bosnia. Later was created 23rd gornopehotnoy division of the SS “Kama” (23. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS “Kama”) from the Croatian and Bosnian Muslims. This division was named in honor of the national dagger of the Balkan shepherds.

the Last SS division formed during the war, the 38th SS Grenadier division “Nibelungen” (38. SS-Grenadier-Division “Nibelungen”), its name was taken from the mythology of the ancient Germans. The Nibelungs-called tribe of the dwarves, defeated one of the main characters in the German epic — Siegfried.

A division in the SS and Wehrmacht had names of different cities or even countries. This can be attributed to the 29th division “Italia” (picked from the Italians), the 14th SS division “Galicia” (Ukrainians), 23rd SS division “Nederland” (Dutch collaborators), etc., as well as military fortress division “Rhodes” and “Crete” Panzer division “Tatra” and “Norway”, infantry division, 1945 bearing the names of German cities. All nominal divisions of Germany to tell just not enough space, but most interesting to list managed.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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