Großdeutschland was it an elite division(in what way)?

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by Sgt. Paul, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Just as a comparison - The Royal Norfolks won more VC's during WW2 (5) than any other unit. That doesn't make them the best fighting unit :)

    Gerard likes this.
  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Just as a comparison - The Royal Norfolks won more VC's during WW2 (5) than any other unit. That doesn't make them the best fighting unit :)

    My point exactly! :)
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    It's the age old question.
    How long is a piece of string?:D

    Rather like this original question, impossible to answer.

  4. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    I have read somewhere (can't come up with the source right now) that Grossdeutschland was the most decorated German Heer unit, could this be possible (Iron Crosses etc)? Wouldn't this prove anything?

    It's rather a question of actually researching it - there is no thorough study of awarding in Wehrmacht and W-SS yet, some hints only. It is known that the policy for confering decorations wasn't the same with all units/COs and presumably also changed during the war. A soldier doesn't only get decorated for what he's accomplished, but it's also a means of getting/keeping him motivated (that's why the German Army had to create new levels of the same medal).

    So, to answer your question: It doesn't prove anything for sure, unless you cross-check with similar units, analyse the battles etc.
    As for Grossdeutschland: It was the flagship division of the Wehrmacht, so their decorations might well have been influenced by propaganda as well...
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Just a SWAGPOOMB, but wouldn't GD and the top W-SS get priority in replacements to keep numbers up?
  6. Sgt. Paul

    Sgt. Paul Junior Member

    I wonder what kind of sources Gordon Williamsons & Ramiro Bujeiro in their Osprey book "German Army Elite Units 1939-45" have? What have made Gordon Williamsons to have Grossdeutschland included in his book as an elite unit? I haven't read it yet but I have ordered it. Have any of you read it?
  7. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Elite does tend to be a subjective term. Some elite units are made up of personnel who have served elsewhere and undergone a stringent induction course to join the new unit. Others gain a reputation for being reliable in action. GD did have access to some decent kit and had improved organic firepower than a 'normal' Motorized or later Panzer Grenadier Division might. Perhaps 'favoured' might be a better description, but perhaps a series of Osprey books entitled 'Well thought of Divisions of the Wehrmacht (1939-43 and 1943-45) might not sell so well?!
  8. Sgt. Paul

    Sgt. Paul Junior Member

    Grossdeutschland was a Firebigrade and the unit did tip the scale a few times and they fought very decisive and toke a heavy toll as well. They did receive the newest equipment even before SS disvisions. They did perform very well in different battles and they earned most Iron Crosses of any Heer units.

    I think their reputation was earned as a famous/notorious elite division.

    Just my point of view

  9. Byrden

    Byrden Junior Member

    They were given a company of 9 Tigers in February 1943 and they fought north-west of Kharkiv immediately. An additional 9 Tigers were assigned to them for "Kursk".

  10. steelers708

    steelers708 Junior Member

    The GD was authorised, and had, 15 Tiger Is on the 5th July 1943 of which 14 were operational. The 13./Kompanie, later 9./Kp., was formed in January 43 with 9 Tiger Is, it received a further 6 in May 1943 bringing her upto to the authorised figure of 15 for Zitadelle.


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