SS Schwimmwagen Crew, December 18, 1944, Kaisebaracke.
Waffen SS crew for the amphibious reconnaissance vehicle Volkswagen Typ 16 Schwimmwagen includes 3 figures and a metal stowage:
- SS-Unterscharführer (sergeant) Ochsner smoking a cigar and consulting some maps, with reversible camo smock (type 2) and plate cap.
- SS-Oberscharführer (brigade) Persin signaling with his right hand, wearing reversible camo smock (type 2) and plate cap.
- Driver in reversible camo smock (type 1) and “liberated” American tankman winter cap.
- Stowage for the rear seats of the Schwimmwagen.
The Waffen SS crew miniature figures for recon Schwimmwagen have been designed for the Schwimmwagen model of Academy. To mount them on models of other brands, they may require some minimal adjustment. The crew are inspired by the famous film shot by an SS propaganda team on December 18 during the initial fighting of the Battle of the Bulge. The film footage shows the advance of the reconnaissance units of the Schnelle Gruppe Knittel, the Kampfgruppe of the reconnaissance battalion of the Leibstandarte division (1. SS-Panzer-Division ‘LSSAH’, SS-Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 1), during their stop at the Kaiserbarracke junction on the road between Saint-Vith and Malmedy. Probably these rolls of film, which ended up in the hands of the American 3rd Armored Division a few days later, constitute one of the best known graphic documents of this battle.
The Battle of the Bulge
Officially codenamed “Wacht am Rhein” or Guard on the Rhine, the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes in December 1944 is considered to be the last major operation on the Western Front designed by the German High Command capable of changing the course of the war in Europe. Indeed it was designed to deal a decisive blow by launching a surprise attack on the weak American lines in the very Belgian forests of the Ardennes, which in fact facilitated the conquest of the Netherlands and France during the Blitzkrieg of 1940.
Kampfgruppe Hansen and the VI Panzer Army
The Kampfgruppe Hansen was one of the 4 battle groups or Kampfgruppen of the 1st Panzer Division Leibstandarte of the Waffen SS during the Battle of the Bulge. The unit was commanded by SS-Standartenführer Max Hansen who was the commander of the First SS Regiment of Tank Grenadiers of the First SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte “Adolf Hitler”. This elite armored division was also commanded by SS-Oberführer Wilhelm Monhke and was part of the First SS Panzer Corps commanded by SS-Gruppenführer Herman Priess.
Additionally this armored corps also included the sister division 12th SS Panzer Division “Hitler Jugend”. Both divisions, as well several support units attached for the operation, also formed a powerful armored corps that was integrated into the 6th Panzer Army under the command of SS-Oberstgruppenführer Josep “Sepp” Dietrich. Consequently, this army was in charge of the northern sector of the Teutonic offensive with the mission of quickly overcoming the vulnerable American lines to capture the bridges over the Meuse River before their destruction. These bridges were therefore the key to ensuring a rapid advance to take the strategic port of Antwerp, which was in fact the final objective of the German attack, but without them the offensive would be doomed to failure.
Order of Battle for the Kampfgruppe Hansen in December 1944
The Kampfgruppe Hansen in December 1944 was finally constituted by the bulk of the motorized infantry in trucks of the Leisbtandarte division and therefore was organized as follows:
- I Battalion of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment.
- 13 Assault Gun Company (Sturmgeschütz Kompanie) of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, with 6 self-propelled Sd.Kfz. 138/1 Ausf. M “Grille” with 15 cm. guns.
- 14 Flak Kompanie of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment, with 12 Flak 2 cm antiaircraft guns.
- 15 sapper company (Pionier Kompanie) of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment.
- II Battalion of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment.
- III Battalion of the 1st SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment.
- IV Battalion of the 1st SS Artillery Regiment, with 6 15 cm. towed field guns.
- First SS Panzer Rocket Launcher Group with 18 x 15 cm Nebelwerfer and 6 x 6 cm Nebelwerfer, all towed.
- First SS Panzerjäeger Abteilung, with 20 Sd.Kfz.162/1 Jagdpanzer IV/70 “Lang” and 11 towed 7.5 cm Pak 40 anti-tank guns.
- Sdkfz 251/3 Ausf. D Funkpanzerwagen, Kampfgruppe Peiper
- Sdkfz 251/9 Ausf. D Stummel, Kampfgruppe Peiper
- The battle of the Bulge, Then and Now – Jean-Paul Pallud
- Men of Steel, I Panzer Corp. The Ardennes and Eastern Front 1944 – 45 – Michael Reynolds
- The Ardennes Offensive VI Panzer Armee, Northern Sector – Bruce Quarrie
- Waffen-SS Uniforms in Colour Photographs – Andrew Steven & Peter Amodio
- Ardennes 1944: Peiper and Skorzenny – Colour plates by Ron Volstad y David Parker
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