kursk 2Few military organizations or formations in history have evoked such fear, loathing, or grudging respect as the Waffen SS! Hitler’s elite private army, their role and history are highly controversial to this very day.

(To read Part Two, go here.)

As part of Von Manstein’s Donetz Campaign, the SS Panzer Korps played a decisive role in the maneuver battles that had destroyed the advancing Soviet armored spearheads pushing deep into German-controlled Ukraine, following the fall of Stalingrad. Disobeying orders, the Waffen had then stormed Kharkov in March 1943, recapturing the city they had been forced to retreat from a month earlier; in a well-executed and courageously conducted street battle. “General Mud” in April had brought the German counter-offensive to a halt, leaving a Soviet salient, centered on Kursk, bulging into their lines. It was decided by Hitler’s OKW that a summer offensive would be conducted to eliminate this bulge and straighten out the German lines in the east.

Meanwhile, as the SS Panzer Korps was resting and refitting for the battles to come, other Waffen formations were engaged in one of the darkest incidents in German military history: the April ’43 destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

(Deadliest Blogger has moved. To continue reading, go here.)

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