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Men-at-Arms 415: The Waffen-SS (3) 11. to 23. Divisions

by Gordon Williamson, illustrated by Stephen Andrew

Osprey Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-84176-591-0, 48 pages.

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The third book details the 11. SS-Freiwillengen Panzergrenadier Division “Nordland”, 12 SS-Panzer Division “Hitlerjugend”, 13 Waffen Gebirgs Division Der SS “Handschar” (kroatische Nr.1), 14. Waffen Grenadier Division Der SS (ukrainische Nr.2), 15. Waffen Grenadier Division Der SS (lettische Nr.1), 16. SS-Panzergrenadier Division “Reichsfuhrer-SS”, 17. SS-Panzergrenadier Division “Gotz Von Berlichingen”, 18 SS-Friewillingen Panzergrenadier Division “Horst Wessel”, 19. Waffen Grenadier Division Der SS (lettische Nr.2), 20. Waffen Grenadier Division Der SS (estnische Nr. 1), 21. Waffen Gebirgs Division Der SS “Skanderbeg” (albanische Nr. 1), 22. SS-Freiwillengen Kavallerie Division “Maria Theresia”, 23. Waffen Gebirgs Division Der SS “Kama” (kroatische Nr.2), and finally, 23. SS-Freiwillengen Panzergrenadier Division “Nederland”.

This title details some German-raised units, but concentrates on those raised by occupied nations to fight the “scourge of Communism”. These included Dutch, Scandinavian, Estonian, Latvian and Ukrainian units. Ethnic and religious conflict was also taken advantage of by the Nazis, which accounts for the formation of Croatian and Albanian units for use in the dirty partisan war waged in Yugoslavia.

As I have previously stated, many of these later formations were “divisions” only in name, so the reader should not get the idea that the SS had such a vast number of men in uniform. This is also the reason why some of the same numbers were used for different units; some units were never formed (beyond being written on a sheet of paper), while some were so short-lived that the numbers were re-cycled.

As one would imagine (due to the format of these books), the coverage of each unit in the text is relatively brief, but all the basics are there. Each unit covered is accompanied by a short combat history, the changes in unit name and function (by dates), the principal elements within the unit (usually, but not exclusively in 1944 as a Panzer or Panzer-Grenadier division) and the names of the units’ commanders and the duration of their commands. The photographs concentrate on the differing cuff titles, sleeve emblems and collar insignia, showing a huge amount of variety. The captions describing these are also well done. Some of the ethnic units raised later in the war also had unique items of uniform such as the Fez and national crests worn on the sleeves.

More good stuff for figure painters!

Highly recommended.

Frank De Sisto

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