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Waffen SS: Training Made Them The Best

The Waffen SS were the toughest soldiers the world had ever seen or perhaps, will ever see. Something like the US Navy Seals. No wonder they beat the crap out of the enemy wherever they went. No wonder why the Red Army and Allied soldiers hated them so much during WW2. The key lay in not Nazi ideology but the rigorous training provided to them which tuned them into elite soldiers. Let us hear from one of the Waffen SS recruit in his own words (Personal narrative) what he has to say about that....


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Sports was an inevitable part of the Waffen SS training. It was not just a means of relaxation but an important technique to keep recruits fully fit. Of course there were the cross-country runs and endless marches to build stamina and endurance.

The mid day meal was a hearty affair. In the afternoon the recruits were to clean their barracks, keep the uniform clean and brush their shoes. In the evening was leisure time. One could read, write and browse through books. Games like chess were encouraged to inculcate logical thinking.

The Waffen SS training differed from the regular Germany Army in two ways. The recruits were given lectures on Aryan and German racial superiority and also on the principles of Nazism. Also the emphasis was aggression. To develop the thinking that they were the best and could always fight their way through.

Before all this first there was a thorough examination of family and medical history. The hopefuls were to undergo a three month pre-training course which was so hard that many died before the time was up.

The training included how to save oneself from Alsatian dogs set free on them.  Also recruits shot each other with live ammunition. Many of them who dared look up from their trench were killed. Also included was taming of wild horses.


In the words of a recruit...

"We had no weapons, but were very soon paraded as a new squad and marched to the armoury where we received Mauser rifles of an old kind. Then we were taken to the mess where we found two battalions having their evening meal. So we joined them, the food was good and plentiful and we ate well. When we returned to our barrack room an NCO began instructing us in the daily routine to come. 

We would join others to form a training squad before moving into one of the battalions. We had much to learn although the RAD had been a good grounding, but we knew nothing about soldiering.

 'We had been issued with three uniforms: one was a denim work suit, the second was the new field-grey tunic with all the necessary equipment and new- style helmet; the third uniform was a black type for formal occasions and more or less identical with that worn by the General SS. That evening we returned to our rooms early after a visit to the kasino where many other lads already in training were singing songs and drinking beer.

 'Next morning we were roused rather noisily at six a.m. to get washed and shaved (if we needed to), and then marched to breakfast. Then we were ordered into full equipment and marched to the barrack square to meet the rest of the training squad. There were two NCOs who then proceeded to teach us the rudiments of drill which went on all morning. After a break for lunch we went for a short lecture, a kind of indoctrination before being taken out for more drill and a run round the camp in PT kit and then into the countryside. By evening we were very tired, but content with our progress.


 'The fact that we were only SS Aspirants meant that we were on probation. I knew from some older members of the squad that they had had to provide details of ancestry back to the last century, but our own lot were never asked for this. I believe that by then such requirements had been waived. I do know however that my own family were investigated and our details looked into. I was considered racially pure, otherwise I would never have been allowed to stay in the SS.

 'Our work now began in earnest with field training and manoeuvres with live ammunition which was quite frightening as the bullets were directed over us as we crawled over the ground, firing as we went. We had to fire and run, fire and run, all the time. Then we joined up with the battalions on exercises which included more live firing and lectures, both in the classrooms and in the open about fielder aft, fortifications, and how to use various weapons to best advantage. We were shown mortars and machine-guns and in a few days were learning how to use them, so the training was very comprehensive and went on at a rapid pace for week after week. 

'We became tough and hardened after being out in all weathers, and before long began to feel like veterans. Of course, in fact we were not, we were still only candidates for the SS. But this situation changed quite suddenly when in a big parade many names were called, including my own and we were declared 'SS Sturmmen' and no longer Aspirants. 

So we had passed our first hurdle and were now admitted to the SS proper, which at that time was known as the 'V-SS'. At the time we were without transport, but as soon as our field training finished we were provided with trucks and shown how to move rapidly from place to place; in other words, we became motorized infantry. Then, following another big parade we were split up and sent to various units. I went with twelve others to the Deutschland regiment where we were addressed by an officer who told us that we must uphold the honour of the SS at all times, that we must be obedient and loyal to the Fuehrer. 

We had already been sworn in when we first arrived so we now felt we had been admitted to the armed forces of the new Reich, but much more so as the NCOs and officers told us all the time that they were stirring times for Germany, and that we in the SS had a very special responsibility and were of course far above all other soldiers and were the elite troops of Germany.

 I must say that when we were allowed out into the city we walked about in very proud fashion in our black uniforms and felt that we were indeed the very best. We ignored the men of the General SS as nobodies, they were untrained, part-time policemen and of no consequence. We had only to look at them to see how weak and unfit many of them were by comparison. We felt even the Wehrmacht people were not impressive, for we had been instilled with that special kind of SS arrogance which all so-called elite soldiers acquire in every country. We felt sure we were the best, but we were under a very strict code of behaviour, and at no time were we allowed to behave in an overbearing or inflammatory manner.


Waffen SS Divisons At A Glance: Part 1

Waffen SS Divisons At A Glance: Part 2

Waffen SS Unit Logos

WAFFEN SS IN ACTION: Rare, Unseen Pictures: Part 1

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