wss-9

The 9. SS-Panzer-Division Hohenstaufen was raised 31 December 1942 as SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division Hohenstaufen and was mainly formed from conscripts, many of them from the ReichsArbeitsDienst (RAD), the national labour service.

It first saw action at Tanopol April 1944 where it took part in rescuing German troops from the Kamenets-Podolsk pocket. It was sent to Normany to fight the Allied landings. It retreated into Belgium before being sent to rest near Arnhem where they soon had to fight the Allied paratroopers who landed there. It was then transferred to Germany and later fought in the Ardennes and Hungary before ending the war in Austria.

Known war crimes

Heinz Hagendorf, a medical NCO, was post-war sentenced to six month for firing at American soldiers from a Red Cross marked ambulance at Henyelez, Belgium, in January 1945. (1)

Three American airmen were killed and one severly beaten in retaliation for an air raid near Strassgang, Austria in March 1945. Markus Lienhart was sentenced to death post-war for the killings and Franz Lienhart to 10 years for the beating. (2)

Lineage

SS-Panzergrenadier-Division 9 (Feb 1943 - Mar 1943)
SS-Panzergrenadier-Division 9 Hohenstaufen (Mar 1943 - Oct 1943)
9. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Hohenstaufen (Oct 1943 - May 1945)

Commanders

SS-Obergruppenführer Willi Bittrich (15 Feb 1943 - 29 June 1944)
SS-Oberführer Thomas Müller (29 June 1944 - 10 July 1944)
SS-Brigadeführer Sylvester Stadler (10 July 1944 - 31 July 1944)
SS-Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock (31 July 1944 - 29 Aug 1944)
SS-Standartenführer Walter Harzer (29 Aug 1944 - 10 Oct 1944)
SS-Brigadeführer Sylverster Stadler (10 Oct 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Chief of Staff

SS-Sturmbannführer Baldur Keller (8 Jan 1943 - ? June 1943)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Harzer (? June 1943 - ? Nov 1944)
SS-Sturmbannführer Emil Stürzbecher (? Nov 1944 - ? May 1945)

Quartermaster

SS-Sturmbannführer Berhard Hofmann (1 Feb 1943 - 1 July 1944)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Walther Jens (1 Aug 1944 - ? 1944)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Walter Uhlmann (? Dec 1944 - ? Feb 1945)
SS-Hauptsturmführer Walter Heininghaus (1 Mar 1945 - ? May 1945)

Area of operations  

France (Feb 1943 - Mar 1944)
Eastern front, southern sector (Mar 1944 - Apr 1944)
France (Apr 1944 - Aug 1944)
Belgium & Netherlands (Aug 1944 - Oct 1944)
Western Germany (Oct 1944 - Dec 1944)
Ardennes (Dec 1944 - Jan 1945)
Western Germany (Jan 1945 - Feb 1945)
Hungary (Feb 1945 - Mar 1945)
Austria (Mar 1945 - May 1945)

Manpower strength  

Dec 1943 19.611
June 1944 15.898
Dec 1944 19.000

Honor titles

The Hohenstaufen or Staufer were a German family of rulers taking their name from their seat, the Swabian castle Hohenstaufen. Members of this lineage, which became extinct in 1268, held the German royal and imperial thrones from 1138 to 1254. Among the most significant members of this family were Emperor Heinrich VI and Emperor Friedrich I. Barbarossa, who was among Hitler’s favorite historical personalities. (The invasion of the Soviet Union was called “Unternehmen Barbarossa”.)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Close Combat Clasp in Gold (1)
- Golbs, Herbert, 00.00.0000, SS-Oberscharführer, Zugführer i. d. 16./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 19
Holders of the German Cross in Gold (15)
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (1)
- Hofmann, Bernhard, 17.11.1944, SS-Sturmbannführer, Ib 9. SS-Pz.Div. “Hohenstaufen”
Holders of the Honor Roll Clasp of the Heer (3)
- Frank, Robert, 15.06.1944, SS-Sturmbannführer, Kdr. II./SS-Pz.Gren.Rgt. 20
- Kaiser, Wilhelm, 25.12.1944, SS-Unterscharführer, 3./SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 9
- Vogel, Erich, 05.12.1944, SS-Obersturmführer, 4./SS-Pz.Rgt. 9 “Hohenstaufen”
Holders of the Knight's Cross (15, including four unofficial/unconfirmed)

Order of battle

SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 19
SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 20
SS-Panzer Regiment 9
SS-Panzer Artillerie Regiment 9
SS-Panzer-Aufklärung-Abteilung 9
SS-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 9
SS-Flak-Abteilung 9
SS-Panzer-Pionier-Abteilung 9
SS-Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 9
SS-Sturmgeschütz-Abteilung 9
SS-Beobachtungs-Batterie 9
SS-Nachschubtruppen 9
SS-Panzer-Instandsetzungs-Abteilung 9
SS-Wirtschafts-Battalion 9
SS-Verwaltungstruppen-Abteilung 9
SS-Sanitäts-Kompanien 9
SS-Feldlazarett
SS-Krankenkraftwagenzug 9
SS-Feldpostamt 9
SS-Kriegsberichter-Zug 9
SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trupp 9
SS-Feldersatz-Battalion 9
SS-Ausbildungs-Battalion 9

Officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen and Concentration Camps

Concentration Camps 22
Einsatzgruppen 2
(includes officers serving in the Einsatzgruppen or Concentration Camps either prior to or after service in this unit)

Insignia

The "Hohenstaufen" cuff title was authorized for this unit 1943.

In fiction

The 1977 movie "A Bridge Too Far", based on the book by Cornelius Ryan, directed by Richard Attenborough tells the story of Operation Market-Garden.

The 2002 movie "De tweeling" ("Twin Sisters") directed by Ben Sombogaart includes soldiers wearing the "Hohenstaufen" cuff title.

The 2009 board game "Panzerblitz: Hill of Death" designed by Darren Emge and published by Multi-Man Publishing covers the fight for Hill 112 in Normandy (Operation Jupiter).

Officers of the Hohenstaufen division in France 1943
wss-9-training-france
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany) 

SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Wilhelm Bittrich speaking to officers in France in August 1943bittrich-wilhelm-france-1943
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen near Arnhem
wss-9-mobelwagen

(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

Sd.Kfz. 250 near Arnhem
wss-9-sdkfz-250
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3 0 Germany)

Four captured soldiers from the 9. SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung at Arnhem
wss-9-pow
(Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum / Wikimedia)

 

Footnotes

1. "Justiz und NS-Verbrechen" by C.F. Rüter & D.W. de Mildt.
2. "Justiz und NS-Verbrechen" by C.F. Rüter & D.W. de Mildt.

Sources used

John R. Angolia - Cloth insignia of the SS
Roger James Bender & Hugh Page Taylor - Uniforms, Organization and History of the Waffen-SS, vol 3
Georges M. Croisier - Waffen-SS (PDF)
Terry Goldsworthy - Valhalla's Warriors: A history of the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1941-1945
Patrick Hook - Hohenstaufen: 9th SS Panzer Division
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
C.F. Rüter & D.W. de Mildt - Justiz und NS-Verbrechen
George H. Stein - The Waffen-SS: Hitler's Elite Guard at War 1939-1945
Gordon Williamson & Thomas McGuirl - German military cuffbands 1784-present
Gordon Williamson - The Waffen-SS: 6. to 10. Divisions
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

Herbert Fürbringer - 9 SS Panzer Division: Hohenstaufen
Lothar van Greelen - Verkauft und Verraten
Lothar Greil - Gloria Mundi
Patrick Hook - Hohenstaufen: 9th SS Panzer Division
Helmut Semmler - SS-Flak
Wilhelm Tieke - In the Firestorm of the Last Years of the War
Hans Wijers - Memories of the fight in the Ardennes 1944/45: The battle for Grand-Halleux, Vielsalm, Bra and Vilettes

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