II. SS-Panzerkorps was formed June 1942 at Truppenübungsplatz Bergen-Belsen as SS-Panzer-Generalkommando, before being transferred to France to take control of the Waffen-SS divisions refitting there. It remained in France until January 1943 when it was tranferred to the southern sector of the Eastern front. In June 1943 it was renamed to II. SS-Panzerkorps.

It fought at Kharkov and Belgorod before taking part in the summer offensive of 1943. As the fall of Mussolini seemed imminent the Korps was ordered to Italy, though only Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler actually left the Eastern front.

It was briefly redesignated 1. SS-Panzer-Armee in the autumn of 1943 but it was soon changed back to the original name.

It was sent to France in December 1943 and returned to the Eastern front in April 1944 before once again returning to France to fight the Allies in Normandy. It later saw action in the Ardennes before returning to the east and ending the war in Austria.

Commanders  

SS-Oberstgruppenführer Paul Hausser (1 June 1942 - 29 June 1944)
SS-Obergruppenführer Willi Bittrich (29 June 1944 - 8 May 1945)

Chef des Stabes  

SS-Standartenführer Werner Ostendorff (? June 1942 - ? Dec 1943)
SS-Standartenführer Rüdiger Pipkorn (? Dec 1943 - ? Oct 1944)
SS-Obersturmbannführer Baldur Keller (? Oct 1944 - ? May 1945)

Area of operations  

Eastern Front, southern sector (May 1943 - Aug 1943)
Italy (Aug 1943 - Oct 1943)
Balkans (Oct 1943 - Dec 1943)
France (Dec 1943 - Mar 1944)
Eastern Front, southern sector (Mar 1944 - June 1944)
France & Netherlands (June 1944 - Dec 1944)
Ardennes (Dec 1944 - Jan 1945)
Hungary & Austria (Jan 1945 - May 1945)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the German Cross in Gold (1)
- Pipkorn, Rüdiger, 19.08.1944, SS-Standartenführer, Chef d. Gen.St. II. SS-Pz.Korps
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (3)
- Dermietzel, Dr. Friedrich-Karl, 02.06.1944, SS-Brigadeführer u. Generalmajor d. W-SS, Korpsarzt II. SS-Pz.Korps
- Musch, Othmar, 20.02.1945, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Korps-Ingenieur II. SS-Pz.Korps
- Ulmer, Hans, 21.06.1944, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Korps-Intendant II. SS-Pz.Korps
Holders of the Knight's Cross (3, including one unofficial/unconfirmed)
- Swords (1)
-- Bittrich, Wilhelm 06.05.1945 [153. Sw] SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS K.G. II. SS-Pz.Korps
-- [no proof in Bundesarchiv ; "Dietrich-award" ; award date is that of the announcement by SS-Pz.AOK 6 ; #"153" determined by OdR]
- Oakleaves (2)
-- Bittrich, Wilhelm 28.08.1944 [563. EL] SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS K.G. II. SS-Pz.Korps
-- Hausser, Paul 28.07.1943 [261. EL] SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS K.G. SS-Pz.Korps
Holders of the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords (1)
- Schäffer, Emil, 31.12.1944, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Korps-Ing. II. SS-Pz.Korps

Holders of high awards (Korps-Truppen)

Holders of the German Cross in Gold (2)
- Coudres des, Hans-Peter, 23.09.1944, SS-Sturmbannführer, SS-Werf.Abt. 102 / II. SS-Pz.Korps
- Nickmann, Alfred, 16.06.1944, SS-Hauptsturmführer, SS-Korps-Werf.Abt. 102 / II. SS-Pz.Korps
Holders of the German Cross in Silver (2)
- Ortmann, Gustav, 27.09.1944, SS-Sturmbannführer, SS-Lazarett 1/102 / II. SS-Pz.Korps
- Röttger, Heinrich, 28.06.1944, SS-Obersturmbannführer, SS-San.Abt. 102 / II. SS.Pz.Korps

Order of battle - Korpstruppen

Fliegerstaffel
SS-Korpskartenstelle (mot.) 102
Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 102 / 502
SS Panzer Kompanie / Abteilung 105 / 505
SS-ArKo II
SS-Artillerie-Abteilung 102
SS-Granatwerfer-Kompanie 102
SS-Flak Kompanie 102
SS-Werfer-Abteilung 102
SS-Korps-Nachrichten Abteilung 400
SS-Wehrgeologen-Kompanie 102
SS-Kraftfahrzeug-Instandsetzungs Kompanie 102
SS-Werkstatt-Kompanie 102
SS-Korps-Sänitats-Kompanie 102
SS-Feldpostamt (mot.) 102
SS-Kriegsberichter-Kompanie (mot.)
SS-Feldgendarmerie-Trp. (mot.) 102
SS-Korps Sicherung-Kompanie 102
SS-Feldersatz-Brigade I
SS-Rekruten Depot II

SS-Werfer-Abteilung 102 was formed near Celle in late 1942 from manpower from SS-Werfer-Ausbildungs-Batterie, SS-Artillerie-Ersatz-Abteilung and SS-Artillerie-Ausbildung- und Ersatz-Regiment with four batteries (six 15 cm launchers in each).
In October 1943 most of the Abteilung was sent to France for refitting but the 1. and 3. Batteries remained behind, known as SS-Werfergruppe Krosta.
In September 1944 2. and 3. Batteries remained behind in France known as SS-Werfergruppe Nickmann while the rest of the unit transferred to Guben for refitting.
In September 1944 the name was changed to SS-Werfer-Abteilung 502.

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 1979 board game "Prochorovka: Armor at Kursk" designed by Stephen V. Cole and published by Task Force Games covers the battle of Prochorovka.

Panzer IV in Toulon, France, during Unternehmen Lila, the attempt to capture the Vichy French fleet
wss-korps-2-toulon
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Waffen-SS and Fallschirmjägers at Arnheim during Operation Market Garden
wss-fj-arnhem
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler visiting the corps in April 1943, shown with Walter Krüger and Paul Hausser
wss-korps-2-himmler-1943
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

SS-Obergruppenführer Paul Hausser in France June 1942
hausser-paul-france-1942
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)

Sources used

Roger James Bender & Hugh Page Taylor - Uniforms, Organization and History of the Waffen-SS, vol 2
Georges M. Croisier - Waffen-SS (PDF)
Dr. K-G Klietmann - Die Waffen-SS: eine Dokumentation
Kurt Mehner - Die Waffen-SS und Polizei 1939-1945
Samuel W. Mitcham Jr - The Panzer Legions: A guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of WWII and Their Commanders
Marc J. Rikmenspoel - Waffen-SS Encyclopedia
Mark C. Yerger - Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, corps and divisional leaders of a legend (2 vol)

Reference material on this unit

HIAG - Befehl des Gewissens
Ewald Klapdor - Die Entscheidung. Invasion 1944
George M. Nipe Jr. - Blood, steel and myth: The II.SS-Panzer-Korps and the Road to Prochorowka
George M. Nipe Jr. - Decision In the Ukraine, Summer 1943: II. SS and III. Panzerkorps
George M. Nipe Jr. - Last Victory in Russia: The SS-Panzerkorps and Manstein's Kharkov Counteroffensive February-March 1943
Michael Reynolds - Sons of the Reich: II SS Panzer Corps - Normandy, Arnhem, Ardennes, Eastern Front
Sylvester Stadler - Offensive Gegen Kursk
Wilhelm Tieke - Im Feuersturm letzter Kriegsjahre
Waldemar Trojca - SS-Panzerkorps in the Battle for Kharkov

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