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Reorganization of Kradschuetzen in Waffen-SS before Operation Blau

Updated by
on 29/12/2002

Recommended Title
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Uniform for Motorcycle Rifleman
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Special thanks to Dr. Neihorster and Marc Rikmenspoel

The Kradschuetzen in Waffen-SS before Operation Blau. The harsh condition of Russian winter snow and spring mud had proved difficulty in front line service for pure motorcycle rifle battalion. New equipment such as Schwimmwagen and even SPW 250 replaced motorcycles in the LSSAH, SS-Reich, SS-Totenkopf and SS-Wiking motorized reconnaissance battalion. The SS-Reich motorcycle rifle battalion was incoporated into the new SS fast rifle regiment "Langemarck" in April 1942. A new motorcycle rifle battalion was established for SS-Totenkopf Division (mot) in March 1942 but it was also incoporated into the new SS fast rifle regiment "Thule" in August 1942.

Formation of schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment in SS-Division (mot) before Operation Blau. The brand new SS schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment "Langemarck" (SS fast rifle regiment "Langemarck") was raised on 20th April 1942 in SS-Reich Division (mot). The remnant of SS Infanterie-Regiment 4 "Langemarck" became the regimental headquarters and second battalion for the new regiment. The SS-Reich Kradschuetzen-Bataillon became the first battalion. The SS-Totenkopf Division (mot) also raised its only fast rifle regiment. The SS schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment "Thule" was raised on 1st August 1942 from remnant of SS Infanterie-Regiment 9 "Thule" and SS-Totenkopf Kradschuetzen-Bataillon. Both regiments were equipped with new Schwimmwagen in each battalion. It seems there was a plan to raise a fast rifle regiment for all SS-Division (mot) in 1942 but only SS-Reich Division (mot) and SS-Totenkopf Division (mot) had them. The LSSAH Division (mot) had only motorized reconnaissance battalion instead of motorcycle rifle battalion. There were some conflicting information about the fast rifle regiment in SS-Wiking Division (mot). Some information suggested that SS schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment "Westland" was the fast rifle regiment in SS-Wiking Division (mot) but there was no solid evidence about this information. The original idea for SS fast rifle regiment was not known. It seems that the intention of the regiment was to replace the pure motorcycle rifle units for rapid deploy but it was redundant for SS-Division (mot) to have two 3-battalion regiments plus one 2-battalion regiment. Besides the regiment was equipped with new Schwimmwagen in each battalion and maintenance for the new Schwimmwagen might be a heavy burden for the battalion. More information is needed to have build a whole view for these SS fast rifle regiments.

SS-Leibstandarte : The History of the First Division 1934-1945
Das Reich: The Military Role of the 2nd SS Division
SS-Totenkopf: The History of the 'Death's Head' Division 1940-45
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