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Conversion of Kradschuetzen in Waffen-SS before Operation Zitadelle

Updated by
Dr.Chuang
on 22/12/2002


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Special thanks to Dr. Neihorster and Marc Rikmenspoel

Conversion of Kradschuetzen in SS-Panzergrenadier Division before Operation Zitadelle. The conversion of Kradschuetzen in Waffen-SS was coupled with a serial reorganization of SS-Division (mot) into SS-Panzergrenadier Division. LSSAH-Division (mot) was renamed as SS-Panzergrenadier Division LSSAH on 24th November 1942 with the raising of SS-Panzer Regiment 1 on 14th October 1942. The motorized reconnaissance battalion has one armored car company, one light panzer grenadier company equipped with SPW 250, two motorcycle reconnaissance companies equipped with Schwimmwagen, and one motorized heavy company equipped with various fire supportive vehicles at that time. The battalion was expanded to six companies with one more light panzer grenadier company in 1943 and was finally renamed as panzer reconnaissance battalion on 22nd October 1943. SS-Wiking Division (mot) was renamed as SS-Panzergrenadier Division Wiking on 9th November 1942 with the raising of SS-Panzer Regiment 5 on 28th February 1942. The composition of motorized reconnaissance battalion at that time was not clear.

Dissolution of schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment in SS-Panzergrenadier Division before Operation Zitadelle. The dissolution of schnelle Schuetzen in Waffen-SS was coupled with a serial reorganization of SS-Division (mot) into SS-Panzergrenadier Division. The SS schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment Langemarck (SS fast rifle regiment Langemarck) released its second battalion to form the second battalion of SS-Panzer Regiment 2 on 14th October 1942 and SS-Reich Division (mot) was renamed as Das Reich the next day. Finally the division was renamed as SS-Panzergrenadier Division DAs Reich to fit its combat ability on 9th November 1942. The SS fast rifle regiment Langemarck had only one battalion but they distinguished themselves in the battle of Kharkov in early 1943. The regiment was finally disbanded after the battle of Kharkov and the first battalion was merged with motorized reconnaissance battalion to form the new panzer reconnaissance battalion in the summer of 1943. SS-Totenkopf Division (mot) was renamed as SS-Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf on 9th November 1942 with the raising of SS-Panzer Regiment 3 on 14th October 1942. The SS schnelle Schuetzen-Regiment Thule suffered heavy loss during the battle of Kharkov. The SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 1 Totenkopf absorbed the regiment and heritage the title as SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 1 Thule in the summer of 1943.

Conclusion. 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. Some documents point there were also plans for creating SS fast rifle regiment in new SS panzer formations but the idea soon dropped after the dissolution of existing SS fast rifle regiments in the east front. More information is needed to build a whole view for these SS fast rifle regiments.

SS-Leibstandarte : The History of the First Division 1934-1945
Grenadiers
Das Reich: The Military Role of the 2nd SS Division
Knight's of Steel
SS-Totenkopf: The History of the 'Death's Head' Division 1940-45
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Copyright 2001 Dr.Chuang, Taipei, Taiwan
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