The SS Handbook


By Gordon Williamson, Published in 2003



Originating in Hitler’s personal bodyguard, the Waffen-SS (armed SS) was expanded as a fourth branch of the Wehrmacht and became regarded as the tough elite of the German armed forces. Known as Hitler’s ‘Asphalt Soldiers’ they fought on all the main battle-fronts, but most notably in the East against the Soviet Union and in Normandy following ‘Overlord’. By the war’s end the Waffen-SS could boast almost forty field divisions manned by nearly one million troops. Gordon Williamson describes the organization, equipment, tactics and personalities of the Waffen-SS in the Second World War. A chronology outlines the major events in the history of the Waffen-SS from the founding of its forerunner, the SS-Verfugungstruppe, until May 1945. The author has travelled to Germany to interview numerous surviving former Waffen-SS soldiers and corresponded with many others, obtaining first-hand accounts of their wartime experiences. The handbook is illustrated with a rich selection of previously unpublished photographs, predominantly from private collections, ranging from studio posed shots to previously unpublished candid snaps and from battlefield pictures to war correspondent action shots.

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