|Feldgrau.com - research on the German armed forces 1918-1945|
|Traditions||This unit takes its title from the noble family name of Hohenstaufen that bred a number of German kings and emperors during the periods 1138-1208 and 1214-1254. It is believed that this unit was specifically named after Frederich II - son of the first known member of the Hohenstaufen line - who lived from 1194 to 1250.|
The 9.SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" was formed in December, 1942, and was
subsequently trained in Maille le Camp in France. Initially, the division
was named as the SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen", and was later renamed on
10.23.43 as the 9.SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen". After being
stationed throughout France the training was concluded in the spring of
As a result of the deterioration of the situation in Southern Russia where the 1.PanzerArmee was being surrounded, the OKW sent the II.SS-Panzerkorps into action to free the 1.Panzerarmee of its encirclement. In swampy conditions the 9.SS-Panzer-Division and the 10.SS-Panzer-Division succeeded in making contact with the 6.Panzer-Division of the 1.Panzerarmee in Buczacz, thus freeing the 1.Panzerarmee.
After this battle the 9.SS was sent to the north for the relief attack on Tarnopol which was also encircled by the Russians. Together with the Panzerverband "Friebe" the 9.SS tried to fight its way to Tarnopol. However, in the face of adverse weather conditions and very heavy Soviet Resistance, this operation failed, they only succeeded in reaching some of the soldiers that managed to breakout of Tarnopol.
In the following weeks and months the 9.SS was again placed under the command of the II.SS-Panzerkorps and acted as reserve of the Heeresgruppe Nordukraine until 6.12.44 when the division was sent to France.
"Hohenstaufen" was placed in reserve for the onslaught in the Caen area that had already begun on 7.8.44. The following battles concentrated on Eterville, Maltot and the strategic hill nr.112. Eterville was lost for good but Hill nr.112, after changing hands several times, was finally retaken by "Hohenstaufen" which by now had taken over the positions of the heavily battered 10.SS "Frundsberg". The battles died down on 7.12.44. "Hohenstaufen" again was taken out of the line to build the reserve for the new attack that would follow on 7.15.44. "Frundsberg" took over the positions of "Hohenstaufen". On 7.16.44, heavy action on and near Hill nr.113 to the west of Hill nr.112 took place. Because of heavy casualties, III.bataillon/19.Panzergrenadier-Regiment was disbanded and used to replace the losses the other two bataillons of the 19.Panzergrenadier-Regiment had suffered. On the 18th the Allied attacks from the northeast of Caen begun and they soon breached the lines of the German divisions located there. "Hohenstaufen" therefore was taken out of the line, reorganized (Both the Panzergrenadier-Regiments were combined to form Panzergrenadier-Regiment "Hohenstaufen") and sent to the east to be placed under the command of the I.SS-Panzerkorps and again acted as a reserve for the coming crisis. On 7.25.44, the division was ready for action and was sent to the south of Caen where the 272.Infanterie-Division's line had been breached. The next day the old HKL had been restored except for Hill nr.72 and Verrieres. A detailed operational account of the 9.SS from July 3rd to July 24th, 1944, written by Sylvester Stadler.
The following weeks saw the destruction of the frontline. On 8.1.44, the 9.SS was taken out of the line and was put under the command of the II.SS Panzerkorps to deal with a crisis near Beny-Bocage. After a week of hard fighting the British advance was checked, and then another week of gradually pulling back in this area was followed by the redeployement to the Putanges area which started on 8.13.44 and was completed by 8.16.44. The rapid disintegration of the frontline elsewhere prevented any use from these positions and so "Hohenstaufen" was ordered to Vimoutiers area. Heavy fighting ensued in the area around Merri and Trun (On the northside of the Falaise pocket), where Canadian/Polish troops tried to breakthrough to the south. In the following days the 9.SS concentrated itself on keeping the narrow escape route out of the pocket open. These battles lasted until 8.21.44. The division acquitted itself well, its commander Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock received the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross for these battles. The retreat through France and Belgium followed with Hohenstaufen fighting some rear guard actions at Orbec, Bourg-Achard, Duclair, Laon, and Cambrai. The division was then ordered for a refit and sent to Arnhem which it reached on September 9th.
The strenghth of the 9.SS at that time was 6,000-7,000 men from 15,898 on June 30th! It was planned to refit the 9.SS in Germany so a number of units were already on their way to Germany or given to the "Frundsberg" division when on Sunday the 17th of September, 1944, the Allies launched Operation Market-Garden. It's actual strength at the beginning of this operation was therefore even less! "Hohenstaufen" operated mainly to the west of Arnhem to keep the British from making contact with the elements of the British Red Devils of the 1st Airborne Division that were surrounded in Arnhem and thereby preventing the Allies from gaining the Primary objective of the entire operations which was to secure a bridgehead in Arnhem across the Rhine River. After the initial battles "Hohenstaufen" succeeded with the help of regular German troops in Holland (Gruppe von Tettau and others) in pushing the major part of the British/Polish forces back in Oosterbeek near Arnhem which was evacuated in the night of 25th/26th of September. This of course was a major achievement, the near total destruction of an elite British Paratroop unit with only the remnants of a division and other ad-hoc units that in any other army that fought in World War II, except for the Soviet's, would not even have been considered to be reserve units far from the frontline! Arnhem proved to be a well deserved victory for "Hohenstaufen"!
The division was moved to Germany for refit first in the Siegen area but as this was unsuitable for armoured warfare training the division was sent to the Paderborn-Muenster area. On 12.12.44, the division was moved to the Muenstereifel where it was to be reserve for "Unternehmen Herbstnebel" (Wacht am Rhein was the first name for the offensive, but it was changed at the end of November 1944). The 9.SS was then moved to the south of Blankenheim, and then was moved to the Stadtkyll-Juenkerath-Blankenheim area. At first only the Artillierie-Regiment and the Panzer-Aufklaerungs-Abteilung were engaged, but from 12.21.44 on the rest of the division was in action, after the capture of St. Vith. The first objectives were taken, the villages Recht and Vielsalm and surrounding areas, but the increasing American air activity and ground strength slowed the attack down and finally stopped it altogether in front of the villages Bra and Vaux-Chavanne. On the 12.31.44, the division was sent south to assist in the capture of Bastogne, its positions being taken over by the 12.Infanterie-Division. After some small initial successes during the night of the 3rd and 4th of January, the attack stoped altogether in the face of heavy resistance and again the superior American Airforce. Until the 7th, when Hitler ordered the retreat to the line Dochamps-Longchamps, these positions were held at a high cost. Thereafter, the division helped keep open the lines of communication to the forward elements of the 5.Panzerarmee until 12.16.44 when the mass of these units reached the German HKL. The town of Sterpigny was during these days the focus of the American 1st Army. "Hohenstaufen" however defended this area very well. During the night of the 17th and 18th of January, the HKL was taken back to Salmchateau and eventually to the German border. during this time "Hohenstaufen" again was involved in fighting rear guard actions.
Nearing the end of January, the division went to the Kaufenheim-Mayen area for a refit. After increasing threats to along the Eastern Front, the German OKW shifted the a number of units east for an offensive aimed at stopping the Soviet drive through Hungary, and at relieving the encircled units in the Hungarian Capital of Budapest, mainly the 8.SS and 21.SS Kavallerie-Divisionen. At the end of February the division reached Falubattyan in Hungary and was now poised to attack on 6th of March. Due however to the swampy roads the division could not reach its starting position for the attack in time. The 2.SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich" also suffered from this, so the II.SS-Panzerkorps was not able to attack at the designated time. The operations soon came to a halt because of these weather conditions and stiff resistance from the Soviets before the town of Sarosd. On the 16th the Soviets broke through the IV.SS-Armeekorps line of defense to the north of the Velencze See, thereby making a retreat inevitable for the 6.SS-Panzerarmee. "Hohenstaufen" retreated past Jeno, Berhida, Liter, Nemesvamos, Hidekut, and finally to Mencseli. During the retreat they fought some extremely heavy rear guard actions and battles, one in particular that kept open a way for the 5.SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking", 1.Panzer-Division, 3.Panzer-Division, and the remnants of the 44.Infanterie-Division "Hoch und Deutsch Meister" to escape Stuhlweissenburg. The next Soviet offensive then pushed the division through Zalaapati, Sojtor and Paka to the Reichsschutzstellung near Radkersburg. On April 6th, 1945 it saw the charachteristic fighting after a breakthrough with the Soviets everywhere before "Hohenstaufen" got there, and then again some very heavy fighting before reaching the relative safety of the Reichsschutzstellung.
The final act of WWII for "Hohenstaufen" came on April 26, 1945 when they were ordered to the Amstetten area where they received orders on May 1st, 1945 to move to Enns-Steyr-Amstetten area and without the use of force stop the American advance as not to endanger the negotiations that by now were going on between the German and Western Allies. After some negotiations this succeeded and on May 8th, 1945, the 9.SS-Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" marched into American captivity.
The division's original 1.SS and 2.SS Panzergrenadier-Regiments were renamed as the 19.SS and 20.SS Panzergrenadier-Regiments on 10.23.43.
Obergruppenführer Willi Bittrich, 2.15.43 - 6.29.44
Oberführer Thomas Müller, 6.29.44 - 7.10.44
Brigadeführer Sylvester Stadler, 7.10.44 - 7.31.44
Oberführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock, 7.31.44 -8.29.44
Standartenführer Walter Harzer, 8.29.44 - 10.10.44
Brigadeführer Sylverster Stadler, 10.10.44 - 5.08.45