|This unit takes its title from the noble family name of Hohenstaufenthat bred a number of German kings and emperors during the periods1138-1208 and 1214-1254. It is believed that this unit was specificallynamed after Frederich II – son of the first known member of theHohenstaufen line – who lived from 1194 to 1250.|
|The 9.SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen” was formed in December, 1942, and wassubsequently trained in Maille le Camp in France. Initially, the divisionwas named as the SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen”, and was later renamed on10.23.43 as the 9.SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen”. After beingstationed throughout France the training was concluded in the spring of1944.|
As a result of the deterioration of the situation in Southern Russia wherethe 1.PanzerArmee was being surrounded, the OKW sent the II.SS-Panzerkorpsinto action to free the 1.Panzerarmee of its encirclement. In swampy conditionsthe 9.SS-Panzer-Division and the 10.SS-Panzer-Division succeeded in makingcontact with the 6.Panzer-Division of the 1.Panzerarmee in Buczacz, thusfreeing the 1.Panzerarmee.
After this battle the 9.ss was sent to the north for the relief attack onTarnopol which was also encircled by the Russians. Together with thePanzerverband “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 soldiersthat managed to breakout of Tarnopol.
In the following weeks and months the 9.ss was again placed under thecommand of the II.SS-Panzerkorps and acted as reserve of the HeeresgruppeNordukraine until 6.12.44 when the division was sent to France.Nearing the end of June, “Hohenstaufen”, after being harrassed by the AlliedAirforces for over a week on their way through France, arrived in theirstarting positions for a planned attack against the Allied beachhead. TheBritish attempt to take Caen that started on the 6.26.44 made these plansimpossible. Instead the II.SS-Panzerkorps had to turn right along the front,again being harrassed by the Jabos, to help the german troops defending thewest of the Caen area. This battle lasted until early July and saw theheaviest fighting until then on the western front. Hohenstaufen lost 1200dead, wounded and missing during this time. The 277.Infanterie-Division thentook over the positions of the 9.ss “Hohenstaufen”, this movement wasconcluded on the 7.10.44.
“Hohenstaufen” was placed in reserve for theonslaught in the Caen area that had already begun on 7.8.44. The followingbattles concentrated on Eterville, Maltot and the strategic hill nr.112.Eterville was lost for good but Hill nr.112, after changing hands severaltimes, was finally retaken by “Hohenstaufen” which by now had taken over thepositions of the heavily battered 10.ss “Frundsberg”. The battles died downon 7.12.44. “Hohenstaufen” again was taken out of the line to build thereserve for the new attack that would follow on 7.15.44. “Frundsberg” tookover the positions of “Hohenstaufen”. On 7.16.44, heavy action on and nearHill nr.113 to the west of Hill nr.112 took place. Because of heavycasualties, III.bataillon/19.Panzergrenadier-Regiment was disbanded and usedto replace the losses the other two bataillons of the 19.Panzergrenadier-Regimenthad suffered. On the 18th the Allied attacks from the northeast of Caen begun and they soonbreached the lines of the German divisions located there. “Hohenstaufen”therefore was taken out of the line,reorganized (Both the Panzergrenadier-Regiments were combined to formPanzergrenadier-Regiment “Hohenstaufen”) and sent to the east to be placedunder the command of the I.SS-Panzerkorps and again acted as a reserve forthe coming crisis. On 7.25.44, the division was ready for action and wassent to the south of Caen where the 272.Infanterie-Division’s line had beenbreached. The next day the old HKL had been restored except for Hill nr.72and Verrieres.
9th SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen” Combat Report from July 3rd to July 24th, 1944, written by Sylvester Stadler.
The following weeks saw the destruction of the frontline. On8.1.44, the 9.ss was taken out of the line and was put under the command ofthe II.ss Panzerkorps to deal with a crisis near Beny-Bocage. After aweek of hard fighting the British advance was checked, and then another weekof gradually pulling back in this area was followed by the redeployement tothe Putanges area which started on 8.13.44 and was completed by 8.16.44. Therapid disintegration of the frontline elsewhere prevented any use from thesepositions and so “Hohenstaufen” was ordered to Vimoutiers area. Heavyfighting ensued in the area around Merri and Trun (On the northside of theFalaise pocket), where Canadian/Polish troops tried to breakthrough to thesouth. In the following days the 9.ss concentrated itself on keeping thenarrow escape route out of the pocket open. These battles lasted until 8.21.44.The division acquitted itself well, its commander Friedrich-Wilhelm Bockreceived the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross for these battles. The retreatthrough France and Belgium followed with Hohenstaufen fighting some rearguard actions at Orbec, Bourg-Achard, Duclair, Laon, and Cambrai. Thedivision was then ordered for a refit and sent to Arnhem which itreached on September 9th.
The strength of the 9.ss at that time was 6,000-7,000 men from 15,898 onJune 30th! It was planned to refit the 9.ss in Germany so a number of unitswere already on their way to Germany or given to the “Frundsberg” divisionwhen on Sunday the 17th of September, 1944, the Allies launched OperationMarket-Garden. It’s actual strength at the beginning of this operation wastherefore even less! “Hohenstaufen” operated mainly to the west of Arnhem tokeep the British from making contact with the elements of the BritishRed Devils of the 1st Airborne Division that were surrounded in Arnhem andthereby preventing the Allies from gaining the Primary objective of the entireoperations which was to secure a bridgehead in Arnhem across the Rhine River.After the initial battles “Hohenstaufen” succeeded with the help of regularGerman troops in Holland (Gruppe von Tettau and others) in pushing the majorpart of the British/Polish forces back in Oosterbeek near Arnhem which wasevacuated in the night of 25th/26th of September. This of course was amajor achievement, the near total destruction of an elite British Paratroop unitwith only the remnants of a division and other ad-hoc units that in anyother army that fought in World War II, except for the Soviet’s, would noteven have been considered to be reserve units far from the frontline! Arnhemproved to be a well deserved victory for “Hohenstaufen”!
The division was moved to Germany for refit first in the Siegen area but as thiswas unsuitable for armoured warfare training the division was sent to thePaderborn-Muenster area. On 12.12.44, the division was moved to theMuenstereifel where it was to be reserve for “Unternehmen Herbstnebel”(Wacht am Rhein was the first name for the offensive, but it was changed atthe end of November 1944). The 9.ss was then moved to the south ofBlankenheim, and then was moved to the Stadtkyll-Juenkerath-Blankenheim area.At first only the Artillierie-Regiment and the Panzer-Aufklaerungs-Abteilungwere 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 villagesRecht and Vielsalm and surrounding areas, but the increasing American airactivity and ground strength slowed the attack down and finally stopped italtogether 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 somesmall initial successes during the night of the 3rd and 4th of January, theattack stoped altogether in the face of heavy resistance and again thesuperior American Airforce. Until the 7th, when Hitler ordered the retreatto the line Dochamps-Longchamps, these positions were held at a high cost.Thereafter, the division helped keep open the lines of communication to theforward elements of the 5.Panzerarmee until 12.16.44 when themass of these units reached the German HKL. The town of Sterpigny was duringthese days the focus of the American 1st Army. “Hohenstaufen” howeverdefended 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 guardactions.
Nearing the end of January, the division went to the Kaufenheim-Mayenarea for a refit. After increasing threats to along the Eastern Front, theGerman OKW shifted the a number of units east for an offensive aimed at stoppingthe Soviet drive through Hungary, and at relieving the encircled units inthe Hungarian Capital of Budapest, mainly the 8.ss and 21.ss Kavallerie-Divisionen.At the end of February the division reached Falubattyan inHungary and was now poised to attack on 6th of March. Due however to theswampy roads the division could not reach its starting position for theattack 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. Theoperations soon came to a halt because of these weather conditions and stiffresistance from the Soviets before the town of Sarosd. On the 16th theSoviets broke through the IV.SS-Armeekorps line of defense to the north ofthe Velencze See, thereby making a retreat inevitable for the 6.SS-Panzerarmee.”Hohenstaufen” retreated past Jeno, Berhida, Liter, Nemesvamos, Hidekut, andfinally to Mencseli. During the retreat they fought some extremely heavyrear guard actions and battles, one in particular that kept open a way forthe 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 thedivision through Zalaapati, Sojtor and Paka to the Reichsschutzstellung nearRadkersburg. On April 6th, 1945 it saw the charachteristicfighting after a breakthrough with the Soviets everywherebefore “Hohenstaufen” got there, and then again some very heavy fightingbefore reaching the relative safety of the Reichsschutzstellung.
The final act of WWII for “Hohenstaufen” came on April 26, 1945 when theywere ordered to the Amstetten area where they received orders on May 1st, 1945to move to Enns-Steyr-Amstetten area and without the use of force stop theAmerican advance as not to endanger the negotiations that by now were goingon between the German and Western Allies. After some negotiations thissucceeded and on May 8th, 1945, the 9.SS-Panzer-Division “Hohenstaufen”marched into American captivity.
The division’s original1.ss and 2.ss Panzergrenadier-Regiments were renamed as the 19.ss and20.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