SS Panzer Division Das Reich

The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich was one of the thirty-eight divisions of the Waffen-SS. It fought extensively alongside the regular German Army during World War II, taking part in several major battles on the Eastern Front, particularly at the titanic Battle of Kursk. The SS Das Reich also fought in Normandy, at the Battle of the Bulge and in the Hungarian and Austrian theaters of war.The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich was one of the thirty-eight divisions of the Waffen-SS. It fought extensively alongside the regular German Army during World War II, taking part in several major battles on the Eastern Front, particularly at the titanic Battle of Kursk. The SS Das Reich also fought in Normandy, at the Battle of the Bulge and in the Hungarian and Austrian theaters of war.


The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich was created in October 1939 by putting together the Deutschland, Germania and Der Führer regiments of the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) into one divisional-strong military unit. However, in 1940, as the SS Panzer Division Das Reich swelled with new recruits, the regiment Germania was removed from the division to form the Wiking division. The symbol for the Das Reich division was the wolf’s hook or Wolfsangel rune.

Combat History

The SS Panzer Division Das Reich first saw action during the invasion of France in May 1940. After spending some time guarding the border with Vichy France it was sent to the Netherlands. In April 1941, the Division fought in the Balkans campaign where a small detachment led by SS-Hauptsturmführer Klingenberg managed to get the mayor of Belgrade to surrender the city without a fight. From the Balkan Peninsula, the SS Panzer Division Das Reich was transferred to Poland to be refitted, and on June 22, 1941, it participated in the invasion of the USSR and fought on the frontlines until August. Between October and December, it fought in the failed offensive against Moscow. In March 1942, it was transferred to France to be sent back to the Eastern front again in January 1943, taking part in the capture and recapture of Kharkov. In July 1943, it fought at the Battle of Kursk.

After the D-Day, the SS Das Reich took part in several battles near Caen and St Lo to stop the Allies, alongside the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend and the elite German Panzer Lehr Division. Das Reich panzer commander Ernst Barkmann destroyed numerous American tanks in small skirmishes. Although the Division recaptured Mortain, it was forced to retreat when it became apparent the Allies were going to encircle the Division along with a large number of other German units in the Falaise pocket. Because of the efforts of Das Reich along with the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen, a large number of German forces were able to escape the pocket and retreat to the east.

After the Battle of the Bulge, the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich was transferred into Germany to refit, and to take part in the last German offensive of the war in Hungary in an attempt to break the siege around Budapest. However, this offensive ground to a halt, and Das Reich spent the rest of the war performing a fighting retreat from Dresden, to Prague and finally to Vienna. At the end of the war, most of the Division managed to escape to the West to surrender to the Americans in May 1945. The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich won 69 Knight’s Crosses and 151 German Crosses in Gold fighting ferociously on the battlefield.

Panhard 178

The Panhard 178 was the first armoured reconnaissance vehicle in service with the French Army, being introduced in early 1937. Designed and manufactured by the French firm Panhard, it was used in combat in the Battle of France, in 1940, by the French 6th Armoured Cavalry Regiment (6e Cuirassier), and from 1941 onwards by the Wehrmacht, which adapted it to be used also on railroad tracks as part of the German armoured trains. More than 1,200 units were made in two versions: Panhard 178A and 178B. This reconnaissance vehicle was also employed to provide fire support to infantry units.

General Characteristics

The Panhard 178 was a light, 4×4, wheeled vehicle armed with a 25-mm-caliber, SA35 cannon and a 7.5-mm Reibel machine gun. The 4-man crew was protected against enemy rifle projectiles and grenade shrapnel by 20-mm-thick armour. Both the hull and the rotating turret were made of riveted steel plates. Its power plant consisted of a Panhard SK gasoline engine, which generated 105 hp. The wheels had leaf springs. All in all, the Panhard 178 was an advanced, fast, and versatile armoured military vehicle.



Type: armoured reconnaissance vehicle
Crew: 4
Weight: 8.2 tons
Length: 4.79 m
Width: 2 m
Height:2.31 m
Speed: 72 km/h
Range: 400 km

Below: the Panhard 178 on rails as used by the Wehrmacht


Russian Aircraft Bomb ISIS Strongholds in Syria

On September 29, 2015, Russian fighter and ground attack aircraft carried out bombing raids against ISIS strongholds, that include ammo depots and communication center, in Syria. In order to directly support his allied, Syrian president, Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian Air Force destroy key positions of Islamist terrorist guerrillas located near the city of Aleppo and in central Syria. The extreme Islamist terrorist groups, some of which are supported by Obama’s Administration, are trying to overthrow the Syrian secular dictator. The Russian intervention is a relief for thousands of Christians, Kurds, and Druse minorities that are being massacred by the Muslim fundamentalists, specially when the American foreign policy in the region is ambiguous and equivocal, confusing every political pundits.

Video of Russian bombing of ISIS positions in Syria

Russian Air Force Attack on ISIS Strongholds Footage

Panzer IV

The Panzerkampfwagen IV was the most powerful armoured vehicle of the Wehrmacht armoured divisions in the first three years of World War II, successfully taking part in the Polish Campaign and the invasion of France. By 1944, it made up 35 % of the German Army total tank strength. The emergence of the Russian T-34 tank at the end of Operation Barbarossa, in the Battle of Moscow, forced Krupp’s engineers to upgrade the Panzer IV with a more powerful gun and extra armour protection, manufacturing different variants as the war raged on. Thus, Panzer IV Ausf F2, G, H, and J versions were able to confront and destroy the Soviet T-34 tank, thanks to the new, long-barrelled, high-velocity guns, the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 and L/48, replacing the 75mm KwK 37 L/24 short-barrelled gun. The Panzer IV was in service throughout the entire war, from 1939 to 1945, being used on every Front.

Below: Panzer IV Ausf D, with the 75mm short-barrelled gun


This German medium tank was developed in the 1930s and used extensively in every military campaign. Its ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 161. It was designed by Krupp in 1936 as an infantry support tank, but, by mid 1939, it was assigned to armoured divisions as it assumed a tank-fighting role, replacing the Panzer III. The Panzer IV, or Panzerkampfwagen IV, was manufactured by Krupp and Steyr-Daimler-Puch from 1938 until 1945, entering service with the Wehrmacht in 1939. The Panzer IV Ausf B weighed 24 tons and was powered by a 12-cylinder, 300 hp, Maybach HL 120TRM engine, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 42 km/h on road and 20 km/h across country. The Panzerkampfwagen IV Auf H had a 80mm-thick armor on the turret and front hull, and 30mm on the sides, and was armed with a 75 mm KwK 40 L/48 gun and a 7.92 mm MG34 machine gun.

Panzer IV Ausf F2, featuring the new KwK 40 L/43 long-barrelled gun


Specifications for the Panzer IV Ausf H

Type: medium tank
Weight: 25 tons
Hull length: 5.9 m
Width: 3.29 m
Height: 2.68 m
Armour: 88mm-thick at the front
Weapons: 7.5-cm KwK 40 L/48 gun, with a muzzle velocity of 790 m/s and maximum effective range 1,500 m; two 7.92mm MG 34 machine guns
Crew: 5

Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H, with the KwK 40 L/48 gun


Battle of Moscow (Summary)

The Battle of Moscow was a ferocious military encounter fought on the Eastern Front of WWII, between the Wehrmacht’s Army Group Center, under Fedor von Bock, and the Soviet Western Front, which was an army group led by Georgy Zhukov. It was fought near Moscow, under extreme cold weather conditions, from October 2, 1941, to January 5, 1942. The battle was the result of Operation Typhoon, which was the German attack on Moscow carried out during the last stage of Operation Barbarossa. This latter military operation was the invasion of the Soviet Union, which had been launched on June 22, 1941. Despite its name, the Battle of Moscow was not an urban military engagement, like the Battle of Stalingrad, as it did not take place in the city itself but on a 300-mile-long front about 15 miles away from Moscow.



Launched on October 2, 1941, Operation Typhoon was conducted by the German 2nd Panzer Army, attacking the Soviet Western Front south of Moscow, the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies, storming the enemy lines north of the city, and the 4th Army, which struck the central sector, pushing directly towards Moscow. However, muddy roads, the Russian winter, and the arrival of fresh Soviet divisions from the Siberia, armed with the new T-34 tanks, first slowed and finally stopped the German advance at twelve miles from the gates of Moscow, whose defenses included barbed wire, anti-tank hedgehogs, and specially deep trenches dug by women and childre. The cold weather rendered the Wehrmacht howitzers useless as their breeches got stuck and could be opened. Military vehicles diesel also got frozen as many German soldiers suffered from frostbite and were thus put out of action by the Russian winter. By the end of December, the German forces had been pushed back about 120 km and the front got stabilized by January 5.

Map of Operation Typhoon as Planned


1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler

The 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was a military unit of the Waffen-SS, which had originally been created as Adolf Hitler’s personal Bodyguard SS Regiment. In 1939 the Leibstandarte SS became a detached unit aside the SS-VT, participating in the Invasion of Poland in September 1939 as an independent unit. In September 1941, after Operation Barbarossa had been launched, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was increased in size from a regiment to an army division. By mid 1943, during its deployment in Italy, this unit would be upgraded into a full armoured division, being redesignated the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.


Combat History

In March 1933, Josef “Sepp” Dietrich had organized the Sonderkommando Berlin, a 120-men unit, which consisted of the most faithful and fittest SS men. In November 1933, the Leibstandarte was an 800-men strong regiment which swore allegiance to Hitler at a remembrance ceremony in Munich for the tenth anniversary of the Munich Putsch. In January, 1934, the SS commander in chief, Heinrich Himmler, had renamed it Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler.

When World War II broke out, it was an SS regiment that would participate in the German invasion of Poland. In 1940, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler would also fight in the Battle of France. In April 1941, it would take part in Operation Marita, which was the invasion of Greece. Deployed on the Eastern Front, the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler would see fierce combat action during Operation Barbarossa from June to December 1941. Under the command of Paul Hausser, it participated in the Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. Then, it would be redeployed in Italy and later in France, on the Western Front. Attached to the 1st SS Panzer Corps, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler would fight ferociously in the Battle of Normandy.

From July 18 to July 20, 1944, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler fought fiercely against three British armored divisions during Operation Good Wood in which the British sustained heavy losses. Attached to the I SS Panzer Corps, the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte participated in the Ardennes counteroffensive, fighting against American units. On January 30, 1945, the Leibstandarte was transferred to Hungary along the I SS Panzer Korps to bolster the crumbling situation there. After participating in Operation Spring Awakening (Frühlingserwachen), the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler moved to Zossen, near Berlin, and from there, to the area of Mürwik, in northern Germany, near Denmark, where they surrendered to the advancing British forces in May 1945.


The 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler used a wide variety of armament. Aside from the infantry weapons used by the Wehrmacht troops, it was equipped with the best tanks, tank destroyers, and anti-tank guns.

Tanks: Panzerkampfwagen III, IV, V (Panther), and VI (Tiger).

Tank Destroyers: Marder II and III, Panzerjäger I, Nashorn, Elefant.

Anti-tank Guns: 8.8-cm Flak 18/36 (an 88mm AA gun used as a tank destroyer), and the 7.5-cm Pak 40 (a 75mm anti-tank gun).