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In his third and final volume, Rüdiger W.A. Franz ends his chronological study of the SS-Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon 500/600, an atypical unit of the Waffen-SS.
In the first part, the reader follows the SS Green Devils in Operation Panzerfaust, in mid-October 1944. As the last big military partner of the Third Reich in Europe, Hungary under Admiral Horthy was secretly in contact with the Allies with a view of breaking its alliance with Germany, while the Red Army was advancing across its territory and the German defeat was becoming clearly foreseeable. They had to act quickly: the famous expert in special missions, Otto Skorzeny was given the mission of shifting Horthy from power. A delicate “punch” in the heart of Budapest…Beyond the strict structure of the SS-Fallschirmjäger, the author has here chosen to bring together the accounts by some of the key political and military actors involved in this not very well-known operation.
Next, the only SS paratrooper battalion – now the SS-Fsch.Jg.-Btl.600 – returned to Reich territory and went through an important change when it was incorporated into the SS-Jagdverbände, Skorzeny’s combat units.
Attached to the Panzer-Brigade 150, the first company of the reinforced battalion (1./600) took part in the Operation Wacht am Rhein, the Germans’ last chance offensive in the Ardennes. Some SS-Fallschirmjäger took part also as commandoes in the Einheit Stielau, wearing entire GI uniforms. In this part the author proposes a detailed description of how the Pz.Brig. 150 was constituted, its equipment captured at the Battle of Malmédy on 20-21 December 1944, or the fascinating deeds carried out by the commandoes disguised as US soldiers.
Then the battalion’s last engagements are dealt with until the final collapse, especially in the Oder bridgeheads in February-March 1945.
In the appendices, there are a bibliography and a list of all the battalion’s losses in the summer of 1944 in Lithuania, but also an alphabetical index of all the known members of the unit, accompanied where possible by photographs and personal documents. As with the two previous volumes, with various illustrations – profiles, colour maps, etc. – and unpublished and accurate eye-witness accounts by battalion members, Rüdiger Franz gives a cold, in-depth analysis of the causes, the contexts and the stakes of the “500/600’s” engagements, correcting mistaken ideas which are often to be encountered.
|Format||21,5 x 30,5|
|nombre de pages||400|