The “Hermann Goring” Division
By Gordon Williamson (Illustrated by Stephen Andrew)
Osprey Publishing (www.ospreypublishing.com)
ISBN 9781841764061 (print)
ISBN 9781780965666 (pdf)
ISBN 9781780965659 (e-book)
RRP GBP £ depends on format
Each of the branches of the German armed forces during World War 2 had an elite combat formation. In terms of the ground forces, there was one major combat unit in each category which was considered elite. They were allowed to grow and develop from modest beginnings to a large and powerful force. These elite units often started at Regimental level but as the war progressed they became divisions and / or larger formations.
The army had the infantry regiment “Grossdeutschland”, the Waffen-SS the “Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler” and the Luftwaffe had the Regiment “General Goring”. Hermann Goring was incredibly proud of the unit that bore his name. It grew from humble origins as a Police unit of 400 men into a full scale armoured corps. It gained a reputation for combat reliability and as an outstanding fighting force.
The Luftwaffe was created in 1935 and its premier ground combat unit was the HG Division. It fought a relatively “clean” war which is unlike some of the other combat units which had strong political allegiances. Perhaps its greatest wartime claim to fame was the saving from certain destruction of the historic treasures of the Benedictine abbey at Monte Cassino.
The author has given this topic his usual expert consideration and the resulting volume is both interesting and entertaining. The topics he covers in this modest 50 page book are: the pre-war origins, wartime development (on various fronts in chronological order), uniforms worn by HG units (Police & Luftwaffe), awards and decorations, organisational command flags and pennants etc.
There are many anecdotes and plenty of images which add to the quality of this publication. Although the Nazi regime may be infamous the HG division served their country well. They were beyond all doubt the Luftwaffe’s premier ground combat unit and they deserve recognition for being excellent and gallant fighters.
The growth of the HG unit from regiment to corps is fascinating and this rapid growth meant that the entry criteria had to be re-written numerous times. As the war progress the quality and quantity of recruits diminished but the unit was exceptional in building and maintaining its tough fighting reputation.
The writer has done these men proud and he has produced an excellent text on the topic. His research has been first class and he deserves a “congratulations”. His usual work is of a very high standard and this tome follows in this strain. I am confident that this book is going to be the best introductory text on the Hermann Goring Division.