There were 38 Waffen SS Divisions. And by no means all were extraordinary fighting outfits. Because of the lack of homogenity one cannot say that the Waffen SS as a whole constituted an elite fighting force. Another myth is that they recieved weapons before other units. This is simply not true.
However, some of the Waffen SS outfits (some started out as Regiments and were later turned into Divisions), notably the 1st ("Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler"), the 2nd ("Das Reich"), the 3rd ("Totenkopf") and the 5th ("Wiking") can be rightfully regarded as elite formations. All of these have a battle-record that is simply amazing and outstrips that of any Allied Division. One has to give it to the Nazis that they did not pamper their dearest and send them where the fight was hottest. Especially these mentioned Waffen SS units showed a determination, fighting effectiveness and resilience that cannot be denied (and is by no means "mediocre").
As far as their gear is concerned all of the elite Waffen SS Divisions were well equipped. But once again it is not true that they, or even the 1st Waffen SS Division (who was wearing the Adolf's name in their banner and regarded itself as an elite within the elite) would get the newest stuff before any unit of the normal German military got it. Elite Wehrmacht formations like the Divisions "Grossdeutschland" or "Panzer Lehr" (especially that one) received the best and newest equipment BEFORE any Waffen SS Division.
All of the Waffen SS Divisions mentioned above have been charged with warcrimes, except for "Wiking". (However, since some historians could not believe that an SS outfit without warcrimes is possible, some digging was done. And finally a diary of a Wiking soldier was uncovered that suggessts that even the "Wiking" Division partook in warcrimes. There you have it.)
For example, the Leibstandarte was responsible for the so called Malmedy massacre. "Das Reich" for the destruction of Oradour. "Totenkopf" is especially doubtful since this unit kept contact with the SS "Totenkopf" units whose task was to guard the concentration camps. And so forth.
But once again any notion that these men were completely different in their behaviour than others, being on a constant killing spree and massacring every civilian they could find is simply not true. (And not even the Western Allies authorities on their de-nazification crusade have claimed that, although they weren't exactly timid or otherwise too much inhibited by truth or justice). It has to be admitted that the claim that they wold "have been soldiers just like any others" can be reasoned against. But there are also some things that speak for it.
How ever one may see it, in the end they were human beings, like it or not. Not even the accusation that they were selected for especially criminal or sadistic types of character is true (actually, on the contrary: if you had a criminal record you weren't allowed to serve in those mentioned outfits). They were chosen according to NS racial ideals however and meant to be an racial elite as the Nazi leadership understood that term (hence the demanded minimum size, Waffen SS soldiers, especially those of the LSAH had to be tall guys). It was also tried to motivate them along the sides of the pseudo Germanic mythos the Nazis liked to spread with an high emphazising of loyality.
But when it comes down ot it, their training was not completely unlike that of other units and the weaknesses and strengths they displayed were often all too human as well.
It is true that for Germans the feeling of shame overshadows the (often amazing) accomplishments of their armed forces in WWII. This has been deliberatly furthered and enhanced by the victorious nations on all sides. It has become next to impossible to discuss their achievements on the battlefield without some a-hole popping up and demanding that the "astrocities and warcrimes have to be mentioned and discussed as well". An aspect that is usually left out altogether when the exploits of Allied troops are discussed. (Even western Allied troops weren't exactly timid and did commit their share of warcrimes, that goes for Americans, British, French and Polish troops as for many others. As far as the Soviets are concerned, their cruelty is often simply staggering. And none of these nations have ever made amends or have even tried to punish the guilty. With good reason. In the end someone could get the idea to term many Allied generals or even leaders of state like Roosevelt and Churchill as "warcriminals" and we don't want that to happen, do we?)
By and large, German graves are well tended. But through all this post-war conditioning Germans have somewhat lost this ability of selective thinking that the members of Allied nations have mastered so well and which allows them to see every soldier fighting for their side as a hero just because he was wearing a uniform at the time...and to just ignore the rest. We simply cannot see our soldiers the same way (although they were not worse humans than the others, this I do claim). This goes especially for the soldiers of the Waffen SS: too many people cannot help but to regard them as criminals and butchers without even knowing anything of that organisation. Myths abound, in which they appear as soulless monsters or supreme fighting machines that cause a shudder running down ones spine. The question how these ominous "Nazis" have managed such an extraordinary feat to turn whole divisions of men into combat androids devoid of any human feelings is not even posed. Its not even about the question wether the NS leadership would have liked that, it is simply that they could not have done it wether they wanted or not. Only if you study the matter en detail one starts to understand that.
Are you fking serious? That would be true if someone would have invaded Germany... But they went to fight to Soviet Union to get more Lebensraum for the glorious Aryan nation... They went to fight for the ideology they were brainwashed in. Also many of the SS soldiers were volunteers from other countries.. Surly they joined SS to fight for their countries and home?
I love these posts.. Noone in SS hated Jews.. They all loved them. They only joined SS to fight for their brothers and sisters and noone of them were nazis.. They liked everyone... I have nothing against Wehrmacht soldiers. But SS ****s should RIH.
You have obviously never seen combat ! Or for that matter done any military service ........... THIS IS A PHOTO THREAD !
GET OUTTA HERE !!!!!