A SS Panzer commander poses for the camera next to his Panzer IV. The special Black Panzer uniform for tank and armoured crews was developed from the existing Army equivalent. The uniform in this photograph is that of an SS-Untersturmführer of the Leibstandarte Division.

A SS Panzer commander poses for the camera next to his Panzer IV. The special Black Panzer uniform for tank and armoured crews was developed from the existing Army equivalent. The uniform in this photograph is that of an SS-Untersturmführer of the Leibstandarte Division.

Wearing the Black Panzer jacket with officer’s piping around the collar is Sturmbannführer Christian Tychsen, who won the Knight’s Cross during the battle for Kharkov in March 1943; this photograph was taken after the battle in April-May 1943.

Wearing the Black Panzer jacket with officer’s piping around the collar is Sturmbannführer Christian Tychsen, who won the Knight’s Cross during the battle for Kharkov in March 1943; this photograph was taken after the battle in April-May 1943.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg at the time he gained fame as the man who captured Belgrade. With a small group of Das Reich men he took the city, simply by raising a swastika over the German Embassy and declaring the capital captured. Two hours later the mayor of Belgrade surrendered to Klingenberg, not knowing that sizeable German forces were miles away from the city and Klingenberg was virtually alone! The Yugoslav army stacked its arms in the city square, and Klingenberg had all of the men register. The handful of Germans had just captured more than 1,300 troops and a city with a population of over 200,000 without firing a single shot. For this audacious action Klingenberg was awaded the Knight’s Cross.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg at the time he gained fame as the man who captured Belgrade. With a small group of Das Reich men he took the city, simply by raising a swastika over the German Embassy and declaring the capital captured. Two hours later the mayor of Belgrade surrendered to Klingenberg, not knowing that sizeable German forces were miles away from the city and Klingenberg was virtually alone! The Yugoslav army stacked its arms in the city square, and Klingenberg had all of the men register. The handful of Germans had just captured more than 1,300 troops and a city with a population of over 200,000 without firing a single shot. For this audacious action Klingenberg was awaded the Knight’s Cross.

The man who captured Belgrade single-handedly. On 13 April 1941, SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg, a company commander in the Das Reich Division’s reconnaissance battalion, captured the city with 10 men. For his daring exploit, Hitler awarded him the Knight’s Cross. Four days later the Yugoslavs capitulated to the Germans. This picture shows Klingenberg talking to cadets at Bad Tölz in 1942. Klingenberg later went on to command the 17. SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, before being killed in action in April 1945.

The man who captured Belgrade single-handedly. On 13 April 1941, SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Klingenberg, a company commander in the Das Reich Division’s reconnaissance battalion, captured the city with 10 men. For his daring exploit, Hitler awarded him the Knight’s Cross. Four days later the Yugoslavs capitulated to the Germans. This picture shows Klingenberg talking to cadets at Bad Tölz in 1942. Klingenberg later went on to command the 17. SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen, before being killed in action in April 1945.

Soldiers tend to collect pets as a link to a kinder past. Here an SS-Hauptsturmführer from the Leibstandarte Division plays with two little kittens in the spring of 1942, Eastern Ukraine.

Soldiers tend to collect pets as a link to a kinder past. Here an SS-Hauptsturmführer from the Leibstandarte Division plays with two little kittens in the spring of 1942, Eastern Ukraine.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Kurt Meyer, spring 1943. Official photo after his award of the Oak Leaves.

SS-Obersturmbannführer Kurt Meyer, spring 1943. Official photo after his award of the Oak Leaves.

SS-Obersturmführer Gerhard Bremer conferring with Kurt Meyer during the winter of 1941/42 on the defensive position in the area of Donets Basin. He received the Knight’s Cross for outstanding leadership during the initial phase of the Operation Barbarossa with Leibstandarte Division. His shoulder straps have the embroidered “LAH” cypher, and the machine-embroidered pattern of cuffband is worn.

By the end of 1941, the Leibstandarte Division had travelled 1600km (1000 miles) in just over four months. However, though it went to capture Rostov-on-Don, its overstretched supply lines coupled with Soviet resistance and continuously counter-attacks meant the city had to be relinquished. For Leibstandarte a long, hard winter defensive engagements in the area of Donets Basin was ahead. Here an officer with a 6x30 Sf.14Z Scherenfernrohr (scissor periscope) obeserves the enemy from a trench.

By the end of 1941, the Leibstandarte Division had travelled 1600km (1000 miles) in just over four months. However, though it went to capture Rostov-on-Don, its overstretched supply lines coupled with Soviet resistance and continuously counter-attacks meant the city had to be relinquished. For Leibstandarte a long, hard winter defensive engagements in the area of Donets Basin was ahead. Here an officer with a 6x30 Sf.14Z Scherenfernrohr (scissor periscope) obeserves the enemy from a trench.

Norwegian officers from the Wiking Division wearing the autumn/winter reversible camouflage uniforms. In the middle (fourth from the left) Olav Jøntvedt, artist from Porsgrunn.

Norwegian officers from the Wiking Division wearing the autumn/winter reversible camouflage uniforms. In the middle (fourth from the left) Olav Jøntvedt, artist from Porsgrunn.