Excerpted from the book by Jean Mabire “Waffen SS”. Editions Arktos 2006
The Greece, like a magnet attracts the Warriors born from the Sun. In 1940 However you celebrate the games of Olympia, but soldiers of Sparta. The Te deschi recall the fragrant Islands, the sea placidly blue, the hills pie trose tap by the winds of beauty and strength.
The 28 October 1940, the Italians invaded Greece. Better, they attacked. You are impegolati in a conquest that fail, by their own means, to offer 10 zare. It takes more than others for violating the Greece of the gods! Unsurprisingly the Balkans begin to fidget.
The montanari oil rifles and arrotano the daggers. The Macedonians, happen that happen, are already in hiding.
The Bulgarians adhere to a Pact which unites Germans. Italian and… Japanese. The Serbs mimic them. You give back life to an old Alliance. Hitler wants ab beat Stalin. A coalition of Communists and reactionaries kills the reg Paul people of Yugoslavia and Belgrade established the dictatorship of General Simovic and young King Peter II.
In the spring of ' 41, the German divisions choices leave France for Au stria , the Hungary, the Romania and Bulgaria.
II Fuhrcr intends to stabilize the Balkan situation. Triggered the operation Mari, ta, for which see few weeks Big East offensive.
Towards the South! The Leibstandarte, Adolf Hitler scope of the actual Assault Brigade, He left Metz and Verfugungsdivision, now called Reich, you start towards Vesoul.
Convoys of Waffen SS plod on mountain roads. The desire to get to first base from which to start the future offensive, scompi leads them to discuss the other columns..
Rather than give way to the army, a young officer of the To-tenkopf orders placed on the road…anti-tank mines. Another arrives to point weapons on Wehrmacht soldiers.
The Feld-Mareschal Von Brauchitsch complains to Himmler that it pretends to know surprise..
- Not need to take for some young officer a little’ nervous. There'll be glory for all…
The 6 April 1941, German forces Yugoslav border pass. The SS Reich Division Mission. In a few days, Paul Hausser's soldiers arrive in front of Beautiful degree. The Danube, with its muddy waters, bars the way. Dropped the night ode only the rustle of current. The entire Division guazza on pantanose. Hausser loses patience.
Calling the Hauptsturmfuhrcr Klingenberg who commands a detachment of explorers:
- Go and see what happens from the’ across the River.
The young officer has a facial from guy, illuminated by an eternal smile and blue gliocchi. Takes command of a dozen men and li embarks on a large motor boat.
Slowly, the small group of SS dates from the current.
On’ other side do not see anyone. In the middle of the River, Klingenberg decides:
- Let's go for a ride…
At the same time, though, the engine stops. The current carries embarks ing drifting towards the suburbs of the capital of Serbia. Crane and arms raised houses follow to spiazzi grass shaved. A mechanic improvised tries to put into operation the engine. The efforts are useless. Lying on the bottom of the boat, his comrades are not very quiet ' surf ' in the midst of enemy city. The first lights illuminate the cycle and we can distinguish the fortifications.
Finally the engine, coughing, He moto. Klingenberg observes carefully mind banks with binoculars. His aide asks:
- We do, Captain?
-We All Troop Off !
And here's a dozen soldiers of Das Reich, all alone in the midst of the cit-tà that awakens. Of authority, the officer seizes two cars – the legend tells that it was even taxi… – six men for the barely enter with their weapons. Klingenberg commands:
- All’ German Embassy. At full speed!
The representative of the Reich in Belgrade closed lives in his apartment. The offi cial SS wakes, then, taking a huge flag with the armband, the issa on Palace. Leave two or three men at the Embassy, resumes the two cars and orders to drivers:
- Yugoslav Parliament immediately.
The corridors are deserts. Finally the Germans discovered a uniform in Serbian. Is visibly terrified. Klingenberg calls him "my General» and, gambling, the States:
- Belgrade is fully encircled. The attack takes place between about mezz’ now. I give you fifteen minutes to declare your capital city open.
Do not bow before the force? For radio, Klingenberg warns his commander:
-I'm to receive the capitulation of Yugoslav capital. Hausser does not hide his joy.
- Felicito Me with you, you have deserved the collar of a Knight of the iron cross.
Then the cars and motorcycles Das Reich come little by little by their na-scondigli and are on track towards the suburbs of Belgrade.
Four days later, the 10 April, the Yugoslav army capitulates as the Polish Army and the French army. New spring of Victory.
In Greece the battle is harder and Leihstandarte Adolf Hitler It bears the brunt of this adventure in the realm of the gods Warrior.
Men of Sepp Dietrich across Macedonia, one and only give a dozen wounded, and arrive at Greek border. In front of their mountains and Hill: the Klidi. The position seems firmly held by the Greeks, by Australians and New Zealanders from and some English.
The order of General List depends on the Leihstandarte, is simple:
- Break Through.
It will take two days to do so. Two days, more than fifty deaths and a Knight's cross for Obcrsturmfuhrer Gcrd that the calves Pleiss assault Chin.
But after a mountain is a’ other. After a hill another Hill. After a battle another battle.
In the head, as always, the reconnaissance battalion Leihstandarte, coman, given by a young face and skinny Sturmbannfuhrer from socket, with the cheekbones and blond mustache so as to be almost invisible. It's called Kurt Meyer, but his men would not much to him Ché ” Panzerme-yer”: Meyer tank.
The colle Klissura seems even better defending the Klidi. Two assault companies perform a maneuver carried out and begin to climb the mountain. Meyer sticks in front with a small group of soldiers.
Wherever burst mine and stone blocks tumbling on men that attac-cano. The Greeks, well positioned and defended, they fall on a deadly rain of German bullets. The SS are blocked. Hidden behind the rocks, they cannot even raise the nose. Then Kurt Meyer yells:
- Vorwarts (Come in).
Nobody moves. Even Emil Wawrzinek, his Adjutant. Before the in-fernale and incessant shooting of Greek soldiers, men's Leihstandarte ” deflate “. Panzcrmcycr try the latest map. Again shouts:
Unnecessarily. Then defuses a bomb and a spear in the midst of his men. Cannot do other than leap forward. “Mai, even during an exercise, I saw a collective leap forward so perfect”, Tell Me, yer.
Men advance in rock rock. The first ride for adventure drag na his companions.
Shouting, swearing, laughing, the SS continued to advance. Take the Greek assault positions and capture more than a thousand prisoners. Kurt Meyer refers to Sepp Dietrich :
- I have not had that half a dozen wounded. The head of the Leibstandarte grumbles:
- Continue and conquered Kastoria.
Panzermeyer captures more than a thousand Greek soldiers and gets, in recognition of its value, the Knight's cross.
The Leibstandarte ” does the route” towards the South. The 20 April 1941, reaches the colle Mctzonov, location of capital strategic importance. The mountain cuts the ri tirade to sixteen divisions British-Greek, that are bagged in Epirus. For men of the Waffcn SS is without doubt the best way to celebrate the birthday of their Führer.
Three days later, capitola Thessaloniki. The Greeks surrendered, but the British Auditors are continuing to fight..
Panzermeycr reaches Naupaktos, also known as Lepanto, «And now – says-vediamocela with shipowners '.
The Strait connects the Gulf of Patras to Corinth. To the North the Eliade iteself. South, by’ the other side of the Strait, the Peloponnesian peninsula.
In these waters, in 1571, Don Juan of Austria, leaked to the Turkish fleet. Azure waters are coloured blood of fifteen thousand infidels. As in fleet, Panzermeycr not found in the Bay of Lepanto that two barges imputriditi. But he quickly know what happens on the other side of the street-to.
Without thinking twice does embark motorcycles, and side-cars of a reconnaissance battalion, on two barges. Modern interpretation of the Argonauts, the SS put his foot on the decks of boats, discarding of «impedimcnta» naked back and take a bath of Sun and spray foam. A slight breeze ripples waves.
Boats embark water, but the guys keep afloat and Panzermeyr sees them away from the shore and begin the adventure. It fortifies Naupaktos and square machine guns at the crossroads of streets.
With binoculars scrutinizes the sea and the northern road. Above this scenario by legend, the clear sky, Blue.
Suddenly a cloud of dust and a screeching of crash. The Gunners rushed to years ready to fire.
It is just a huge car has on-board Sepp Dietrich. In France, his face had color lemon. In Greece, and color the tomatoes. Always the same grumpy mood and turns his questions shouts:
- What are you doing here? And your men?
- Copro crossing. I have sent to them by browsing’ the other side of the Strait. Dietrich became Aubergine:
- Are bikers, non-sailors! You spelt transfer in Navy! Or if you prefer we will defer to the military Council!
Panzcrmeyer lets give the pirate and the idiot. Then Scpp grumbles: – However, like in your favour at the trial I will write to your parents when you will get shot.
Back on the car that goes away in a cloud of dust.
Panzemeyer hopes that the gods of the sea be propitious as those of war.
The Strait now appears hopelessly desert. The boats are gone. Or are in some port or at the bottom of the sea. ” Panzer” is nervous, smokes and drinks coffee.
Binoculars scans the horizon sharp: a straight line between the blue sea and sky.
Finally two small potbelly silhouettes appear. Are boats. You av vicinano slowly taxiing. Are dangerously overloaded. On the decks a tangle of men. Some green, other in caki. Close to the shore. Now stand out very well the Germans and the British… Is thrown a cable lengths. The boats, approach the sides at the pier. The prisoners land; have the uniform to shreds and have resigned, like all the prisoners in the world. You go to sit in a hand and share the latest cigarettes ta Bacchus biondo.
A new sound, a new cloud of dust. Again enters the scene Sepp Dietrich, returning to Naupaktos «tour».
You plant on short legs, the helmet of traverso, the face from the old necco Ruddy lanziche . Observes the prisoners and those who are disembarking. Panzcrmeyer holds barely a burst of laughter. Equally, but controls does Dietrich, It scales a little legs, hands behind the back, Wrinkle face.
Rcich troops occupy the entire northern coast, from the Gulf of Corinth from the port of Missolunghi, Mount Parnassus.
The Leibstandarte, crosses the Strait. The reconnaissance battalion.
Panzcrmeyer, as usual, preceding his men.
Pebbles, cypress trees, Temple ruins, statues. The Greeks have laid down their arms. Still some English, hunted through the streets and hills of the Peloponnese.
The Vanguards of Leibstandarte are in Patras, on the other side of the Strait have already crossed by the SS Panzer.
Sepp Dietrich, calling Kurt Meyer:
- If your guys were capable of piloting vessels should be
capable of also has to deal with a locomotive.
Panzermeycr has always appreciated this kind of ' logic ' that excludes to so the word ' impossible '. Locates between motorcyclists a former mechanic of the railways.
These finds coal, turn on the boiler, move the levers. The pressure au-Mint, whistle machine. In a cloud of dust the locomotive slides on the tracks. Stick of trucks. Bank upped machine guns. Thus was born the first armored train Waffen SS. Runs through a landscape of Arcadia-Thu. Far-West atmosphere and Greek version. Scpp Dietrich nibbles on her cigar. Panzermeycr fischietta a bawdy song.
A young sottoteneme returns with his thinking and Gymnasium at half voice reads: Et in Arcadia ego…
Finally, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler come to the cradle of his dream: Sparta. But here awaits an order. The same that hath attained, not long pri but, yonder in 1′ Auvergne: ” Left Athens to participate in the parade of Vit-toria”.
The German patrols marching on all roads. The parade of victory is by manual, perfect, the most beautiful of the genus.
In the lead the troops Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler preceded by the battalion from re-cognition of Panzermeyer.
Meanwhile have already arrived new orders. You know the first step: Prague. You guess the second: Kiev.
Is about to begin the biggest adventure of SS.
From the Baltic to’ Atlantic, from the Aegean Sea d’ Azov, from Bavaria to the Cauca so, the Hoplites of Führer live their prodigious Warrior epic.