Collectors Showcase CS00267 Battle of Arnhem Series: Close Combat Group Reloading - Two Figures (1:30 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The 9.Waffen SS Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen" was a German Waffen-SS armoured division which saw action on both the Eastern and Western Fronts during World War II.
Upon arriving in the Arnhem area, the division began the task of refitting. The majority of the remaining armoured vehicles were loaded onto trains in preparation for transport to repair depots in Germany. On Sunday, September 17th, 1944, the Allies launched Operation Market-Garden, and the British 1st Airborne Division was dropped in Oosterbeek, to the west of Arnhem. Realizing the threat, Bittrich (now commander of II.SS-Panzerkorps) ordered Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg to ready themselves for combat. The division's armour was unloaded from the trains and workshop units worked frantically to replace the panzers' treads, which had been removed for transportation. Of the division' armoured units, only the division's reconnaissance battalion, SS-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 9, equipped mostly with wheeled and half-tracked vehicles, was ready for immediate action.
Bittrich ordered Hohenstaufen to occupy Arnhem and secure the vital Arnhem Bridge. Harzer sent the division to the city, encountering stiff resistance from the Roten Teufel (Red Devils), as the Germans came to call the British Paras. The Aufklarungs Abt, commanded by SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Paul Grabner, was sent south over the bridge to scout the area around Nijmegen. Grabner had that day received the Knight's Cross for his actions in Normandy.
While the Aufklarungs Abt was scouting to the south of Arnhem, Colonel John Frost's 2nd Battalion of the British 1st Airborne Division had advanced into Arnhem and prepared defensive positions at the northern end of the bridge. Grabner returned from his scouting mission to the south on the morning of September 18th, and ordered his reconnaissance unit to attack north across the bridge.
Grabner's exact intentions remain a mystery, but he apparently either hoped to recapture the bridge or to race through the British defenses to assist the rest of the division in its defense of Arnhem. Either way, the attack was a complete disaster. The Paras were ready, and after allowing the first four vehicles to pass, they opened up with PIAT anti-tank launchers, flamethrowers and small arms fire. In two hours of fighting, the Aufklarungs Abt was virtually annihilated, losing 22 vehicles and around 70 men, including Grabner. This action is depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far. The camouflage jackets worn by the SS panzer troops in the film are not an actual pattern worn by the SS, but rather are of a pattern developed for the Dutch Army and were found in storage, and given to the film's producers for use by the SS men in the film.
Throughout the eight-day battle, the division operated mostly in and to the west of Arnhem, fighting with Frost's battalion and reducing the pocket containing the remainder of the 1st Airborne, which had become encircled near Oosterbeek. The battle of Arnhem was a victory for Hohenstaufen. With the assistance of other German units, the division had destroyed an elite British airborne unit, which was badly outnumbered and only lightly armed. Despite the intensity of the fighting, the soldiers of Hohenstaufen and Frundsberg treated the captured Paras courteously, and Bittrich remarked that the tenacity and fighting prowess of the Red Devils was not to be matched, even by the Soviets.
Pictured here are two 1:30 scale German soldiers reloading their weapons from the 9.SS Panzer-Division "Hohenstaufen".
Release Date: April 2008
Historical Account: "Grabner's Attack" - The 1st and 3rd Parachute Battalions pushed towards the Arnhem bridge during the early hours of September 18th, 1944, and made good progress, but they were frequently halted in skirmishes as soon as it became daylight. With their long and unwieldy columns having to halt to beat off attacks whilst the troops in front carried on unaware, it was easy for the Germans to delay segments of the two battalions, fragment them, and mop up the remnants.
Early in the day, the 9.SS Reconnaissance Battalion, sent south the day before, concluded it was not needed in Nijmegen and returned to Arnhem. Though aware of the British troops at the bridge, it attempted to cross by force and was beaten back with heavy losses, including its commanding officer, SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Paul Grabner.
By the end of the day, the 1st and 3rd Parachute Battalions had entered Arnhem and were within a mile of the bridge with approximately 200 men, one-sixth their original strength. Most of the officers and noncomissioned officers had become casualties. The Second Lift, delayed by fog and jumping onto a heavily disputed landing zone, landed a full strength Brigade (The 4th Parachute Brigade, consisting of the 10th, 11th and 156th Battalions of the Parachute Regiment, commanded by then-Brigadier, later General Sir John Winthrop Hackett) and C and D Companies of the 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment.