By Michael E. Haskew The ongoing debate between German Field Marshals Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Rundstedt over how best to use the German Army’s elite panzer divisions against the coming Allied invasion ultimately reached no clear conclusion. That inability to agree proved disastrous in the final year of the war as Hitler himself took control of the deployment of the armor. The panzer and panzergrenadier divisions of the Waffen SS were also caught up in the strategic discussions, slowing their orders to Normandy in response to the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944. That delay ultimately contributed to their destruction. In the meantime, however, the SS panzer and panzergrenadier divisions that did confront the Allied lodgement in Normandy in the summer of 1944 fought hard and long, impeding the advance of the British and Americans, but paying a terrible price. Once committed these divisions were true to their reputation as fierce, fanatical combat formations dedicated to Nazi ideology and men willing to die for their Führer. And they did die, thousands of them, under a relentless storm of artillery, air attacks, naval gunfire, and the thrusts of Allied ground troops toward the frontier of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, the Waffen SS exacted a heavy toll in lives and equipment while sacrificing its strength to halt the enemy in Normandy. Highly motivated and led by dedicated veteran officers, the Waffen SS soldier was deployed with the best weaponry available. From early J


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