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Unsere Garde: Music and Tradition in the Grossdeutschland Units

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The Panzergrenadier-Division 'Grossdeutschland' of the Wehrmacht and its associated units trace their origins to the Wachtruppe, the ceremonial guard formation of the Reichswehr that kept the traditions of the Kaiser's army alive in Weimar-era Berlin.


According to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919, the Weimar Republic was compelled by the victors of the First World War to reduce its armed forces to a strength of just 100,000 men. This left Germany with a military establishment that was both a fraction of the size of that with which she had gone to war in 1914, and wholly inadequate for the defense of the Reich from internal- and external threats.

During the reign of the Hohenzollern emperors, the Prussian Garde-Korps in and around Berlin had seen to the defense of the German imperial government and to ceremonial duties in the capital, but as a result of Versailles this institution was also abolished. The need for a unit to fulfill its functions remained more urgent than ever in light of the political chaos prevailing in postwar Germany, and in the spring of 1921 the Reichswehr Heeresleitung ordered the establishment of an army Wachregiment with headquarters in Berlin.

According to its table of organization, the Wachregiment was be made up of single companies (with supporting machine gun- and field-artillery batteries) that would be deployed to the capital on a rotating basis from each of the Reichswehr’s seven territorially-based infantry divisions. It was also stipulated that these units would serve three-month tours, during which time they would turn out for ceremonial functions and remain in readiness to defend the republican government if the need arose. Almost immediately, the Versailles powers condemned this supposed "creation" of a new regiment as a treaty violation, even though it was to be constituted from existing forces; accordingly, in June 1921 the Wachregiment was redesignated Kommando der Wachtruppe, an appellation that attracted no further protest from the Allies.

The Wachtruppe was quartered in the barracks of the former 4. Garde-Regiment zu Fuss on Rathenower-Strasse in Berlin-Moabit and its senior officer (initially an Oberstleutnant) was designated the military commander of the city of Berlin. Though no one suspected it at the time, the Wachtruppe was the nucleus of the many units that would one day bear the name Grossdeutschland and constitute the elite of the German army of the Second World War. 

As a prerequisite for carrying out its ceremonial duties, the Wachtruppe's organization provided for a band that according to custom was subordinated directly to its 'regimental' headquarters staff. Throughout most of its career, and despite the many permutations its parent unit would undergo in the ensuing decades, this Musikkorps would be led and guided by the seasoned army musician and Kapellmeister Friedrich Ahlers.


Friedrich Ahlers as Stabmusikmeister, 1940

Friedrich Ahlers was born on 9 June 1882 in Luthe, near Wunstorf/Hanover, to Friedrich and Sophie Eleonore Luise Ahlers. His father, the conductor of the municipal orchestra of Wunstorf, exerted a strong musical influence on his son, who mastered the piano and flute while he was still a youngster. In 1901, the already musically informed Ahlers entered military service as a Hoboist in the 1. Hannoversches Infanterie Regiment Nr. 74 at Hanover. After studying music at the Prussian Royal Music Academy in Berlin-Charlottenburg, he passed the examination for Musikmeister in 1913 and was named conductor of the Musikkorps of the Colbergsches Grenadierregiment 'Graf Gneisenau' Nr. 9 at Stargard/Pomerania in 1914. After the outbreak of the First World War, Ahlers served on both the Eastern- and Western Fronts, and following the armistice in 1918, he returned to his garrison in Stargard.

Among the select few to remain on active duty after the reduction of the German army to its Versailles-mandated strength, Ahlers was assigned to the expansion batallion of Infanterie-Regiment 5 at Greifswald in August 1920. Ten months later, in June 1921, he and three musicians from that regiment were transferred to Berlin with orders to establish a band for the newly created Wachtruppe. Drawing heavily on the Musikkorps of the 9. Preussisches Infanterie-Regiment at nearby Spandau (colloquially known as 'Regiment Graf Neun' due to the many aristocrats within its ranks), Ahlers requisitioned new personnel for the band of the Wachtruppe until it attained its initial regulation complement of twenty-four musicians.

The first appearance by a guard company of the Wachtruppe with music took place in Berlin on 11 August 1921 during the festivities honoring the adoption of the Weimar constitution. Another milestone in the history of the band was reached on 20 September 1921, when Musikmeister Ahlers led the first ceremonial changing of the guard to take place on Unter den Linden since the end of the First World War - a ritual that was to go on with few interruptions for the next twenty-four years. As the most visible unit of the Reichswehr, the Wachtruppe with its band would participate in all the important ceremonies of the early Weimar Republic, including the “loyalty parade” before General von Seeckt after the 1923 Munich Putsch and the swearing in of Reich President Paul von Hindenburg in 1925.

From the outset, the Wachtruppe and its musicians were conscious of their role as the successors to the Prussian Garde-Korps and thus their obligations as heirs to a venerable military tradition. In 1921, Ahlers had chosen the march of the former 4. Garde-Regiment zu Fuss - the Defilermarsch (AM II, 168) by Carl Faust - as the  parade march of the Wachtruppe. In 1927, in another step that reaffirmed the ties of the  representational formation of the Reichswehr to its predecessors, the Schellenbaum or “Jingling Johnnie” formerly carried by the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuss was formally conferred upon the Wachtruppe.

Some of Ahlers’ colleagues had nicknamed him Der Kalk von Potsdam (“The Limestone of Potsdam”) for what they considered his surfeit of musical conservatism, yet they respected him as an uncompromising champion of the German martial music tradition. It could never be said that he did not know what he wanted from his musicians, or that he did not know how to get it, though his perfectionism sometimes drove his subordinates to their limits. “Playing under Ahlers was not always a simple matter,” recalled one of his former bandsmen, Joachim Toeche-Mittler, in 1966. “He heard every note, even when marching in front of us. Woe to us if something wasn’t right. He would come to a halt and let the band march past him on both sides, until he saw the guilty party and gave him a look of such annoyance that the breath was almost knocked out of him. When everything got moving again though, he would revel in fine playing and push back the hand guard of his sword with his left hand, giving an ‘eyes right’ toward the house windows where the Berliners were waiting to hear ‘their’ military music.”

For the Wachtruppe and its successors, the full-dress guard-changing ceremonies in Berlin followed the same route every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from September 1921 to early 1945. The Wachkompagnie would depart from its barracks in Moabit and proceed over the Moltke Bridge past the old General Staff Building and the Reichstag, through the Brandenburg Gate, and then along Unter den Linden to the Memorial to the German dead of the First World War located in the Doric-columned Neue Wache or “New Guardhouse.” 


Berlin, 1931: The band of the Wachtruppe on Tiergartenstrasse

At the very front of the guard detachment marched the Tambourmajor, leading the fifers and drummers of the Spielmannszug, followed in succession by the Musikmeister and Schellenbaum-bearer who marched at the head of the Musikkorps. Behind the band came the officer-of-the-watch on horseback, and bringing up the rear with shouldered arms came the troops of the Wachkompagnie. Starting in the mid-'thirties, guard duty at the War Memorial would be shared with formations of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine on special occasions, but in the main this function remained the privilege and preserve of the Army until the fall of Berlin in 1945.

By 1924, conditions in the country seemed to have stabilized and the 42-year-old Ahlers felt ready to start a family. He married the 25-year-old Dorothea Timm and the couple settled down to a comfortable life in Berlin, relocating several times until, in 1936, they arrived at their home at No. 3 Rathenower-Strasse a mere two hundred meters from the Wachtruppe barracks. Friedrich and Dorothea Ahlers would go on to have two daughters and by all accounts, the strict and exacting bandmaster was a kind and loving father to his children.

The guard-changing ceremonies and parades in which Musikmeister Ahlers and the Wachtruppe’s band participated drew many visitors to the capital, and to the Berliners themselves these displays were a normal yet essential part of the Berliner Luft. Outdoor recitals by the Wachtruppe band at the Berlin Zoo were always well attended and concert programs from that period catalogue the eclectic and wide-ranging repertoire mastered by Ahlers and his musicians. This included not only the expected military marches, but also the classics; among the latter, the works of German and Austrian composers naturally predominated, but such composers as Dvorak, Mussorgsky, Grieg, Rossini and Bizet were also represented. These halcyon years of the Weimar Republic were personally and professionally good for Ahlers; he was honored with a promotion to Obermusikmeister in 1929 in recognition of his achievements in organizing and training the Wachtruppe band.

After the National Socialists assumed power in 1933, the Reich government began a program of rebuilding German military forces, and as bandmaster of the army’s premier ceremonial unit (which was renamed Wachtruppe Berlin in 1934), Ahlers’ work schedule was full. From the proclamation of conscription in 1935 to the countless state visits, parades and tattoos staged during this period - among them a colossal performance of the Grosser Zapfenstreich during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin - Ahlers conducted continuously. He led his musicians on such occasions as the 1937 celebrations honoring the seven-hundredth anniversary of Berlin, Hitler’s return to the capital after the Anschluss of Austria and the return of the Condor Legion from Spain in 1939. Not to be forgotten was the participation by Ahlers and the Wachtruppe band in the “International Military Music Gathering” at Turin in September 1934, the first assembly of world military bands to take place since the Great War.

On 1 May 1936, Ahlers was promoted to Stabsmusikmeister and the complement of the Wachtruppe’s band was increased to forty-seven musicians. It is interesting to note that at this time, according to army regulations of 1936 (HV 36, Nr. 356) the three rank grades now held by all German military band conductors – Musikmeister, Obermusikmeister or Stabsmusikmeister – did not accord their incumbents officer’s rank as such, but rather the status of “military official with officer’s rank.”

In June 1937, the Wachtruppe Berlin was officially renamed Wachregiment Berlin, and in June 1939 it was reinforced and renamed yet again as the Infanterie-Regiment Grossdeutschland (“Greater Germany”). No mere invention of the National Socialists, the honorific Grossdeutschland was both descriptive and symbolic of a longstanding current of German history. The term itself originated with the Frankfurt Assembly of 1848 and the unsuccessful attempts to peacefully unify all the German States - including the German-inhabited lands of the Habsburg Empire - in a constitutional monarchy of “Greater Germany.” The Infanterie-Regiment Grossdeutschland accordingly continued the Wachtruppe's custom of recruiting its personnel from all of the country’s military districts (which now included the Austrian and Sudeten territories that had been incorporated into 'Grossdeutschland' in 1938), while most of the army’s other regiments were still recruited territorially. 

At this time, with an eye on future expansion of the regiment, a second Musikkorps under Musikmeister Guido Grosch was established and official duties were henceforth split between the two bands. Grosch, who was born in Berlin on 25 June 1910, came to the Wachregiment from the band of the Heeresunteroffizierschule at Potsdam-Eiche. 


Musikmeister Guido Grosch

With the outbreak of the Second World War on 1 September 1939, Infanterie-Regiment 'GD' was mobilized and shipped to a deployment area in Silesia for a projected air-landing operation that was ultimately canceled. When its unbloodied troops returned to Berlin after a few days, the unsuspecting Berliners hailed 'their' embarrassed Landsers as returning heroes. Later, in November 1939, the lion’s share of the regiment (including Ahlers and the 1st Musikkorps) departed for training in western Germany, while a remnant stayed in the capital with Guido Grosch and the 2nd Musikkorps as Wachkompanie Berlin. By 1 April 1940, this unit had been enlarged, renamed Wachbataillon Berlin and placed under the command of Major von Boguslawski, under whose leadership it continued to perform ceremonial duties and maintain the traditions of GD.

The 1st Musikkorps participated in the French campaign of 1940, accompanying GD (which was organized as a reinforced motorized-infantry regiment) in two buses, though Stabsmusikmeister Ahlers was assigned his own car. As the regiment forced the Meuse near Sedan and fought in the battles for the Weygand Line, its musicians, who according to international custom were classed as non-combatants, served as stretcher-bearers and messengers. After the French armistice, Ahlers and his band staged concerts at Lyon and Colmar, and practiced for the grand victory parade in Paris that Hitler ultimately canceled due to misgivings about possible British air raids and even a desire to spare the feelings of the French.

While Ahlers and his Musikkorps remained in France through the second half of 1940, Wachbataillon Berlin was called on to furnish an honor guard for a curious but crucial event, namely the diplomatically disastrous state visit to Berlin of Soviet Foreign Minister Vyatcheslav Molotov. On 12 November, as Molotov's train arrived at the Anhalter Bahnhof (which in surreal fashion was bedecked with swastikas and the Soviet hammer and sickle), Musikmeister Grosch and his band struck up the Internationale, the then-Soviet national anthem. Due to the concern of German officials that spectators and passers-by in what was formerly 'Red' Berlin might start singing along with this officially forbidden communist hymn, Grosch drastically increased the tempo of his performance to get this necessary but distasteful concession to Bolshevism over with as soon as possible. Less than two weeks later, Wachbataillon Berlin's band was again called upon to render military honors to another foreign visitor: the Romanian chief of state Marshal Ion Antonescu. As was the case with Molotov's visit (though for different reasons), the appearance of the Conducator in the German capital was yet another foreshadowing of the titanic struggle soon to break out in the East.

In the meantime, Infanterie-Regiment GD saw its next action in the south-east in the Spring of 1941. With the start of the Balkan Campaign on 11 April, the unit advanced swiftly into Yugoslavia from staging areas in Romania, but it saw very little actual fighting. Upon its arrival in Belgrade, Oberleutnant “Maxe” Fabich of GD's 1st Battalion / 3rd Company was ordered to assist the Propaganda-Company technicians who were engaged in putting the facilities of the former Yugoslav state radio service back into operation; thus was born the Soldatensender-Belgrad. The station's first broadcast took place on 19 April 1941 and it was produced by Fabich, who also played the piano on the air. During the next few weeks, performances by Ahlers and GD's band were broadcast live over the Soldatensender and the two soldiers’ choruses of GD’s 1st Battalion sung Soldatenlieder for an enthusiastic and growing audience. The Belgrade station soon became known for closing its broadcast day with Norbert Schultze's and Hans Leip's Lili-Marleen, the song that became its trademark and a favorite among German and Western Allied troops of the Second World War.

In mid-June 1941, GD was suddenly transferred to Poland and assigned to billets at Żelechów near Dęblin, while Ahlers himself was appointed commandant of the nearby estate of Podzamcze. The Wehrmacht was completing its final preparations for war with the USSR, and GD was assigned to the operational reserve of Heinz Guderian’s Panzergruppe II. Finally, at 0330 on Sunday 22 June 1941, as thousands of guns roared along a front stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, Operation Barbarossa was launched.

In this campaign that would prove unlike any other they had hitherto experienced, the personnel of Ahlers’ Musikkorps served as stretcher-bearers and guarded the regimental baggage train. They would remain away from the front throughout the Wehrmacht’s eastward advance and throughout the grim defensive fighting of the coming winter, but when Infanterie-Regiment Grossdeutschland was elevated to the status of a motorized infantry division in April 1942, Ahlers and his bandsmen moved up to their comrades’ positions northwest of Kursk and honored the occasion with a field performance of the Grosser Zapfenstreich, complete with torchbearers. Later, during the early stages of the 1942 German summer offensive codenamed "Operation Blue" that saw GD advance up to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, the band was tasked with performing at military hospitals behind the front.

Guido Grosch remained in Berlin with his Musikkorps until the summer of 1942, when he was sent to Russia with orders to assume the post of executive officer with Infanterie-Regiment GD 1 and to relieve Ahlers and other elderly members of his band. On 19 September 1942, the 32-year-old Grosch was killed by a Russian sniper while enjoying a rare shave in his trench in the embattled Rzhev sector; some of the fallen Musikmeister's comrades opined at the time that the small mirror he was using to shave reflected the light and marked him out as a clear target for the Soviet marksman. He was succeeded in January 1943 by Obermusikmeister Fritz Masuhr from the engineers’ band at Königsberg/East Prussia, who would lead the Musikkorps of the soon-to-be-renamed Panzergrenadier-Division Grossdeutschland through the end of 1944.


'Papa Hoernlein,' Division Commander GD (center) with Ahlers (right) 

On leaving the front, Ahlers brought some of the division's best musicians back to Berlin with him. The Wachbataillon’s band already included numerous performers who had been professional musicians in civilian life, including Heinz Munsonius and Kurt Drabeck, whose names were well known in the world of dance music. The Panzer-Grenadier Division GD had long fielded its own company of front-line entertainers, including several noncommissioned officers who were first class tenors, others who were fine violinists, and even an enlisted man who was a talented composer: Obergefreiter Hans-Martin Majewski. Majewski composed the melodies of the songs Grossdeutsche Grenadiere and Landser und Panzer in 1940 (both of which were recorded by Ahlers for Telefunken), as well as GD’s own late-war campaign song, Highway Nights, in 1944. The latter featured lyrics by GD Unteroffizier Nürnberger that described the combat conditions in the East in all their unvarnished severity, and there is no reason to think that Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels would have found the piece especially useful, assuming that he even knew of its existence.

Effective 1 October 1942, Wachbataillon Berlin was redesignated Wachbataillon Grossdeutschland, and as the war dragged on into 1943, Ahlers and his Musikkorps had a full duty schedule staging morale-boosting concerts for the civil population and soldiers home on leave. In the “Broadcast Hall No. 1” of Berlin’s main radio station, where radio personality Heinz Goedecke had formerly hosted the weekly “Request Concert,” the band made regular appearances, and Ahlers also conducted the special late-night performances broadcast live to ships on the high seas. In the autumn of 1943, he and his musicians embarked upon a concert tour of the Warthegau that included Gnesen and Posen, where they performed at the trade fair that was in progress. During this period, it also fell to the Wachbataillon’s band to play at the mass-funerals held for civilians killed in the increasingly heavy Allied air attacks on Berlin, including the burial at Stahnsdorf of the nearly three thousand victims of the devastating raids of 21-22 November 1943.

Now over sixty years of age, Ahlers' non-stop routine inevitably took a toll on his health, and on 28 May 1944 he was hospitalized at Berlin-Tempelhof after suffering a mild heart attack. The resulting slack was taken up by the band of Panzergrenadier-Division GD under Musikmeister Masuhr, which had been withdrawn from Russia in March 1944 and had started its own morale-building tour of Germany by performing for armaments workers in Hamburg and Bremen.

The attempted assassination of Hitler on 20 July 1944 caught the Wachbataillon, like the German public, completely off guard. Confusion reigned in the capital on that sweltering summer day; the unit and its bandsmen were mobilized by the prearranged signal “Valkyrie” that had been issued by Graf von Stauffenberg's men, and they were dispatched to secure the government quarter from the "party fanatics" who had ostensibly just murdered Hitler. The commander of the Wachbataillon Major Otto Remer (who was unaware of what was happening) was sent to arrest Dr. Joseph Goebbels, but after speaking personally with Adolf Hitler via the propaganda minister’s telephone, he obeyed orders to suppress the rising.

The events of 20 July reverberated throughout the remaining months of the war and require no recounting here, though Ahlers and his band did figure in one of the postscripts to that day. On 6 October 1944, in a grueling one day round trip, they were brought by rail from Berlin to the Tannenberg Memorial in East Prussia to play at the state funeral of Hitler’s Wehrmacht Adjutant General der Infanterie Rudolf Schmundt. This officer who had always championed the interests of Grossdeutschland at Führer Headquarters (and indeed had even secured Hitler's authorization for the institution of the Grossdeutschland cuff-band) had finally succumbed after weeks of agony to the wounds he sustained from Stauffenberg's bomb.


One of Ahlers' wartime recordings, 1943

As the military situation continued to deteriorate for Germany, cost-cutting measures were instituted throughout the entire armed forces, and on 13 September 1944 the Chief of the General Staff ordered the dissolution of all army divisional Musikkorps, among them Panzer Grenadier-Division 'GD’s' band under Masuhr. It was decreed that henceforth only the bands controlled by the commandants of the large cities - including Berlin - would be retained. Numerous younger conductors suddenly became available, and in light of his age and uncertain health Ahlers was replaced in early November by the 39-year-old Obermusikmeister Hans Borghoff, who came from the Musikkorps of the 16th Panzer Division. Borghoff had studied in Berlin from 1937 to 1939 and was already personally acquainted with many of the musicians in the capital.

On 10 November 1944, after 43 years as a soldier and over 30 years since his promotion to Musikmeister, Ahlers officially handed his Musikkorps’ instruments, scores and files over to his successor. The new commander of the Wachregiment GD (for the Wachbataillon GD had been upgraded to a regiment on 1 October 1944), Knight’s Cross holder Oberstleutnant Lehnhoff, organized a farewell ceremony for Ahlers in which his band turned out in his presence for one final concert. Fifty-five bandsmen and their new conductor stood at attention and then began a performance that included all of Ahlers’ favorite marches, including the Yorckscher Marsch (AM II, 37, HM II, 5) by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Radetzky Marsch (AM II, 45, HM II, 35) by Johann Strauss the Elder and the Regimentsgruss (HM II, 4) by Heinrich Steinbeck. The finale was a bravura performance of Carl Faust’s Defiliermarsch (AM II, 168, HM II, 50), the parade march of the Infanterie-Regiment Grossdeutschland that had been chosen by Ahlers for the Wachtruppe over two decades before.

During his short-lived retirement, Ahlers played with his two little girls (now aged 12 and 8) and entertained them on the piano, putting on a cheerful face for his children even as he monitored the Red Army's westward advance and pondered what that would ultimately mean for his family and his country. In a final clutching at the last shreds of normalcy, guard parades still took place in the bomb-blasted streets of Berlin, concerts were given and, in keeping with the times, funeral parades were conducted. The Soviet juggernaut rolled inexorably toward the capital until finally, as the last barrier on the Oder disintegrated and the combined forces of two Soviet Army Groups stormed the city, the bandsmen of Wachregiment GD were thrown into the desperate struggle as riflemen. When it was over, Obermusikmeister Borghoff and the survivors of the band bade farewell to the ruins of their Kaserne in Moabit and went into Soviet captivity.

In the early days of May 1945, Red Army troops broke into the Ahlers home on Rathenower Strasse and, finding the old bandmaster’s uniform, proceeded to burn his house to the ground. Ahlers himself was taken away by the Soviets for questioning, but (unusually under the circumstances) he was returned to his now homeless but relieved wife and children two days later.

Was this unexpected reprieve a bow on the Soviets’ part to Ahlers’ reputation as a musician? Or was it granted in preparation for their soon-to-be implemented program of enlisting renowned German artists to serve cultural policy in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany? Such a question is by no means unreasonable, given the preferential treatment the Soviets accorded to actors like Paul Wegener (despite his having starred in several of Goebbels’ big-screen historical epics) or to the dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann, whom they had unsuccessfully attempted to “recruit” before his death in his Silesian home in 1946. What is clear is that Ahlers and his family lived in the same desperate straits as millions of other Germans in the summer of 1945, which indicates his probable response to any offers of collaboration the Soviets may have made.

In occupied Berlin, the Ahlers family scraped by for six months. Frau Ahlers embarked on daily food foraging trips from the temporary shelter they soon found on Rathenower-Strasse, while Friedrich Ahlers himself obtained permission from the new authorities to start a small orchestra to provide musical instruction to children. On 9 November 1945, as he was hurrying to an appointment with this modest ensemble, he collapsed and died on the steps of the radio station on the Masurenallee.

Friedrich Ahlers was buried in the Lutheran cemetery of St. Johannis und Heiland in Berlin/Plötzensee. His successor in Wachregiment Grossdeutschland, Obermusikmeister Borghoff, endured years of Soviet captivity in the Gulag at Cheropovets, where he established a camp choir that made a name for itself among its fellow prisoners, despite a lack of instruments, music scores and even pen and paper. Obermusikmeister Fritz Masuhr of the band of Panzer-Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland later belonged to the organizational committee for the establishment of military bands in the German Federal Armed Forces, and his last assignment was that of Music Inspector of the Bundeswehr from 1968 to 1975. Obergefreiter Hans-Martin Majewski went on to a career as a composer of film-music in the German Federal Republic, creating the musical soundtracks of such postwar features as Die Brücke (1958) and Nacht fiel über Gotenhafen (1959).

Friedrich Ahlers and Guido Grosch left a large body of recorded work behind them, and this material provides a vital link to events that that will hopefully never be repeated, but which nevertheless shaped the age in which we live. Their world, like our own, was replete with examples of both the best and worst in human nature.


Ahlers (far right) leading the band of IR Grossdeutschland, 1940


Read, Anthony and David Fisher. The Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939-1941. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1988.

Scheibert, Horst. Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland: A Pictorial History with Text and Maps. Translated by Gisele Hockenberry. Edited by Bruce Culver. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1987.

Schlicht, Adolf und John R. Angolia. Die Deutsche Wehrmacht: Uniformierung und Ausrüstung, Band 1: Das Heer. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag, 1996.

Spaeter, Helmuth. The History of Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland. 3 Vols. Translated by David Johnston. Winnipeg: JJ Fedorowicz, 1992-2000.

Toeche-Mittler, Joachim. Armeemärsche: Ein historische Plauderei zwischen Regimentsmusiken und Trompeterkorps rund um die deutsche Marschmusik. Neckargemünd: Kurt Vowinckel-Verlag, 1966.

Toeche-Mittler, Joachim. Musikmeister Ahlers: Ein Zeitbild unserer Militärmusik, 1901-1945. Stuttgart: W. Spemann, 1981.

Woche, Klaus-Rainer. Vom Wecken bis zum Zapfenstreich: Die Geschichte der Garnison Berlin, 2. Auflage. Berg am Starnberger See: Kurt Vowinckel-Verlag, 1998.

We acknowledge the invaluable information that was contributed to this article and our CD Grossdeutschland: Von der Wachtruppe zum Panzerkorps by individual members of the Traditionsgemeinschaft Panzer-Korps 'Grossdeutschland'- und 'Brandenburg' Verbände. Our conversations and correspondence with these highly knowledgeable sources provided us with priceless anecdotal- and specialized information that would have otherwise remained inaccessible to us.    

Further reading: Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland

If you enjoyed this article, learn more about the archival compilation CD by clicking the image below:

BH0914 Grossdeutschland: Von der Wachtruppe zum Panzerkorps, 1928-1943

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