I took a poll to heart earlier this year with most wanting larger format for my Totenkopf Division study. With the publisher of my SS and Polizei German Cross series (R. James Bender) already having numerous titles in process that are ahead of me, we agreed that I would do "Totenkopf" with another publisher to allow its timely release as completed. The German Cross series will continue with Bender publishing, volume 9 including "Handschar" and SS-Brigade "Gross." Volume 8 ("Wiking" part II) is due for spring 2015 release.

Am finally done laying out "Totenkopf" volume I with a contracted turn in ship date of Monday February 2, 2015, with book printing in late summer/early autumn 2015. Format of the two "Totenkopf" volumes is approximately US 9x12 inches with a page print area of approximately US 7.25 x 9.75 inches, volume I being more than 500 pages. The "Totenkopf" volumes will be published by Helion and Company of Great Britain. Details on the two Totenkopf volumes are as follows per the "ad-burb" made from my synopsis of content and links for pre-publication price availability will be posted when received:

The Structure, Development, and Personalities
of the
3.SS-Panzer Division

Volume I: The first of two volumes on one of the most famous Waffen-SS divisions, this work by two long-time SS research colleagues is their largest and most detailed unit study to date. Following an illustrated Introduction a lengthy chapter examines the parameters of researched topics in this work, the ten categories of personnel it includes, and how the data is presented as well as why. The Waffen-SS awards system is also comprehensively examined by individual decoration including new data on Abteilung P5 Ordensangelegenheiten. Divisional firsts are noted along with comparisons to the other units of the Waffen-SS. A chapter on the early Totenkopfverbände follows, detailing these numerous prewar units from their creation in 1933 through frequent title changes and their physical development until "Totenkopf" assimilated parts of the first four as half its initial cadre. A separate chapter then illustrates unique surviving Totenkopfverbände artifacts. Next is an illustrated overview of the division's combat history from its beginning in reserve during the 1940 Western Campaign until the end of the war, the formation probably being most famous for its defensive capability. With nearly 100 illustrations alone in this chapter, the Combat Elements section begins with details of the forming of the division then in 13 sub-chapters examines the individual combat units of the formation, not all of which existed initially or simultaneously. Starting as an motorized infantry division and ending the war a tank formation, all the initial commanders at multiple levels and staff personnel are noted with career information. How each unit physically developed is documented along with all the subsequent commanders of these components with their military career specifics. Aside from those in preceding chapters, a further 20 of the formation's 55 Knight's Cross holders are also detailed to include service data and all surviving award proposals, the later incorporated into the text or as one of multiple extended photo captions. The remainder are included among both volumes as is data on other Waffen-SS units created with cadre from "Totenkopf." Separate chapters follow on the divisional commanders and senior staff officers. Half the division's more than 100 German Cross in Gold recipients are individually detailed to include their careers outside of "Totenkopf" service, all surviving award proposals, and full explanations of these diverse assignments. Throughout the volume is new data on Waffen-SS schools, training units, and predecessors and successors as they pertain to the "Totenkopf" Division. Following a chapter on the Single-handed Tank Destruction award is another detailing rare surviving award documents and similar material contributed by collections in Europe, Russia, and the United States. A name index allows the reader to find all text entries and images for the more than 550 individuals in the initial volume as well as a glossary for the diverse terminology used. Primarily unpublished images enhance this volume with their extended data captions, the authors also tracking down period prints or negatives for some well-known images to allow them to be reproduced with previously unseen detail and clarity. With a world-wide list of contributors as well as significant veteran input, these two volumes will be considered among the significant postwar studies on the Waffen-SS with their vast amount of new material for the historian, military collector, and modeler. Over 500 pages with more than 350 illustrations. Glossary, bibliography, index.

Volume II completes the "Totenkopf" German Cross in Gold holders then chapters on the Roll of Honor Clasp and the Close Combat Clasp in Gold. A separate study of the numbered Totenkopfstandarten not used among the initial divisional cadre follows that includes "Kirkenes" and the two SS-Totenkopf-Reiterstandarten. Encompassing their higher level commands, creation, development, both primary and battalion commanders, this extensive area is the first to detail these units. After that lengthy chapter is a photographic and award documents addendum, numerous Order of Battle charts during 1939-45 with explanations and details of symbols used in these that were also stenciled on divisional vehicles, multiple officer lists at division, regiment and battalion level, the volume concluding with multiple Feldpost lists. More than 300 illustrations, glossary, bibliography and index.

I have no doubt the two books coming out in 2015 will keep readers happily "brain busy."

Document, photo, and SS collectors: For volume II I am looking for certificates for the Iron Cross, Wound Badge, Eastern Front Medal, Assault Badges, and other small format award certificates to members of "Totenkopf" that are signed by other than divisional commanders. Those signed by senior staff, regiment, battalion, detachment, and company level commanders are sought. Divisional Commander signed documents are already with volume I. Any German Cross in Gold, Honor Clasp, Close Combat Clasp in Gold recipients and commanders of numbered Totenkopfstandarten I am missing are also are sought. The latter includes both commanders and their subordinate battalion commanders. Please PM me or write me directly, full acknowledgement with image and with the acknowledgments section for materials used. Please include specific name or how you otherwise wish credited (screen name, private collection, website name, etc) as how you wish credited is stored with the file title.

My direct e-mail is:


My thanks to those here among the several dozen contributors thus far as well as best New Year wishes.

Mark C. Yerger