(The Combat Support Force
) (short: SS-VT
) were combat divisions of the SS
, trained according to the German Army (Wehrmacht
) regulations. They were the precursor of the later-developed Waffen-SS
On 24 September 1934 a special SS
military group was formed from the merger of various Nazi and paramilitary formations like units known as SS Special Detachments (SS-Sonderkommandos) and the Headquarters Guard (SS-Stabswache) units. The new group was to be trained as combat ready infantry according to the German Army (Wehrmacht
) regulations. The unit was officially designated SS-Special Purpose Troops (SS-Verfügungstruppe) and was described as neither police nor Armed Forces but military trained men at the disposal of the Führer in war and peace. The existence of the SS-Verfügungstruppe (known as SS-VT) was publicly declared on 16 March 1935. The SS-VT trained alongside Hitler’s personal body guards, although the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (SS-LAH) continued to serve exclusively as a personal protection unit. The SS-LAH independently fielded combat troops during the campaign against Poland. Elements later joined the SS-VT prior to the invasion of Russia in 1941
Elements of the SS-VT served with the Wehrmacht during the occupation of the Sudetenland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and participated in the invasion of Poland along with the campaign against the Allies in the West. From the various regiments that formed the SS-VT sprung the Waffen-SS (Armed-SS) Divisions that fought in all German theaters during World War II. Units comprising the SS-VT were not known as the "Waffen-SS" until a speech by Adolf Hitler in July 1940.
In 1939 the overall SS was divided into two groups: the Allgemeine-SS (General SS) and the Waffen-SS (Armed SS).
The Waffen-SS was made into three subgroups
In 1941 the overall commander of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, announced that additional Waffen-SS Verfügungstruppe units would be raised from non-German foreign nationals. The goal was to acquire additional manpower from occupied nations. Some of these foreign legions included volunteers from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, and the Netherlands.
Countries like Spain, officially a non belligerent state by the end of the war provided many undercover volunteers to the Waffen SS (most of then with the SS Wallonien division) that saw combat until the end in Berlin. This and many other volunteers of non-German background were "True Believers" in the German cause.