(combat support force) (short: SS-VT) was
created in 1934 from
the merger of various Nazi and right-wing paramilitary formations. Two
regiments were formed, in northern Germany the
SS-Standarte "Germania", and
in southern Germany SS-Standarte “Deutschland.” In Berlin-Brandenburg they were incorporated
into the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. SS-Verfügungstruppe
was considered as an armed wing of the General-SS
and as a part of the Nazi party, instead
of the Wehrmacht.
The SS regiments
“Deutschland” and “ Leibstandarte” participated
in the 1936 occupation
of the Rhineland, and parts of them were
among the invading force in March 1938 during
the Anschluss of Austria.
Subsequently, the Austrian SS regiment “Der
Führer” was formed. By late 1938, the units of
the SS-VT were in part subordinate to Oberkommando
der Wehrmacht and, on October 10, they were
combined into the SS-Verfügungsdivision
(short: V-Division) under the command of
Under Hausser, the V-Division
was trained into an effective and skilled
combat fighting force, taking part in the
invasion of the Sudetenland in 1938 and Poland in 1939.
V-Division never fought as a single unit,
but was instead divided into smaller regiments
dispersed among the various regular Army
units. In 1940,
after the invasion of France,
V-Division was given the name “Reich,” at the same time, “Reich” and other SS-VT units, along with Theodor
Eicke's Totenkopf-Standarten, were subordinated
to the new Kommandoamt der Waffen-SS and
from then on called the Waffen-SS.
It was not until after the
start of the Russian campaign, “Operation
Barbarossa,” that the Division got its
final name: Das Reich.