Welcome to the website of the 17. SS Panzer-Grenadier Division, "Götz von Berlichingen". The purpose of this site is to educate the public about our organization and also help those desiring to join our group learn more about us.
The main purpose of our club is to authentically portray a frontline soldier of the elite Waffen-SS--a totally different organization than the one which ran the infamous camps. We totally disassociate ourselves from THIS part of the SS (called the Algemeine SS). Our sole intent is to portray the fighting men at the front.
The 17. is part of a larger organization, the Military Comemorative Association, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Second World War through reenactment.
If you are interested in joining our group, you must adhere to the "GvB" standards of grooming and appearance. Specifically, you must maintain your hair in the field in a manner consistent with the original Waffen-SS practice. No goatees or beards will be allowed in the "GvB". Uniforms, equipment and camouflage will only be worn in a manner consistent with the rank, function and documented history of the "GvB". For authenticity reasons as well as personal safety, obesity is discouraged.
The members of "GvB" are Kameraden (more than friends--COMRADES in the fullest sense of the word). You cannot be member of "GvB" if you are a lone wolf! We all fight for our Kameraden, in and out of the field.
In return for your dedication, "GvB" will make you one of its own. You will be trained by the group to authentically portray a Landser of the Waffen-SS.
Once you have paid your dues, a "GvB" manual will be sent to you and a record of your time in-grade will be made. At each event you attend, this time will be counted toward awards and rank. Rank in the "GvB", as in the true Waffen-SS, is very conservative. The German military was famous for the relatively low proportion of officers it used, instead placing a very heavy reliance on its senior NCO's and enlisted men.
In the field, "GvB" uses the squad (Gruppe) formations used by the original Waffen-SS. Every movement and hand signal is correct for the formation we represent. In order to help members recognize these formations, the Gruppenführer (squad leader) will instruct the unit.
In our Lager (camp), "GvB" maintains an atmosphere of reasonable authenticity in camp at all times. For example, we do not come back to camp after the reenactment battle and change right back into our street clothes. Nor do we have plastic water bottles, aluminum soad/beer cans, ice chests or other modern stuff lying about in our camp.
The "Alte Hasen" (old rabbits or old hands) in the unit will show you what modern items are acceptable for use in the Lager and how to camouflage or hide items that are too large (or cant be easily converted).
What we are striving for is to maintain personal comfort and safety in camp at all times, but do so in a manner that still maintains a military atmosphere. We therefore use period containers and utensils while in Lager.
It is customary for the unit to take a meal on Saturday night in the field. When we do, it always consists of some continental (European) soup, breads, vegetables and deserts. The cost of this meal is $4.00. If you have indicated that you are coming, a meal is going to be prepared for you in advance unless you notify me the week before.
As a prospective member, you will receive 100% of our attention in helping you get "kitted-out" (dressed, outfitted and armed) and in the field. Obviously, equipping many people at once is a big job and often involves transporting a lot of equipment to the field. Please, help us by arriving on time, square your stuff away as soon as possible and seek out your Gruppenführer (squad leader) and Melde (report in). It is expected that members will spend both days in the field with the unit.
During the event, you will take the field with the members of 2. Kompanie, 38. Regiment, 17. SS Panzer-Grenadier Division, "Götz von Berlichingen". This will require some limited marching and rifle drill, all of which will be shown to you by your Gruppenführer.
While in the field, members of our unit do not question the validity of orders from superiors. Later, after the battle, we will have plenty of time to discuss whether that particular assault was a good idea or not. In the field, orders are carried out without question.
If you are shot, avoid arguments--DO NOT yell something like "I got yooooouu!". This is REALLY frowned upon in reenacting. Unless your Gruppenführer states otherwise, you should remove your helmet and proceed to the casualty collection point. You should remain there for the allotted time and then return to the last known position of the Zug. Do not fall in with other units unless told to do so by your Gruppenführer.
Hopefully, what you see on this website will casue you to want to reenact WWII with us. Please feel free to contact us at: