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Elite Units of the German Army 1939-1945

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  • Klaus,

    I did a search on axishistory a while back and found an german military author's opinion on the Balck vs. Waffen SS. He sources all the SS books vs. Balck. From the SS perspective Balck was overly optimistic in command and tend to shift blame for failures to them with organizational politics. What they claim to be victimized regarded the failure of the new 9.SS PzD in April 1944 to relieve Ternopol and the failures of the 6 Army in hungary.

    Originally posted by krichter33 View Post
    I read von Bock's diaries...For Budapest and surrounding operations from the German perspective "Drama Between Budapest and Vienna" is good...more from a WSS perspective at the expense of Balck, yet very well written and detailed...I guess that book along with "Order in Chaos," and "Tomb of the Panzerwaffe," would help balance it, along with Nevenkin's and Számvéber's books...

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    • Absolutely right! I read through that whole discussion on Axishistory. The truth is always grey, never black or white...

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      • After Z-B, I might read Nipe/Zamulin's Kursk books instead of going into Hungary. But I've been holding out to see what Lawrence's Kursk book will be like.

        I dunno, so many choices here.

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        • Klaus,

          I am almost done with book1 and ZB is already the best german op history I've ever read. It's the quality of the coverage plus the maps that make it so good. Is that the case with you, and if not, what are the others?

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          • I agree with you 100%. Z-B 1 is amazing with the detail, but to me it is the maps that really make it brilliant! From the operational, and larger tactical view it is one of the best. I own Z-B 2 but haven't read it yet, and can't wait, because it details the German's counterattack, after Manstein is forced to bend the front inwards. I have to finish Bergstrom's Ardennes first, which is a brilliant book in itself. Then since it's been a couple of years since I read Z-B 1, I might re-read it first, and then immediately jump into Z-B 2...Too bad there is no book that details the Soviet's original Kiev offensive and the German's first counterattack...
            Last edited by krichter33; 04 Sep 15, 19:35.

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            • ^^

              While purposely excluding personal accounts, I think he's a better german research/op writer than Nipe and Nash. I get the impression that his stuff is more accurate and he focuses on what is important- making every page quite dense in detail.

              The book identifies him as "working in the defense environment for 25 years, mostly in Germany".

              I haven't read any book about the west front in about 3 years. In time I will probably go back to it here and there- I have Bergstorm's book myself. Do you know of any recently published book about Normandy that is very up to date and of the same style?

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              • I'm going to start ZB-2 next week. If you need a refresher on ZB-1, my notes should help get you back to speed.

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                • As far as Normandy I'm not sure of anything recent that is really good or with new information. Bergstrom's Ardennes book shatters some myths about the Bulge, so it is fascinating. There is a new book about Normandy coming out by Napier called The Armoured Campaign in Normandy that is supposed to be good. As far as Normandy I haven't found any individual book about the whole campaign that is as detailed as you and I like. I mostly have read unit histories from that sector...

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                  • ^^
                    Interesting that you say that. Notably, the books I have on the eastern front are more superior in quality to those covering the west. I find that kind of odd. I went to the bookstore not long ago and found most of the west front materials to be fluff or popular histories- nothing with the right level of military detail.

                    The most detailed west front materials I have are also unit histories.

                    Napier's book is already out- the preview looked good.

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                    • Originally posted by Cult Icon View Post
                      ^^
                      Interesting that you say that. Notably, the books I have on the eastern front are more superior in quality to those covering the west. I find that kind of odd. I went to the bookstore not long ago and found most of the west front materials to be fluff or popular histories- nothing with the right level of military detail.

                      The most detailed west front materials I have are also unit histories.

                      Napier's book is already out- the preview looked good.
                      A military book store? The best selection is found on-line.
                      My worst jump story:
                      My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                      As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                      No lie.

                      ~
                      "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                      -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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                      • ^^No, a normal one. It is notable that the mass market (WW2) for W.Allies is mostly fluff books, memoirs, or popular histories on normandy- I am entirely fatigued of this type of material. For instance, on Caen I still have "anvil of victory" as the main book- and it is on the fluff end. Most of library is too old.

                        The best content I have on normandy is from unit histories- and these are hardly impartial. Do you know of battle histories of the highest level of detail and are most up-to-date?

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                        • For Caen the most detailed work I have, that is EXTREMELY tactical and detailed is the 12SS unit history by Hubert Meyer, but of course it is very very biased. Why do proper Anglo-American historians ignore the Western Front? All you get is fluff Ambrose style books, or Beevor's recent work. The best general histories on Normandy are probably Keegan's and Hasting's works, but those are general histories. It's surprising that it takes a Swedish aviation historian to put out the best book on the Bulge in decades, though Caddick-Adams' Ardennes book that just came out is pretty good as well, though not as detailed or myth shattering as Bergstrom's.

                          Now this is about Western Europe, don't even get me started about the lack of detailed tactical and operational histories, other than unit histories and possibly a few battle histories, about North Africa and Italy!!!! Two theatres I'm greatly fascinated by, but am without any really great history!

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                          • I have the 12.SS as well and other unit histories, but mostly on US divisions.

                            What sells appear to be general histories (about the same topic, over and over again but by different authors. The information and anecdotes used are often mostly the same.), memoirs, and picture books. There is a 'greatest generation' aura attached to most of this stuff.

                            The lack of interest in the highly detailed tactical/operational military is notable. About, say, north africa or italy- scholars can not claim that the Russian archives are closed to them or they don't know German.

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                            • I'm starting Blood steel myth.

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                              • Blood Steel Myth is an excellent book from the German perspective. Of course it tends to be WSS biased, and the whole episode between von Strachwitz and Decker is still a little unclear, though Nipe claims otherwise. However, from the German perspective it is excellent. I would say it is a complement to Zamulin's book.
                                Of course Lawrence's book will cover the same area, however from both sides, and in much more detail...

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