German WW2 Reviews

Discussions on books and other reference material on the WW1, Inter-War or WW2 as well as the authors. Hosted by Andy H.
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hannibal2
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Joined: 21 Nov 2018 05:20
Location: USA

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by hannibal2 » 07 Mar 2021 23:11

Wigand Wuster was a truly remarkable man. I had the privilege of getting to know him directly through a personal correspondence I had with him some years before he died in 2017. We talked very little about his experiences as a soldier at Stalingrad and his years as a slave laborer in the GULAG. Rather, we discussed the unique place of Stalingrad in the strategic picture of German operations on the southern front in Russia in 1942, especially about the wisdom of the simultaneous advance on Stalingrad and into the Caucasus, as well as about Hitler's insistent order to hold on to Stalingrad at all costs. In discussing these issues we had some disagreements, to be sure, but it was all in good spirit and always respecting the other's point of view.

What had brought us into contact in the first place was the fact that my great-uncle, Oberst Albert Newiger, was the CO of JR 194, one of the three infantry regiments of 71. Infanterie-Division, the very same division in which Oberleutnant Wuster was chief of a battery of howitzers in its artillery regiment, AR 171. Oberst Newiger, whose regiment had been instrumental in the capture of the vital bridge over the Don at Kalach, fell ill in early September 1942 and had to be evacuated to a hospital behind the front. He thus missed the terrible battle within Stalingrad and the equally horrendous consequences of the surrender of the Sixth Army. That was a tremendous stroke of luck for him since otherwise he would most likely have shared the fate of Olt. Wuster or worse. After recovery, in June 1943 he was promoted to Generalmajor and appointed commander of 112. Infanterie-Division.

harmel
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Posts: 3170
Joined: 30 Jan 2005 20:18
Location: leicestershire UK

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by harmel » 14 Mar 2021 00:19

I bought a few books during lockdown and one of them was An Artilleryman in Stalingrad
It was excellent and agree with Hannibal as you just looking at his picture can see that he was an efficient and confident person.
Jason has produced remarkable books on the German Military which I recommend as a neuteral collector of German Military.
At the same time I also bought From the Realm of the Dying Sun vol1-3 by Doug Nash excellent book,The Rzhev Slaughterhouse by S Gerisonova
and Sacrifice on the Steppes by Hope Hamilton-The Reckoning by Pritt Buttar of which I have a few and GL Georg Reinicke published by Fleshsig
Just received today The Devils Accomplice Odilo Globocnik by Max Williams I have some more of his books and I also recommend the excellent books
by Michael D Miller with Andreas Schulz and Ken McCanliss.
I will finish off by saying that reading is a great mechanism to calm people down even the beautiful subject of Poetry
Have a nice stress free 2021
Regards
Harmel

harmel
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Posts: 3170
Joined: 30 Jan 2005 20:18
Location: leicestershire UK

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by harmel » 14 Mar 2021 00:23

Forgot too add reason for liking Military subjects.
Spent 22 years in the British Military
Last Rank Warrant Officer Class 2
Harmel

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Cult Icon
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Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Mar 2021 15:07

I contacted Jason Mark a while ago and bought most of his books from him directly, all shipped in one box from Australia at a sharp discount from retail. Otherwise his books are going for exorbitant prices on amazon, etc. I have "artilleryman on Stalingrad" on my to do list, coming soon.

Larso
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Posts: 1947
Joined: 27 Apr 2003 02:18
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by Larso » 12 Apr 2021 07:06

Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front by Dr Hans Rehfeldt

Hans joined the infantry regiment Grossdeutschland in late 1941, arriving and fighting around Tula, south of Moscow. As the title spells out he is a mortar gunner and continues in this role, in various capacities through this first volume of his memoirs. It is actually a diary but a very detailed one. Some days the description runs to several pages and frankly, a lot happens. It is edited to a degree to reflect his later understandings of events. There are also some good notes contributed, by I take it, the English editor and a forward by the Forum’s own Marc Rikmenspoel.

There is certainly a lot of combat! The Russians are desperate to thwart the German drive on Moscow and commit overwhelming forces to destroy the German attackers. The weather quickly becomes an equally deadly factor. Grossdeutschland falls back in mid minus 40 degree temperatures and it’s not even winter! No preparation had been made for such conditions and the German troopers suffer terribly.

Hans starts in the 8th company II battalion. When the regiment is upgraded to a division in April 1042, he becomes part of 9/2nd battalion 1st Regt. He is wounded but returns in time for the 1943 offensives, including Kursk. As I said, he is always with the mortars, usually running up additional ammunition but the nature of the front and their close support of the infantry, essentially has him in the front line. He uses his rifle and indeed, grenades at times so close quarters is the fighting in the swirling break-throughs and encirclements.

One treat for us is his frequent and clear references to German and Soviet weapons, particularly tanks and support vehicles. Many individual actions of targeting specific targets are covered. There is a lot of artillery use by both sides and colossal casualties. Hans is one of a handful that are still left standing.

It is all as authentic as you can get too. There are many references to villages and places where the fighting took place. Many comrades and commanders are named and specific deeds recounted, including those for which decorations were earned. Hans also has many photos of himself engaging in the various aspects of soldierly life. Hans somehow recorded things in detail and managed to preserve them. It is frankly, quite an exciting read and given his unit’s significance, he is often involved in historically notable events. Highly recommended!

Larso
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Posts: 1947
Joined: 27 Apr 2003 02:18
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: German WW2 Reviews

Post by Larso » 03 May 2021 06:02

Wiking: A Dutch SS-er on the Eastern Front by Henk Kistemaker

Though Henk was Dutch, his father was an enthusiastic admirer of the Nazis. He encourages Henk to join the SS and he ends up in the Germania Regt of the 5th SS Division. He is in a machine-gun section to start but manages to get a transfer to the division’s Panther battalion in 1943.

Henk’s account of infantry battle is quite exciting. He is wounded several times and sees a lot of comrades die – which decreases his excitement considerably. The winters are bitter but he writes they are supplied quite well. There is even more excitement when he becomes a radio-operator in a Panther. There are some brutal slugging matches from which the Panthers invariably emerge triumphant. It is pretty visceral stuff at times, with one of Henk’s duties to machine-gun any Russian tank crew trying to escape their knocked out vehicles. He does write quite a bit about the interior and operations of a Panther. This was particularly interesting to me.

Oddly, Henk seems to call any artillery or Pak shell a grenade? There are also mix ups regarding sub-unit designations, including seemingly calling everything a division. Perhaps these are translation issues? Despite seeming to have been involved, he writes nothing of the Cherkovsky pocket? Though it is mentioned by the editor that Henk refused to discuss aspects of the war that were too emotional.

Despite its Wiking name, the unit was predominately German, though Henk mentions a smattering of other nationalities. It’s not a long book but it is reasonably detailed. It includes pictures of Henk and various shots of their tanks. Henk writes of being in battle and what he did. There are only a few accounts by panzer men and I think this is a very relevant read if that is your interest. 4 stars.

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