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Autumn Gale (Herbststurm) [Hardcover]

Jack Didden , Maarten Swarts
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: De Zwaardvisch (2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9080039381
  • ISBN-13: 978-9080039384
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 568,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

At a 550-pages (full-colour) it is a truly momentous study based on Allied, German and Dutch records, many of which have never been looked into before. It paints a vivid picture of how a small battle group slowed the Allied momentum at a crucial stage of the war. After the collapse of the German front in France the end of the war in Europe seemed within grasp, but the German recovery, in which these two units were instrumental, dashed the Allied hopes. The story really begins with the capture of Antwerp on 4 September 1944 and then goes on to describe in full detail the various engagements in Northern Belgium (Merksem, Beringen, Hechtel, Geel, Ten Aard), the capture of Joe's Bridge, operation Market Garden (focusing on Hell's Highway), including the armoured battles near Son and Veghel. Next the battles for Breda, Bergen op Zoom and 's-Hertogenbosch are discussed, including the armoured engagements that took place near Wuustwezel, Roosendaal and Raamsdonk, until the final withdrawal of 15. Armee behind the river Maas in early November. For the first time in a publication the real facts and details can be given about: The crucial role played by Kampfgruppe Chill The actions and history (Eastern Front) of schwere Heeres Panzerjäger-Abteilung 559, the second unit to be equipped with the ubiquitous Jagdpanther The exact composition of Kampfgruppe Walther during Market Garden The various Sturmgeschütz units involved (for example, what happened to Sturmgeschützbrigade 280 after its actions at Arnhem) The true composition and actions during this period (including Market Garden) of the Fallschirm units employed The influence of the Allied Second Tactical Air Force The vital contribution of the Kriegsmarine The great majority of the photographs (more than 800!) have not been published before and the maps are based on the original wartime ordnance survey maps, again in full-colour.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY VERY GOOD 2 Feb 2014
By BAM
This is a massive achievement; massive in its physical size, 500+ oversize heavy pages; massively entertaining. It tells the largely overlooked story of how the allies failed to push a completely fragmented and demoralised Whermacht accross the northern european plain all the way back to the Rhine after the Normandy breakout. Between August 20th and Sept 4th, the allies basically advanced as far as their fuel allowed, pushing battered German fragments before them, advancing upto 100km a day. And yet after the amazing capture of a largely undamaged Antwerp, a huge strategic victory, the allies were successfully slowed and held by a rag tag of scraps of every type of unit. Remnants of experienced Whermacht units were mixed with Volksturm or elderly occupation troops, thrown into the most improvised defences without enough heavy weapons or enough of anything. But somehow they did enough to stop the allies headlong rush, and guaranteed the war wouldnt end in 1944.
This book hangs this story around the German tankers of sPzJgAbt559, who entered the fray at Antwerp and were used as firebrigade for the whole front for the next 2 crucial months. They sealed off Antwerp, then helped hold the Albert canal line, then turned up during Market Garden where they cut the allied MSR, the "club" route, for a crucial 24hrs. They kept appearing with their handful of Jagdpanthers and Stugs at all the hotspots in Belgium and Holland, and these hotspots are the battles that allowed the Germans time to rebuild their Western front. By telling the story of 559, and of the many varied infantry units they supported, we learn about these crucial actions. Arnhem, which has assumed mythic proportions in western lit, has overshadowed all the other battles in Sept/oct in Belgium/Holland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On par with the best 17 April 2014
Having read the some previews, I decided to take a chance and order this book to make use of the pre-order deal offered before it was published. I was about to mail the publisher (where I ordered the book) where it was when the mailmain delivered a hefty package. Inside, securely wrapped was one big book, in size comparable to for instance Münch's unit history of sPzJ Abt 654, or Périgault's book about the 21. Panzer-Division.

Opening the book, it is clear no obvious corners were cut with the lay-out and the printing. Ample use of colour printing, high quality paper, and well printed pictures throughout. I think the authors have also found a good balance between the amount of text and pictures/maps on a page. The book has a solid and sturdy feel to it, and although large, is not uncomfortable to hold while reading.

The narrative is centred around two Wehrmacht units, Kampfgruppe Chill and sPzJ Abt 559 and their role in thwarting Allied plans in the fall of 1944 in northern Belgium and southern Netherlands - the region roughly bounded by the Albert Canal to the south, and Maas river to the north. The text has been structured well, and the chapters follow a logical order, which prevents the reader getting lost when the narrative switches from one front to the other, The introductory chapters are thorough, which provides a solid base for the reader to follow the main narrative, which starts with the actions of Chill and his scratch force to prevent the Allies from crossing the Albert Canal in early September 1944. The chapters covering the main narrative are well rounded, and in particular the chapters concerning Market-Garden are a valuable addition and correction on (most of) the literature of Market-Garden.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - Must have book 2 Nov 2013
By Iva Buch - Published on Amazon.com
Being more of an Eastern Front book collector I came across this title purely by accident one day, and after reading the narrative for it I thought this might be an interesting title, I was not wrong.

The book covers the actions in Northern Belgium and Southern Holland in autumn 1944, and at 550 pages it is a huge (and heavy) study in which the authors have used Allied, German and Dutch records.

Printed without a dust cover (which I tend to find gets damaged more as you use it for reference anyway) on semi gloss paper the book is a real gem to read, great colour maps (which are based on the original wartime ordnance survey maps) and over 800 photographs many never seen before, of which are of exceptional quality.

As the books advertisement states "The story really begins with the capture of Antwerp on 4 September 1944 and then goes on to describe in full detail the various engagements in Northern Belgium (Merksem, Beringen, Hechtel, Geel, Ten Aard), the capture of Joe's Bridge, operation Market Garden (focusing on Hell's Highway), including the armoured battles near Son and Veghel. Next the battles for Breda, Bergen op Zoom and 's-Hertogenbosch are discussed, including the armoured engagements that took place near Wuustwezel, Roosendaal and Raamsdonk, until the final withdrawal of the 15. Armee behind the river Maas in early November"

Covered in the book are =

How crucial was the role played by Kampfgruppe Chill
The exact composition of Kampfgruppe Walther during Market Garden
The various Sturmgeschütz units involved
The true composition and actions during this period of the Fallschirmjäger units employed
What influence the Allied Second Tactical Air Force had on the land campaign
And the vital contribution of the Kriegsmarine

Of interest is the coverage of schwere Heeres Panzerjäger-Abteilung 559, the second unit equipped with the Jagdpanther (after schwere Heeres Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654) of which there are copious amounts of photos of these armoured beasts many of them knocked out. Also shown are Allied armour, various commanders, battle terrain and more.

There is a good bibliography, Appendices, comprehensive end notes and a conclusions chapter on Kampfgruppe Chill.

It is easy to read, eye catching and the story is told from either side to give a balanced account of the action, a great book which will no doubt go up in price in the years to come, and too the authors keep up the good work as I look forward to your next offering.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding: a unique and excellent book 27 Nov 2013
By Carolyn L. Mcmanamy - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
An incredible work.

There are some minor translation and layout errors. There: that's the only "con" I have.

This book is simply an outstanding writeup of the German defense of the Belgium and the Netherlands from late August '44 through Market Garden. The detail, of both German and Allied sides, is breathtaking. The pictures are unique. The maps place the action very well and do a great job of putting actions into context. This is not a book for the faint-hearted. It reads very well, but it is a bit of an advanced read for a military history. It covers EVERY tactical engagement that occurred in this campaign. Outstanding.

Enough with the superlatives: if you're interested in this bit of history, buy this book.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book..... 3 Nov 2013
By Aidan Mc Carthy - Published on Amazon.com
Just received this book, and what a great book it is!. As I have not had time to begin to read it, I would still like to say how very impressive it is, the photos themselves are so good at showing the mood of the time, and are well placed throughout, and it has what I can only describe as the "Modern Super Book" look about it, having some degree of colour on almost every page. You will like it.
It's a huge book, and every minute and event is captured, and the photos show all aspects of this very turbulent period, with the atmosphere coming through in every picture.
The actual number of pictures is very impressive, and I would guess many of them have been sourced locally, making for greater detail.
This is a book I am certain, will soon be "a hard to get and pricy", so be aware.......
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