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Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944 (Pan Military Classics)
 
 

Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944 (Pan Military Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Max Hastings
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Within days of the D-Day lanings, the 'Das Reich' 2nd SS Panzer Division marched north through France to reinforce the front-line defenders of Hitler's Fortress Europe. Veterans of the bloodiest fighting of the Russion Front, 15,000 men with their tanks and artillery, they were hounded for every mile of their march by saboteurs of the Resistance and agents of the Allied Special Forces.

Along their route they took reporisals so savage they will live for ever in the chronicles of the most appalling atrocities of war. Max Hasting's powerful account of their progress is a true military classic.

Book Description

Within days of the D-Day lanings, the 'Das Reich' 2nd SS Panzer Division marched north through France to reinforce the front-line defenders of Hitler's Fortress Europe. Veterans of the bloodiest fighting of the Russion Front, 15,000 men with their tanks and artillery, they were hounded for every mile of their march by saboteurs of the Resistance and agents of the Allied Special Forces. Along their route they took reporisals so savage they will live for ever in the chronicles of the most appalling atrocities of war. Max Hasting's powerful account of their progress is a true military classic.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2047 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (22 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KA1A2A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,970 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Sir Max Hastings is the author of twenty-five books, many of them about war. He was educated at Charterhouse and University College, Oxford, which he quit after a year to become a journalist. Thereafter he reported for newspapers and BBC TV from sixty-four countries and eleven conflicts, notably the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Vietnam and the 1982 Battle for the Falklands. Between 1986 and 2002 he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, then editor of the Evening Standard. He has won many prizes both for journalism and for his books, most recently the 2012 Chicago Pritzker Library's $100,000 literary award for his contribution to military history, and the RUSI's Westminster Medal for his international best-seller 'All Hell Let Loose'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking read 30 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback
Das Reich (2nd SS Panzer)

The focus of the book is on delays to the move to Normandy of Das Reich. But Hastings covers a lot of ground. A number of issues caught my eye. The best I can do here is to list some of these in the hope that they give something of the character of the book.

Hastings gives good insight into the mentality of the SS. This is central to an understanding of what took place.

The SOE (Special Operations) had the job of providing resources for and motivation of the Resistance. Sceptics of the work of the SOE included Monty, MI6, SHAEF. But SOE had powerful friends including the PM. In 1940-41 various 'private armies' were tolerated by service hierarchies as playthings of the Prime Minister and some irregularly minded generals. These criticisms carried some weight: the contribution of Special Forces of all kinds was always marginal. SHAEF had little time or enthusiasm for any force that threatened to divert attention or resources.

For SHAEF any dividend from the work of the Resistance was a seen as windfall but SHAEF did not plan on it. The organisation of the Resistance was always confused. There was no overall plan. Also SS retaliation on local populations for any attacks on their forces was so severe that this limited scope. When the Resistance did some damage (for example to railways) there was not enough emphasis on repetition - quick repairs were often possible.

The German decision to counterattack the Resistance in the south rather than immediately move north to support the forces in Normandy was profoundly foolish. No other major battlefield formation was permitted to waste as much time upon the Resistance as the 2nd SS Panzer. Das Reich (SS 2nd Panzer) was certainly slowed in its eventual journey north.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed more German Perspective 4 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
This was originally published in 1981 via the Military Book Society. Judging by some of the typos in this version I suspect it is a scanned reprint with some obvious errors allowed to remain after scanning.

The book covers the activities of Allied forces and French resistance which delayed the ability of the division to approach and engaged the allied forces in Normandy. Whilst this information is good, it does not supply anything worthwhile from the German perspective be it personal or documentary which I consider to be an opportunity lost.

A good read but if you're looking for teh German perspective this book is a miss. For Allied and resistance activity against the movement of the division it is very good.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim and gripping 31 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book by one of Britain's foremost military historians. The author expressly states that he assumes the reader has a certain level of knowledge of Vichy, the Nazi empire and the SS and this enables him to concentrate on the events he describes rather than rehashing material available elsewhere. The title does scant justice to the scope of the book. While Das Reich itself is, of course, central to the narrative, the author deals in depth with the maquis and the other factions of the French Resistance, their politics, their bravery and their stupidity. His descriptions are not always flattering although he is always scrupulously objective. The SOE, the SAS and the OSS are similarly treated. The two seminal events, the massacres at Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane, are described and discussed at some length. The former may have had some slight justification; the latter - much the better known outside France - had none whatever. My blood ran cold when the the author quoted without comment a father's description of finding the partially charred body of one of his children in the smoking, burnt out church, and searching unsuccessfully for his other son among bullet-riddled prams and the bodies of at least twenty small children who had unsuccessfully sought safety behind the altar.

The paperback edition which I read suffers from sloppy proof-reading and irritating typographical errors: the surname of Major Kampfe (whose abduction was the catalyst for the events at Oradour) is rendered as "Kampie" in a couple of places, "farmers" is given as "fanners" and so on. It is this alone which stops me giving the book five stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of Hastings weaker works 10 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I won't go into the quality or accuracy of the research as it seems clear here that almost every participant has an agenda to follow and inevitably that makes untangling the actual events and motivations quite a difficult task. I was a little disappointed with this book overall though because I felt it firstly failed to put Das Reich into perspective - what had it been involved with pre-June 1944 - and moreover why was it so important to delay its march to Normandy. It seems overall that theoretically the Das Reich could have been in Normandy in 4-5 days(ish) but it took so much longer but the book only covers what seem to be fairly short lived and minor engagements by the French Resistance and Allied agents, most of which seemed to last a few hours and can't explain the overall delay. The book does cover SS atrocities and Resistance politics and activities but overall I felt the narrative wasn't strong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adventures of the Resistance 10 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The narrative of the Das Reich SS Panzer Division's journey from the south to the Normandy battlefields at once evokes admiration and revulsion. The bulk of the account focuses on the activities of various branches of the Resistance and Allied covert operations describing how they harrassed and delayed the movement of Das Reich. Hastings writes in a relatively non judgemental way, not allowing sentiment to get in the way of historical fact. The account of the ransacking of Oradour Sur Glane allows the reader to make their own judgements.
Overall, this account of one episode in World War II leaves you wanting to know more about the German Panzer Division, I felt. The exploits of the Resistance are amply covered. I read Hastings' 'All Hell Let Loose' before I read Das Reich, finding that a much more gripping and pacey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent insight into the activities of the Das Reich on their move to Normandy.
Published 1 day ago by Richard
3.0 out of 5 stars resist!
Disappointing journey through rural france, charting the french resistance and the english spies who helped them. Read more
Published 1 day ago by A. Unsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly amazing piece of history
Fascinating. If you know anything about the area of France covered by this book this will have you gripped. Read more
Published 12 days ago by MR ROBERT G BAUM
5.0 out of 5 stars ... WW2 RAF Bomber Command readings] this is a damn good read, but...
As with all books by MH [you really should try his WW2 RAF Bomber Command readings] this is a damn good read, but rather frightening at times. Read more
Published 18 days ago by John Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Well researched and wrtitten as all Hastings ...
Arrived promptly. Good book. Well researched and wrtitten as all Hastings books.
Published 26 days ago by Dennis
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended.
Not sure why I have waited 30plus years to read this book given that I have read all the authors other titles. As always it is the clarity of the writing that stands out. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Simon A. Raymond
3.0 out of 5 stars March to Normandy
The overall book could have been very interesting, however it turned into more a description of the Maquis and assocated political infighting than a description of the the overall... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. H. PRYDE
5.0 out of 5 stars As well as being an excellent narration of events in France in 1944
As well as being an excellent narration of events in France in 1944, this book also helped me glean some insight into the mentality of the German military personnel and the reasons... Read more
Published 1 month ago by R A Yates
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was very revealing adn I am ever so glad that I have read it
I have visited many places mentioned in this book, notable Oradour sur Glane, Tulle and many others. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joy Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Das Reich - a very knowlegable book
Good book with good service and with much information on this subject.
Published 1 month ago by L. J. Turner
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