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Fighting the Invasion: The German Army at D-Day [Hardcover]

Guenther Blumentritt , Wilhelm Keitel , Alfred Jol , Walter Warlimont , Freiherr von Luettwitz , et al , David Isby
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; First Edition edition (30 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853674273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853674273
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,049,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable source - but use with care 19 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This volume seeks to show, from the viewpoint of the German Army, one of the most decisive events of the Second World War: the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 6 June, 1944 and the events leading up to it and those flowing from it. It consists of parts of the military studies written for the US Army by senior (lt. colonel and above) German Army officers post-war and have been used as source material in all subsequent writing on Normandy. They represent, together; the most detailed German account of the fighting.
As has often been pointed out, these documents all have to be used with caution. The earlier ones were done when the authors were prisoners of war, the later ones when they were paid employees of the US Army. Most of them - especially the earlier reports -- were done largely without reference to war diaries, war maps or official papers. While written by participants - many of whom never wrote their memoirs or other accounts in any language - while their memories were still fresh, their immediacy is not matched by attention to detail - dates and places are sometimes wrong or inconsistent - or their impartiality.
In some cases, the threat of prosecution for war crimes obviously influenced the writing. Some ended up doing hard time or the high jump. Blumentritt's admiration of his boss, Field Marshal von Rundstedt, was doubtlessly genuine. But it comes across as "my boss was a wonderful old gentlemen, a natural aristocrat, and ignorant of any atrocities. I can say this because I burned all the incriminating evidence myself".
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful German Army source - but must be used with care 19 Nov 2000
By Anne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This volume seeks to show, from the viewpoint of the German Army, one of the most decisive events of the Second World War: the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 6 June, 1944 and the events leading up to it and those flowing from it. It consists of parts of the military studies written for the US Army by senior (lt. colonel and above) German Army officers post-war and have been used as source material in all subsequent writing on Normandy. They represent, together; the most detailed German account of the fighting.
As has often been pointed out, these documents all have to be used with caution. The earlier ones were done when the authors were prisoners of war, the later ones when they were paid employees of the US Army. Most of them - especially the earlier reports -- were done largely without reference to war diaries, war maps or official papers. While written by participants - many of whom never wrote their memoirs or other accounts in any language - while their memories were still fresh, their immediacy is not matched by attention to detail - dates and places are sometimes wrong or inconsistent - or their impartiality.
In some cases, the threat of prosecution for war crimes obviously influenced the writing. Some ended up doing hard time or the high jump. Blumentritt's admiration of his boss, Field Marshal von Rundstedt, was doubtlessly genuine. But it comes across as "my boss was a wonderful old gentlemen, a natural aristocrat, and ignorant of any atrocities. I can say this because I burned all the incriminating evidence myself". The authors also do not spend much ink on introspection and self-revelation, but self-justification and pointing the finger at others is always in order when former generals are let near a typewriter, as the recent round of Gulf War memoirs show.
A Rashomon-like quality pervades, with the same events being described by multiple writers while - even more frustrating - more significant events are ignored. The quality of the writing and the translation varies greatly.
This book certainly does not tell the complete German side of D-Day. But the documents included in this volume remain a valid part of that picture.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful collection of important historical documents 1 Nov 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is actually a collection of documents written by captured German officers (most of whom were General officers)at the end of WWII, mostly in 1946 and 1947. The majority of these documents were produced by the US Army Historical Section and have never been published in full before. While most historians writing on the war in Western Europe have used them as major sources, general access to them is quite difficult. I have managed to obtain copies of some by interlibrary loan, but many are unavailable.
Almost every author complains of the fact that they were being compelled to write these reports by their American captors under "appalling conditions" and without access to their war diaries, other documents and fellow soldiers. Conditions notwithstanding, they were forced to write almost completely from memory so many of the details of most if not all of the reports are questionable.
Nonetheless, these documents are an important historical source and I am glad that some of them have finally been published in their entirety.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good book, could be better with a little help 14 Dec 2001
By erin mcatee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book. A compilation of memoirs and first hand accounts from German Soldiers who were there. It doesn't get any better than that. In the second half of the book maps are widely used and incredibly helpful. However in the beginning of the book there are no maps. This portion of the book was dealing with where the German commanders believed the invasion would come. It would have been very helpful to have a map showing where each officer believed the invasion would come and where it actually did. I am interested to know how close their estimates were.
Not to mention that some of these little French villages are a bit obscure, and a map would be helpful. Don't get me wrong the second half of the book has a lot of maps and is a pleasure to read. A very good addition to any library concerning tactical defense of the Normandy Coast in WW II.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different perspective, worth a read for the serious 30 Aug 2004
By Mannie Liscum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fighting the Invasion: The German Army at D-Day is an interesting collection of writings and recollections of the German leaders involved in defending Fortress Europe against the Allied invasion. Aptly edited by David C. Isby, Fighting the Invasion provides a unique pespective on a famous subject. All interested in WWII and the Allied Invasion of western Europe in particular should pick up this book and add it too their repetoire (especially at the paperbook cost!). Readers should however take care to note that many of the events written about come from post-V-Day interogations of leading Wermacht players who may have tinged their memories for fear of recrimination and prosecution (this was the post-war period of war crimes trials). Also some of the authors seem to be painting a picture of D-Day events that are fantastic at best, lies at worse. The chapter by von der Heydte on the actions of the 6th FSR is a prime example - on reading this chapter any knowing nothing of the D-Day events would think the Germans had evrything under control and were driving the Allies back to sea. Yet, in some chapters important insights are given. For example, the chapter on the 352nd Division who played such a large part in the defense of Omaha, contains a telephone log (reproduced in entirely) from 0100 of the 6th of June 1944 to the edn of that first day. While it is clear that confusion existed, a quite obvious and realistic picture (if in hindsight) plays out of how badly things were going as the Allies gained a firm foothold on the continent.

Fighting the Invasion is worthy of a read by anyone serious about WWII history - solid 4 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A collection of official German documents that present the other side at D-Day 2 Mar 2009
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book provides a collection of translated German documents that provide very interesting perspective from the German side on a wide variety of important topics (i.e., German disposition of troops, condition of troops, anti-landing strategies, etc.). The problem is that the author really does not provide much, if any, commentary regarding these documents. He presents them in a "raw" format. This is good for historical buffs and experts but not very useful for those without such backgrounds. Author's Comments on weaknesses and strengths of anti-landing strategies or troop disposition would have provided very useful perspective to those who are not historical experts on the field.

Hence, in short, this book is excellent (4 or 5 star) for those who are experts on the topic but of only limited value (3 star) for those who are not.
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