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Panzers on the Eastern Front: General Erhard Raus and His Panzer Divisions in Russia 1941-1945 (World War II German Debriefs) [Paperback]

Peter Tsouras
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jun 2011 World War II German Debriefs
General Erhard Raus was one of the German Army's finest panzer generals and a leading exponent of blitzkrieg in the east. German panzers were witnesses to the incredible onslaught that was the first few months of Barbarossa, then the gradual strengthening of Russian resistance, counterattack and, ultimately, the long and drawn-out German retreat. Raus and his panzers were tested in every conceivable tactical situation and, inevitably, Raus became highly versed in all aspects of mobilised warfare. This account by Erhard Raus, edited by leading Eastern Front expert Peter G. Tsouras, concentrates on German efforts to relieve Stalingrad. Raus, as commander of 6th Panzer Division, was in the thick of this bitter action, urging his panzers forward in a massive effort to break the Soviet strangle-hold. These journals were orginally written to brief the US Army at the height of the Cold War.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books; Reprint edition (16 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184832619X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848326194
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 789,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'General Raus was clearly one of the more outstanding German Army commanders in World War Two . . . valuable . . . is obviously writing from personal experience and his accounts have a consequent immediacy which makes for an exciting story . . . the last chapter of the book is of particular interest, because it includes a detailed, and mostly verbatim, record of very frank discussions between Raus and Himmler, then Raus's army group commander, about the conduct of operations on the Eastern front. Himmler seems remarkably receptive to Raus's concerns and, following these discussions, arranged for Raus to brief Hitler on the Pomeranian battle in person, from which followed the former's dismissal referred to earlier . . . Peter Tsouras has put together a book which gives us an illuminating picture of what fighting against the Soviet Army of World War Two must have been like, both at unit and formation level.' --Bill Woodhouse in Tank: The Journal of the Royal Tank Regiment

It is a gem of a book for serious students of the war, providing many insights on tactics, psychology and military lessons. As the good introduction by Peter Tsouras outlines, Raus is one of the great unsung commanders of the 20th century. --Military Illustrated

'Editor Peter Tsouras has collected in this book a number of Raus' previously unpublished reports covering several campaigns, from the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union to Stalingrad and the defence of Pomerania in 1945. These reports offer thoughtful and detailed tactical views of selected tank battles in the East. Enhancing Raus' texts are a selection of rare photos and drawings of Eastern Front combat and tactical maps' --Military Trader --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter G. Tsouras was a senior analyst at the US Army National Ground Intelligence Center. His other books include The Great Patriotic War, Gettysburg and (as editor) Fighting in Hell and Anvil of War. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Panzers on the Eastern Front 24 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with the book because I assumed from the Main Title that it was about Panzers on the Eastern Front, In fact the under-heading stated it was about General Erhard Raus and his Panzers. I had wanted a more general view not the specific one . However the book is well written and there are clear diagrams which explain the series of actions described. In the end I felt it was a like a publicity blurb for the General's Units who obviously fought well and bravely, but normally had superior equipment. . The Russian ordinary soldiers were the heroes, especially considering the callous way their Generals threw them into battle and seemed care nothing for their welfare or losses.
Overall an interesting book, but not the one I really wanted
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4.0 out of 5 stars Panzers on the eastern front:General erhard 7 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting view of the situation on eastern and western front s also brings to the fore how detatched hitler was from the realities of his disastrous commands which doomed thousands of men to horrific deaths.The german forces were without doubt superior to the Russian forces but in a war of attrition could never win erhard raus s war record is awesome and for him to be shelved by a broken hitler tells all,great read for enthusiasts of the eastern front .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raus-an unknown tactical genius 9 Feb 2003
By john m price, md - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book was an excellant example of german battle tactics on the eastern front. It probably is too dry for the casual reader of military history, but for someone wanting to delve into more detailed discussion of ostfront german tactics, this book can be very enlightening. It basically is derived from interviews with General Raus by U.S. officers post WW 2. His discussion of highly fluid actions and his ability to win them is of great interest to the avid military reader and should be to officers in our U.S. armored forces. General Raus' name is obscure to western historians, but was well known to OKW as someone to get you out of a tough situation. "Raus will pull us through!"
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating overview of "operations and tactics" on the Eastern Front 16 May 2006
By K. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an extremely useful text that discusses in detail the tactical and operational aspects of the German battles on the eastern front. The weaknesses are (a) poor maps (get your own map of European Russia circa 194X) and (b) choppy organization caused by assembling the manuscript from many memos and a draft of Raus' autobiography. Even with faults this is a true "must read".
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary book in any military library. 18 Jan 2006
By Boogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found it a very interesting read to say the least. The never-ending myth of German technical superiority is indirectly proven absolutely false. Raus recounts the advances to Leningrad as a succession of bridgehead operations, and the joys of facing KV1s with wave infantry attacks. An interesting aspect of the book is the drastic effect deep winter weather had on both protagonists. The way Raus and his officers handled it passively and actively is quite an eye-opener to creating opportunities from what could be seen as a drastic deficit. It is the German command and control that produces the victories in the book, as well as simple concentric axis of advance. If the German armies were truly left to the professionals in WW2, history in Europe might well have turned out quite different.

I must admit a weakness in the book is the fact that Raus never once confesses to being beaten by the Russians. His retreats, such as at Stalingrad, seem to be someone else's problem rather than his high casualities calling the end to an operation. You get the feeling that he would keep attacking with his shattered troops due to some ubermench powers his troops seemed to possess. The fact his logistic support was pretty ordinary doesn't seem to rate a mention with him, but one wonders if a lot of what he wrote is caught up in the emotion of the battles without an exceptional grasp of the global geo-politics in play while these battles played out. To draw on a story I read about; at the Vietnam Geneva peace talks a US general turned to Giap and stated, "You know what? You never beat us in any battle we fought. We won them all." Giap turned to him and stated, "This is irrelevant here."

Overall, a very educational text for genuine insights into WW2 German operations in very trying circumstances.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The battle tactics of a leading German General 8 Mar 2011
By Dave Schranck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Col Raus, a staff officer of many years, began Barbarossa with his first notable field command within the 6th PzD of AGN. By the time AGN had penetrated the Baltics and was heading for Leningrad, Raus had received two decorations and a promotion. He quickly proved to be a wily tactician and an able leader that gained the confidence and respect of his troops. Before his forced retirement in March 1945 from an irrational Hitler, he would command at divisional, corps, and army level of some of the most important battles of the war.

This is a competent and interesting but not an exhaustive study of the man and the immediate battles that confronted him during WWII.
The book, which was predominately sourced from writings of Raus after the war, begins with a brief history of his career and a general overview of his engagements before expanding his battles.There are 23 engagements the author describes as well as analysis of each battle. Both the description and analysis, though concise, was good and helpful.

Perhaps reading about the assaults of an Army Group like you read in a David Glantz book (Barbarossa, Typhoon, Stalingrad, Kursk, Leningrad) is more impressive, but you will still learn interesting aspects of Raus and these micro battles that you won't find in the macro books.

Included with the narrative are twenty black and white maps. I thought these maps were good and helped the reader follow the battle action. Several maps also helped in following the battle action in those macro books when its map was blurred or darkened. While there were no photos, there were twenty action drawings that were interesting; you may like them also.

The book also has footnotes, an impressive reading list of secondary authors and an index.
Also included was a very useful Appendix that included the divisional history of 6th PzD and Order of Battle and the organizational structure of the relief attempt of Stalingrad. There was also a description of the historical program of the war sponored by the US Army that Raus and other noted Germans participated in.

If you liked this book but want more there are two other books you could study. The first book is similar in nature, covering General Raus but has other coverage and is written by Steven Newton. Its called "Panzer Operations". These two books are mutually supplemental and together give a fuller picture of General Raus and his battle history. The other book is also by Mr Tsouras and is called "Fighting in Hell" and includes battle tactics of Raus and other Germans as well.

If you are interested in General Raus or in battlefield tactics, this book and the other two books mentioned are highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panzers on the Eastern Front 20 Jun 2013
By Andrew Barlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the books which in my view is essential reading to obtain a balanced view of what actually happened on the Eastern Front. It gives one a reasonable insight into the methods of the Germans and the Soviets, the fighting qualities of the common soldiers and the officers and the very important factor of the difference in the very top leadership of both, with Hitler clearly being a very incapable leader.
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