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The Devil's General: The Life of Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz - the "Panzer Graf" [Kindle Edition]

Raymond Bagdonas
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is the story of the most highly decorated German regimental commander of World War II, known as the “Panzer Graf” (Armored Count). An aristocratic Silesian, whose ancestors had faced the Mongols at Leipzig, Strachwitz first won the Iron Cross in the Great War. After fighting with the Freikorps and in between the wars, he was serving with the 1st Panzer Division when the Polish campaign inaugurated World War II.

Leading from the front, his exploits as commander of a panzer battalion earned him further decorations during the French campaign. Transferred to the newly formed 16th Panzer Division, he participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and then Operation Barbarossa where he earned the Knight’s Cross. The following year, during the advance on Stalingrad, he won the Oak Leaves for destroying 270 Soviet tanks at Kalach. Now commander of a regiment, he reached the Volga and fought ferociously on the northern rim of Sixth Army’s perimeter. Severely wounded during the battles, he was flown out of the Stalingrad pocket and was thus spared the fate of the rest of Sixth Army.

Upon recuperation, he was named commander of the Grossdeutschland Division’s panzer regiment, and won the Swords to the Knight’s Cross during Manstein’s counteroffensive at Kharkov. After fighting through Kursk and the ensuing defensive battles, he was transferred the next year to Army Group North where he won the Diamonds to the Knight’s Cross at Narva.

For the rest of the war, sandwiched around a stay in hospital, he commanded
ad hoc battlegroups, and pioneered the formation of “tank hunter brigades,” consisting of deep-penetration infantry armed with panzerfausts and other demolitions who would ambush Soviet tanks. Wounded 12 times during the war, and barely surviving a lethal car crash, he was finally able to surrender to the Americans in May 1945.

Australian author/researcher Raymond Bagdonas, though impaired by the disappearance of 16th Panzer Division’s official records at Stalingrad, and the fact that many of the Panzer Graf’s later battlegroups never kept them, has nevertheless written an intensely detailed account of this combat leader’s life, as well as ferocious armored warfare in World War II.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 21530 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate (19 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HQ253DO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #374,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to reading this book but was very disappointed after the first few chapters. The book is very much a rehash of secondary sources and provides a basic overview of German history from the first world war. I found it boring except for the brief sections where the author discusses his subject even that tends to be anecdotal and limited in scope. Most of Strachwitz's contemporary generals are ranked according to which level of the award of the Knights Cross they received. No. I thought it was a very disappointing book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what you expect or probably want 29 May 2015
This is a very poor book. Primarily because there is not enough information to write it. Vast swathes of the book is given over to repeating second hand sources about the German Army in the Eastern Theater without any reference to the General himself. This is compounded because it is not very clear. Campaign histories need vast quantities of maps to truly understand them, we get none. So understanding the tactical situation is very difficult.

The worst and most grievous offence is perhaps the very worst a historian can do. The author just makes stuff up. We here constantly the General "would have done this", he "would not have known this" yet there is no actual information to support these conclusions except that the historian thinks he understands his subject without ever having met the man. This is criminal scholarship, you cannot jus make stuff up.

The subject of this book is an extraordinary man, unfortunately this book tells you very little of the man himself.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The usual story about the outstanding cereer of a professional career officer a true to his type Junker soldier of a Junker soldier family the archetypal bloue blooded Prussian aristocracy Warfare was their speciality their trade their calling their religion and Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz was a leading example of his ...Teutonic genre. It's not surprising that after The Second World War was over the school he attended was swiftly closed down for good. After all that was said and done it had produced a spectacular line a multiplicity of examples of a class of professional soldiers who had been highly visible in European Conflict History over the last 700 years.

He lead from the front and his men followed him and did what he told them to do and his opponents were invariably outclassed by his tactical skills and his ability to take advantage of the slightest miscalculation because of his rebellious outlook he was not trusted by the Nazi Leadership who valued his military expertise yet they feared his forthright independence of thought.

Hyazinth Greaf Strachwitz was never promoted to the level of his military competence his command was deliberately starved of the kind of military strength which would change the course of the war where he was involved. He was turned into a front line fireman who put out the russian conflagrations until the number of conflagrations he was faced with overwhelmed both him and his loyal men. He was not The Devils General he would most likely have been Hitlers Executioner if he had the chance, his loyalty was to his people and his Country and that to him was everything....
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would have loved more 20 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From reading the book here was a great battlefield commander. The book does what it can but as it is written without the subjects help it contains gaps. However well worth the read and sometimes you have to settle for what you have got.
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