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The Devils General [Hardcover]

Raymond Bagdonas
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: £21.99
Price: £17.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Oct 2013
A fantastically detailed account of the life of the most highly decorated German regimental commander of World War II. 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 Knights 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 Armys 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 Divisions panzer regiment, and won the Swords to the Knights Cross during Mansteins 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 Knights 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 Divisions official records at Stalingrad, and the fact that many of the Panzer Grafs later battlegroups never kept them, has nevertheless written an intensely detailed account of this combat leaders life, as well as ferocious armored warfare in World War II.

Frequently Bought Together

The Devils General + Panzer Leader: Memoirs of an Armoured Car Commander, 1944 - 1945 + Für Volk and Führer. The Memoir of a Veteran of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
Price For All Three: £53.58

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate (31 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612002226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612002224
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars he was the devil 15 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
gave it five stars for the information about this General it just showed how one man could scare the pants of a mighty army even at the later stages of the war
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Insufficient Research, Limited Editing, and Incomplete Proofreading 2 Feb 2014
By History Reader - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I waited for this book to be published, and when it arrived, I was disappointed with the end result. I did not find the finished book to be complete.

The story of Graf Strachwitz seems to be a challenge to research, as there is a lack of original material, but that does not justify the following issues with this book:

1. Assorted unsupported assertions by the author. For example, the author writes repeatedly that Admiral Canaris was treasonous. I don't care to argue that point, but what does that have to do with the Graf Strachwitz biography? There was no interaction between the two men. This and other examples are evidence to me of the insufficient amount of editing of this book.

2. There are assorted appendices to this book of limited value - information that could easily be sourced on the Internet, or of marginal value to the Graf Stachwitz biography. For example, There a long section on the history of the iron cross, and a long list of honorable German officers. Not sure what value these appendices add to the Graf Strachwitz biography.

3. There are long general passages on the battles of the eastern front that don't seem to have anything to do with Graf Strachwitz.

4. Some of the appendices have spacing issues indicative of insufficient proofreading.

All in all, I am interested in the subject matter, but feel this effort could have benefitted from more research, access to more first-hand materials, better editing to focus the material on the central subject, and more proofreading.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the Lesser Known Panzer Generals of WWII 5 Feb 2014
By Ron Titus - Published on
If you go looking online, you can find tidbits of Hyazinth von Strachwitz's life and career, but not much, so the military history readers will find The Devil's General a treat. Raymond Bagdonas provides a life story, not just a World War II tale. He brings out what details he can uncover of Graf von Strachwitz background and education, early military career, First World War experiences, and the interwar years before concentrating on his Second World War service and finishing with his life after the war.

Raymond Bagdonas does a credible job of documenting sources when he finds them available. But as he admits in the introduction, some things are unknowable since Graf von Strachwitz did not keep a diary that survived, write a memoir or give many interviews after . This lack of evidence leads to Bagdonas speculating without confirming evidence on why von Strachwitz joined the Nazi Party in the 1932. He can only argue on what he thinks is the likeliest explanation. He runs into the same problem in regard to von Strachwitz's joining the plot to overthrow Hitler, lack of documentation.

Overall, the reader of military history, especially those interested in the Eastern Front in the Second World War will appreciate The Devil's General.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for students 8 Feb 2014
By Ramin Ahaus - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviewers. It's like getting a new cell phone loaded with bloatware. Once I read through a few chapters, I got confused about who this book was about. A good portion of every chapter has nothing to do with the Graff.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A German eastern story and a great soldier 29 Jan 2014
By FlagstaffGuy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The focus of this story was obviously a great soldier and a great leader of men. However, after the war he did not write up his story and his official story is not well documented. Therefore, the author of this book has to build a life from the overall war reports and other sources; this leads to a lot of pages about the general action on the eastern front and guess work on where and when
Strachwitz was and what he was doing. I did not find that satisfactory.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Account of a Highly Decorated Soldier on the Eastern Front 16 April 2014
By Der Mensch - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Let me say I disagree with the negative reviews of this book. I found it to be very well 'put-together' and considering the difficulties associated with research material, it is very insightful. Maybe if the book was written 30 years ago there would be more first-hand and details accounts of the Panzer Graf's exploits. Especially the huge number of tanks he and his crew destroyed.

To me, books about German soldier fighting on the Eastern Front during WW2 build on each other, each kind of filling-in holes of other books. In this sense this book is very valuable because it brings perspective and experiences not available in other books. Like Strachwitz's rapid advance to the Volga and his continuous exploits behind enemy lines.

A point about the author style I appreciate is his corrections of Russian lies and propaganda such as the falsity that Red Army won the Battle of Prokhorovka. All-in-all, the author's treatment of German and Soviet events is pretty balanced.

If you like reading about the battles on the Eastern Front during WW2, this is an essential book for you.
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