on 17 April 2012
This review is from: Combat History of the 23rd Panzer Division in World War II, The (Paperback)
The 23rd PzD was activated in October 1941 in France and had to use a mixture of hand me downs. It ended the war in May 1945 in Austria. It may not be as famous as some of the other divisions of the Wehrmacht but none the less had a busy, distinguished career and was involved in some of the toughest battles of the war. To name just a few would be the several battles for Kharkov, the drive into the Caucasus, the relief attempt of 6th Army at Stalingrad and the subsequent pullback, Mius River Defense in mid 1943, Krivoi Rog, Jassy, the Sandomierz bridgehead and so much more.
Mr Rebentisch presents a nice blend of coverage of the officers and key men of the 23rd along with a very commendable battle history of the division, including its smaller secondary units as well as describing some of the other German units fighting alongside itself. The author shows the highs of the division as well as its lows, the spectrum covers from the logistical problems and insufficient equipment to the victories against superior forces. There is not a lot of specific coverage of the enemy. With the 23rd PzD fighting in so many different engagements and sectors, you will also get to see a pretty good overview of the war.
In addition to the relevant storyline is a nice photo gallery that takes up over 200 pages of the book. Since the book is large, most of the photos are large and covers the officers and their men, battlefield scenes, times between battles, the towns and cities fought for and a few photos of Russian civilians of those towns.
In addition to the photos are 104 mostly hand drawn but effective maps, that display the tactical situation of each campaign. Most campaigns show two or three maps each. The maps are either full page or half page. A number of full page color illustrations of tanks used are also included. A large Appendix closes out the book. It includes battle statistics and a battle history summary of the division assignments which was quite helpful. There are a few notes scattered throughout the book, a Bibliography but no Index.
I believe this book was well researched with the author using primary sources like war diaries at the Korp, Division as well as personal level. You'll get to learn about a capable panzer division, its battle activity and the war around it.
This book is a reprint. It was originally publish in 2009 by J J Fedorowicz under the title of "To the Caucasus and the Austrian Alps".
on 1 March 2013
Book bought on strength of previous reviewers and comments left: as their comments go into some detail there is no point in going over them as I concur with all.
Let me put it this way: I thought I had ordered a pile of bricks when the postman put the parcel into my hands it was SO heavy!
How on earth have Amazon managed to get this mighty magisterial work on the market for slightly over 12 quid is beyond me. It is astonishing value for money and an utter delight for all those military types such as myself who love to go over photographs with a magnifying glass ( and yeah, I do need to get out more).
This book is so good, if seen at a militaria fare or a table at Bisley for sale with a price tag of £60, you wouldn't bat an eyelid.
I have often angrily baulked at certain "specialist" books, wafer thin, with eye-watering price tags, this work is proof that large detailed divisional histories can be made available to the armour buff for decent money.
All those brilliant photos and not 1% of which I have seen before!
Buy this book now before print run ends because it'll be a long while before we get this good value again; delighted!!!
on 24 January 2014
Previous reviewers have highly rated this excellent volume, and I agree.
No serious student of WW2 would want to miss it, both for superb quality of the material and great value for money. It's only recently that I have bought what I would previously have dismissed as "coffee table" books but this, and several others bought, are changing my view. I'm still more of a reader of text than a looker at photo's generally speaking, but there's room for both I'm finding as this has both textual account and pictures interspersed in the history of the 23. PzDiv.
Books of this high calibre add a hugh amount to campaign and battlefield narrative.
on 13 April 2012
Only a part review as it only arrived today but I'm staggered by this book. The sheer weight of it is unreal, 500+ pages packed with photographs and the maps! I hate books with poor maps, this one has so many and of great detail. I have had a quick scan but the first impression is that this book represents fabulous value. I will update when I have completed reading it.
on 17 May 2013
From a first inspection, this book looks thorough and is appropriate to its title. It does deal with the war in the East, rather than Normandy, but does contain useful detail on the formation, procedures etc.