6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: It Never Snows in September: The German View of Market-Garden and the Battle of Arnhem September 1944: (Paperback)
Very well researched and written, 'It Never Snows...' gives a fair judgement on Market Garden from the German side. It balances honest personal accounts from ordinary soldiers up to the top brass with comprehensive unit histories and places these in an easy to follow narrative. The operation's importance and objectives in the light of the hard-won Normandy campaign in addition to the Allied underestimation of the German abilities despite their losses in France leaves a bad taste - a lot was lost (from the Allied perspective) as a result of the appalling arrogance of planners and high command.
I was surprised by several interesting facts, including the consternation of some British paras at just how few Germans were combating them at times. Also, the idea that only Soviets and Germans maltreated prisoners is categorically debunked - Americans and Poles (in particular) tortured and killed prisoners and, out of convenience, wounded enemy soldiers were dispatched out of hand - by the US 82nd Airborne the Nijmegen bridge for example. That this is mentioned at all in this history is at odds with the idea that this campaign is remembered as an 'honorable' one in which even Waffen SS units respected the rule of law.
Also, though some of the German units in the Arnhem area turned out to be elite, most were second line, very young or inexperienced troops in action for the first time, with officers varying in quality from brazenly gung-ho but courageous to utterly inept. Nonetheless, the book strives to bring home the quality of German tactical adaptability in the face of looming defeat.
There are chinks of humanity showing too, notably mentions of prisoner exchange and truces for the collection of the wounded and dead and, in general, the Brits come out reasonably well, with German units quickly recognizing these are the fairest foe and treating them accordingly.
All in all a great read, well paced and with enough meat on the bone detail to reward both the casual history or military student or someone looking to dig deeper.
Very highly recommended.