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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II Hardcover – 30 Sep 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811701581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811701587
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This book follows the elite Panzer Lehr Division into the welter of battles from Normandy to the bitter end in the Ruhr pocket, focusing on the men who commanded the tanks, fired the rockets, and endured relentless aerial attacks - Military History Monthly Using a mixture of vivid narrative and veterans accounts, Franz Kurowski brilliantly describes the actions of this true elite. Pegasus Archive --Pegasus Archive --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Franz Kurowski served as a reporter in the German Army during World War II and has since written over one hundred books. He lives in Germany.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the special interest reader
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By Enquirer VINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a hotch-potch. It reads like it was thrown together in a hurry. It makes Charles Whiting's more 'cut and paste' books look like Anthony Beevor! Several personal accounts are strung together by stilted and adoring prose from an ex-Nazi war correspondent. Yes, you should not expect a balanced survey here. However, due to the lack of other sources in English you may still feel this is a worthwhile purchase. Combat descriptions from veterans are useful,exciting and interesting.

This is NOT a history of Panzer Lehr Armoured Division. It is really anecdotes about their time in Normandy and the Ardennes, with filler from all over the place. I suspect it is a direct reflection of its main source material - its commander's memoirs, which he has given permission to be extensively quoted. I suspect General Bayerlin was quite a good chap. He makes the Second World war seem like he was on the good side. His men fight hard, never retreat, act bravely, commit no atrocities. Ironically, I also suspect that it is all true! He (or maybe Kurowski) just manages to forget that they were the armed forces of the conquerors and oppressors of the nation they were fighting over. They are just 'there', not representing the jackboot, swastika, concentration camp, madness and mass-murder.

The 'real' issues do surface a few times though. A good place to see this is Page 35. The old chestnut of the one-armed officer being tied to the front of a 'Canadian' Vehicle is mentioned. In this version it's a tank not an armoured car. The alleged perpretators the 'Inns of Court', are wrongly identified as Canadian, when they were a British unit. Although this story has a low level of substantiation, it's inclusion is not my complaint.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting book told entirely from the German perspective. I felt that Franz Kurowski wrote this as an apologist for panzer Lehr with a lot of " panzer Lehr could have done this that or the other if only they had more men, tanks air support etc.... Well thats exactly what the allies did have and thats why they beat them ! I don't doubt that the men in this division fought bravely ( even though they shouldn't have been in France in the first place ) but Kurowski writes without balance constantly referring to the 'enemy' - perhaps in the english language version if this book it might have been better to say ' the allies'. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but believe me I am not anti- German , in fact I re-enact panzer Lehr , and yet Kurorowski's narrative managed to make me feel this way. Still worth reading however.
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Format: Hardcover
Very well described history of this elite panzer division
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid history of a German panzer unit in WWII 21 Jun. 2013
By Ilbob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this for free in the Kindle edition not long ago. It took awhile to finish reading it.

It is a more or less chronological account of the Panzer Lehr Division (PLD as the book calls it).

It is not a real long book, 2600+ locations, for whatever that means.

It starts out by talking about how the division was formed from the Panzer Lehr Regiment (PLR) and bits and pieces of other units and then its training to become a cohesive unit.

This is a translation (from German I would guess) so there are a few places where the wording is a little awkward. It uses a lot of abbreviations like PLD, which made sense, but it uses a lot of others to the point where there were enough abbreviations that I forgot what some of them stood for.

PLD was formed in 1943 in France and trained up in time to be used after the Normandy invasion. It was in almost continuous combat from that point until Germany collapsed. PLD pretty much ceased to exist along the way as it was all but destroyed in the collapse of Germany. At the end, all that was left was a shadow of its former self.

It follows the units fighting after the Normandy invasion. Mainly an almost continual retreat and brutal beating by Allied air power, with occasional periods of relief due to bad weather.

The author's admiration and respect for the PLD and its men and officers is apparent throughout the book. Sometimes we forget that the grunts on the other side of the trench were not a whole lot different than our grunts. Just guys in a big war trying to stay alive and help their comrades stay alive as well.

An interesting perspective from the other side of the war.

The back cover says it is a Stackpole book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read 28 Oct. 2012
By Jetpack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At 2,678 locations, this is a pretty quick read about the battles of the Panzer Lehr division. Fritz Bayerlein is an interesting fellow - his first hand stories really serve to show just how bad the Germans had it once the Allied fighter-bombers showed up. 10% vehicle losses before ever getting into land combat is remarkable.

The story about the German solider who takes a machine-gun bullet in the chest takes you right in that foxhole.

Picked up the Kindle version when it was free. No issue with the ability to read it for my copy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 25 April 2014
By A. M. Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best part of the volume are the first hand accounts of the soldiers themselves. Although information on the battle for Bastogne is illuminating, especially Fritz Bayerlein's fateful choice of road networks, the most enjoyable section was regarding the Normandy campaign. Buy this book!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The PLD in Western Europe in 1944-45 21 Jan. 2012
By Dave Schranck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is typical Kurowski. Its an interesting blend of battle history and first hand accounts. The predominate coverage is within the division and the actions that they made or were made against them but you'll also get a glimpse of what the war was like in the immediate vicinity as well. You'll get to see how the PLD contributed to the surrounding front line. After a brief introduction covering the division's prehistory, activation and brief stint in Eastern Europe, the main theme begins with the division being in Normandy in June 1944. The PLD was used at times as a "fire brigade" and was moved around a bit. Its first action was to stop the British west of Caen in and around the Tilly area. In July the division was moved west to near the St Lo - Vire area to stop the Americans during Operation Cobra where they suffered heavy casualties. After being reorganized they find themselves as part of the Ardennes Offensive with special attention to the siege of Bastogne. After the failed attempt in the Ardennes, the Germans including the PLD make a fighting retreat behind the West Wall, the Rhine River and finally to the Ruhr area. The two biggest areas covered were the fighting at Tilly and at Bastogne.

Along the way, the author includes many first hand accounts of the soldiers of the division: some serious and grave and others more lighthearted.
If you have read the author before then you'll have a good idea of what to expect. Some of the author's earlier books weren't as consistently interesting, having slow passages to contend with. This book didn't have those slow areas; it won't be unusual to finish this book in one sitting.
It had a few hand drawn maps and a few good photos. It also has an appendix covering a few of the officers and a list Knight's Cross recipients, a battle legend, an OB among other things. There is a decent Bibliography but a Notes Section and Index are missing.

I enjoyed the book and think others will too. I gave it four stars because the coverage is good but not in-depth. You'll read what it was like for the men and tankers of the division living their day to day lives. You'll see their difficulty of going up against a superior Allied force that had an air force that was too much to handle. It was a time when the Wehrmacht was sharply on the decline and you see that too but continued to fight valiantly. The tactical coverage is brief in this brief overview. There is another book by Dr Steindardt called "Panzer Lehr Division 1944-45" that while is not as interesting to read as the reviewed book, has much more tactical detail on General Bayerlein and his division. It also has better maps and additional photos to study. Between these two books you'll have a much better idea of the hard fighting abilities of the PLD and its commander in the last year of war.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book in my opinion 24 April 2015
By S. H. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really good book in my opinion. There are first hand accounts mixed in with straight non-fiction reporting and some of them are very vivid and make you think about looking up their name to find their own book. It answered a few of my questioned I had about the PLD going into this book so I am satisfied with it. The photo section isn't that great but there are some good ones. A couple more encounter specific maps would have been nice but other than that I am very happy.
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