- 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)
Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II Hardcover – 30 Sep 2011
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
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.
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.
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.