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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II Hardcover – 19 Apr 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (19 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184884803X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848848030
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 855,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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, including Panzer Aces, Panzer Aces II, and Luftwaffe Aces. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Normandy to Ardennes 8 Dec. 2011
By Matthew Stirling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Elite Panzer Strike Force; Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II, by Franz Kurowski describes the actions of the PLD from its origins to its final combat. Specifically, Normandy, the Ardennes, and several minor conflicts are covered. There are some first hand accounts and reports included to give fact to the writing. What is uncommon is that this book covers the war from the German point of view.
The Battle of Normandy dominates most of the book. From the build up of the PLD to its role in slowing the Allied advance that other forces may have time to regroup and fall back. Generalleutnant Friz Bayerlein is the person of import, in this conflict. Many of the accounts of historical record are his admittance. He led the Panzer Lehr Division from Normandy to the Ardennes and beyond. Described is also the role of Allied air power and the effect it had on German forces.
After discussing the retreat of German forces from the Atlantic Wall, the Ardennes is brought into play. Once again, there are detailed reports and meetings discussed here. Again, the book covers the build up of German forces in anticipation of the counter attack. The Panzer Lehr Division is followed from the build up to the operation's stall. And, the slow retreat of the Germany army afterwards.
Several indices are included at the end of the book. These include "rank comparisons", awards given, "division manning charts and rosters", "engagements and battles of the Panzer-Lehr-Division" and "Panzer-Lehr-Division order of battle". This book is a real page-turner and I would recommend it for any military enthusiast.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panzer Lehr Elite Strike Force 1 Nov. 2011
By WWII nut - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent blend of official combat reports from General Bayerlin and
firsthand accounts from the men who
served on the front lines. Some good pictures but grainy.Good read but it's
not for the picture collector.
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but Concise Account of the Panzer Lehr Div. 5 Jan. 2013
By Aussie Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Prolific German author, Franz Kurowski, has provided the reader with a concise combat history of Germany's elite panzer strike force of WW2; the Panzer Lehr Division. With the use of Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein's manuscript covering the combat operations of the Panzer Lehr Division and access to the division's veterans association the reader can follow the formation and combat debut of this German unit that was initially made up of various units of training and demonstration troops.

Most of the book covers it's role in attempting to stem the allied invasion at Normandy. The unit was part of the Wehrmacht strategic armored reserve and was held back from the fighting during the crucial first days but then released into the British sector, fighting around Tilly and Caen before being switched over to the American sector near Saint Lo. The Panzer Lehr was nearly annihalted during the fighting to contain the allies in Normandy and was later removed and reconstructed in time to be part of Operation Wacht am Rhein.

We follow the unit through the Battle of the Bulge till the end of the war. The author provides numerous first-hand accounts throughout the book to give the reader an idea of what the German soldier endured during the fighting throughout France and into the Reich. What comes across in many of these accounts is the combat effectiveness of Allied fighter-bombers during the Normandy campaign. Apparently Fritz Bayerlein lost five drivers within one month of the D-Day landings due to allied fighter-bombers. Overall a short and sharp account but well worth reading.
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.
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