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