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TWELVE YEARS WITH HITLER: A History of I.Kompanie Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler 1933-1945 (Schiffer Military History Book) Hardcover – 10 Sep 2004
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It began life as the original cadre for the later Waffen SS in March 1933,where the first 117 volunteers formed as the SS Headquarters Guard Berlin.
From this group of men emerged more than fifty senior SS officers, men such as Martin Gross and Teddy Wisch, all who went on to win High decorations for Bravery.
Eleven men from the 1st company of 117 originals, went on to win the Knights Cross, it also contained nearly 40 members who were awarded the German Cross in gold for bravery.
It was the showpiece of the SS during peacetime when it took part as an honour formation for the most important functions of the Third Reich.
It is one of the few books in english that gives a rare insight into the daily taskings and life of an SS unit in peacetime.
The book broken up into small sections allows us to examine such things as the Saar reincorporation into the reich, Berlin Olympic games, and other major Third Reich events.
It deals at length, with input from surviving veterans, the swearing in and training of new SS recruits, and life in general in the company.
It also deals in each seperate chapter its wartime activites in Poland,Holland, france, Balkans,Normandy and of course Russia. What makes these chapters interesting is the recollection of the veterans who give us their personal views on some part of the fighting or what happened to them during the battles.
What is impressive is a large photo section at the rear of the book, many of the photos I have not seen before and deal with the 1st company in peacetime, on parade at the Reich Chancellery, the Berchtesgaden and barracks life.The rest of the photos depict the men in combat all printed on fine glossy paper for good reproduction.
This is an easy read with around 250 pages of text listing leaders of the 1st Company and where at all possible lists those killed in action and those still missing.
The book is a great unit history of one of the more well known german formations, and provides a glimpse into the life an SS soldier in an elite unit in peacetime and war.