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|Print List Price:||£11.99|
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Walther Model (Command 15) Kindle Edition
|Length: 64 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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There has been a tendency, based partly on accounts by Manstein and von Mellenthin, to dismiss Model as an effective but ruthless monocle-wearing Nazi fanatic. In fact, Model was one of the few commanders who regularly - and successfully - defied Hitler. A devoted German nationalist, Model was loyal through most of the war, but in the Ruhr pocket he looked past Hitler's orders, encouraged his Volksturm soldiers to slip back into civilian life, and refused to carry out "scorched earth" dictates.
Author Robert Forczyk shows how Model applied hard work, firm leadership, careful intelligence analysis, and an eye for defensive techniques to implement his tactical miracles. Model used fanatic defense and successful small-scale counterattacks to gain the Fuhrer's assent for necessary retreats. Fighting impossible odds near Narva in February 1944, Model was actually overruled by Hitler, and ordered to withdraw to a safer position.
This title is an intense read, but a compelling one. The maps provided are of high quality, but there are not enough of them - no detailed maps of Model's fighting with Army Group North in February, 1944, the destruction of Army Group Center in June-July, 1944, and other key junctures. The author uses a lot of German acronyms, referring to 2nd Panzer Army as "PzAOK 2," for example. A small glossary of such terms in page 2's empty space might help. Yet this account remains readable, and constantly engaging. The photographs are well-chosen, with informative captions. This edition of Osprey's "Leadership-Strategy-Conflict" series dispenses with the short biographies of opposing commanders, a nice improvement that frees up space for what really interests readers - the commander on the cover.
Author Forczyk makes a solid case that Model was "among the ranks of the great commanders of World War II." Model demonstrated how self-discipline, will power, attention to tactical detail, and connection to the common soldier can thwart the near-inevitable, turning defeat into victory, or at least miraculous delay. Model could contend with political realities without being obsequious, and still yield battlefield success. These lessons remain relevant today, which is why this title a "must-read" for students of military history.
The author has done a superb job in showing Model's immense contributions to the German war effort in World War II. While this series doesn't have the sheer page count to allow in-depth analysis of battles and campaigns (particularly after you allow for the copious amounts of excellent photos, maps, and illustrations), as usual, Mr Forczyk proves himself an expert at being able to distill large amounts of information into a short, tight, well written narrative that gets to the gist of the man and his abilities. Hitler himself considered Model to be his best Field Marshal, and used him as his "fireman", sent from crisis to crisis, but while Model was loyal to the German regime, the author shows that this was not a blind loyalty, and that Model was would occasionally refuse unrealistic orders or hedge his bets by constructing fall-back positions even against orders. Model was involved in many of the decisive battles of the war, such as the Kursk offensive, picking up the pieces after the collapse of Army Group Center, and the Ardennes Offensive, and while he was not always successful, he provided an astute, steadly leadership in times of crisis that allowed the Germans to fight on for longer in the war than they might have otherwise.
All in all, this is an outstanding entry in the series, particularly given the relative paucity of material about Model in English, and I highly recommend it.
This short book basically covered Model's career and highlights of his achievements as a commander whose major ability to improved and restored a perilous situation into something more manageable is unique among commanders of any nation. It is without a doubt, he was one of the better German commanders of the war although he is not as well known. There is also no doubt that the author highly favored his subject compared to his earlier biography of Eric von Manstein where the author did not favor his subject. I suppose this is where that missing star comes in. The book does favors Model greatly and the author choose to overlooked Model's other flaws that was not ignored in von Manstein's biography. What was Model's war crime responsibilities? For someone like that high in favor of many top Nazis, Model obviously care less about the war crimes committed by his troops in his sector. Did he committed suicide to avoid being hang by the Soviet?? While it may be that we should judge each book individually, it hard to overlook "favoritism" in any author's perception. I would also like to know if they ever did find Model's body after the war and where he is buried today.
I think if the author had to choose which one he rather fight under...Manstein or Model....he would pick Model.
Regardless, this book come highly recommended for any reader of World War II who wants a nice clear understanding of who Walther Model was and what he accomplished during World War II.
The book not only covers the basics of his background and career (i.e., he came from a family without a military background, he served in the infantry during WWI, he had no experience in commanding mechanized forces before taking command of a Panzer division, etc.) but, much more importantly, provides a very good overview of this "style" of command and its uniqueness. The reader learns of Model's very calm and collective command process, even during the most serious of crises. The reader learns how Model was very quick thinking, flexible and a deep believer in planning. One learns how Model, like most German generals believed in flexible and fluid defense, but also believed in making use of thinly manned long lines for defense as opposed to strong hedgehog positions with much "empty" space between (this was in sharp contrast to so many other German officers' thinking).
The book is also superbly illustrated. Not just with maps that do a spectacular job at showing how he conducted his major operations but with photographs also. Dr. Forcyk, the author, also demolishes many of the myths surrounding Model. For example the myth that he was cold and callous toward his men. On the contrary, he visited the front and front-line troops as often as possible to both boost morale and obtain situational awareness of the condition of the troops and the conditions they were facing. He also did not have the habit of throwing troops into a meat grinder once he determined the odds of succeeding were low. Dr. Forcyk also shows how Model was not a fanatical Nazi, as many have portrayed him. The author also does a good job at comparing Model to those he faced in combat in the "opposing commanders" chapter.
All and all an excellent overview of Model that, despite its brevity, analyzes his command "style" as well as, if not better, than many full scale books.
In a short (64-page) and succint biography, Robert Forczyk turns all the commonly held myths about this man on their head. He shows how Model's enemies (and his brusque and harsh personality made sure there were plenty of them) were able to misrepresent him post-war. More importantly, he makes a convincing (even overwhelming) case that Model was, in fact one of the great commanders in history.
I have complained before that the 64 pages allowed for the 'Command' series is too few, and it shows again in this volume. However, Forczyk is adept at squeezing as much information as possible into each page, and is exceptionally knowledgeable about his topic. Consequently, this is an excellent introduction to an enigmatic but very important figure. The fact that there are very few books on Model (and none with the excellent maps that typify Osprey editions) makes this contribution all the more important.
Thank you, Dr. Forczyk
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