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on 4 March 2008
These 2 volumes on the hitler youth panzer division, are not for the faint of heart.
The detail and indepth study of the fighting and division composition
is staggering. The narrative focus's on every, single action undertaken by elements of the 12th SS pz. div.
Usually following individual abteilung, the author frequently goes down to platoon and even squad level.
Not only reporting from the German perspective, the allied point of view is studied as well.
Having been a student of the second world war since I was a teenager,
I can state that there aren't many divisional historys that are so
thorough as this study of the 12th SS.
Approach with caution if you are a casual reader! You've been warned.
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on 11 August 2013
Needed this book to supplement "Meeting of Generals" to study the battles of the Canadian 3rd div in front of Caen against 12. SS in preperation for my boardgame "Canadian Crucible". I have read numerous "division-books" which quite often is just an expanded list of all the actions fought by the unit and written in a "heavy" language , particularly for persons like myself where english is not my native language. But what a surprise: it is a fantastically well-written book which moves effortlessly between the overall picture from both sides and numerous first-hand accounts from both sides. Most accounts from the german side but still plenty from the Canadian/British side and always paying due credit to the fighting capability of the CW-side. Gives a splendid picture of the battles for Caen and the first-hand accounts are absolutely superb and are universal for all fighting in Normandy. The initial chapters regarding the formation and training of this elite-division is very interesting as well. In addition the book is very cheap so no hesitation in rating it 5-star.
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on 22 June 2017
Fantastic history of Hitlerjugend. Highly recommended.
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on 1 October 2010
Having read a number of books regarding the 12th ss panzer, I have to say that this one is the best. Written by Hubert Mayer , former SS Obersturmbannnfuhrer( lt col) and divisional adjutant, it tells the story of approx 20,000 young men who believed in doing their duty to their country. Taken from the class of 1926, these boys would have been 7 years of age at the time of hitlers rise to power in 1933 , and consequently knew no other political system other than that of national socialism.

Following the disaster of stalingrad , it was decided to raise a division taken from the H J organisation ,most of the officers and nco s were taken from the elite Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. The boys were trained under the most realistic combat conditions possible ,and were deemed ready for active sevice by may 1944. The 12th ss panzer denied Montgomery the city of caen for 5 weeks , Montgomery setting it as a D Day first day objective. The division was alleged to have shot a number of Canadian P O W S during the first days of combat, whilst this is not disputed I think that it is neieve to imagine that both sides on occasion did not shoot prisoners when they were an inconvenience, or when having been subjected to severe battlefield conditions at an extremly young age.
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on 30 April 2012
The level of detail in this and his second volume The 12th SS: The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division: v. 2 (Stackpole Military History)is frankly staggering. I've sat down and read both more than once but still haven't taken it all in. To be honest it's a 4.5 * but the only thing it lacks is sometimes the maps are a little confusing or don't show places mentioned. But when covering actions down to company or even lower level it's hardly suprising. This volume covers the formation of the unit and some of Normandy (V2 completes the Normandy campaign and covers the Bulge, Hungary and the final actions in '45)and scholars of that era will not be dissapointed and to be honest the price of the paperback is great value for money. There is little mention of war crimes but few books written by the German partcipants do, but this a book on the combat operations of the unit so you'll need to go elsewhere (and be prepared for plenty of confusing, contradictory interpretations of what happened particularly between prisoners of the Canadian forces and 12th SS)if that is your field of study/interest.

Buy it now.
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on 25 February 2006
This is far too heavy going to be regarded as a ‘coffee-table’ book, but for the reader with a more in-depth interest in WWII, it is a must. It is interesting to read an account from the German point of view. Throughout the war the author served with several elite Waffen-SS units and so knows his stuff from first-hand. The style is a bit dry but then again it is crammed with information not easily available elsewhere and is a blow by blow history of one of the finest fighting units of the War. Well worth having.
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on 5 December 2014
I bought this and vol 2 while living in the States some three years ago, and gave them away to a History teacher of my acqaintance over there when returning home to Ulster. Even wrote an Amazon.com (USA) review, same title as this, same 5-star ranking. In my humble opinion, Stackpole is maybe the best at producing WW2 material "from the horse's mouth", and this is no exception. I'm about to re-order them. They are "must have" for anyone interested in WW2 combat, especially the sequel to the Normandy landings, but they (and others similar) are not comic-books. The serious WW2 reader/student will be amply rewarded by these volumes.
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on 5 November 2014
Difficult to find a more detailed report as most authors dramatize the story too much- Herbert Meyer being their Chief of Staff through out 1944-45 was the one person who was best placed to do this History, with continual reference to UK war diaries etc.
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on 23 November 2012
A very well written and researched history that has already become a useful reference source. A complete history of the 12th SS. Will help anyone studying the Normandy campaign.
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on 11 September 2013
Fantastically detailed history you could almost imagine your self there the bravery and sacrifice of men from both sides during the battles for normandy is stunning will definitely be purchasing the second volume.
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