Wehrmachtbericht
(Armed Forces Report)
Book Reviews (2010)

This section list the books that I have read along with a short synopsis of the book from my perspective. 
The date that is located above the book title is the date on which I finished reading the book. 


1/10/2010

 Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory and Policy (Avraham Barkai)

This happens to be the first book I have read on the economic policies of the Third Reich, and I think overall 
it gives a good general picture of the economic theory of the Nazi's. The book starts off describing in some detail 
the individuals who made an impact on the eventual economic policy adopted by the NSDAP. One of the main figures 
is of course, Gottfreid Feder, but there are many others, most of which I have never even heard of (Otto Wagener, head of the 
Department for Economic Policy with the NSDAP, Freidlander-Prechtl--an economist of some note-- to just name two).
Mixed within the first several chapters are descriptions of some of the early attempts at an economic policy by the Nazi's. Here
we get to see what the initial thoughts on economics by the NSDAP. It would consist mainly of the economy as a whole working
FOR the state. Everything was geared to work for the state. The state would control the economy through price control and wage 
controls. Chapters 3 and 4 delve into the nuts and bolts of how the Nazi's would control the economy of Germany. The final chapter
deals with the wartime economy. It describes how the Germans were pretty much geared to war by the end of 1936, although not for 
total war until 1942 and even then, the Germans never implemented some of the total war measures like the Allies (ie. Women in 
the factories--the German's still preferred to see women in the home, instead of working in the factories). Overall a good general 
overview of the economic policies of the Third Reich. I might add that the main feature of Nazi economic policy was Deficits Spending.
This deficit spending (on war related items), brought the Germans out of the unemployment mess they were in, but it is my opinion 
that this is not the correct economic theory to use, as evidenced by the U.S. large yearly budget deficits that we are dealing with, much
of it because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

****** 6 stars out of 10

1/20/2010

Double Strike:  The Epic Air Raids on Regensberg/Schweinfurt (Edward Jablonski)

  
This book deals with the double attack on Regensberg (Austria) and Schweinfurt (Germany). These areas were critical to the German war
effort as almost all of the German ball bearings were manufactured at Schweinfurt and at Regensburg was the largest Messerschmidt factory
in the Reich. Taking out these factories would certainly hinder the German war effort to a large degree. The book starts out with the Prelude which 
describes early American attempts at daylight bombing and eventually the combined bomber offensive against Germany (bombing around the clock).
Losses became gradually heavier during the summer of 1943. The book is broken up into the section that deals with the Regensburg mission and 
the Schweinfurt mission. The vast majority is taken up with first person accounts by American airmen. There was some personal accounts by 
German pilots, but very few in comparison to the American accounts. Some of the accounts were interesting (like the ball turret gunner nearly falling
out of his ball turret). The author describes an account were a single flying fortress decimated a group of ME 109's and FW 190's (9 shot down 
according to the account). More than likely--most of them were only damaged as the entire losses suffered by the Germans was only 25 fighters 
for the entire day. So, all in all, a decent enough account of the battle from mainly the American viewpoint. Lots of first person anecdotal 
accounts, not much from the Germans, and almost no discussion on the repercussions of the raid (ie. What was the effect on the Germans of 
this double raid?). An area of the book that did not set well with me was the fact that the author did not footnote anything. I always like to
know where the author gets his/her information.  

 
**** 4 stars out of 10

2/13/2010

Hitler's Green Army:  The German Order Police and their European Auxiliaries, 1933-1945 Volume I

 
The book starts with a general history of the German Police (1933-1938). Next the author talks about the formation of the Gestapo under Herman 
Goering.  
* Moves to discussion of the German Police units in Czechoslovakia, then onto Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and
then finishes with Italy.
* The author discusses the history of the Orpo units which were occupying each country. There was some discussion of SIPO units as well.
* The author also discussed the collaborationist police organizations that were raised by the Germans in all of the above mentioned countries.
* Large amount of detailed OOB for the different police units in each occupied country.
* The author mentions commanders of some of the smaller police units, seemingly for no reason.  
* Large amount of spelling and grammatical errors. Very poor editing.
* Very nice acid free paper.
* Literally hundreds of good pictures of the various police units, weapons etc.
* Many tables with OOB information.

****** 6 stars out of 10

3/10/2010

Hitler's Green Army:  The German Order Police and their European Auxiliaries, 1933-1945 Volume II
 

 
This volume is much the same as the first volume. The book covered German police units (mainly battalions) which were stationed in the occupied
east and the Balkans. The contains a large amount of OOB information. This would come in handy if a person were trying to track down a certain
police formation. There is large amounts of info on all of the different collaborationist organizations within each occupied country--in fact most of this
volume dealt with the various collaborationist units raised by the Germans.  It would have been better had the information on the collaborationist units been left out of this book (and volume I as well) and published in a book that deals with the German allied collaborationist units.  The book contain a copious amount of pictures and colorful artwork. There was a spattering of spelling and grammatical errors again.  There certainly are issues with these books, but there are not many books in English that deal with this subject, and much of the information that Mr. Munoz has presented cannot be found (or easily found) anywhere else (with the exception of German language books that deal with the Ordnungspolizei).
 

****** 6 stars out of 10

3/17/2010

Hitler's Green Army:  The German Order Police and their European Auxiliaries, 1933-1945 Volume IV, Part 1

This volume is all photos and a few drawings of the uniformed polizie/volunteers.
Most of the photos are of groups of Polizie posing. There are pictures that show mundane things like cooking and other general "life outside of the 
barracks" pictures. The pictures tend to be of decent quality, although there are some exceptions. Very few of the pictures are "action" pictures.  
Overall, an interesting group of pictures on a little covered topic. The price of the book is steep ($80.00) for only around 164 pages.


****** 6 stars out of 10


3/23/2010

Hitler's Green Army:  The German Order Police and their European Auxiliaries, 1933-1945 Volume IV, Part 2

Again, this volume is all pictures. All previously unpublished, although many are rather mundane. Half of the book is photos, while the other half
is made up of color drawings of uniforms, actual color pictures of uniforms in collector's possessions etc. A decent book. Good amount of pictures 
and good shots of actual uniforms, medals, insignia etc. Very pricey…………..retails at $90.00!!


****** 6 stars out of 10

4/10/2010

Totenkopf (Editions Heimdahl)


This book has short descriptions of actions in which the 3rd SS Panzergrenadier (Panzer) Division was involved in. There is a section of pictures that 
follows each section of text. The pictures show the actions which the text has just described. Most of the pictures are previously unpublished, and many
are very good quality pictures.



******** 7 1/2 stars out of 10


4/12/2010

Berlin 1945 (Editions Heimdahl)

The book describes in some detail the final battles before Berlin and inside Berlin. The text is all in French. There are 100's of excellent pictures,
unfortunately there are no English captions. This book is probably worth picking up for the pictures and the excellent maps.


****** 6 stars out of 10 (would have been much better if it were in English)


4/29/2010

The Panzers and the Battle of Normandy (Editions Heimdahl)


The book describes the actions of the armored units that fought in Normandy. The book is full of excellent first person accounts by German veterans of the 
battle of Normandy. There are many excellent pictures to accompany the concise text. There are many spelling errors, which does set the book back somewhat.
The book is probably worth purchasing for the pictures and the first person accounts.


******** 7 1/2 stars out of 10


6/5/2010

Panzertruppen: German Armored Troops 1935-1945


This book describes the actions of the German Armored forces unit by unit. This includes all of the Panzer Divisions, and the Panzer Korps and the Panzer Armies.
The descriptions of the actions are fairly short, none are more than a page long. The book then segways into descriptions of all of the Panzer Division Commanders,
Panzer Korps Commanders and Panzer Army Commanders. This is the most extensive portion of the book and becomes rather tedious reading after a while. The next section
is comprised of the emblems of all of the independent Panzer Abteilungs, the Panzer Brigades and Panzer Divisions. The final section of the book has pictures of many 
of the Panzer Divisions described in the book. Many of these pictures I had never seen before and were quite decent pictures. Overall not too bad of a book, but the section
on the commanders got to be very tedious after a while.



****** 6 1/2 stars out of 10


7/8/2010

Power Politics and Social Change in National Socialist Germany


This book is the authors attempt to understand how and why the Nazi's happened. The book tends to be very heavy reading, as the author is a psychologist. Focusing 
on what factors allowed the Nazis to act as they did-and this focus comes from a psychological point of view. The book breaks down into the following sections:
Part I: Power, Ideology, and Political Crime
Part II: Sociological Factors in the Development of the National Socialist Party Bureaucracy.
Part III: The SS An example of a Totalitarian Bureaucratic Institution.
Part IV: Totalitarian Institutions and German Bureaucracy.
This is a very well written book. A large portion of the book comes from primary source material (including around 450 interviews/surveys)


******** 7 1/2 stars out of 10

7/17/2010

Beyond Stalingrad: Manstein and the Operations of Army Group Don



This is a short book that deals with Field Marshall von Mansteins handling of the Southern portion of the German Eastern Front in the winter of 1942-1943. Concise accounts 
of the operations of the 4th Panzer Armees failed relief of the trapped 6th Army. In essence, Hitler did not give Manstein enough forces to break through the Russian ring with, 
and the Russians then started up another offensive further a little further up the front which then forced Manstein to have to deal with that, in essence forcing him to break off the
relief attempt of 6th Army. There are detailed descriptions of the actions along the lower Don by Army Detachment Hollidt. It was interesting how only a couple of Panzer 
Divisions kept the Chir Front from collapsing. The book then moves into a description of the German 4th Pz. Army's counter attack of the Russian armies that had penetrated 
deep into the Ukraine, and the eventual destruction/mauling of the Russian 1st Guards and 6th Armies. It was interesting to see how far forward the Russians pushed some
of their armored brigades to try to secure a bridgehead over the Dnepr. This certainly was their undoing, as the rifle divisions were far to the rear. The German's held onto 
Slavyansk (for a time), Kramatorskaya, and the Krasnoarmerskoye region, thus creating a strong shoulder on the southern portion of the Russian breakthrough into the Ukraine,
thus setting the stage for the eventual counter attack (the "back hand blow") by 4th Panzer Army. The book then dovetails into a description of the continued offensive operations
to retake Kharkov and the drive to Belgorod and the positions that they would occupy up the start of the Citadel offensive. The very well written and concise account of the 
actions Army Group Don during the winter of 42-43. Nearly all of the information from the book comes from the captured German records. Nearly each paragraph has a footnote, 
and that footnote more than likely came from the captured German records, so there is very little second hand information in this book. I would highly recommend this book
for anyone interested in the operations of the Southern German Army Groups after Stalingrad.  




*********    9 stars out of 10  (Highly Recommended)





7/21/2010


Atlas and Survey: Prelude to Kursk


This is a David Glantz atlas that deals with the failed Russian Central Front Offensive against the German 2nd Panzer Army and 2nd Armies. This is a little known offensive
that the Russians mounted to try to through the Germans back on this sector of the front. They nearly succeeded, if it were not for the timely intervention of the 4th Panzer
Division, and the slow commitment of several Russian Armies that were redeploying from the Stalingrad region. The Soviets drove several hundred kilometers into the German
lines before the Germans launched a small counter thrust and threw the Russians nearly all the way back to their start lines. A very little covered offensive, and one I found 
to be very interesting. There is not too many pages of text, I am guessing around 50 pages of text/maps, and about 10-15 pages of large maps (I am going from memory as
I do not have the book in front of me). I would really recommend this atlas as it talks about an offensive that almost is unheard of in the west. The maps are the typical (decent
quality) maps, they are day by day, and they show the locations of all of the German (and Hungarian) and Russian units.


******** 8 stars out of 10

8/8/2010

1985 Art of War Symposium: From the Dnepr to the Vistula; Soviet Offensive Operations--November 1943 to August of 1944  


 
This is a nearly verbatim transcript of a symposium put on by the U.S. Army during 1985. It covers 4 major Soviet operations from November 1943 to 
August of 1944. These operations are:
The Kiev Operation (3 November to 24 December 1943): This operation dealt with the Soviet offensive from the Lyutezh bridgehead. This was a large Soviet offensive by 
3 Soviet Armies and 2 separate tank brigades. The Russians broke through the thin German defenses north of Kiev, and quickly gained ground. This is well displayed by 
the day to day maps that are provided by Col. Glantz. Each day of the offensive the positions of the Russian and the German units are displayed. The Russians gained
large amounts of territory until the XXXXVIII Pz. Korps started launching strong counters attacks in the middle of November. They eventually were able to drive the Russians
about half way back to Kiev, but as with everything else that the Germans did during this period of the war, they did not commit enough forces to the counter attack. If they 
would have committed around 4-8 full strength infantry divisions to the counter attacks, it is conceivable that they could have caused some large losses to the Soviet forces
that were caught in the counterattack (ie. The 19th Panzer and the LAH managed to surround some tank brigades that had broken through, but without infantry divisions to 
seal off the pocket, the units inside managed to escape--albeit, without their armor).
The other three operations which are covered within this book are the Korsun-Shevchenkovskii operation, the Belorussian Strategic operation, and the Jassy-Kishinev operation.
Each operation is covered in the same day to day detail. There are maps for each day--some of them not the best quality. Col. Glantz does a good job of explaining the 
movement of the opposing forces each day, and then gives short analysis. About half of the book is the coverage of the day to day operations of the forces involved in each
operation. The remainder of the book is composed of short speeches given by former German officers that took part in these operations. This information alone is worth 
purchasing this book (and remaining three in the series). This information is first hand info, and is therefore quite interesting and informative.
There were two things I took away from reading this book. Number one is that the Russians had learned a lot from the Germans by this time of the war. They were learning 
how to concentrate their forces. Each and every offensive saw their main offensive armies heavily reinforced, and committed on a very narrow front, whereas the armies on the 
remainder of the front were much weaker and spread thin. It is interesting to note the poor quality of the German intelligence during this stage of the war, as the Russians
were able to keep a lot of their movement of armies and corps a secret from the Germans until after the start of the offensive.
The other thing I took away from this is the SLOW reaction by the German high command (ie Hitler) to each and every one of these offensives. Hitler could undeniable 
given the order to withdraw in each one of these situations and the Germans could have shortened the front, concentrated some of their Panzer Divisions and struck 
the Russians a hard counter blow (ie like Manstein in the Ukraine), but Hitler's insane insistence on holding onto every foot of ground doomed the Germans to a slow death.


 
******** 8 stars out of 10 (Recommended)

8/20/2010


The Belorussian Strategic Operation: An Overview


This is a continuation of the 1985 Art of War Symposium. It deals with the Belorussian Strategic Operation from 22 June to 13 July 1944, and the Yassy-Kishinev operation.
The Belorussian Strategic operation is covered in much the same way as the previous four operations. The maps and the analysis by Col. Glantz is on a day by day basis.
The day by day maps are decent, but they do tend to get quite cluttered and hard to follow. The day by day analysis is exceptional, although it is almost strictly from a 
Russian viewpoint, which makes it especially nice to have the German view of the offensive after Col. Glantz finishes with the Russian view.
There are additional speeches by German participants in the defense of the German Army Group Center. Much of this is very revealing information, and it shows again the 
lunacy of Hitler's orders to hold these large Belorussian cities to the last (ie. Vitebsk, Mogiliev etc.). These additional speeches include the "defensive combat of the 5th Panzer 
Division", the "defense of Mogilev by the 12th Infantry Division", the "two counterattacks by 20th Panzer Division".
Overall, a very detailed look at this huge strategic offensive which destroyed the Central German Army Group. Although, in looking at this offensive on a day by day analysis, 
it is obvious to me that the Germans could have withdrew in somewhat good order if they would have been allowed to, but Hitler insisted on holding the large cities, which is
pure idiocy. If the Central Army Group would have been allowed to withdraw in good order and if the reinforcements would still have arrived like they did historically, it is 
possible that the Central Army Group would have made it through the offensive intact, and they might have been able to stop the offensive far to the east of where the 
Russians finally stopped (ie Warsaw).
The second section of the book deals with the so called "Yassy-Kishinev" operation. This again is covered by extensive day by day maps and analysis by Col. Glantz.  
This is a relatively unknown offensive to most of us in the West. If was launched into Romania against the rebuilt German 6th Army and the Romanian 3rd Army from 
August 20 to August 29, 1944. It involved the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian fronts with around 900,000 men against around 500,000 Germans and Rumanian's, although the
Romanian formations were nearly worthless. In fact, one bit of information that I found interesting, is that the Romanian 1st tank division evidently surrendered to the 
Russians without firing a single shot!!! This was mentioned by Col. Glantz and then confirmed by the German participants in the symposium. So, it was more or less the
900,000 Russians against the 220,000 Germans. The 6th Army did not stand a chance. And it was quite clear by how quickly the offensive was over, that this was a
very one sided battle. But again, following the day by day maps, it is somewhat conceivable that the 6th Army could have possibly withdrew if they had been given the 
chance to withdraw right on the first day. Any delay would seal there fate (which is of course what happened). Some of the other interesting bits of information is the 
confirmation by Col. Glantz that the Russians were running very short on manpower. The infantry divisions were all very short on manpower, and to make up for that 
shortage, the Russians were attaching self propelled tank regiments to the infantry divisions which were in the critical attack sectors, so as to give them more firepower.
The Russians during this stage of the war were churning out HUGE amounts of tanks and artillery, so as to make up for the loss of firepower from the weak infantry 
divisions.
Overall this is an excellent book on the above two operations. You get a really good view from the Russian side, and then some really good information of the operations
from some of the Germans who were on the receiving end of these Russian operations.  
Overall this is an excellent book on the above two operations. You get a really good view from the Russian side, and then some really good information of the operations
from some of the Germans who were on the receiving end of these Russian operations.  
These are some notes I took from the last pages of the book: Page 521, 2nd paragraph "the only advantage the Germans had over the Soviets at this time, effective
maneuver warfare and warfare at the tactical level." My reply is that the Germans COULD have fought the Russians operationally and strategically if the 15-20 
divisions in Italy and the 75 or so divisions in the West (France, the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway) had been used on the Russian front. Can we possibly imagine
an additional 20 or so Panzer/Panzergrenadier divisions on the Eastern Front? What would have happened if Hitler would have agreed to release even 30-40 divisions for 
use on the Russian front (with around 10-15 Panzer and Panzer Grenadier divisions). It is conceivable if a Manstein would have had these forces, and would have had 
absolute control over them to use them in a mobile form of warfare, it is conceivable that Manstein could have fought the Russians to a standstill.
Page 531 (Festungsplatz) "Whereas these German tactics had produced positive results early in the war".  
I for one would like to know where the positive results were?  Now, the key word here is "POSITIVE" results, not neutral results, but actually positive results. I cannot think
of one instance where the Germans actually obtained positive results from holding onto this "Festungplatz's". I would not consider the results of them holding on to areas
around Moscow in 1941 as positive (neutral maybe, but not positive). Demyansk? Positive? Not hardly. Cholm? Positive? Again, not hardly. If the Germans would have 
withdrawn in good order, when it was obvious to all that Typhoon had lost its momentum, the Germans SHOULD have withdrawn (in good order) to a much shorter line, and 
thereby release some mobile reserves in which to meet any kind of Russian counter attack. There Army was as elite an Army as their ever was, this withdrawal (before
the Russians started their counter offensive would have been carried out in good order--through brutal cold and knee deep snow, but at least it would not have been 
carried out with a FULL BLOWN Russian counter offensive taking place all around them. The Germans were more than capable of this.
******** 8 stars out of 10 (Recommended)

8/31/2010


1986 Art of War Symposium: From the Vistula to the Oder; Soviet Offensive Operations--October 1944 to March 1945


 
Like it's predecessor's this is a transcript of the Art of War Symposium's held by the U.S. Army. This particular book deals with the attempts by the Russians to encircle
Budapest and drop Hungary from the war. The book starts with Col. Glantz's overview of the Russian Army. This overview is concise, but informative. It is certainly 
interesting how the Russians were continuing to tweak their forces and make them more conducive to large and long range operations. The book is then followed by two 
views of the Russian side from two former Russian soldiers (a first as far as these symposiums were concerned). These were decent, and they had some unique 
information about how the average Russian soldier fought, but they were quite short. This is followed by a section on the German Army by Colonel Paul Adair. This is a
fairly detailed section and it gives a person a good view of the state of the German armed forces in late 1944. The next section of the book is the day to day operations of
the Russian fronts trying to overrun Hungary. It is quite interesting that the Germans were able to put up a very good fight for Hungary. It would take the Russians nearly
two months to finally encircle Budapest. The Germans used their armored reserves fairly well, with the exception of the slitting up of the 3rd and the 6th Panzer Divisions 
by Hitler. The Armor was held in the South, and the Infantry components were sent up to Northern Hungary to launch a counter attack against the 6th Guards Tank Army, which 
ended up being fruitless, do to the fact that they did not have any armor!! The day to day maps and the analysis are quite good as always. Again, the maps really give a 
good idea of how slow the advance was, and how much time the Germans had to abandon Budapest, but never-the-less, it was not to be, as Hitler (true to his insane ways), 
demanded that Budapest be held to the last. The book ends up with several short sections by former German officers of the operations by the 1st, 3rd and 24 Panzer
Divisions. These are fairly detailed and extremely interesting. It is always good to get an idea of how the Germans operated, from the Germans themselves. Overall this is
a very detailed book on the Russian offensives in Hungary, and the initial German attempts to relieve the Budapest garrison. It is very interesting to note that on several of the
German relief attempts came uncomfortably close to Budapest (at least for the Russians, that is). I believe it was the second attempt that came to within only 13 miles 
from Budapest, at which point Hitler choose to switch the main emphasis to the South. And then the southern attempt also came very close to Budapest, but the 
Russians shifted some reserves to blunt this third attempt. All of these came very close. I believe if the garrison had mad a concerted effort to break out, they might have 
been able to get out when there was only 13 miles separating the two, but they would have come out without any of their heavy weapons, so it would have been a major
defeat anyway.   Another interesting observation made by Col. Glantz was on page 206 "If you watch day-by-day operations in Hungary, virtually every time a German
regular army unit shifts from one sector to another, wherever that occurs, within 36 hours (and often within 24 hours), the Soviets will attack in that sector. It happens 
over and over again from late October 1944 to March 1945." An interesting observation to say the least. Can anyone say WERTHER!


 
********* 8 1/2 stars out of 10 (Recommended) (The German section in this book
was more detailed and was more informative than the previous volumes)



9/26/2010


Over of the East Prussian Operation; January-February 1945

 This study starts off with an analysis of the Russian East Prussian operation in January of 1945.  It is in the same style as the other studies. Col. Glantz gives an overview of the Russian plan and then gives a 
quick view of the German defenses.  He then goes into the day by day analysis of the operation, with plentiful maps.  The most interesting part of this operation is the trouble that the Russians had on the 
Gumbinnen axis.  The Germans managed to hold the Russians for nearly 5 days until they started to break through in the German IX Korps sector.  The Russians then committed their 11th Guards Army to this 
breach.  The attack in the South went much smoother for the Russians, as they completely overpowered the Germans in this sector.  The interesting thing to remember as one goes through this entire study, 
is the fact that the Russians were becoming masters at masking the movements of their units, and hence they could thin out sectors of their fronts which did not expect to see much action, and then shift 
the divisions freed up from these quiet areas to areas where the main thrust was to come from.  This enabled the Russians to have absolute tactical, operational and strategic superiority during these offensives.
Much of these quiet sectors of the front were covered by units called fortified regions, which were brigade sized units that were heavy in heavy weapons. Their task was to guard large sections of the front, but
not necessarily take part in the offensive (they were mainly for defense).
  The study goes on to describe the Vistula Oder operation.  This describes the Russian offensive to liberate (conquer) the Western portions of Poland and Eastern Germany (Silesia).  The offensive went even 
better for the Russians then the East Prussian Operation.  It eventually took the Russians to the Oder river before they had to consolidate their gains, and shore up their flanks.  The German units in front of 
this offensive were simply wiped out were they stood.  It is interesting to see the poor commitment of the German 17th Panzer division, which happened to be over the TOE for tank strength, and yet
because of the fact that the division HQ was scattered, this division was never truly committed as a whole, but simply squandered piece meal.  Although it might not have made much difference, as the Russian
superiority was simply to great.
  The study ends with a discussion of the German counter attacks in Hungary in January to March 1945.  It is quite interesting to see how far the IVSS Pz. Korps made it in their counter attack towards Budapest.
These counter attacks also witnessed the increased Russian ability to quickly shift units to the threatened areas.  Something that again stuck, was the fact that the Germans had such a complete lack of infantry,
that when the Germans overran Russian units, the Russian units would simply make their way back to their front lines, do to the fact that the Germans did not have any follow on infantry formations.  Overall, this
is an excellent source for these three Russian offensives, both from the Russian view and from the German view.  I would highly recommend all four of these volumes!



*********    8 1/2 stars out of 10  (Recommended)


10/24/2010


The Art of Maneuver: Maneuver-Warfare Theory and AirLand Battle

This book is a study of the theory of Maneuver Warfare as expounded up by Colonel Robert Leonhard (U.S. Army).  Colonel Leonhard starts out by outlining the basic definitions of the
levels of war and two differing theories of war (attrition and maneuver theory).  The book then segways into a discussion on the evolution of maneuver warfare, focusing the ideas of
Liddel-Hart, Sun Tzu, Genghis Khan and many others.  All through the first few chapters are many definitions that will be important to the continued study of maneuver warfare:

Preempt (preemption): to disarm or neutralize him before the fight
Dislocate: removing the enemy from the decisive point, or vice-versa
Disrupt: destroy or neutralize his center of gravity (now according to Colonel Leonhardt, a units center of gravity is their weak point)

These three terms are the lynch-pins of this entire theory, and are the main theme of the book.  The three terms are analyzed in detail in the third chapter "Means of Defeat", and I would say that he makes a very convincing case for maneuver warfare based on these three factors.  He gives interesting historical analogies for each one of these major terms.  The next section of
the book deals with the general characteristics of maneuver warfare theory and is full of definitions/terms that relate to manuever warfare theory.  The next few chapters deals with the current
(as of 1990) U.S. military/war fighting doctrine.  It is called Air Land Battle (and Air Land Battle Future), and in these chapters Colonel Leonhard compares it's tenets with his theory of manuever
warfare.  The end of the book deals with Operation Just Cause, and how the battle was executed according to manuever doctrine.  Appendix A has an interesting analysis of Operation Desert Storm, and how the U.S. Army either used manuever warfare, or did not use it.  A highly informative book!!!  Overall I would recommend it to anyone in the U.S. military and to civilians like 
myself who are interested in military doctrine.  I may be eventually have write a small article about using the precepts from this book in relation to war gaming.




*********    9 stars out of 10  (Highly Recommended)


11/02/2010

The Factors of Combat

This is a study prepared for the Defense Nuclear Agency by the Dupuy Institute.  In the study the Dupuy Institute analyzes 66 ground combat engagements from World War II and the October 
1973 Arab-Israeli war, from the viewpoint of the factors which determined the outcome of each engagement.  There are charts in the initial section of the book that list out each engagement
along with strength figures (manpower), numbers of tanks, guns, sorties, length of engagement, casualties, tank losses and "advance per day".  Lots of good information on each of these 
engagements.  The study looks at each engagement from the attackers perspective and the defenders perspective.  The study then delves into a rather lengthy list of factors which helped 
determine the winner and loser of each engagement.  This list ranges from weapons effects, weapons system sophistication, qualitative aspects of quantity, terrain factors, weather factors, season factors and many others.  Each of these factors are analyzed in some detail and some of the factors are listed in charts to show the possible effect that they would have on any given
engagement.  This is a short and concise study on the factors of combat and is worth the read if you are interested in why or how armies win battles.  (This study is available directly from the 
Dupuy Institute).


*******      7 stars out of 10 

 
11/18/2010

German and Soviet Replacement Systems in World War II

This a study prepared for the Requirements Development Directorate (U.S. Army) by the Dupuy Institute.  The study is organized in three parts, the first of which is a brief comparison of the replacement systems developed by the two armies and a summary of the major points is then given.  The next two sections describe the German and the Soviet replacement systems as they were planned and as they functioned.  The German data is much more abundant and precise than the Russian data, as the Russian archives had still not been opened when this study was prepared.  Although, the Dupuy Institute has managed to put together a very detailed description of both the Russian and the German replacement systems.  To date, this is by far the most comprehensive study on this aspect of the war.  Here are some key data that I have pulled from the study:

"The numbers employed in industries producing war materials declined steadily, from approximately 16,142,000 in 1939 to 10,106,000 in 1945" (page 19).  This refers to the Germans.  It is interesting to note the steep decline in the numbers of men which declined in the war industries as the war progressed, but that is not surprising.  Unlike the Allies, the Germans used forced labor to take the place of the manpower which they shifted to the Wehrmacht. 

Wehrmact Strengths:

6/15/1941   7,300,000
10/4/1941   7,690,000
1/10/1942   7,978,000
4/4/1942     8,672,000
7/1/1942     8,677,689
11/1/1942   9,582,000
1/1/1943     9,694,000
4/1/1943     9,138,000
7/1/1943   10,132,898
8/1/1943     9,729,262

It is interesting to note how the strength of the Wehrmacht continued to rise through 1942 until the April 1st (1943) figure, which would include the German losses at Stalingrad.  The Wehrmacht strength then continued to rise rather dramatically, until it fell back again in August.  Probably as a result of the very heavy fighting on the Eastern Front, and the losses from the fall of 5th Panzer Army in Africa.

An interesting chart on page 24 of the study shows a breakdown of where the manpower was within the replacement army on September 1, 1944.  Out of a total strength of 2,137,973 in the replacement army there were 1,346,551 (this includes Convalescents, Hospital patients and those on work leave.  The remaining 791,422 troops were in various other units that were part of the replacement army (ie. Ordnance offices, Motor Pool, Medical Offices, Vet Units, Army Administration etc, etc.)

This is an excellent study and there are multitudes of charts and graphs that paint a good picture of the German and the Russian replacement systems.  This is the only book/study that I know of that deals with this subject, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in how the Germans and the Russians managed their replacement systems.  If anyone is interested in more info from this study, let me know I would be more than happy to post more information from the study on this website. 



*********    9 stars out of 10  (Highly Recommended)


12-18-2010

Knights Cross Panzers:  The German 35th Panzer Regiment in WWII

This book is a unit history of the German 35th Panzer Regiment in WWII.  It starts out with its actions in Poland, then France and finally Russia.  Many of the accounts are by different soldiers within the regiment.  Each account has it's own heading and they vary in length, from 1/4 of a page to around 8 pages or so.  This has been one of the few unit histories that I have read, so I have found this book fascinating.  It was hard for me to put down at night, I found myself "chomping at the bit" to read it every night.  Many of the accounts are quite unique (in my opinion), and really bring to light what it was like for the Germans to face the Poles, the Frence and especially the Russians.  There is even an account from a Russian partisan whose diary had been captured by the 4th Panzer Division (the 35th's parent unit) and was then included in this book.   The account by the partisan is interesting, but the casualty claims need to be taken with a grain of salt (in my opinion), as they always seemed to inflate the casuaties they inflicted on the Germans (and I am sure that this went both ways).  The vast majority of the accounts are combat accounts but there are some non-combat accounts as well, and one in particular is an account about Christmas 1941 on the Russian front, how the Germans found an abandonded church and started singing Christmas carols.  The Russian civilians that lived near the church came to the church and started to join in singing the carols.  Quite an interesting story!  Suffice to say, without giving to much away, this book covers in fairly good detail the operations of the 35th Panzer Regiment during the entire war (mainly from the viewpoint of the individual tankers, but also others who were attached to the regiment or worked closely with the regiment).  I would highly recommend this book.  Stackpole Books has hit a homerun with this one, and I really hope they continue to publish more unit histories in the future.


*********    9 1/4 stars out of 10  (Highly Recommended)