DEVILS GUARD

DEVILS GUARD

4.3 19
by George R. Elford
     
 

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The personal account of a guerrilla fighter in the French Foreign Legion, reveals the Nazi Battalion's inhumanities to Indochinese villagers.

Overview

The personal account of a guerrilla fighter in the French Foreign Legion, reveals the Nazi Battalion's inhumanities to Indochinese villagers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440120148
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/15/1972
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
378,196
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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Devil's Guard 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
lawmarine32 More than 1 year ago
Although the nazi SS committed many atrocities in world war two and were responsible for perhaps the most disgusting and heinous act ever perpetrated against humanity, in their ranks were many professional warriors who were fighting as honorable soldiers. War by definition is an often overly cruel endeavor that will result in many tragic endings. I found this book to be very well written, albeit gruesome in its description of the acts of war, it was also very honest. The fact that a professional warrior could foresee the future failing of the present conflict, but also be smart enough to know that others too would fail in the future, as a result of the command structures refusal to adapt new strategies to fight communism in the jungle was amazing. Perhaps we as a society should not judge an entire army but the individuals who make up an army.
Phridum More than 1 year ago
I happened across a copy of this book while processing out of STA from another who was processing out of Recon. On his recommendation, I began reading when I had the time available to finish it. And read it in one sitting I did.

It's been argued whether this book came about in the manner which the story and author purport or if it is in a similar vein as Goldman's "The Princess Bride". I do not have a full enough grasp of the history of Indochina/Vietnam, the SS, the Foreign Legion, or weaponry to determine the consistency of the timeline, but some details ring a bit hollow. Minor discrepencies in choices the author made for his storytelling lead me to believe that this is nearly fully a work of fiction.

But what a work of fiction it is! What may look like a simple historical novel loosely tying events and situations together into a plausible course, I believe is really an emulation of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". Whereas Heinlein wrote a novel to flesh out thoughts on civic duty and accountability, Elford is using "Devil's Guard" to flesh out his thoughts on leadership, honor, and justice.

Having "fought in the trenches" against insurgency myself, I believe that Elford could not have done a better job illustrating the way troopers feel about the wars they are fighting if he had interviewed my team and compatriots for his research. This novel, along with "Band of Brothers", "Secret Commandos", and "Trigger Men" is about as close to understanding the mind of a infantryman as your going to get without being one yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story of former SS PartizanJager who escaped the Red Army by walking almost 400km to the demarkation line in the midle of the Germany at the end of the WW2, escaped to France, joined the Foreign Legion, led a pure German Legion in the war for Indochina with Viethmin, won uncountless battles and retired to an Asia state where he was (and maybe still is) teaching modern walfare. Read the true story about a man, who used tactics that defeaded a almost invicible oponent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
True story of great soldiers
GuyDH More than 1 year ago
Incredibly interesting book. You will not regret this purchase.
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This is the best book depicting the French and Indo Chineese war following WW II with graffic detail describing the German participation with in the Foreign Leagion after being "rescued" from the brutalities in their home country after the Russion occupation. Not for the feint of heart or those that have problems with graffic depiction of the violence incurred. This book is found in non-fiction; I am not an expert in the field of this war but what I have been able dig up sems to make me believe the validity of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book purports to be a barely edited transcription of '18 days' of continuous tape-recorded narrative by Elford (a zoologist working somewhere in Southeast Asia) of a former Waffen-SS non-commissioned officer, encountered by the 'editor' in a local bar. Unfortunately, the 'Devil's Guard' is just a bad novel. There are too many historical anachronisms for this tale to even vaguely approximate a factual recounting. For example, the author refers to a French encampent at Dien Bien Phu, which places at least half of the action on or after March, 1954. As the defeat was not mentioned, it was before May, 1954 and as there was no reference to the battle, it's got to be before November, 1954. Within a page or so (in the Hailer Publishing edition, anyhow), our protagonist mentions working with a British military man who 'fought in the Malayan Emergency for 3 years': the Emergency was declared in 1948 and ended in 1960. In order for there to be an encampment at Dien Bien Phu and for the British soldier to have fought for 3 years, the action had to have taken place in a very short time span in early 1954. This seems to contradict the chronology, as the narrator and his pals were former SS who left Europe in 1945 and joined the FFL around 1946. There was absolutely nothing in the story to suggest they were fighting for over 7 years at the time these references were made. Elsewhere, Wagemueller mentions '5 years' of Indochinese service. During the 'debate' between the Communist cadre, Kwang and a member of Wagemueller's unit, Stalin is spoken of as a living contemporary. As Stalin died in 1953, a French base at Dien Bien Phu would not have existed at that time. Another glaring anachronism was introduced by Kwang's remark that Mao had been in power in China for 'two years'. That would place the date of their mid-novel activities in 1951. Clearly, given these gross chronologic flaws in the context of exquisitely detailed recollections of other activities, this book is a work of fiction, not an historical accounting. Additionally, noted authorities on the French Foreign Legion, such as Bernard Fall, do not describe a unit comprised of German nationals, exclusively, much less one that was all former SS. Finally, none of the massacres nor any of the French FFL officers named appear to have existed. Aside from these major flaws, the approach to 'counter-terrorism' espoused by Wagemueller, the putative principal of this yarn, was just that used to such worthless effect in the USSR. By thoroughly alienating the civilian population, the Wehrmacht was left without 'native' allies and without indigenous support. A much more effective approach was outlined by David Galula in his seminal work, 'Counterinsurgency Warfare'. If you are looking for a comic book or cartoonish tale, this might be for you. If an historical account is your object, look elsewhere.