Steel Infernoby Michael Reynolds
The Allied invasion of France on D-Day in June 1944 was one history's riskiest and most successful gambles. After hard fighting, American, British, and Canadian troops won a toehold in Nazi-held Europe. But Germany's elite Panzer divisions hadn't been present at the beaches. Due to poor intelligence and a divided command, the tanks with black crosses only came to… See more details below
The Allied invasion of France on D-Day in June 1944 was one history's riskiest and most successful gambles. After hard fighting, American, British, and Canadian troops won a toehold in Nazi-held Europe. But Germany's elite Panzer divisions hadn't been present at the beaches. Due to poor intelligence and a divided command, the tanks with black crosses only came to the invasion area after the first landings. But when the German Panther and Tiger tanks finally arrived, they were seeking a battle of annihilation, presenting the Allied attack inland with a ring of fire and steel.
For nearly two months, the Allies hammered the enemy, even as the Germans attempted to throw them back into the sea. Some of the most intense armored battles ever fought in war were fought in Normandy, bringing glory and infamy to hardened and colorful soldiers such as Kurt "Panzer" Meyer, Jochen Peiper, and Max Wunsche, and enhancing their reputations for ferocious, desperate combat. In the end, their actions would decide the outcome of the war.
Told in an engaging style and packed full of fascinating details of the 1st SS Panzer Corps, Steel Inferno offers a unique perspective on one of the greatest military engagements in history.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 4.17(w) x 6.89(h) x 1.23(d)
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When I read this work, I had a copy of the Kriegtagbuche (War Diary) of the Liebstandarte along side. At times it appeared that each was describing different battlefields. Or maybe, Ich lese Deutshce nicht gut.
The only problem with this work is the poor quality of the maps. However,for those familiar with the campaign and the territory, they will not find this too much of a handicap to what is an excellent and, for me, a highly revealing book. Despite having read extensively on the subject I still found a mine of new information and in-depth studies of subjects merely touched upon in other works. Two things from my perspective as an ex-serviceman stand out: One: the sheer proficiency at all levels except the strategic of the Waffen SS troops and their junior/middle echelon leadership; and two: a correspondingly poor showing on the part of the British Army at all levels. Another aspect which may raise a few non-British eyebrows is that an essentially classless formation quite simply whipped the pants off of a class-ridden one. In the case of the former, talent was both encouraged and utilised to the utmost, while in the class-ridden formation the opposite attitude held sway with essentially negative results. To me without the air power so assiduously developed in the Desert War keeping the Germans hamstrung, there would have been NO breakthrough in Normandy! Nevertheless, it is also curious that even after North Africa, Sicily and Italy; the Germans chose to field their elite formations almost exclusively against the British - only later realising the much more formidible threat from the Americans. As I say, this book is chock-full of interesting and essentially new Stuff. This is Reynolds best book by far. Once the map deficiencies are dealt with, he should make a Historian to be reckoned with! The map deficiencies limit it to 4 stars-otherwise 5! HIGHLY reccommended-particularly the Paperback!
Great read for details of the intense battles inmmediately following D-Day between the Waffen SS - Hitler Youth, Hitler Body Guard - Panzer Divisions vs. Brit and Canadian Armies. The details and participants quotes paint the intensity of these horrific struggles. Gives much insight to the personal side of the German combatants. For a novice military history reader, sometimes the formations and battlefield movement descriptions appear clinical. I felt these were intended to better detail the ebb and flow of the daily battle action. I would agree better maps translating the battlefield movements would have added to the vivid picture the author was trying to create.
Steel Inferno is a excellent example of military scholarship. Reynolds details all of the movements the First SS Panzer Corps with astounding lucidity. I find it especially interesting his chapter on the trial of Kurt 'Panzer' Mayer. For any true student of the 20th century, this is a must read.