Jump to content
SimpleSimon

Simon reads Case Red and Case White. Wants you to read both.

Recommended Posts

So it's no secret that i'm pretty fixated on the earlier part of the war, specifically the Battles of Poland and France. A lot of the stuff in Barnes and Noble is weak pop-history and such but when I glanced over at the shelf the other week Forczyk's books on the Early War period were hard for me to pass up and i'm happy I gave them a try.  It just so happens that Robert Forczyk has written two recent, detailed books on both battles and they're both really great, especially if CM ever covers these periods of the war because he goes over a lot of doctrine, tactics, and arms while not neglecting some of the higher-level context of which there is plenty of writing on.

In his books he critiques the issues with many of the previous works, which he highlights two common problems many historians have been making. Namely a tendency to over-rely on German accounts of each battle, and a tendency for many authors in history to simply cite each other in circular fashion thus leading to repetition of many myths and stereotypes. Another issue of course is that most works about the Battles of France and Poland actually very light on details about each battle, and are mainly focused on the geopolitical ramifications of each invasion. Not here, Forczyk has written a pair of badly needed "soldier's eye view" accounts of the German onslaughts to the East and West. For instance Case Red has what is probably the best current narrative of the Battle of Stonne I've heard in years and it really transformed my picture of that event. You can put Google Maps up and trace the movements of individual platoons, he gets that granular at times.

My only complaints are that each book is a little short of maps and visual references, which the more narrative-heavy events really need and that Forczyk seems a bit eager to leap to the defense of the underdogs in a way that I think paints an over-optimistic picture of the French and Polish Armies and their dispositions. Don't get me wrong, he makes some impressive arguments and this is a badly needed perspective among the dearth of myths and even outright lies that have emerged from the period. 

  Case Red and  Case White are a pair of seriously indispensable books for wargamers fellas, especially if Battlefront ever does this period. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately the paucity of maps is something I’ve noticed in his other books, but we do have other sources for those. I’m glad you brought these two up. My interest is generally from 1942 on but it’s a nice change to revisit these earlier experiences. Thanks for the nudge to do so. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SimpleSimon,

Thanks for passing the word!  Decades ago, the US Army put out a small black covered book on the Polish Invasion. should be online at army.mil. Also, have you seen this?

https://www.bookdepository.com/Polish-Army-1939-Vincent-W-Rospond/9780990364948

Something else of note, I believe, is that the Poles, contrary to myth and widely held belief, put the hurts on the Luftwaffe and were not destroyed on the ground, caught unprepared. To the contrary, the Poles uderstood what was coming and operated operated for weeks from a whole bunch of dispersal fields and even with some primitive aircraft, inflicted painful losses on Hitler's mighty air arm. Bad enough that it took it quite some time to get ready for the upcoming invasion of France, etc. Further, the Poles, using their ground attack aircraft, caused the Wehrmacht a lot of misery, too. In toto, the Polish Air Force inflicted damage greatly disproportionate to its size and almost totally unknown, too.

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forcyzk also points out that years ago Steven Zaloga wrote a good take on the Polish campaign although it's a little old now. The Polish campaign is utterly buried in falsehood because for many decades the only available sources on it were highly suspect German ones which liked to color the Poles as inferior fighters. The Allies later contributed to much of the nonsense by circulating German claims that Poland's situation had been largely hopeless to begin with, but this is misleading. Poland's situation was hopeless because the Allies were unwilling to commit to assisting it as they were obligated to by treaty. Had they taken seriously the idea of military cooperation with Poland they might've been able to rescue it, or at least cap future German aggression more easily. However because of their own defeat in France a year later there was a rush to jump on descriptions of an unstoppable Wehrmacht Juggernaut to rationalize away their own failure. If the German Army was unstoppable then no one could claim that the British and French could've done any better! 

The Polish Army was short of equipment and arms, but it was most certainly not short of good leaders and tough soldiers. Many of whom escaped Poland and went on to become renowned leaders of Polish troops later on in the war such as Stanislaw Sosabowski, or remained in Poland to lead the Home Army against their occupier. It was Witold Pilecki, a Polish Army Cavalry Officer, who revealed Auschwitz to the world by, get this...intentionally getting himself arrested and sent there, and then feeding the Home Army information about the facility from within. He barely escaped from it (he was shot during his escape attempt, but the wound wasn't fatal) and went on to keep fighting in the Home Army. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...