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Is there a "bible" on the Wehrmacht or German Land Forces?


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Just wondering if there is a comprehensive, but easy to understand (I'm no grog, whatever a grog is) book or series on German forces or German land forces that covers the basics of tactics, compositions of typical companies and the life... maybe kinda like that Oxford Companion to World War Two but a little bit of theory and rank insignia and uniforms and thinhs mixed in.. yeah, I think that's a good jumble...

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German Infantry Handbook by Alex Buchner is comprehensive and affordable.

German Infantry Handbook at Amazon.com

Also look for the online version of the US Army field manual GUIDE TO GERMAN FORCES (I think).

M. Hofbauer has the link to this one; I lost it when I changed computers.

Just checked Hof's site - here is the first set of chapters:

http://carlisle-www.army.mil/cgi-bin/usamhi/DL/showdoc.pl?docnum=351

Hmm, download isn't working for me right now - the correct title is HANDBOOK ON GERMAN FORCES and was printed in 1945; some of the info is a bit inaccurate (it was written by the Americans during the war, so this is to be expected) but overall is a good source of info.

[ March 04, 2002, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: Michael Dorosh ]

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I picked up a copy of this back in the early 80s, and it is money well spent if you can find a copy.

Full title is:

Handbook on German Military Forces

United States War Department Technical Manual

15 March 1945

TM-E 30-451

Chapters include:

i) The German Military System

ii) Organization of the Field Forces

iii) Other Military and Auxiliary Organizations

iv) Tactics

V) Fortifications and defenses

VI) Supply, evacuation and movements

VII) Weapons

VIII) Equipment

IX) Uniforms, Insignia and Individual Equipment, and

X) German Air Force

Mace

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Handbook of German Military Forces?

I recommend you go with a different source. While quite good in some areas, it is horrible in others. It is based on Allied intelligence during the war and is decidedly out of date. Also, it only focuses on 44-45 so if you want to know about anything prior to that you are SOL

If you are serious, can read German and have the money, I suggest:

Verbande und Truppen der Deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945 by Georg Tessin & Christian Zweng

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Here's an easy link to the Handbook, along with other interesting documents:

http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/DL/chron.htm#AWorldWarII19391945

http://www.lexikonderwehrmacht.de/ is very useful, but in German. I guess you could try to translate it with Babelfish, though I doubt it would do a very good job with all the technical terms.

As for books, there's also James Lucas' German Army Handbook 1939-1945. Haven't read it myself and have heard very mixed things about it.

For this with the cash and/or knowledge of German, you may want to try John R. Angolia and Adolf Schlicht's series of three books on the Wehrmacht, available in both English and German, though I believe some of the former editions may be out of print.

Phillipe Masson's Die Deutsche Armee. Geschichte der Wehrmacht 1935 - 1945. is supposed to be very good. I'll probably be getting this one myself soon and let people here know about it if so.

Well, thanks for the suggestions and I'll check out what I can check out.
Of which, don't forget your local university library and/or inter-library loan services at your public library.

[ March 04, 2002, 09:09 AM: Message edited by: Stacheldraht ]

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Angolia is out of print - his multi-volume work on the Army was excellent. This won't interest you Kruger, but for anyone that speaks German and has the money, if you go to Amazon.de you can order a recently reprinted German version - all in one volume - I just did that 2 days ago, the price is 45 Euros - with shipping it ended up being 75 dollars Canadian.

Go here for the German Version of Angolia.

I don't speak German, but I managed to navigate my way through registration of my credit card and ordering.

I hope.

[ March 04, 2002, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: Michael Dorosh ]

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I have Lucas' book, and it is a mixed bag. It is good for a novice who wants a VERY general overview of the Wermacht - everything from a description of an "Elefant" to the classes of Iron Crosses issued. However there is a lot of stuff left out.

It also gives a one or two paragraph of EVERY German division or independant unit - that's handy.

Basically: good for a novice or someone with a small interest, but for us, we need to get two or three dedicated volumes, I think, to get a good over-all perspective

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Like most anything else, there isn't one book that's going to be a "bible" of the Wehrmacht. The topic of the Wehrmacht is like the bible in that it can be 1) long 2) filled with many stories/accounts 3) contradictory at certain points.

The only way to get an accurate view, or anything close to it, is to read several books by serveral authors and do some analysis. You really can't trust anyone to do it for you since human beings seem to have their own prejudices and agendas.

Most of the books you'll find on the subject assume a lot like you know what basic military terms are. If you are a newbie to the topic, which you obviously are, you may want to start off with a book called "Blitzkrieg" by Len Deighton. The nice thing about this book is that it's nowhere near as long as the sagas most of us here read; it's certainly cheaper than getting books like Panzertruppen; and it does go through not only history but also bothers to explain some tactics, strategy, and weaponery like what the difference between a mortar, gun, and howitzer are. Many books will not do this because they assume you already know these kinds of things. However, this book covers the early campaign in the West so you are not going to find any info on the glamour cats (Tiger, Panther, Sturm/Jagd variants).

If you are looking for an all-in-one book, just keep in mind that such books will definitely skimp on the details or can be so vague to the point of not really being all that helpful. For example, if you need info on German uniforms, it's probably better to get a book dedicated to such a topic like the SOLDAT series by Cyrus Lee. A jack of all trades usually means a master of none.

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