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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski

Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski


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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski

Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski

This book followed Panzer Lehr Division from its formation at the very end of 1943, through its formation, an early expedition to Hungary, the fighting in Normandy and France and on to the Battle of the Bulge and the defence of Germany.

The title is a little misleading in that by the time the Panzer Lehr Division was actually formed Germany was firmly on the defensive, and so it spent very little of its time acting as a strike force - only one failed attack in Normandy and a not particularly successful role in the Battle of the Bulge, and the rest of the time was spend on the defensive. Panzer Lehr fought in Normandy, was almost wiped out at the end of the fighting there, was reformed to take part in the defensive of Germany's borders and then the battle of the Bulge.

The division succeeded a series of smaller units, some of which had served as a strike force, starting with the Panzer Lehr Regiment of 1938, Lehr-Brigade 900 (mot) of 1941, which fought on the Eastern Front and Lehr-Regiment 901, which would eventually become part of the division. The earliest units were formed as training and demonstration units, with the intention that part of the unit would serve at the front to make sure that the unit kept up-to-date with recent developments.

This is a good example of the sort of unit history that is quite familiar on the British side, where it normally covers a single regiment. The scope here is enlarged to cover an entire division, but the feel is the same, with a mix of a good narrative account of the fighting and detailed personal memories of individual incidents. One gets a good impression of how devastating Allied artillery bombardments could be, but also of how robust the German army was on the defensive.

Chapters
1 - Roots of the Division
2 - Activation of the Division
3 - In Vienna and Budapest
4 - The March to the Front
5 - The Fighting for Tilly
6 - Days of Horror
7 - A New Major Attack
8 - Westward
9 - Hell
10 - Retreat
11 - At the Westwall and Beyond
12 - Victory Lost: The Fighting in the Ardennes
13 - To the Bitter End

Author: Franz Kurowski
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 236
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011



ISBN 13: 9780811701587

Kurowski, Franz

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Franz Kurowski served as a reporter in the German Army during World War II and has since written over one hundred books. He lives in Germany.

This book follows the elite Panzer Lehr Division into the welter of battles from Normandy to the bitter end in the Ruhr pocket, focusing on the men who commanded the tanks, fired the rockets, and endured relentless aerial attacks - Military History Monthly Using a mixture of vivid narrative and veterans accounts, Franz Kurowski brilliantly describes the actions of this true elite. Pegasus Archive

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ISBN 10: 184884803X ISBN 13: 9781848848030
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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany'S Panzer Lehr Division in World War II Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 October 2011

I got this for free in the Kindle edition not long ago. It took awhile to finish reading it.

It is a more or less chronological account of the Panzer Lehr Division (PLD as the book calls it).

It is not a real long book, 2600+ locations, for whatever that means.

It starts out by talking about how the division was formed from the Panzer Lehr Regiment (PLR) and bits and pieces of other units and then its training to become a cohesive unit.

This is a translation (from German I would guess) so there are a few places where the wording is a little awkward. It uses a lot of abbreviations like PLD, which made sense, but it uses a lot of others to the point where there were enough abbreviations that I forgot what some of them stood for.

PLD was formed in 1943 in France and trained up in time to be used after the Normandy invasion. It was in almost continuous combat from that point until Germany collapsed. PLD pretty much ceased to exist along the way as it was all but destroyed in the collapse of Germany. At the end, all that was left was a shadow of its former self.

It follows the units fighting after the Normandy invasion. Mainly an almost continual retreat and brutal beating by Allied air power, with occasional periods of relief due to bad weather.

The author's admiration and respect for the PLD and its men and officers is apparent throughout the book. Sometimes we forget that the grunts on the other side of the trench were not a whole lot different than our grunts. Just guys in a big war trying to stay alive and help their comrades stay alive as well.

An interesting perspective from the other side of the war.

The back cover says it is a Stackpole book.

This book is typical Kurowski. Its an interesting blend of battle history and first hand accounts. The predominate coverage is within the division and the actions that they made or were made against them but you'll also get a glimpse of what the war was like in the immediate vicinity as well. You'll get to see how the PLD contributed to the surrounding front line. After a brief introduction covering the division's prehistory, activation and brief stint in Eastern Europe, the main theme begins with the division being in Normandy in June 1944. The PLD was used at times as a "fire brigade" and was moved around a bit. Its first action was to stop the British west of Caen in and around the Tilly area. In July the division was moved west to near the St Lo - Vire area to stop the Americans during Operation Cobra where they suffered heavy casualties. After being reorganized they find themselves as part of the Ardennes Offensive with special attention to the siege of Bastogne. After the failed attempt in the Ardennes, the Germans including the PLD make a fighting retreat behind the West Wall, the Rhine River and finally to the Ruhr area. The two biggest areas covered were the fighting at Tilly and at Bastogne.

Along the way, the author includes many first hand accounts of the soldiers of the division: some serious and grave and others more lighthearted.
If you have read the author before then you'll have a good idea of what to expect. Some of the author's earlier books weren't as consistently interesting, having slow passages to contend with. This book didn't have those slow areas it won't be unusual to finish this book in one sitting.
It had a few hand drawn maps and a few good photos. It also has an appendix covering a few of the officers and a list Knight's Cross recipients, a battle legend, an OB among other things. There is a decent Bibliography but a Notes Section and Index are missing.

I enjoyed the book and think others will too. I gave it four stars because the coverage is good but not in-depth. You'll read what it was like for the men and tankers of the division living their day to day lives. You'll see their difficulty of going up against a superior Allied force that had an air force that was too much to handle. It was a time when the Wehrmacht was sharply on the decline and you see that too but continued to fight valiantly. The tactical coverage is brief in this brief overview. There is another book by Dr Steindardt called "Panzer Lehr Division 1944-45" that while is not as interesting to read as the reviewed book, has much more tactical detail on General Bayerlein and his division. It also has better maps and additional photos to study. Between these two books you'll have a much better idea of the hard fighting abilities of the PLD and its commander in the last year of war.


Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II Kindle Edition

This book is a hotch-potch. It reads like it was thrown together in a hurry. It makes Charles Whiting's more 'cut and paste' books look like Anthony Beevor! Several personal accounts are strung together by stilted and adoring prose from an ex-Nazi war correspondent. Yes, you should not expect a balanced survey here. However, due to the lack of other sources in English you may still feel this is a worthwhile purchase. Combat descriptions from veterans are useful,exciting and interesting.

This is NOT a history of Panzer Lehr Armoured Division. It is really anecdotes about their time in Normandy and the Ardennes, with filler from all over the place. I suspect it is a direct reflection of its main source material - its commander's memoirs, which he has given permission to be extensively quoted. I suspect General Bayerlin was quite a good chap. He makes the Second World war seem like he was on the good side. His men fight hard, never retreat, act bravely, commit no atrocities. Ironically, I also suspect that it is all true! He (or maybe Kurowski) just manages to forget that they were the armed forces of the conquerors and oppressors of the nation they were fighting over. They are just 'there', not representing the jackboot, swastika, concentration camp, madness and mass-murder.

The 'real' issues do surface a few times though. A good place to see this is Page 35. The old chestnut of the one-armed officer being tied to the front of a 'Canadian' Vehicle is mentioned. In this version it's a tank not an armoured car. The alleged perpretators the 'Inns of Court', are wrongly identified as Canadian, when they were a British unit. Although this story has a low level of substantiation, it's inclusion is not my complaint. It may indeed have happened, and it would have involved a Panzer Lehr officer - perfectly relevant. Equally relevant would have been the context, which is not supplied - the multiple massacres of Canadian troops by the 12 SS Hitler Jugend post-interrogation (134 definites). 20% of Canadian 3rd Divison combat deaths were actually murders at that point. Panzer Lehr was intertwined with the Hitler Jugend. Both wore cuff titles. Both would have been regarded as Nazi criminals by the Canadians facing them, albeit wrongly.

Later on you will read that the French Resistance were 'rebels'! Yes, seeking to free one's own country from an invader is rebellion.

I suppose the inclusion of Michael Wittman's amazing feat of arms is just about relevant. It was indeed another adjacent unit on the same sector of the line. but it does read oddly. In fact, for a while it reads like the Germans were winning every engagement!To be fair, reality does set in, but still a slanted one. For instance all Allied units are assumed to be at full strength at all times, while all German units are reported at actual strength, or using vague percentages, excluding non-Grenadiers too sometimes. Even then, the enemy cannot be made out to be much more than double (triple needed at point of impact for victory) much of the time. So the special pleading has to begin. 'They had more planes. They had naval guns, etc'. Why was crushing the smaller, inferior Poles, Greeks, Belgians, Nowegians etc etc such a great feat of arms then? It is just common sense to try and obtain local superiority of numbers. NOT doing so (when the Germans indeed could have) is just poor strategy. Bayerlin apparently said that the D Day invasion could have been halted in 5 days if they had not had air supremacy (vide P.215). It could equally have been halted if all Allied troops had one leg, or all Allied troops only had bows, or, or or.

German prisoner numbers are not mentioned. Numbers of Allied prisoners taken by Panzer Lehr are often mentioned. Bayerlin claimed to an intefering High-Up in one anecdote that all his front-line troops were dead . In fact, many were prisoners. The Allies managed somehow to take more than a quarter of a million of them in Normandy by some terrible mistake. Didn't they know these were perfect German soldiery?

The actions before Bastogne are decribed in this book as the greatest reverse for American arms since Bataan! Apparently the only reason Panzer Lehr couldnt make the last 3 miles because the roads were too muddy. A nasty Belgian suggested they take the worst road. Why didn't they use all 3 roads then? Why not do something called reconnaisance? Actually, I do know why, and the conditions were poor, but this explanation is so lame it ruins the credibilty of that whole section. Kurowski could have looked up the real issues too. I'm afraid they included being out-fought. I cannot see why such an excellent formation has to be portrayed as if it deserved to win every time. Panzer Lehr was outstanding, just not perfect.

The translator was careful, particulary when signalling 'reverse translation' (ie English > German > English again). However, just looking up the Chester Wilmott or Field-Marshall Montgomery quotes would have been more sensible in my opinion. This is particularly in the light of numerous rather clunky phrases which come as a result of over-literal translation. The time could have been better spent on these.

What else is in there - some poor,most grainy, but interesting and even rare photos an Order of Battle for the division, selective list of Knights Cross recipients, list of engagements, some good sketch maps from the time. I don't reget the purchase, but still dont trust the material!


Elite Panzer Strike Force

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Elite Panzer Strike Force Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II by Franz Kurowski and Publisher Stackpole Books (NBN). Save up to 80% by choosing the eTextbook option for ISBN: 9780811744898, 0811744892. The print version of this textbook is ISBN: 9780811701587, 0811701581.

Elite Panzer Strike Force Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II by Franz Kurowski and Publisher Stackpole Books (NBN). Save up to 80% by choosing the eTextbook option for ISBN: 9780811744898, 0811744892. The print version of this textbook is ISBN: 9780811701587, 0811701581.


The Panzer Lehr Division, a German armoured division during World War II, was one of the most Elite units in the entire German Wehrmacht Heer. It was formed in 1943 from various units of elite training and demonstration troops stationed in Germany, to provide additional armoured strength for resisting the anticipated Allied invasion of western Europe.

Its great weakness was that it concentrated the cream of Germany's tank commanders and instructors in a single unit. Due to its elite status it was lavishly equipped in comparison to the ordinary Panzer divisions, though on several occasions it fought almost to destruction, in particular during Operation Cobra.

For the first time in English, this book follows the division from Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the war, showing how Germans fought Americans at St. Loand Bastogne.

Written in Kurowski's trademark`you-are-there' style, this includes numerous firsthand accounts based on interviews with veterans.
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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski - History

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The Panzer Lehr Division, a German armoured division during World War II, was one of the most Elite units in the entire German Wehrmacht Heer. It was formed in 1943 from various units of elite training and demonstration troops stationed in Germany, to provide additional armoured strength for resisting the anticipated Allied invasion of western Europe. Its great weakness was that it concentrated the cream of Germany's tank commanders and instructors in a single unit. Due to its elite status it was lavishly equipped in comparison to the ordinary Panzer divisions, though on several occasions it fought almost to destruction, in particular during Operation Cobra.

For the first time in English, this book follows the division from Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the war, showing how Germans fought Americans at St. Lô and Bastogne. Written in Kurowski's trademark you-are-there style, this includes numerous firsthand accounts based on interviews with veterans.

This is a good example of the sort of unit history that is quite familiar on the British side, where it normally covers a single regiment. The scope here is enlarged to cover an entire division, but the feel is the same, with a mix of a good narrative account of the fighting and detailed personal memories of individual incidents. One gets a good impression of how devastating Allied artillery bombardments could be, but also of how robust the German army was on the defensive.

History of War

The author provides a detailed account of all battles and engagements fought together with a number of useful appendices..
This book is illustrated with 60 photographs and can be recommended to all those interested in tank warfare, the German Army and the Second World War in general.

The Armourer

Using a mixture of vivid narrative and veterans accounts, Franz Kurowski brilliantly describes the actions of this true elite

Pegasus Archive

This book follows the elite Panzer Lehr Division into the welter of battles from Normandy to the bitter end in the Ruhr pocket, focusing on the men who commanded the tanks, fired the rockets, and endured relentless aerial attacks.

Military History Monthly

( 130th ) Panzer Lehr Division COMPOSITION : 130th Panzer Lehr Regiment ,
901st Panzer Lehr Grenadier Regiment . HOME STATION : Wehrkreis III The
Panzer Lehr was formed from the Demonstration ( Lehr ) units of Panzer Training
.

  • Author: Samuel W. Mitcham
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books
  • ISBN: 081173353X
  • Category: History
  • Page: 312
  • View: 503


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