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Berlin 1945: End of the Thousand Year Reich (Campaign, Band 159) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. Oktober 2005

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By mid-April 1945, Hitler's Third Reich was staring into the abyss. Less than 60 miles to the east, the Red Army was poised to seize the German capital. On 16 April, Stalin unleashed his forces, and days later, Berlin was surrounded. The Soviet soldiers fought their way into the devastated German capital, and on the morning of 30 April, the men of MajGen Perevertkin's 79th Rifle Corps began their attack on the Reichstag, the symbolic heart of the Reich. Despite fanatical resistance and close-quarter fighting in every room, that evening the Red Banner was raised over the Reichstag and Berlin; Hitler had committed suicide the same day. Berlin surrendered unconditionally and Germany surrendered to the Allies on 7 May - the war in Europe was at an end.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Peter D Antill has a background in international politics and defence studies, with a BA in International Relations from Staffordshire University and an MSc in Strategic Studies from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. A former Research Assistant in the Department of Defence Management and Security Analysis at Cranfield from 1998 to 2002, Peter is now pursuing a career as a writer. He is based in Swindon, UK.

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Amazon.com: 8 Rezensionen
34 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Cut 'n Paste History 10. November 2005
Von R. A Forczyk - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
The fall of Berlin 1945 has not received the type of in-depth, detailed and accurate historical writing that other Second World War campaigns have attracted. Even the better efforts, like books by Cornelius Ryan or Antony Beevor, are essentially journalistic accounts with limited military detail. To date, a good, focused military history of the Berlin campaign has not been written. Unfortunately, Osprey's Campaign #159 by Peter Antill is not that book either. Indeed, it is hard to assess Berlin 1945 as anything but a weak effort, entirely based upon easily-available secondary sources, with no attempt at analysis or original research. The author's narrative does not offer any new insights or information on the campaign, although it does provide a useful day-by-day summary framework.

The author's campaign chronology reveals an inability to retain focus on this subject, with many events included that occurred either decades before or decades after the actual campaign, such as "JFK's speech in Berlin in 1963" or the "renovation of the Bundestag in 1999." The chronology section, intended to highlight key dates andevents in the campaign, was wasted as a general history of 20th Century Germany. The sections on opposing commanders is adequate, although the capsule biographies provide little insight into the strengths and weaknesses of various leaders. The section on opposing plans seems to miss the fact that many of the best German forces still available were diverted to Hungary and that Hitler had not expected such a quick attack on Berlin. The section on opposing armies is little more than boilerplate material, with little discussion of how many men, guns, tanks, etc were available to defend Berlin. The changing nature of the Wehrmacht (ie less, but better-armed infantry and a greater reliance on small, but powerful armored units) is not discussed. Nor is there any real discussion of the hodgepodge of units that appeared around Berlin in the final weeks, such as the RAD Divisions - which the author mentions, but does not explain the acronym (Labor Service Divisions). Just what exactly was the "SS Anhalt Regiment" in Berlin? The German order of battle presented in this volume has some significant omissions, such as the 33rd SS Charlemagne `Division' and the 503rd SS Heavy Tank Battalion, both of which played major roles in Berlin. Furthermore, the author's tendency to constantly refer to this or that German unit as a `division' without any attempt at qualification offers a very inaccurate view of the battle, since many units like SS Nordland or the Muncheburg Panzer had never reached division size even before the battle and were little more than battlegroups. Even many of the Soviet units were so burnt out from casualties (over 300,000 in a few weeks) that many `rifle divisions' were more like `regiments.'

This volume includes four 2-D maps (Soviet offensive operations, January-February 1945; the encirclement of Berlin; squeezing the Berlin pocket; breakout of the 9th Army) and three 3-D BEVs (attack on the Seelow heights; into the center of Berlin; assault on the Reichstag). The three battle scenes are: the Seelow Heights; urban warfare in Berlin and the attack on the Reichstag. It is interesting that there are no civilians or Volksturm prominently depicted in any of the battle scenes, despite there noticeable presence on the Berlin battlefield. The veracity of the scene on the Seelow Heights is quite questionable, since it depicts the 9th Fallschirmjager as properly-equipped paratroopers, with perfect kit,' rather than the rag-bag, late-war formation that it actually was comprised. Noticeably, there is no photographic evidence to support this depiction of the German defenders. Furthermore, does anyone believe that lightly armed paratroopers could stop a Soviet Tank Army, even on marshy terrain, or survive one of the heaviest artillery barrages of the war? The really tough nut on the Seelow Heights was in fact several assault gun units, which racked up huge kill tallies and were relatively impervious to Soviet artillery. Looking at the battle scenes in this volume, a reader might conclude that the defenders of the Nazi capital were all well-uniformed Waffen SS and paratroopers, rather than the under-age Hitler Youth and over-age Volksturm (as well as many foreign nationals). While model builders might enjoy these battle depictions, they do not accurately convey the actual conditions in this battle.

The actual campaign narrative employs a day-by-day structure, which is a good approach for a short campaign like this, but descriptions like "the 5th Shock Army attacked the SS Nordland Division" really don't describe much. Furthermore, the intensity of the fighting in Berlin is muted in this account, due to the lack of first-person accounts or descriptions of small unit actions, except around the Reichstag. The author's account also tends to lean toward the Soviet-version of the battle, with scant mention of German counterattacks at Kustrin or inside Berlin. For example, the 503rd SS Heavy Tank Battalion's King Tigers launched a very powerful counterattack near the Reichstag in the last few days of the battle, destroying over thirty T-34 tanks outside the Reichstag, but there is no mention of such disruptions to the Soviet timetable. Indeed, the loss of over 2,000 Soviet tanks in this short campaign - far more than at Kursk - indicates that the Wehrmacht inflicted some painful rebuffs even in its death throes.

The aftermath section is a bit overblown for a volume this size, with too many events that occurred well after the campaign (while leaving out relevant items, like the major effort it required to demolish the three flak towers). The Battlefield today section also has little relevance to the campaign. The bibliography is particularly weak, including films, pulp history magazines, general histories and four other Osprey titles. It does not appear that any primary source material from either Germany or Russia were consulted and even the best secondary sources are absent.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very good, if imperfect. research work on the defense (and attacks) of the "last stand" of the Third Reich. 28. April 2015
Von Dr. Tom's Reviews - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Fantastic research work on the defenses (and attacks) of the "last stand" of the Third Reich. Excellent diagrams, artwork, and archival photographs. I did have some issues - as did other reviewers, who noted these deficiencies quite well - with some of the facts. I do think some reviews were overly critical, in that Osprey books are not meant to provide comprehensive, definitive historical accounts. I do, though, expect them to be accurate. Overall, this book does provide that, and judged on those merits, I found this book useful, enjoyable, and largely in keeping with the facts (largely, not wholly).

I am particularly interested in the various flak towers that were used to defend Berlin in the last days (Seelow Heights, etc.), and unfortunately this book didn't cover those in much detail at all.

But, it does provide very good descriptions of the final battles, strategies, and the endgame of WW2.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
It could and should have been a much better book 22. Mai 2012
Von Maciej - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a courageous thing to tackle such a great and archicomplexe battle with only one volume of limited size and I think the author and the editor did - with some reserves - the best they could.

The battle is explained clearly, although by necessity superficially (lack of space). Color plates are very good and there is three of them - it seems that after a short period of cheap and mean policy Osprey gave us back the third plate, greatly missed in some of the previous volumes. There is however one black spot - two out of three large two page maps (those which describe the fight in the city itself) are hardly of any help. They are difficult to understand and this is a pity, because the great maps in Osprey Campaign series are usually of high quality. Not so much this time.

One very strange and DISTURBING thing can be found in the description of events leading to the battle. Although very limited by the space attributed for this great event, author found the two lines necessary to precise that in August 1944 the Soviet Army "was unable to lend any assistance to the Polish Home Army as it rose against the Germans on 1 August 1944 (...) The result was that despite the Soviets dropping supplies to the insurgents towards the end of September, the Home Army had been crushed by overwheming German force by 2 October". Well, this statement, albeit mostly true, describes only part of reality and therefore is MISLEADING in its extreme generosity to Soviets.

The fact is that even when towards the end of August 1944 Soviet forces reached Vistula at Warsaw, no help was provided to the insurgents, as Stalin expressely forbid it. As result Home Army insurgents could see daily Soviet soldiers sunbathing peacefully on the other side of the river, barely 2500 yards away, when themselves were fighting Germans... In fact Stalin also stopped Polish troops fighting alongside the Soviet Army from helping the Home Army fighting Germans in Warsaw and made obstacle to the Allied aviation trying to drop supplies on Warsaw by forbidding their landing on Soviet airstrips. Only when it was too late to save Warsaw insurgents, Stalin agreed that some Polish troops cross the river, but no more than two battalions - even if two Polish divisions were available. It was a suicide mission but all soldiers in those two battalions (2000 men) volunteered nevertheless and crossed the river on 15 September - eight days later 250 survivors managed to get back. Stalin also agreed to some limited drops of supplies in the end of September, but only by small Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes - and without use of parachutes, which meant that whatever was dropped was crushed at landing and therefore useless... Not mentioning any of this makes those two lines described above into a distortion of truth... Also, it is hard to understand why author took a valuable space to place this statement in a book which has nothing to do with Warsaw 1944 tragedy.

This book is also clearly too short - such a climactic event would deserve a two volumes series, with the first one describing the Oder crossing and the great 16 April offensive of the Soviet Army and the second one the encircling and capture of Berlin itself. The editor made a mistake by denying this possibility to the author - this is after all the end of WWII in Europe, the fall of Third Reich, death of Hitler and the beginning of the Cold War. Osprey editors here is a message for you: be more generous when the great history is involved! You did well with the Normandy 1944 series (4 volumes well deserved) and with the special larger edition for Gettysburg 1863 - next time try to do the right thing with Berlin 1945! How about a reprint in two volumes in 5 years?

All in all the book, although definitely too short, is not so bad, especially considering that there are few good publications on this topic.
This is a good overview 4. Januar 2014
Von DVo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I wanted to know more about the battle and how it developed but I did not want an extremely in depth overview of the battle. I read through some parts a few times and I generally though it was a pretty good overview of the battle. I think one upgrade to the book would be slightly better mapping of the city and the progress the advancing russians were making day by day, but otherwise it was a great book that sets the stage for the battle after the Sielow Heights to its end.
2 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The author doesn't do his homework 20. April 2009
Von Dave Schranck - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
A challenging task in writing a large scale campaign for Osprey is to wisely choose the most important facts from the universe of knowledge about the topic. In his earlier campaign on Stalingrad, the author had problems with this task and once again he chooses unwisely, presenting some secondary or tangential aspects over small but primary aspects.
In the introduction, five pages are consumed talking about the whole war. The December 1940 plans for Barbarossa is mentioned, the attempted negotiations with Britain the same year, Kursk, Operation Bagration, Warsaw Uprising and the Polish Home Army, the Courtland Pocket, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Prussia and finally reaching the Oder. These are all credible issues but not all of them belong in this issue, consuming five pages.

The Chronology is next and three pages are devoted to it and spans 60 years from 1939 to 1999. One page would've been adequate to cover the campaign. There are many events during the last month that weren't covered that take priority over events of 20 to 50 years later.
The Opposing Commanders section was good, covering the top echelon commanders. The Opposing Armies section was OK but a little too generic. It did include an Order of Battle for both sides. In Opposing Plans, the German plan was OK but the Allied Plan was off the mark. The author devotes too much time discussing Montgomery, Eisenhower and the Western Front. It didn't seem appropriate for this venue.

If you deduct the photos, maps, and illustrations, there is only 26 pages of battle coverage. When you consider the extent of the battle with all the key people, the many Armies involved in the many engagements throughout the different sectors that included rivers and canals, this coverage is insufficient to do an excellent job. The coverage does cover key issues but there are some missing or included but not covered sufficiently. The prose is choppy as well.

There are four 2-D maps and three 3-D maps. They are: the Vistula Campaign, the encirclement of Berlin Apr 16-28, Squeezing the Pocket Apr 23-28 and the Breakout of 9th Army. The 3-D maps are: the assault on Seelow Heights, center of Berlin, the assault on the Reichstag.
The maps are good but could've been better. The Vistula map was the best of the group but it doesn't belong in this campaign. The timeframe and scale of the other three 2-D maps was off, not giving the best presentation of the Soviets closing the noose. The 3-D map of Seelow Heights was of little benefit. The photos were good and the three illustrations were eye catching.
In Aftermath, the author starts out well but then loses focus again and extends his coverage to the Berlin airlift, the wall, John Kennedy's visit in 1963. Gorbachev's Glasnost etc. There were no mention of costs of the campaign or the fact the German Army was on life support by April but was still able to inflict heavy casualties on the Soviets. The author briefly mentions the care of Berliners after the surrender but it could have been greatly expanded and been more germane than talking about future events. A brief mention of war crimes also seems relevant.
A Bibliography of secondary sources which Mr Antill relied on heavily and an Index complete the campaign.
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