4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
M. G Watson
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
So many books have been written about the Wehrmacht that for the interested reader, one suffers not from a lack but rather a wealth of choices. However, since books of this type are usually pretty expensive, the real question then becomes how, and where, to spend your money.
GERMAN INFANTRY IN WW2 (ORDER OF BATTLE)is -- despite its unimaginative and nerdy title -- is actually an enjoyable little read. I say "little" because the book is less than 200 pages and very light on text, centering mainly on maps, charts, graphs and a few pictures; but it would not be fair to call it superficial. Considering the brevity of the chapters, it does an admirable job of following the Reichsheer from its clandestine reconstruction after the Great War to the rearmament phase and the "bloodless conquests", and finally through all of the wartime campaigns right up to the bitter end in '45. The author, Chris Bishop, rightfully brings to light that while the panzers, Waffen-SS, paratroops and so forth get most of the attention from history buffs, it was the ordinary German infantry division, almost entirely without motor transport, inadequately supplied with food and equipment, and usually short on manpower -- which was the keystone of all German victories and successes in the war; and which, he adds, bore the brunt of the worst and most vicious fighting.
In addition to the campaign histories, the book shows the order of battle for the German armies throughout the conflict and the organization of typical divisions, which changed repeatedly as the war went on. It also includes brief, bullet-point biographies of key German generals, breakdowns of divisions deployed by theater, and so forth. The overall idea is to acquaint the reader not merely with the accomplishments of the infantry arm but the many challenges it faced, and the martial philosophy by which the leaders led and the troops fought (which can be boiled down to "train hard, fight easy"; or, as Rommel put it, "Sweat saves blood.")
Author Bishop, by no means a fan of Hitler, rightly gives the German soldier praise for his extraordinary discipline and toughness; actually he gives the Nazi system less credit than it deserves for motivating the ordinary German soldier to fight (even diehard antiNazis like Gotthard Heinrici admitted after the war that "like it or not, the resilience of the German soldier was largely due to his faith in Hitler and National Socialism"). This is balanced by praise for Germany's enemies, particularly the Soviets, who despite their dogmatism and clumsy, unimaginative approach to warfare were terrifyingly resilient and knew how to play to their strengths.
The main drawbacks of this book are the fact that Bishop buys heavily into the "official" view of the war, as posited by Guderian, Manstein, Mellenthin, et al, with the result that he gives the German generals too much credit, and Hitler too little, for the success of German arms during the war. Hitler certainly made his share of catastrophic blunders, but he was often let down by the unimaginativeness and moral flabbiness of his military leadership. Likewise, Bishop's statistics are occasionally a bit curious and, in attempting to cover so much ground so quickly (less than 200 pages), he necessarily bites off more than he can chew. But none of these criticisms really adds up to much: they are outweighed by the many useful facts which explain not only how the Germans were organized and deployed, but how they managed to keep the whole world at bay for six long years of war.