Hard cover, small format (6" x 9"), 436 pages with 40 pages of black and white photographs, 34 mostly full-page maps and 78 pages of appendices.
The Polizei-Division (Police Division), as it was originally called, was one of the lesser-known combat formations of the Waffen-SS. It was formed in October 1939 and was composed primarily of police officers, who volunteered to join the division, and it served almost exclusively on the Eastern Front until the end of the war, where it eventually was equipped as a Panzergrenadier-Division (mechanized division). This volume of the two-part history covers the formation of the division in 1939, its employment during the so-called "Phony War" prior to the campaign in France in 1940, its participation in the later stages of that campaign and, finally, its commitment in the East in the northern theater of operations. It was in the East that the division earned its reputation as a tough and able combatant force, where it was especially steadfast in the defense.
The division fought its way through the Russian Luga position and all the way to the gates of Leningrad (Saint Petersburg). Its shining hour was in the defense along the Wolchow River, where the Russians attempted to provide relief to the beleaguered city of Leningrad and trap a large portion of Heeresgruppe Nord (Army Group North) in a pocket of their own. The Polizei-Division, later renamed the SS-Polizei-Division during this stage of its history, was the lynch pin in the myriad of operations launched to both eliminate the Russian breakthrough and then trap the cut-off and encircled Russian forces. The volume finishes with the fighting in late 1942 and early 1943 east of Kolpino and along the Narwa River bend.
Friedrich Husemann, himself a former member of the divisional artillery, provides an in-depth look at his former division. The account relies heavily on first-hand sources. Besides formation war diaries and period after-action reports, Husemann has gleaned accounts from a number of surviving members of the division. Although many divisional histories are "dry" reading, this one offers the reader not only a view from the foxhole, it also places the role of the division in the larger operational picture.