Inside The Afrika Korps: The Crusader Battles, 1941-1942
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Inside The Afrika Korps: The Crusader Battles, 1941-1942 [Hardcover]

by Rainer Kriebel, United States Army Intelligence Service, Bruce Gudmundsson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 1999
This book presents the battles of the Afrika Korps as seen through the eyes of a trained general staff officer, and provides key insight into a formidable fighting force at the height of its power. Kriebel's account highlights the German response to the Crusader offensive and analyzes the unparalleled genius and fatal flaws of Erwin Rommel's generalship. Exposes the secrets of Rommel's exemplary fighting force's success as well as the dangers inherent in victory.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Gudmundsson is a respected authority on the German Army of World War II, and the author of numerous books and articles.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; First edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853673226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853673221
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,711,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indispensible Source May 10, 2000
I first became aware of the Kriebel manuscript when reading "Sidi Rezegh Battles, 1941" (OUP, 1957), the official South African account of Operation "Crusader". The text provides some vital insights into how and when the Afrika Korps made its transition to the Plains March style of formation, armored cars, tanks, armored personnnel carriers, towed howitzers, anti-tank guns, flak 88s, etc. during the interval between "Battleaxe" and "Crusader". This has not been widely reported in English, not even in Correli Barnett's provocative study of British generalship in the desert, "The Desert Generals".
The full manuscript has not been available to me before; the National Archives wanted $80 for a typescript copy a few years ago, and I could not afford that, unless I could secure viable commercial publication, which Stackpole beat me to. What the reader should understand is that German victory in the desert in winter of 1941 was not certain, and the eventual recovery was not certain either.
Kriebel gives the perspective of a detached staff officer analyzing a situation; he was the Ia (or first general staff officer)of the 15th Panzer Division, one of the principal units of the Afrika Korps, with operational planning authority, so he knows of what he speaks. The book takes the reader through a full narrative of the series of winter battles after giving one pertinent background, and then it analyzes significant factors contributing to success or failure, and provides rare portraits of Rommel and his three divisional commanders.
What more could you ask for in such a book?
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Inside the Afrika Korps is a rare operational account of some of the battles in North Africa from the German perspective. The material covers the campaign in the fall of 1941 (the British "Crusader" offensive), the retreat of Axis forces out of Cyrenaica, and the counterattack in early 1942 back to the Gazala positions. During these battles, Kriebel was the senior staff officer of the 15th Panzer Division, one of the units in Rommel's Afrika Korps. As a key member of the forces under Rommel, Kriebel is in an excellent position to analyze both the decision making of Axis commanders as well as the combat performance of the fighting units. This is in contrast to the typical accounts of the desert theater, which rely heavily (indeed exclusively for many) on Allied reports. So, at the very least, Kriebel provides a unique account of some familiar engagements.
The book is divided into two sections. The first is Kriebel's coverage of combat operations from fall 1941 through January 1942. These operations include the opening Crusader battles (the British offensive to relieve Tobruk), Rommel's "dash to the wire", the subsequent retreat of the Axis forces out of Cyrenaica, and Rommel's counterattack through Cyrenaica back to the Gazala positions. Kriebel's description of combat is quite good, and he has a very interesting technical and tactical story to tell. He is conscious of the various effects of different types of weapons and units, and is clear in his explanations of use and usefulness. He is also very clear about what he thinks were the key events that shaped each engagement. For example, one battle went poorly for the Germans due to a failed recon mission. This is very "nuts and bolts" stuff...the very sort of stuff that cannot be gotten from any other source.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! February 27, 2008
"Inside The Afrika Korps: The Crusader Battles, 1941-1942" by Mr. Rainer Kriebel and edited by Bruce Gudmundsson is a rare insight under the hood of the notoriously famous Afrika Korps. The other two reviewers have thoroughly explained this and I totally agree with them. I will not discuss this further in my review.
What I want to add here is my opinion on the editing of the book. I do not know whether there are many different editions of this book. I cannot say whether all books apply to my findings, but I was really disappointed with the editing of my copy of this book. I am Dutch and English is not my mother tongue. I have read my share of English books on the subject of military history and consider myself quite capable of judging a book on its contents (pun not intended).
Especially the first eighty odd pages contained some very sloppy writing, a lot of typographic errors and were probably translated by an amateur. After that section it got better concerning the translation (it turned into real English), but the typo's were still there. Practically on each page I found one or two sentences that looked really weird. The typo's got less towards the end of the book.
All this did not stop me from finishing the book and appreciating it for what it is (see the first line of this review), but it made it all very difficult for me. It turned out a hell of a job to work through this text. With a bit more effort into the editing, this book could become a big favourite for all military historians interested in the life and death of the Afrika Korps. I still highly recommend it!
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