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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strengths Outweigh Some Flaws
Casemate has turned out an excellent unit history of the German 6th Fallschirmjager Regiment (FJR 6). HBO Band of Brothers fans may note that the German paratroopers depicted in the film's Carentan attack, along with Waffen SS of 17th SS-Panzer Division "Gotz von Berlichingen" were those of FJR 6. Originally published in German, this English language translation is...
Published on November 14, 2011 by Gregory Canellis

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read
The translation of this book was, in my opinion, very poor. It made reading difficult. Furthermore pictures and photographs were scattered throughout the book completely at random. Then, every now and again, and often, the font would change to a very large size which also made reading the book, in a coherent manner, an unpleasant task. There was also an implied assumption...
Published 20 months ago by Gary E. Corcoran


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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strengths Outweigh Some Flaws, November 14, 2011
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This review is from: LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 (Hardcover)
Casemate has turned out an excellent unit history of the German 6th Fallschirmjager Regiment (FJR 6). HBO Band of Brothers fans may note that the German paratroopers depicted in the film's Carentan attack, along with Waffen SS of 17th SS-Panzer Division "Gotz von Berlichingen" were those of FJR 6. Originally published in German, this English language translation is welcomed, but not flawless. Sprinkled with testimonies of Fallschirmjager veterans, and many extremely rare photographs, most from private collections, makes this a valuable addition to one's elite unit collection.

FJR 6 had a varied combat history. Organized in February 1943, the unit fought on several fronts, each operation making up a chapter in the book. After Italy's capitulation, FJR 6 were dropped outside Rome, and fought Italian troops to ensure the city remained in German hands. Lucky to receive a mere sentence in most World War II histories, this highly detailed chapter of this bitter struggle, that lasted nearly three months is enlightening.

Sent to the Russian Front during the winter of 1943/1944, FJR 6 plugged gaps, and held off hordes of attacking Russian infantry and tanks. Always short of supplies, especially ammunition, (a theme that permeates throughout) FJR 6 troopers suffered not only enormous battle casualties, but also the affects of the infamous Russian winter.

Reorganized again at Cologne-Wahn during the spring of 1944, FJR 6 was then sent to Normandy just in time to defend against the Allied invasion. Made-up of raw recruits and personnel from other branch services, many time saving and inventive training procedures were employed, making this chapter insightful to our understanding of Fallschirmjager training methods. Written from the German perspective, it is surprising to read stories of American paratroopers losing firefights among the treacherous hedgerows, being taken prisoner, or Fallschirmjager storming a building defended by American Airborne, and killing them all to the last man. Grounded down to near ineffectiveness after the Allied breakout from Normandy, FJR 6 troopers, sometimes in small groups, or individually, escaped or delayed the advancing Allies who were right on their heels.

Hastily rebuilt once again, the unit was sent to Holland, and engaged in multiple delaying actions against British XXX Corps along the infamous "Hell's Highway" during Operation Market Garden. Replenished still once again with young boys with no military training, FJR 6 was deployed to the Huertgen Forest region. The chapter devoted to FJR 6 commander Colonel Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte's mission to parachute behind American lines during The Battle of the Bulge offers rare insight, with many excerpts of von der Heydte's memoirs. In the shadow of the infamous Malmedy Massacre, it is interesting that on several occasions, von der Heydte's troopers captured groups of Americans, only to turn them loose, because they did not have the men to guard them. Included is the seriously injured von der Heydte's touching letter to a ranking American officer offering surrender and asking that his wounded Fallschirmjager be treated in the same humane way he had treated American prisoners. A last futile attempt to replenish FJR 6 with a wound convalescing battalion in March 1945, eventually resulted in FJR 6 entering captivity on April 17.

While the many rare photographs and veteran's testimonies provide the book's strengths, there are a few critiques. Although a map is provided for each operation, they are the over simplified, computer generated type, showing a general operational area, and very little troop movements. The total absence of an index, or any semblance of a bibliography or notes are unfortunate omissions, especially for a unit history containing this much detail, and personal interviews. Appendices containing extensive Rosters of staff officers and company commanders, Iron Cross recipients, and charts containing battle dates and locales, are to be expected. Lists of military postal codes, and Identification Tag (Dog Tag) numbers, however, would seem to be of interest to only a small select few family members or researchers. Lastly, the German to English translation is dry at best, and one will notice several instances where a better word choice could have been employed.

Despite these blemishes, this book comes highly recommended to anyone interested in the German Fallschirmjager of World War II.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Two Years of WW II looked like from the perspective of a German paratrooper regiment, October 8, 2011
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This review is from: LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 (Hardcover)
The volume chronicles the deployments, actions, men and equipment of the German 6th Fallschirmjager (paratrooper) Regiment (FJR 6), under the direction of the Luftwaffe, from early 1943 to the end of the war in 1945. This was one of the most respected units in the German Wehrmacht during this period. The work weaves together the running narrative of the author, Volker Griesser, which covers what troops were where doing what with primary materials including letters, recollections, and diaries of officers and enlisted men. The regiment saw action in Italy, Russia, France, Holland, and Germany. After extended action and tremendous losses in Russia, the unit was reformed and deployed to Normandy where its troops were the first to encounter Allied paratroopers landing the night before D-Day. FJR 6 played a key role in slowing the Allied advance from the Normandy beach heads, especially around Carentan, and at numerous points later in 1944 and 1945.

Hearing about the war from the other side, especially through diaries, recollections, and letters, may be of interest to those who had relatives participating in these actions or those with a historical interest. One sees how the war was the same on every side: understated but smart, experienced officers who made the right moves and got respect from their men; other officers clueless and making things worse; grudging respect when confronted with a tenacious and courageous opponent; the absurd and random nature of war (the paratroopers sometimes would be mistaken as Allied troops by other Allied troops, even at close quarters, because their helmets, designed for jumps as well as combat, were not the standard German army design); and continual shortages and confusion. But obviously it became quite different on the German side toward the end with severe inadequacies in men and materiel.

The translation seems to do an especially nice job of cleanly rendering into English the personal documents (e.g., Oberstleutnant von der Heydte's letter to his troops when he was removed from command for a different and ultimately ill fated assignment), and the diaries or personal recollections of the regular paratroopers as well as officers.

There is controversial material here. Soldiers were convinced that Allied paratroopers landing before and after D-Day were under explicit orders to take no prisoners, and thus would kill surrendering German soldiers. Some Germans saw things that they interpreted as supporting that view.

Sometimes the overarching narrative and recollections do not transition seamlessly, and the accounting gets more jumbled in the last couple of months of the war as chaos mounted on the German side. But these are minor limitations for a volume that largely succeeds in providing an accurate accounting, accompanied by pictures and personal perspectives, of a key German regiment in the last two years of WW II, and provides enough in the participants' words so that the reader has some sense of what it was like on the ground.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Combat History, October 17, 2011
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This review is from: LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 (Hardcover)
A very good account of the combat operations of the 6th Fallschirmjager Regiment, from its activation in 1943 to its surrender in 1945. We follow these `Green Devils' from their first operation in Rome when Italy tried to surrender in 1943, then into the hard and heavy fighting in Russia back across to Europe to participate in the German efforts to repeal the Allied invasion in Normandy and then into Holland, the Eifel Region and then the Ardennes.

The book has some excellent, never seen-before photographs of these German paratroopers in action and lots of them. The one failing of this book, or I should say the publishers failing, is a substandard effort in editing. I came across numerous typos, spelling mistakes and badly translated sentences which spoilt the overall affect of this book and tarnished the great effort the author took to make this an exceptional book on these Fallschirmjager's.

Overall a great book and well worth the time to read and should be in every serious military library and I hope that the publishers take the time to edit the book in its next printing run and fix these very basic errors.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read, November 27, 2012
By 
Gary E. Corcoran (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lions of Carentan (Kindle Edition)
The translation of this book was, in my opinion, very poor. It made reading difficult. Furthermore pictures and photographs were scattered throughout the book completely at random. Then, every now and again, and often, the font would change to a very large size which also made reading the book, in a coherent manner, an unpleasant task. There was also an implied assumption on the author's part that the English reader had an understanding of the military ranks within the German army.
My bottom line is that it was a very amateurish translation and thus took any pleasure or interest away from its reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII History From Another Perspective, February 17, 2012
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This review is from: Lions of Carentan (Kindle Edition)
Had I not known beforehand that this was a history of a German parachute regiment, the first-hand combat accounts could have just as well been written by American or British paratroopers. This book shows that the heroism, sacrifice, and courage exhibited by men engaged in combat, regardless of their nationalities, are universal. American airborne units are part of the Army, but German Fallschirmjäger (parachute) units were part of the Luftwaffe (Air Force). Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6, which became known as "The Lions of Carentan," was an elite unit that fought in Italy, Russia, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. They mostly fought as infantry units but also conducted airborne operations in Italy and the Ardennes. But despite their obvious courage, it became apparent that the Fallschirmjäger were eventually overwhelmed by the massive resources available to the Allies.

Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 earned their "The Lions of Carentan" nickname during their fight for the town of Carentan, which is located on the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. One of their primary opponents was the American 101st Airborne Division, a battle that was featured in a segment of the "Band of Brothers" TV mini-series. One of the first-hand accounts described how the Germans marveled over how well-equipped the captured or KIA American paratroopers were since all carried personal items (chocolate, cigarettes, etc.), a harbringer of what the future held.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Proud Salute to Our Combat Veterans!, June 16, 2012
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This review is from: Lions of Carentan (Kindle Edition)
As a Vietnam veteran and a student of history I raise my hand in salute to the FJR 6 German paratroopers who fought for the Wehrmacht from its initial formation in 1943 until the war ended in 1945. The Fallschirmjager 6 was organized as a paratrooper organization which fought upon their landings in Italy. This book chronicles the actions and deeds of a Luftwaffe ground unit which was an elite unit who were known to fight in actions which held defensive positions to the last round in many occasions. This unit from the very beginning held an élan to effect change on the battlefield.
In their fighting with the Americans in Normandy, they displayed incredible resourcefulness in fighting the Americans in the hedgerow country of Northern France. They experienced the fierce resources of the Americans as they proved to be a worthy opponent of the Allies trying to advance in Northern France. It is here in this space that these brave and well trained troopers made their mark on being the true infantry troopers that they were.
The FJR6 were on the front lines in the Eastern Front of Europe, onto the paratrooper landings in Greece onto the combat fields of Italy. Later they progressed on the Western front and fought in Normandy and fought on in Holland and onto defending Germany itself. In all instances this unit fought with elan and valor. This unit represented all the good values of Germany. In many instances I felt very uncomfortable of descriptions of German successes and the capturing off American, Canadian and British troops.
However I found that the Western Front of battle in the Second World War was very much different than the war in the Eastern Front. On the Western Front there was the code of civility as described herein. The forester's house in Kall Valley became the scene of a memorable Christmas. "A combat patrol of FJR 6 was deployed in the Kall Valley with an assignment to stop the enemy recon activity. The forester's home offered the men an opportunity to warm themselves up and dry themselves up and dry out their uniforms and boots. The windows were steamed up, so they could not get a glimpse inside the house. The Fallschirmjager therefore entered the house suddenly, with their weapons ready, and ran into an American patrol with their weapons similar ready. The forester's wife resolutely put herself between the two fronts: in her house no blood would be split. She collected the Fallschirmjager's and the American's weapons and carried them into the shed. The soldiers agreed to a ceasefire: friend and foe gathered around the hot oven and warmed up. One of the soldiers began to hum a Christmas song " Silent night, holy night' Germans as well as Americans joined in, singing the old song, each in his own language."
This book in haunting! God bless our troopers who fought on both sides!! Great book, could use a good edit but in the end a great read!!!!!!!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Flow Is Disjointed And Poor Editing, August 28, 2013
By 
Dusty Traveler (Jacksonville, OR, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lions of Carentan (Kindle Edition)
This was not a book I could not put down. I realize this is a translation, but the editing could have been much better. The time line was not very smooth, it bounced around a lot, often leaving me wondering just what was happening and where. The action was sugar-coated, the detail and emotion of combat often missing relative to other similar documentaries. The pictures were good and plentiful, with adequate explanations. I got the feeling that the author was shying away from the humiliation of his country's defeat, that this could have been a more interesting read if the true, honest feelings of the men involved had been explored.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grerat book from "the other guys' side of war., August 28, 2013
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This review is from: LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 (Hardcover)
I grew up on the words "Ike", "Patton", Mac Arthur", all American icons in the military and particularly WW2. That being said, I appreciate the other combatant's take and experiences in WW2, both from the Japanese and German points of view. I've yet to see anything similar from the Italians who were part of the axis.
This book brings home the day to day reality of this particular German fighting unit and does so in an honest, yet humble way, getting the reader's attention and letting them view Post D-Day fighting from the memoirs of a German Soldier. Very good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Husband Loved It, June 19, 2013
By 
Carol G. Taousakis (Falls Church, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 (Hardcover)
This was a birthday gift for my husband who is a WWII nut. He thought it was excellent. He highly recommends it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation, October 27, 2013
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This review is from: Lions of Carentan (Kindle Edition)
A fascinating subject, but the core of this book is lost in translation. Terms, phrases and sentences read like they were written by a non-English author. That's because they were. The reader just doesn't get that "you are there" feeling when reading. It's more of a factual account of what happened. For me, the perfect combination of a WWII non fiction is first person accounts with a strategic and historic perspective. Would not personally recommend this book.
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LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945
LIONS OF CARENTAN, THE: Fallschirmjager Regiment 6, 1943-1945 by Volker Griesser (Hardcover - Sept. 2011)
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