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To the Bitter End: The Final Battles of Army Groups North Ukraine, A, Centre, Eastern Front, 1944-45
To the Bitter End: The Final Battles of Army Groups North Ukraine, A, Centre, Eastern Front, 1944-45
by Rolf Hinze
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from $35.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best overview in english, but still a disappointment., June 4, 2008
To the Bitter End stand at the boundaries of two kind of books regarding the January 45 Soviet offensive on the Berlin axis (Poland - Germany). The first ones, like Duffy's Red Storm on the Reich are a wide overlook on military actions in a peticular timeframe and the second detailled writing on series of small units actions mainly based on unit history and memoirs (Gunther's Last Laurels being a good examples). With the notable exemption of Glantz edited symposium report From the Vistula to the Oder (which, save for the outstanding maps, is not - and do not pretend to be- the key book on the subject), there is nothing close to what could be described as a solid military studie on the Soviet Winter offensive, at least, in english.

It is hard to understand what the author of East Front drama, a must have to understand the 1944's Soviet offensive on the AG Center, wanted to achieve here. It certainly doesn't came close to East Front Drama regarding the luxury of detailled on german tactical units successfully merged in a good account of the operational subtilities of the campaign. It is rather, pretty much like Gunther work, a patchwork of units histories summaries loosely tied as a story of the german armies in a specific timeline on a specific location (it mostly focus on the AG A and the 4st Tank Army, from Poland to the then German Silesia).

The good point is that it still have some interest for those who don't master either german or russian, the first being the core langage of Hinze sources and the second being the only langage in which solid accounts on the operations on the Berlin Axis have been written- so far as I can tell. It might even have been a better walkthrough than Duffy book if it was not for a price not worth the content.

All in all, if you're willing to spend 40$ for a overview of military operations between the Vistula - Oder - Neisse in 1945 from the german side, it is your best shot. If you want a good campaign studie in english, you will have to wait and if you think 40$ is the first price for a reference book, you might want to look elsewhere.

The 12th SS: The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division Volume I (Stackpole Military History)
The 12th SS: The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division Volume I (Stackpole Military History)
by Hubert Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.92
78 used & new from $5.09

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The History of the Hitler Youth Panzer Division ( Stackpole I &II), June 2, 2008
Meyer's work is reminiscent of the 19st century general staff studies filled with a truely impressive amount of informations about the control, command and actions of large combat units in the field. As such, it is a very good source as to understand how a german tank division lived and fought in the late war years.

Unlike general staff studies, design for professionnals by professionals, Meyer work aim a wider public. Thus, the austerity of a day by day Operation staff officer's journal is somewhat nuanced by 12.SS soldiers testifies and reminiescences. Nevertheless, the book still is plain "facts and stats" military history and as such maybe not advised for one looking for an easy read or not having either an interest on the action of the division on a specific timeline or the day to day activity of a german tank division.

On the downside, while the Normandy and the Bulge parts are very detailled, the hungarian and austrian ones don't follow and are only spoken off as a sidenote to the division history. Finally, this is not a study on the waffen-ss divisions whether regarding the formation or the political education, the two main differences with standards german divisions. Both are overviewed.

All in all, especially given the price, this is a must have for anyone interrested in the german Wehrmacht as a fighting organisation in the late war years.

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