- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Aberjona Pr (April 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0966638956
- ISBN-13: 978-0966638950
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seven Days in January: With the 6th SS-Mountain Division in Operation NORDWIND Hardcover – April, 2001
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"...an excellent documentary that treats successes and failures of both sides equally objectively...presented fairly and interestingly." -- Army magazine, July 2001
"An engaging first person account...a fine book that provides an exciting story...with expert analysis about small unit tactics." -- The Journal of Military History, January 2002
A fine story by someone who tells all the nitty-gritty of this desperate action. -- Stone and Stone World War II Books
Aberjona Press continues to publish the best in military accounts...Seven Days in January is a literary masterpiece. -- Military Heritage magazine, August 2001
Zoepf tells a great story...anyone with any interest in the European campaign will find this a compelling, valuable read. -- World War II Magazine, November 2002
About the Author
Wolf T. Zoepf was a Latvian expatriate of German ethnicity who joined the Waffen-SS on his 18th birthday in 1940. A veteran of three years of combat against the Soviet Army on the Arctic Front, he earned his commission in 1943 and returned to his unit, the 6th SS-Mountain Division in time for its final year of combat against the Soviets and the long march across Finland and Norway in late 1944. Second in command of his mountain infantry battalion, he fought in his unit's the infiltration through American lines and subsequent attack on the key crossroads town of Wingen-sur-Moder in January, 1945, and was wounded and captured while leading the exfiltration four days later. Released from American captivity in early 1946, he and his boyhood sweetheart raised a family in the Federal German Republic after the war. A civil engineer with wide construction experience in Africa and Asia, he was also president of the German-Latvian Cultural League and an active member of the German War Graves Council. A prominent member of his wartime unit's veterans' group, he played an instrumental role in arranging what became a series of highly controversial joint reunions between the veterans of his unit and American veterans of the 70th Infantry Division Association, the Germans' main adversary at the battle of Wingen. Ultimately, Wolf was made an honorary member of the 70th "Trailblazer" Division veterans' association, and was widely liked and respected by his men and former enemies alike. He unexpectedly passed away on 8 January 1999, just days after finishing this book, and exactly 54 years and a day after he led his men out of the American encirclement at Wingen.
Top customer reviews
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Mr. Zoepf begins the book by detailing his capture by American soldiers and then gives a substantive overview and history of the 6th SS Mountain Division (MD) and it's three years of combat in Finland against Soviet forces. Although some reviewers here have questioned the relevancy of this part of the book, I found it important in understanding the nature and abilities of the 6th SS MD, and appreciated the detail it gave regarding combat in the Arctic, experiences which stood the division in good stead during Operation Nordwind. As the author describes, the unit retreated from Finland following the Finnish Armistice with the Soviet Union, was withdrawn from that theater, and thrown almost directly into combat as it arrived in its staging areas for the upcoming battle. The remainder of the book (the majority of it) describes Operation Nordwind from both sides perspective, but particularly the 6th SS MD's battle for and in Wingen-sur-Molders.
Of special note are the plentiful and very useful maps the author provides (36 of them!) and his descriptions of the unit's organization and equipment. The book both describes the battle and offers a good analysis of why the battle went the way it. The writing is a bit on the dry side, and focuses more on the combat side of things, as opposed to personal stories and observations, but certainly readable and engaging. As an aside, a good companion read to this book is "Black Edelweiss" by Johann Voss, which was written by another member of the 6th SS MD, and is mainly a personal account of his combat service against the Soviets and US forces.
Considerable research has been done in identifying American units and commanders and Zoeph assesses strengths and weaknesses and missed opportunities by the Americans while his battalion was virtually surrounded in the small French town of Wingen.
He notes a personal touch when both sides agree to a short ceasefire to retrieve their wounded and the bravery of a lone American soldier coming to the aid of a fallen comrade while under fire.
I recommend the book as an excellent read for military historians.