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12th Hitlerjugend SS Panzer Division in Normandy (Hardback)

WWII D-Day & Normandy Tanks Photographic Books Hitler & the Third Reich WWII Photographic Books Military

By Richard Hone, Tim Saunders
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 60 black and white illustrations & maps
ISBN: 9781526757364
Published: 16th March 2021

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Raised in 1943 with seventeen-year-olds from the Hitler Youth movement, and following the twin disasters of Stalingrad and ‘Tunisgrad’, the Hitlerjugend Panzer Division emerged as the most effective German division fighting in the West. The core of the division was a cadre of offices and NCOs provided by Hitler’s bodyguard division, the elite Leibstandarte, with the aim of producing a division of ‘equal value’ to fight alongside them in I SS Panzer Corps.

During the fighting in Normandy, the Hitlerjugend proved to be implacable foes to both the British and the Canadians, repeatedly blunting Montgomery’s offensives, fighting with skill and a degree of determination well beyond the norm. This they did from D+1 through to the final battle to escape from the Falaise Pocket, despite huge disadvantages, namely constant Allied air attack, highly destructive naval gunfire and a chronic lack of combat supplies and replacements of men and equipment.

Written with the advantage of new materials from archives in the former Eastern Bloc, this book is no whitewash of a Waffen SS division and it does not shy away from confronting unpalatable facts or controversies

This was in effect a stunning read about the 12th HitlerJugend Panzer Division holding up the allied forces in some ways very successfully in northwestern France. I have learned such a lot reading this book and really enjoyed it. The book is very comprehensive in writing and detail, certainly supported by great photographs and map details. I loved the style in which the book is written as each chapter was divided into sections and dealt with and then moved on to the next incident or engagement. The end and notes in the book were good, and they are always good in a Pen & Sword Book, because there is so much more to learn often in the notes sections. A thoroughly good book, certainly one of the best I have read this year so far.

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UK Historian

It pays great respect to the men who fought on both sides of this battle. All of them were brave and the book does take the “neutral” position being a military history book. The authors have done great service to these men, and they must be commended for the quality of their research and for producing this wonderful Divisional history.

Dr Stuart C Blank

Anything that's concerned with the Hitler Youth movement makes for chilling reading but is a part of our history but should not be ignored.

Books Monthly

Superb! A thoroughly gripping account of the role of the SS Hitlerjugend’s role in the Normandy ‘44 campaign. From the units creation, to its deployment and combat, opposite British and Canadian forces in the battle for Caen and beyond. Well illustrated with maps and photographs, and enlivened with firsthand accounts, I found this a terrifically engaging and informative read. Highly recommended.

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A Question of Scale

A Tim Saunders book seldom disappoints and this one is no exception. Insightful narrative coupled with detailed maps and relevant images deliver an excellent account of the 12th SS Panzer Division and the particular context in which it operated. As promised, it conducts an investigation that does not sensationalise yet correctly accounts for both excellences and shortcomings. The narrative benefits from the interview Tim conducted with Hubert Meyer several years ago and I can recall Tim’s excitement in having gained Meyer’s views of the events in Normandy. My father was in 59th Division opposing 12th SS Panzer near Caen; I now have a much better understanding of the events he described. Currently my book of 2021!

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Richard Hone

German speaker RICHARD HONE has had a lifelong interest in military history and the German Army in particular, which he was able to study during his time with the British Army of the Rhine. He is also an acknowledged expert of military equipment and organisation of WWII and an accomplished military modeler.


About Tim Saunders

TIM SAUNDERS served as an infantry officer with the British Army for thirty years, during which time he took the opportunity to visit campaigns far and wide, from ancient to modern. Since leaving the Army he has become a full time military historian, with this being his sixteenth book, and has made nearly fifty full documentary films with Battlefield History and Pen & Sword. He is an active guide and accredited member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides.

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