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12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend (Paperback)

From Formation to the Battle of Caen

Military > By Century > 20th Century WWII

By Massimiliano Afiero, Raphael Riccio
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Casemate Illustrated
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 150 photographs and maps
ISBN: 9781636241685
Published: 15th September 2022



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Created in 1943 from members of the Hitler Youth born in 1926, the division was attached to I SS Panzer Corps in March 1944 and transferred to Normandy. Based around Caen, it was intended to repel a possible and expected invasion from the sea. When the invasion came in June, it was one of the two closest panzer divisions to the landing beaches. The defensive battles that took place in Normandy, particularly the four battles around the city of Caen, saw the young soldiers of the Hitlerjugend demonstrate determined resistance, conceding only due to being greatly outnumbered. After the battles fought in Normandy, the division was withdrawn first to the Franco-Belgian border, where it was engaged in hard defensive fighting and then to Germany for reorganisation.


Other difficult and demanding battles followed during the offensive in the Ardennes, on the Bastogne front, in Hungary and finally the last battles fought in Austria, on the sacred ground of the Reich, where the soldiers of the Hitlerjugend, despite the desperate situation and the superiority of the enemy, managed to achieve local success and launch desperate counterattacks even into the last weeks of the war, in the name and in defense of their homeland. Packed with photographs, maps and profiles, this Casemate Illustrated follows the actions of the 12th SS Panzer Division throughout its existence.

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About Massimiliano Afiero

Massimiliano Afiero was born in Afragola (Naples Province) in 1964. An information technology teacher and programmer, he has been interested in military history since his youth, specializing in the history of Axis units during the Second World War, and particularly in the Waffen-SS. He has published numerous articles in the principal Italian-language history magazines and has contributed to many military history websites, as well as serving as a historical consultant, technical director and editor-in-chief of several Italian magazines. He currently publishes two magazines dedicated to the history of Axis units and forces during the Second World War. He is one of the few Italian historical researchers to have personally interviewed many veterans of the Waffen-SS, publishing their previously unpublished stories. He is a prolific writer and has published an impressive number of books in Italian, Spanish and English dealing with foreign volunteers in the German armed forces during the Second World War. 

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