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12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend (Paperback)

From Operation Goodwood to April 1945

Military > By Century > 20th Century WWII

By Massimiliano Afiero
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Casemate Illustrated
Pages: 128
Illustrations: B/W and colour
ISBN: 9781636243146
Published: 28th February 2023



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Formed in 1943 with the express purpose of blocking the forthcoming Allied invasion in the West, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend carved out a reputation as one of the Wehrmacht’s foremost panzer divisions, as witnessed by its tenacious defense of Caen following the Allied invasion of Normandy.


The British Operation Goodwood against Caen in July 1944 was followed by Totalize in August, which bypassed Caen and attacked the Hitlerjugend positions. Within a week thousands of German troops were encircled in the Falaise Pocket. Around ten thousand Hitlerjugend soldiers escaped piecemeal, regrouping to fight in the battles along the Maas and the ill-fated Ardennes offensive of December 1944. Deployed to Hungary in 1945 to stem the Red Army advance, the division fought against overwhelming odds until the final battles in Austria, on Reich soil, in late April 1945. There 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. Packed with photographs, maps and profiles, this Casemate Illustrated title 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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