12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend (Paperback)
From Operation Goodwood to April 1945
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.