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Blood, Dust & Snow (Hardback)

Diaries of a Panzer Commander in Germany and on the Eastern Front

Military > Greenhill Books > Greenhill: 20th Century Military > Greenhill Books > Greenhill: WWII Photographic Books WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Russia & the Eastern Front > Operation Barbarossa

By Robin Schäfer, Foreword by Roger Moorhouse
Greenhill Books
Pages: 448
Illustrations: More than 150 photographs
ISBN: 9781784388300
Published: 5th December 2022
Last Released: 14th November 2023

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‘The infantry is only a few metres ahead of us when suddenly, on the left of our tank, a Russian stands up. The swine had pretended to be dead when our infantry came past him! That’s an old classic, pretending to be dead and then firing from the rear. But that isn’t a good idea when facing tank-men like us… floor the accelerator! Turn left and run over him!

'An utterly gripping first-hand German account of the war on the Eastern Front.' - Dan Snow

“Unvarnished, absorbing, gritty and pulling no punches. One of the best accounts of war on the Eastern Front I have ever read.” - Peter Caddick-Adams

"An erudite, well-written, thoughtful account of the harsh realities of combat on the Eastern Front in World War Two" - Roger Moorhouse

The war on the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945 was the bloodiest combat theatre in the bloodiest war in history. Oberleutnant Friedrich Wilhelm Sander experienced this bloodshed first-hand when serving with the 11th Panzer-Regiment. This regiment made up the core of the 6th Panzer-Division, one of Hitler’s top armoured formations, which was involved in most of the major campaigns on the Eastern Front; campaigns such as Operation Barbarossa and Operation Winter Storm.

Sander recorded his experience of these campaigns in astounding detail in some recently-discovered diaries covering the period from April 1938 to December 1943, translated here for the first time by historian Robin Schäfer. Written during the fighting, these diaries not only offer an honest assessment of the war on the Eastern Front, but also provide an insight into the mind of a young and highly politicised officer, and offer an intimate glimpse into the close-knit community of a German Panzer crew.

A brutally honest, immediate and unfiltered personal account, Sander’s translated diaries make for some uniquely fascinating reading about some of the most important campaigns of the Second World War. Supported by more than 100 photographs and maps from the period, Blood, Dust & Snow will be of great interest not only to readers studying the war on the Eastern Front, but also to any historian researching the Second World War.

'a good overview of daily life for a tank commander and his crew-- both during combat, and in the respites between… the editor recognizes that this is a truly unique opportunity to read this as a source of highly historic interest through the eyes of a tank commander fighting through the most brutal events on the Eastern Front… Highly Recommended for those interested in tank combat on the Eastern Front.’

Armor Modeling & Preservation Society

"...this one is worth a read and the photos offer some truly unique looking armored vehicles..."

Read the full review here

AMPS

"The entries are thus mainly from 1941-1943, and are graphic and unfiltered, giving you an authentic view from a National soldier".

The Armourer – May 2023

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book alot. I am history buff and the world wars are a topic I am especially passionate about. This was a side of the war that I had not heard as much about, so this was an eye opening book for me. I loved following along with the panzer soldier through his daily events throughout the war. I would defiantly recommend this book to anyone with a passion for history. Thanks for letting me read it!

NetGalley, Joseph Bruce

As featured on World War II Today

WW2 Today

5 out of 5

Highly recommended.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

A hit for me, would happily recommend to other WW2 history buffs.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Review as featured in

WWII History Magazine (US)

An invaluable contribution to the growing library of German World War II accounts, "Blood, Dust and Snow: Diaries of a Panzer Commander in Germany and on the Eastern Front" is a riveting read from beginning to end. Impressively candid, detailed, and informative, "Blood, Dust and Snow" will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in the Eastern Front battlegrounds of World War II and has the highest possible recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library World War II Military History and Biography/Memoir collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

A visceral account of combat on the Eastern front. At times the descriptions are brutal, bloody and completely realistic but if they weren't we wouldn't understand the suffering as well as we might.

This is the first diary I have read and as you might expect, at times it doesn't flow. Combine that with missing pages and sections, and the narrative can fragment. That said, this book does not suffer as a result. In fact, it adds an air of authenticity.

You can sense and feel the challenging environment it was written in. You smell the cordite, the blood, the frozen and sodden earth. You hear the screams of terror, of pain, of suffering. The descriptions are detailed, graphic and create images in the mind of incredible clarity.

Given the diary starts pre-war, the pace is somewhat slow initially and that may put some readers off. Don't be deterred, as it picks up pace and grit quite quickly. Recommended

NetGalley, Simon Clayton

Will be of great interest to the WWII researcher, historian, librarian, and enthusiastic buff anxious to experience what it was really like facing the fierce, resolute Soviets defending their country, fighting to the last man.

Read full review here

ARGunners.com

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An intriguing look at the war in the eastern front during WW2. The use of diary entries to give a first hand insight into the thoughts and feelings really makes the book interesting and gives you a feeling of being there. A great read for the WW2 enthusiast.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An account of the real war fought by a German soldier. No excuses and banter about right and wrong just some guy trying to get through a true disaster of monumental proportions. This book starts with the training of a panzer soldier in the late 1930s before the Russian front and the carnage to come. The story is a war diary found after the war and thank goodness it survived. No one would believe the circumstances the armies on both sides endured and the fact that so many never made it home on both sides is disturbing. If you want to read a truly action packed book with actual war time exploits then IMO this is one of the best. The German soldier who wrote it ends his diary in 1943 severely wounded. This book breaks the myth that the German army soldiers never had written accounts after the battles for security reasons. Maybe its true but read this if you want to know the carnage and bravery of war. Its amazing there were survivors at all.

NetGalley, Patrick Carmen

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Few war diaries will present events, experiences and the thoughts of combatants as effectively as this wartime diary does though a riveting, very personal narrative that describes the combat experience and sense of the participants moment by moment. His photographs and maps of the time further add to this diary’s historical value.

Interestingly, the writer is a Panzermann (tanker) and, depending on emergencies in combat, an infantryman, but also a dedicated National Socialist who grew up from his earliest years in that environment. However, upon his transfer to the bloody Ostfront (Eastern Front, i.e., Russia, et.al.) and his long, tough service there, he realizes increasingly becomes aware that the assertions and promises of the Third Reich are at odds with what he is experiencing. Thus, the diary not only talks about his daily experiences in war, but it also reveals the evolution in his thinking throughout it all.

NetGalley, Arthur Bradford Morrill III

Schafer did an excellent job translating the diary entries into English, in such a way that you feel as close to the action as it's possible to get without actually being there. You experience the biting cold, and all the hardships associated with the infamous Eastern Front. This is an excellent reading choice for those, like myself, who enjoy reading first hand accounts.

NetGalley, Spencer Wright

About Robin Schäfer

Robin Schäfer is a German military historian, writer and producer. He has worked as historical advisor for British and international television programmes, including the BBC’s The Great War Interviews, Voices 16 – SommeLast Heroes of the Somme and Channel 4’s Battle of Britain: The Last of the Few. He is the creator and former historical editor of Iron Cross Magazine and co-author of Fritz and Tommy: Across the Barbed Wire.


About Roger Moorhouse

Roger Moorhouse is an historian of the Third Reich. He is the author of the acclaimed Hitler's Third Reich in 100 Objects and The Devil's Alliance, and has been published in more than 20 languages. He is also a tour guide and visiting professor at Warsaw's College of Europe. You can see him on Twitter at @Roger_Moorhouse.

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