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Facing the Red Army in Festung Posen (Hardback)

First-Hand Accounts of German Soldiers on the Eastern Front in 1945

Military WWII

By Hans Klapa, Alfred Kriehn
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 40 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399061759
Published: 4th October 2023

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Facing the Red Army in Festung Posen features the stories of two German soldiers who took part in the battles for Festung Posen (Poznań Fortress) in January and February 1945.

Never before published in English, the accounts of Hans Klapa, written immediately after the war (1946) and Alfred Kriehn, a little later (early 1990s) provide details relating to the course of the battle, as well as the armaments of the German garrison, its morale and even first-hand descriptions of individual actions during bloody street fighting.

Although describing the same battle, both memoires are completely different as they represent different branches of the armed forces and each takes place in different parts of the city. While Hans Klapa fought only in the eastern part, Alfred Kriehn describes the fighting on the western side.

However, what separates the two accounts the most is the fate of both heroes immediately after the battle, with Klapa describing his epic, months-long struggle with his comrades not to fall into the hands of the enemy and to avoid being taken prisoner by the Soviets at any cost.

4 out of 5

Good book, worth a bob or two if you enjoy WW2 memoirs, four out of five stars.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Unique, detailed, and an exceptionally riveting read from start to finish, this dual memoir of the same battle from the German perspective, "Facing the Red Army in Festung Posen: First-Hand Accounts of German Soldiers on the Eastern Front in 1945" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and college/university library World War II History & Biography collections.

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Midwest Book Review

About Hans Klapa

After previous combat experience fighting on the front, Wehrmacht soldier Hans Klapa was sent on an officer's course at the V School of Infantry Cadets in Poznań (Schule V für Fahnenjunker der Infanterie Posen) in November 1944. Following the Red Army’s offensive in January 1945, Klapa, along with 1,300 cadets of the V School and other German soldiers, was conscripted into the Festung Posen garrison (Poznań Fortress) to take part in merciless, month-long battles for the Polish city.


About Alfred Kriehn

Alfred Kriehn fought on the Eastern Front from 1944 as an assault gun loader (Sturmgeschutz) in the elite Sturmgeschutzbrigade "Grossdeutschland". In January 1945, his unit was transferred from East Prussia to the area of Kutno (then Warthegau) in order to stop Red Army troops advancing towards Poznań. After a dramatic escape, losing his vehicle along the way, Kriehn and several of his colleagues reached Poznań, where, as a member of the assault cannon crew and the Festung Posen garrison, they again resisted the Red Army.

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