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General Erich Hoepner (Hardback)

Portrait of a Panzer Commander

Military > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Humanities > Biography & Memoirs

By Walter Chales de Beaulieu, Linden Lyons
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Die Wehrmacht im Kampf
Pages: 264
ISBN: 9781612009766
Published: 15th April 2021



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This volume in the Die Wehrmacht im Kampf series examines Erich Hoepner's leadership of panzer formations in Poland in 1939, France in 1940, and Russia in 1941. It is written by Walter Chales de Beaulieu, a general staff officer who fought alongside Hoepner. Erich Hoepner was one of the most competent tank commanders of World War II, playing a significant role in Germany’s early successes. As the commander of the XVI Panzer Corps at the outbreak of war in 1939, Hoepner carried out the main thrust towards Warsaw. The panzer corps covered 250 kilometres and reached the outskirts of the city in only eight days.


In 1940, commanding the same formation, Hoepner fought the French Cavalry Corps in Belgium, partook in the encirclement of Allied forces near Dunkirk, and advanced southwards over the Weygand Line deep into French territory. In 1941, Hoepner became the commander of Panzer Group 4, which was the main attack formation for the advance on Leningrad. It made rapid progress to begin with, but an increasingly wide and exposed front meant that the attack gradually ground to a halt. After one final attempt to capture the city in the middle of September failed, the panzer group was redeployed to the central sector of the Eastern Front. It was there that the panzer group was to help with the push towards Moscow. In conjunction with Panzer Group 3, Hoepner’s Panzer Group 4 completed and eliminated the Vyazma pocket. Hoepner frequently felt that he was not allowed to advance on Moscow quickly enough by his superiors, yet his decision to conduct a withdrawal in January 1942 led to his dismissal.


In this book, Walter Chales de Beaulieu provides insight into Erich Hoepner’s ability as a panzer commander, painting a picture of a man who was committed to the military profession, who possessed a strong sense of responsibility, and who was confident enough to exercise his own will.

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About Walter Chales de Beaulieu

Walter Chales de Beaulieu was Erich Hoepner’s first general staff officer during the campaign in Poland in 1939 and his chief of staff during the campaigns in France in 1940 and Russia in 1941. He was discharged from service in early 1945 following Hoepner’s involvement with the plot of 20 July 1944. After the war, he wrote this book.

About Linden Lyons

Linden Lyons holds a master’s degree in history from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He also studied German at the University of Freiburg and librarianship at the University of Canberra. He is the translator for Panzer Operations, Vitebsk, and Leningrad in the Die Wehrmacht im Kampf series.

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