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Greece 1941 (Hardback)

The Death Throes of Blitzkrieg

WWII German Forces & Weaponry in WWII Military

By Jeffrey Plowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 226
ISBN: 9781526730251
Published: 6th February 2019

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Blitzkrieg. Lightning war. We are all familiar with the rapid thrusts the Germans made in the early days of the Second World War that saw the demise first of Poland and then the Low Countries and France. But were the German tactics, which appeared at the time to smash through all resistance, really as devastating as they seemed? That is the major question Jeffrey Plowman asks in this absorbing new study of the campaign in Greece in 1941.

Within three weeks they overran the country but, by looking into the campaign in detail, the author claims that at no time did the Germans gain ascendancy over the token British and Anzac force sent to bolster the Greek defenders. They came close to doing so, but the Anzac troops and their Greek allies put up a spirited defence that sometimes turned the Germans’ own methods against them.

This perceptive new account should prompt a reassessment of the Greek campaign. It also offers a fascinating insight into the weaknesses of the Germans’ all-conquering method of warfare which became increasing apparent during the later stages of the war.

The bigger picture is sketched out at either end of the narrative, with the bulk of the book given over to the blow by blow ground level action, with excellent use of firsthand accounts keeping it very lively.

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A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

I do think this book brings something new to the subject. The campaign narrative looks at the battles from both sides of the hill and includes extensive quotes from memoirs and battle diaries. Arguably the best part of the book is Chapter 11, which looks at Operation Lustre in retrospect. This highlights the strategic failures of the Greek and British governments and the deployment errors in the region... I found myself carefully reading every chapter of this book, rather than skipping through what I thought I already knew. It is a worthy addition to our understanding of this campaign.

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