The Battle of Halbe, 1945 (Hardback)
Eyewitness Accounts from Hell's Cauldron
In April 1945, German troops withdrawing from the Seelow Heights were encircled by the Soviet Army near the small town of Halbe, south-east of Berlin. Rather than surrender, their orders were to attempt to break out, westward, and join up with the German 12th Army. A brutal battle ensued, with an estimated 30,000 German and 20,000 Russian soldiers killed, along with thousands of civilians.
This collection of first-hand accounts tells the story of the battle and its aftermath from the German perspective. It is an eclectic mix, containing the recollections of ordinary soldiers, SS-men and men of the Panzer Divisions, as well as civilians caught up in the battle as they attempted to flee ahead of the advancing armies. It brings to life the grim realities of this one-sided engagement, revealing the brutal vengeance of the Soviets and the desperation to escape the slaughter.
Translated into English for the first time, this is an important insight into this devastating and little-known aspect of World War II history.
‘The author is a sympathetic narrator and he has told his story… with genuine verve and style… [His] South Tyrolean origins, and his role in the Brandenburg Division make the book very distinctive.’ Roger Moorhouse. The Brandenburgers were Hitler’s Special Forces, a band of mainly foreign German nationals who used disguise and fluency in other languages to complete daring missions into enemy territory. Overshadowed by stories of their Allied equivalents, their history has largely been ignored, making this memoir all the more extraordinary. First published in German in 1984, de Giampietro's…By Sepp de Giampietro, Lawrence Paterson
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