Osprey's study of the German Afrikakorps of World War II (1939-1945). The campaign in North Africa between September 1940 and May 1943 holds not only an enduring fascination for postwar generations; but also a perhaps unique degree of nostalgia for some surviving participants. The campaign was no less costly in terms of human lives and material than many others; but regret at the cost is accompanied by positive memories in the minds of many veterans. This is not to suggest that the dead have been forgotten; but an almost mystical bond nevertheless exists, even between former enemies, amongst veterans of the desert campaign. Gordon Williamson examines the history, organisation and uniforms of Rommel's Afrikakorps.
Few branches of the German armed forces were represented on so many fronts as the mountain infantrymen, or Gebirgstruppen. From the Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1940, through the invasions of the Balkans and Russia and the North African campaign, to the defence of the Reich 1944-45, the Gebirgsjäger earned a reputation for reliability and courage. Typically each trooper was a supremely fit individual: the need to cover difficult terrain in full kit, without the back-up of a motorised baggage train, demanded this. This new volume examines the recruitment, training, and combat experiences of the common Gebirgsjäger.
In World War II a number of German Army units and divisions were classed as élites, and were distinguished by special insignia of various kinds. For some this status was simply a matter of lineage - e.g. the Infantry Regiment 'List', which traced its identity to the Bavarian unit with which Hitler had served in World War I. Some, like the 'Grossdeutschland' and Panzer-Lehr divisions, were raised from particularly high grade personnel. Other titles honoured extraordinary battlefield exploits or heroic sacrifice, like the 'Brandenburg' and 'Hoch und Deutschmeister' divisions. This fact-packed introduction to these famous units is illustrated with rare photographs and detailed colour plates.
In this, the first of a five volume series covering the capital ships of the German Navy of World War II, Gordon Williamson examines the design, development and operational use of the battleships used by the Kriegsmarine. The 'Schlesien' and 'Schleswig-Hostein' were used mostly as training ships until the end of the war when they took part in bombardment of Soviet troop movements in East Prussia. The 'Scharnhorst' had a successful career until her sinking at the battle of the North Cape, and the 'Gneisenau' with her ignominious end as a block-ship. Bismarck's short but glorious career and Tirpitz's lonely vigil in Norway's distant Fjords until sunk by RAF bombers using the massive 'Tallboy' bombs are also covered.
This first of two studies examines the careers and illustrates the appearance and uniforms of 19 of the German Army's leading field commanders in World War II (1939-1945). Their service covers the whole arc of that army's wartime experience, from stunning success in 1939-41, through the hugely costly middle years on the Russian Front to the stubborn defensive fighting in both East and West in 1943-45. Also included are five more junior unit commanders chosen because their service typifies the achievements of combat leaders in regimental and battalion commands. The colour portraits are in the uniquely meticulous style of the respected World War II illustrator Malcolm McGregor.
The German destroyer fleet of World War II consisted of nine classes: the Diether Von Roeder Class, the Leberecht Maas Class and the wartime classes Z23, Z35, Z37, Z40, Z43, Z46 and Z52. These vessels, though fewer in number than the British destroyer fleet, tended to be much bigger and more powerful than their allied counterparts. They served their country well in operations in the Channel, North Sea, the Far North and in the rescue of civilians from East Prussia during the final days of the war. This title describes their design, development and operational use from the fjords of Narvik to the final days of the war.
By the outbreak of World War II, Germany had done much to replace the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet, which was scuttled following their surrender at the end of World War I. Forced to build anew, the Kriegsmarine possessed some of the most technically advanced warships in existence. Although the heavy units of the fleet were too small in number to pose much of a threat, Germany was particularly well served by her Navy's smaller vessels, in particular the U-Boats and the S-Boats. Known to the allies as the E-Boats ('Enemy'), they performed sterling duties in the Black Sea and English Channel, where they became a particular scourge.
The development of this excellent and successful class of warship only became possible after the Anglo-German naval agreement of 1935 eased restrictions on the types of ship Germany could build; even then only five of the class were permitted: the Admiral Hipper, the Blücher, the Prinz Eugen, the Seydlitz and the Lützow. These Cruisers were designed for Atlantic operations and had eight 8 inch guns, 12 10.5 cm heavy anti-aircraft guns and 17 smaller calibre anti aircraft guns as well as twelve torpedo tubes and their own compliment of up to six aircraft. This title covers the design, development and operational history of the Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper class.
The German Navy of World War II was small in number, but contained some of the most technologically advanced capital ships in the world. This meant that although the Kriegsmarine never felt capable of encountering the might of the British Navy in a fleet action, her ships were individually more than a match for the outdated vessels of the Royal Navy. Nowhere was this more the case than in Germany's fleet of light cruisers. There were only six vessels in this fleet: the Emden, Leipzig, Köln, Königsberg, Karlsruhe and Nurnberg. This book describes their design, development and varied operational history throughout the course of the Second World War.
The military policeman must be one of the least appreciated yet most indispensable military figures in modern history. In the mobile warfare of the 20th century no army could keep its vital supply routes open without the military policeman. This book documents the organisation, uniforms and insignia of the many and varied German military police units of World War II. Their duties included traffic control; maintaining military order and discipline; collection and escorting prisoners of war; prevention of looting; disarming civilians; checking captured enemy soldiers for documents; collection of fallen enemy propaganda leaflets and providing street patrols in occupied areas.
Osprey's study of Germany's mountain and ski troops of World War II (1939-1945). Fighting in every theatre from the burning sands of North Africa to the icy wastes above the arctic circle the German Army's Gebirgstruppen troops were some of the most effective in the whole of the Wehrmacht. Their esprit de corps and morale were extremely high and their commanders, men such as Eduard Dietl, the 'Hero of Narvik', and Julius 'Papa' Ringel, were idolised by their men. Dietl himself was the first soldier of the Wehrmacht to be awarded the coveted Oakleaves to the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. In this book Gordon Williamson details the uniforms, organisation and combat histories of these elite troops.
When re-armament came after World War I, the German Navy was forced to build anew, so the Reichsmarine and its successor, the Kriegsmarine, found itself in possession of some of the most modern, powerful and technically advanced vessels in the world. Germany was very selective in picking her sailors and the quality of manpower skill levels was thus very high. This book charts the recruitment, training, service conditions and combat experiences of a typical World War II German sailor, focusing on the main branches of the Navy, as well as the last ditch combat units thrown into action as infantry in the final days of the war.
The security units of the Third Reich were many and diverse, yet often an oversimplified view is projected of these organisations. This title provides a detailed and informed picture of the variety of operations and duties, as well as the motivation and behaviour of the men involved. It charts the experiences of typical World War II security forces and police soldiers - from the routine of military traffic duty, to combating partisans and resistance fighters. It covers the military police of the Armed Forces proper and the Waffen-SS, the combat units of the German State Police, the SD Sicherheitsdienst, the Schutzmannschaft' units, and the extreme and dreaded anti-partisan units 'Dirlewanger' and 'Kaminski'.
Osprey's study of the troops that made up Germany's elite special forces of World War II (1939-1945). Such forces included the legenday Skorzeny Commandos who carried out such audacious tasks as the glider-borne rescue of Mussolini, and the kidnapping of the son of the Hungarian regent, Admiral Horthy. This book also includes details of lesser-known units such as the Brandenburgers, who operated behind enemy lines in captured uniforms, and the Kleinkampfverbände who were the forerunners of modern-day naval combat troops like the US Navy SEALs. Complete with uniform and kit detail together with action accounts of many of these daring operations, this book is a must-have for any special forces enthusiast.
The scourge of Allied shipping during World War II, the U-Boot Waffe was one of the most feared components of Hitler's war machine, yet the Kriegsmarine was the least political branch of the Third Reich. The sailors of the U-boat arm were courageous, highly skilled seamen, who fought a war in the toughest conditions: subject to immense tension, and forced to cope with the challenges of the Atlantic, life for a U-boat recruit was far from easy. This title explores the life of a typical U-boat crewman, from recruitment, through training and service conditions, to combat experience throughout the war. Illustrated with many previously unpublished images, this book offers a fresh insight into the experiences of the men in Dönitz's legendary 'wolf packs'.
Each of Germany's World War II (1939-1945) armed services could claim one unit which earned a unique combat reputation, and which consequently was enlarged and developed far beyond the size originally planned. Hermann Göring, commander-in-chief of the air force, was determined that his Luftwaffe should share the glory of Germany's land conquests, and gave his name to a regimental combat group of infantry and Flak artillery. This élite unit was steadily enlarged into a brigade, then an armoured division, and finally into a two-division corps, fighting with distinction in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, and on the Russian Front. This concise history is illustrated with rare personal photographs and eight colour plates, detailing the very varied uniforms and special insignia of this crack formation.
Osprey's survey of the recipients of the Knight's Cross and Oak-Leaves awards during World War II (1939-1945). In 1939 a new grade in the Iron Cross series was introduced, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). It was awarded for a variety of reasons, from skilled leadership to a single act of extreme gallantry, and was bestowed across all ranks, grades, and branches of service. As the war progresed, further distinctions were created for bestowal on existing winners, namely Oak-Leaves (Eichenlaub); Oak-Leaves with Swords (Eichenlaub und Schwertern); and Oak-Leaves with Swords and Diamonds (Eichenlaub, Schwerter und Brillanten). This book, the first in a sequence of four, covers winners of the Knights Cross and the Oak-Leaves distinction in the period 1939-40.
On 21 June 1941, as the Wehrmachtstormed forward across the frontiers of the Soviet Union, Hitler instituted a new higher grade of the Knight's Cross decoration for gallantry and leadership: the silver clasp of the Oak-Leaves with Swords. It would be awarded to only 159 men of the approximately 15 million who served in the German armed forces during World War II. This third in a sequence of four titles describes and illustrates a selection of the recipients: from much-wounded front line infantry officers, to Hitler's 'brother-in-law'; from a sergeant pilot fighter ace, to the commanding general of the greatest tank force ever gathered on the Russian Front.
Osprey's examination of the recipients of the Knight's Cross with Diamonds award of World War II (1939-1945). On 1 September 1939, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was created by Hitler. It could be distributed to all ranks within any branch of the Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS or the auxiliary services, and it was the highest award that the Third Reich could offer. During the war, new grades of Knight's Cross were added. The Diamonds were introduced on 28 September 1941, and were the next highest grade above the Oakleaves and Swords. Only 27 awards of Diamonds were made during the war creating an elite echelon of war heroes and many of the awards were made for acts of extreme bravery which are detailed in this volume.
Despite the popularity of the U-boats and larger surface vessels like the Bismarck and the Graf Spree, the vast majority of vessels within the Kriegsmarine served in the coastal forces. Though the public may generally have forgotten these smaller ships, many gave crucial service during the war and continued to serve decades after VE day, either in the German Navy or in the navies of the victorious Allies. Indeed, Kriegsmarine minesweepers and their German crews, still in their old uniforms with the swastikas simply removed, continued to serve after 1945 under the control of the Royal Navy, engaged in the dangerous but necessary task of clearing old wartime minefields.The ships and boats included in the coastal forces ranged from such minesweepers to torpedo boats, patrol boats and blockade breakers. These latter were merchant vessels, whose daunting task was to evade the Allied warships to bring essential supplies into Germany. Also included in the coastal forces was Hitler's personal yacht, the Ostwind. This book tells the often-forgotten story of the vessels that formed the backbone of the Kriegsmarine, and combines fascinating anecdotes, detailed technical information, and full-color artwork.
Despite the popularity of the U-boats and larger surface vessels like the Bismarck and the Graf Spee, the vast majority of vessels within the Kriegsmarine served in the coastal forces. Although less frequently mentioned, these smaller ships gave crucial service during the war and continued to serve decades after VE day, either in the German Navy or in the navies of the victorious Allies. Indeed, Kriegsmarine minesweepers and their German crews, still in their old uniforms with the swastikas simply removed, continued to serve after 1945 under the control of the Royal Navy, engaged in the dangerous but necessary task of clearing old wartime minefields.The ships and boats included in the coastal forces ranged from such minesweepers to torpedo boats, patrol boats and blockade breakers. These latter were merchant vessels, whose daunting task was to evade the Allied warships to bring essential supplies into Germany. Also included in the coastal forces was Hitler's personal yacht, the Ostwind. This book tells the often-forgotten story of the vessels that formed the backbone of the Kriegsmarine, and combines fascinating anecdotes, detailed technical information, and full-color artwork.
This, the first of two volumes on Germany's World War II U-boats, traces their development from the early U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy, the prohibition on Germany having U-boats following the Armistice in 1918 and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, the secret development of U-boats using a 'cover-firm' in Holland, culminating in the formation of the 1st U-boat Flotilla in 1935 with the modern Type II. The operational history section includes examples from the Classes Type VIIA, Type VIIB, VIID, VIIE and VIIF before concentrating on the mainstay of the U-boat arm, the Type VIIC. Comparisons are also made with the standard allied submarines, their strengths, weaknesses and U-boat tactics.
In World War II (1939-1945), the Panzer crews spearheaded every major campaign or battle from the invasions of Poland and France to the last great counter-offensive in the Ardennes. Germany's Panzer crews fought on every front and along the way earned a formidable reputation for élan in attack and steadfastness in defence. This book charts the recruitment, training, service conditions and combat experience of a typical World War II German tank crewman, serving on various fronts - from the scorching heat of the Western Desert to the frozen tundra of the Eastern Front. It features many unpublished photographs from both private collectors and Panzer veterans themselves.
Few of the massive military structures built by Germany during World War II are as impressive as the U-Boat bases and bunkers in Germany, Norway and France. This title takes a close look at the formidable edifices on the French coast (Brest, Lorient, St Nazaire, La Pallice, Bordeaux) in Norway (Bergen, Trondheim) and Germany (Keil, Hamburg, Helgoland) and also focuses on the huge 'Valentin' factory complex at Bremen, which manufactured the new type XXI electro-boats. Bunker protective systems, such as camouflage, light and heavy flak installations and nearby air cover, are also examined as well as resident flotillas and the fate of the bases at war's end.
Osprey's study of the U-Boat and its crews during World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). If one single weapon in Germany's arsenal can be said to have come closest to winning the war for the Third Reich, it was without doubt the U-Boat. German U-Boat technology, training, tactics and combat successes far exceeded those of any of the other combatant nations, and even as the Third Reich was crumbling, technically advanced vessels such as the Type XXI, many years ahead of its time, were being put into volume production. Gordon Williamson provides a fascinating overview of the achievements of the U-Boat Waffe in both wars, together with a study of the uniforms and insignia worn by U-Boat crews.
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