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On 1 September 1939, when Germany attacked Poland, the Wehrmacht numbered 3,180,000 men. It eventually expanded to 9,500,000, and on 8-9 May 1945, the date of its unconditional surrender on the Western and Eastern Fronts, it still numbered 7,800,000. The Blitzkrieg period, from 1 September 1939 to 25 June 1940, was 10 months of almost total triumph for the Wehrmacht, as it defeated every country, except Great Britain, that took the field against it. In this first of five volumes examining the German Army of World War II (1939-1945), Nigel Thomas examines the uniforms and insignia of Hitler's Blitzkrieg forces, including an overview of the Blitzkrieg campaign itself.
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.
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.
The military branch of the Nazi SS security organisation grew by the end of World War II (1939-1945) from a handful of poorly regarded infantry battalions in 1939, into a force of more than 30 divisions including units of every type. Their battlefield reputation varied widely, from the premier armoured divisions which formed Germany's utterly reliable spearheads on both main fronts, to low quality 'anti-partisan' units. The divisions covered in this second of four titles include the first mountain and cavalry units, and two of the remarkable new Panzer divisions raised in the great 1943 expansion. Illustrated with rare photographs from private collections, the text details their organisation, uniforms and insignia, and summarises their battle record.
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