Favorite WW2 Books

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goose_2
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Enry1977 wrote: Thu Aug 05, 2021 10:32 am There are a lot of italians in Africa, but i'm not sure about traduction in other language. Try with the army in the desert by Arrigo Petacco. There is also a book on the folgore division, Elite paratroopers, with the famous sentence: it lacked luck, not valor.
I found the Folgore Division book. Thanks, I added to my list of new books desired.

The only Arrigo Petacco book I found with an english translation was A Tragedy Revealed. Not sure this is the book you are talking about.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

auda wrote: Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:14 pm
goose_2 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 4:56 pm Has anyone read Blood Red Snow? That looks like a good memoir I would enjoy once done.
I listened to the audio book version, which has a very good narrator, and it's an interesting book. Tells the story of a machine gunner from the 24 Panzer Division at Stalingrad. Quite a gripping and picturesque storytelling. Writing about his comrades in his platoon, describing their personalities, and their actions, it feels like you know those guys personally by the end... one can almost get a glimpse at that close-knit comradeship at the front. I'd highly recommend it. The book also helps to dispell the myths about the German army and the reality of war which is far from any glory or adventure. War is truly hell.

David Stahel's Retreat from Moscow is also quite good. It has that descriptive narrative that is almost like storytelling. I can appreciate it much more than the dry and factual Glantz's style, which is invaluable as a source, but rather tedious to read (and I can appreciate the operational details very much). I've read Glantz's Zhukov's Greatest Defeat, which describes the actions of the operation Mars.

As for the personal "memoirs" of the German generals: I've read Manstein's, Mellenthin's, Guderian's, Balck's, and Raus's memoirs. Once you dig deep enough with the help of other sources, you can see more clearly through their bullshit. There's a lot of self-aggrandizing, cherry picking the topics and exploits, or even, as in the case of the Mellenthin's memoir, I was very disappointed in his book. For an operational expert that was present in all major and famous battles, and being so highly regarded by his contemporaries, I expected more interesting professional insight, but got a very dry book instead. Balck's memoir is probably the best of the lot, but still quite self-aggrandizing. Those were some ambitious personalities, and it shows. Still, Balck's memoir offers some interesting details and insight nonetheless. But those are just my personal opinions.

There is also Rommel's papers, a book compiled by Liddel-Hart, who is known for not being critical and neutral enough. Rommel's papers is based on Rommel's notes from France and Africa, and then from Italy, and Normandy. Obviously, Rommel never finished or published the book because of his fate. What I found interesting are his descriptions of his leadership, and it sheds some light on his audacious style that many times crosses the border of recklessness. Rommel gives plenty of reasons for his approach, but he also glances over his shortcomings. His description of leading the 7th Panzer Division is France is quite interesting in this regard. In my opinion, he and his division was spared of destruction only by the indecisiveness and slow reaction of the French.

I might have preferred his Infantry Attacks book from WW1, which reads more like a text book for infantry schools, and if you read this and Rommel's papers, you can see how he used basically the same approach throughout his career. Not bad for a tactical commander, but not great for an operational commander leading a corps or army.
Thanks Auda. These are some great suggestions and great assessments. I found this very helpful and I am sure others will as well.
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fgiannet
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by fgiannet »

The US Army website has a lot of books in PDF format that are free to down load as well. Some books cover aspects that are not often discussed and can be interesting to someone, like yourself, who has read a great deal. An example is a book called “Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign” which covers rare topics like corduroy roads. There is a vast amount of material on the site including books devoted exclusively to the Eastern Front.

Website: history.army.mil

Another website called Lone Sentry has a lot of free and short information. Sometimes it can be fun to read something a little different and short.

Website: lonesentry.com

Last and certainly not least is a website that has some pretty in-depth information about WW2 including small unit actions. Again, just quick little articles but maybe a little something different.

https://www.allworldwars.com

I know you are asking about books, and maybe memoirs in particular, so I would like to throw “5 years and 4 Fronts” into the mix. The thing that sets that book apart, in my opinion, is his honesty about certain things (he talks about Rommel being personally brave but he would rather serve a General that isn’t going to thrust him into the midst of the enemy repeatedly...something along those lines...I don’t remember entirely).
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by auda »

^ Indeed, you can find a lot of interesting information on the internet, namely this one in particular is very interesting:
http://allworld.startlogic.com/Small-Un ... ussia.html

Hyperwar has good studies and general overviews on specific topics and historical battles:
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... html#index
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/index.html

and the Crusader Project
https://rommelsriposte.com/

German equipment DB
http://www.kfzderwehrmacht.de/Homepage_ ... glish.html
German kstns:
http://www.wwiidaybyday.com/kstn/kstnmain.htm
Sturmpanzer:
http://www.sturmpanzer.com/Default.aspx

and this excellent historical orders of battle:
http://www.niehorster.org/000_admin/000oob.htm
captainjack
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by captainjack »

There are some excellent online resources. Unfortunately they are a bit prone to being reorganised - my personal favourite, which included a good account of New Zealand anti tank gunners in action with their portee-mounted 2 pounders has recently disappeared, along with a good pile of others I used to use.
If I can find them again I will post the links.
fgiannet
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by fgiannet »

Niehorster! Niehorster and Panzer Corps, used in tandem, have dramatically increased my knowledge of WW2 over these last few years. Not too long ago I started McGuba’s great Hungarian Mod and I went to Niehorster hopeful to find enough information to make things historical. Yeah, they had some information.....including an entire downloadable book on the Royal Hungarian Army 1920-1945 (and McGuba’s mod matched right up with it). So much information for free.

That AllWorldWars site was interesting for getting first hand accounts. I remember reading, in the small unit section listed, the German Commander describing the Soviets he was fighting in 1943 as well supplied, well fed, and well trained. I still ignorantly held images of the untrained Soviet conscripts in my head for the entire war. OOBs (1943/1944) I had found in the Ike Skelton library showed some Soviet units with a training battalion that I had never heard of elsewhere. Combine that with the negative assessments of the replacement system of the US Army end of 1944 and early 1945 (where anti-aircraft units would be stripped of personnel and the soldiers immediately thrown into battle hardened Infantry Divisions) and it begins to seem like an inversion of the untrained conscripts paradigm (everyone goes through basic training but much more is needed). The US, except for a few divisions that created their own “training battalions” like the 1st and 9th IDs, were the guys throwing raw recruits into battle during that time period while the Soviets were training and integrating (JUST as important when dealing with battle hardened/PTSD experiencing veterans) new recruits.

Not because one group of people were dumber or smarter than the other but because one had more experience (in the same way that the 1st and 9th IDs had more experience than other US Divisions and setup a training battalion as well).

And I would love to read about New Zealanders experiences while manning a 2 pounder CaptainJack. In fact, I think you gave me a new direction for my reading.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Love this thread and the stuff being added to this topic. My wife and I were out on a date last night and used the opportunity to go into a half priced book store. (I used looking for early Christmas presents as an excuse to find some new reading material, as I am almost done with Forgotten Soldier.)

I am really into memoirs and 2 I saw in the book store I want to get are one about a Jewish soldier in the German army. Something like a Jew fighting for the Fatherland, and I also saw something called I think the Reluctant Fighter. Both looked very interesting. Have any of you read those. The other book was about Sliding or slouching towards World War 2 1922-1939. I can't find it online, but it looked good.

But here is what I ended up purchasing and have proudly displayed on my shelf. The entire 24 Volume of the Encyclopedia of World War2 written in 1972 in pristine condition for $30. I couldn't believe it. I know that my knowledge base is beyond the info in those books, but the look, feel, and just simple easy to find and brush up on various points in the war was too much not to grab. I felt like a kid again, eagerly snatching up a most desired prize at Christmas. I couldn't wait to place it on my book shelf at home. Yes, I had to box up some of my other World War 2 books in order to make room, but now I have a great looking set just ready for my perusal.

Giddy Daddy today my friends...just plain giddy.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by captainjack »

Tanks against guns used to bring up the link, and though unsuccessful last time, it turned up plenty of interesting stuff such as New zealand archives recordings from veterans ( which I haven't tried yet).
Reading about digging in vs firing from the portee, recovering extra ammo from the damaged gun teams under fire, taking long range shots at mortar teams to discourage loitering - all very good reading.
And well done Goose2, that's a good find. Well written and well founded general overviews are a great complement to more specialist works.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by captainjack »

Found it
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... 00004.html
I still prefer real documents but this is a pretty good.
fgiannet
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by fgiannet »

goose_2 wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 2:07 pm I felt like a kid again, eagerly snatching up a most desired prize at Christmas.
Well now that is the spirit! That happiness seeps into all your interactions as well (if your interactions on this forum are anything to go by).

A book about a Jewish soldier would be fascinating. I have never heard of such a book or The Reluctant Soldier.

Sliding or slouching towards war sounds very familiar. I might have read that. It does not sound like a memoir though. There was a lot of interesting economic/psychological/political events during that time period (Nazi currency blocking for example) but they are pretty dry subjects unless you enjoy them.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Just finished Forgotten Soldier...and yeah I found myself crying...Yeah I am that guy/.

You know the author is still alive?

Too bad he didn't write anything else. He is a prolific writer. Best memoir I have read ever.

Thanks guys for suggesting it
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by PeteMitchell »

This is really a great collection!
Comprehensive Battlefield Europe AAR:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=145&t=86481
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Man. I realize I haven't updated this one in a while. Last week I finished the book JAD43, Joseph, gave me to borrow. Sand and Steel. It is a 1000 page book detailing the preparation and execution of one single day. D-Day. Man that was very fun and I learned a lot. For example, I did not realize that if they did not choose to go on June 6th but went on the next date when there was going to be a low tide that the weather forecast was supposed to be totally calm weather. Perfect invasion weather. But the actual weather ended up being gale force winds and would have destroyed the invading force before they even made landfall. Good stuff...


So for Christmas I got 3 new books I am each dying to read and plan to before this year is out.

#1 is The Kindly Ones.

Not sure who recommended this one, but this is a 1000 page novel that was translated from French. I am already over 60 pages into it. I am finding it fascinating, but having a lot of trouble relating to the main character of the book. He spent much of the 1st chapter stating that he is just like the reader, but dude I cannot relate with him. I have found books like Albert Camus The Stranger, the WW2 memoir The Forgotten Soldier, and the show Breaking Bad so compelling because I could relate to the main character, despite the things they did or experienced, i could put myself in their shoes. This book hits you in the face by flat out saying I am just like you and then proceeds to share things that you are repulsed by on a visceral level, yet you can't turn away. I am wondering if I will get to a point in the book where I go, good grief I am just like him. Not sure, but find myself reading pretty faithfully.

#2 The Folgore Division. This book will be quick in comparison and so excited to read about Italians in North Afrika. Let me know if there are anymore like this one.

#3 The Reluctant Warrior: A Memoir about a Jewish Soldier fighting in the Wehrmacht. That should be interesting.


I hope 2022 gives everyone a chance to explore more in their education on this most sobering of topics.

Blessings
Dave
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Enry1977
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by Enry1977 »

goose_2 wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:29 pm Just finished Forgotten Soldier...and yeah I found myself crying...Yeah I am that guy/.

You know the author is still alive?

Too bad he didn't write anything else. He is a prolific writer. Best memoir I have read ever.

Thanks guys for suggesting it
By internet he is still alive, born in 1927. He wrote something else, but forgotten soldier is his masterpiece.
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by faos333 »

Enry1977 wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:46 am
goose_2 wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:29 pm Just finished Forgotten Soldier...and yeah I found myself crying...Yeah I am that guy/.

You know the author is still alive?

Too bad he didn't write anything else. He is a prolific writer. Best memoir I have read ever.

Thanks guys for suggesting it
By internet he is still alive, born in 1927. He wrote something else, but forgotten soldier is his masterpiece.
What else he wrote?
Battlefield Europe get the most from Panzer Corps 8)
Download the new 2.3 Mod here http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=47985
Enry1977
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by Enry1977 »

faos333 wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:29 pm
Enry1977 wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:46 am
goose_2 wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:29 pm Just finished Forgotten Soldier...and yeah I found myself crying...Yeah I am that guy/.

You know the author is still alive?

Too bad he didn't write anything else. He is a prolific writer. Best memoir I have read ever.

Thanks guys for suggesting it
By internet he is still alive, born in 1927. He wrote something else, but forgotten soldier is his masterpiece.
What else he wrote?
https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJ ... gJzP9_AAAA

He just died, 11 january 2022. Good journey Guy.
faos333
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by faos333 »

Enry1977 wrote: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:59 am
He just died, 11 January 2022. Good journey Guy.
Good journey from me too :(
Glad he lived a long life, his contributions will remain forever

Other books:
https://www.amazon.com/Dimitri/e/B004N1 ... p_mata_dsk

His latest book was

https://www.amazon.com/Kursk-tourmente- ... 2723432645
Kursk: Storm of Steel (Kursk tourmente d'acier) (24X32) (French Edition) Paperback – May 17, 2000
61-FS24mhoL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
61-FS24mhoL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (45.09 KiB) Viewed 848 times
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Sad to lose Guy Sajer.

Hey who recommended The Kindly Ones to me?

I got about 250 pages in and had to walk away.

I hate the main protagonist. He is evil, I do not relate to him and find it a very difficult read, because I get so frustrated.

Who recommended this book and why?

So I have picked up the Folgore Division instead. No that is a great informational book that I am very much enjoying. Anymore like that about any Italian contributions to the war would very much appeal to me.

Let me know. Thanks
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by goose_2 »

Ok I have been a busy bee reading all i can get my hands on. I have read 2 books about the Pandemice, or should I say Scamdemic....but have also been reading a whole lot of new World War 2 books thanks to your suggestions and some gifts and nice finds.

Folgore Division was a great book about their training and their waste in the desert.
Unlikely Warrior was crazy memoir of a soldier who had jewish heritage that starts out with him telling his commanding officer this fact. Amazing stuff.
Operation Citadel was a fun read about the battle of Kyrsk
Last book Blood Red Snow was a good read. I was hoping for a bit more, but still really enjoyed it.

So now I am looking for even more books.

I am thinking about these 3 books.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated


800 Days on the Eastern Front: A Russian Soldier Remembers World War II (Modern War Studies) Paperback – January 20, 2017



Until the Eyes Shut: Memories of a machine gunner on the Eastern Front, 1943-45 Paperback – October 10, 2019



The Eastern Front: Memoirs of a Waffen SS Volunteer, 1941-1945 Paperback – September 30, 2014


Thanks for keeping me in the pink with good reads.

Blessings
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Re: Favorite WW2 Books

Post by huckc »

goose_2 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:07 am Until the Eyes Shut: Memories of a machine gunner on the Eastern Front, 1943-45 Paperback – October 10, 2019
Hey Goose, I've read this and pretty sure I enjoyed it.

Continuing on the subject of German memoirs, I highly recommend Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans Von Luck. It's one my favorite WW2 memoirs.
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