8th October 2018: Haynes’ German Infantryman Operations Manual digs deep into the creation of one of the most formidable fighting forces in history: the Second World War German Army – das Heer. Its soldiers swore unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler and between 1939 and 1945 some 13 million staked their lives for this oath. Over 4 million died.
The German Infantryman Operations Manual examines the story of German militarism in the post-World War I years, the often brutal education that prepared young men for conscription, and what it was like to serve as a soldier in the German Army as it slogged its way, mostly on foot with much of its heavier equipment horse-drawn, from Finisterre to Moscow and Kirkenes to Tripoli.
The manual describes these foot soldiers – the Grenadier, Panzergrenadier, Gebirgsjäger and Volksgrenadier – giving details of their organisation, uniforms and personal accoutrements. In particular, it looks closely at their weapons – from rifle and machine gun to the heavier anti-tank guns and howitzers – and how they waged war. There are separate sections on medical services, transportation, communications and tactics.
Talking about his latest manual, Simon commented: “Many historians have suggested that Hitler’s army was the outstanding fighting force of the Second World War and perhaps one of the greatest in history. Certainly in the early years of the war the German Army consistently outperformed its opponents and by 1941 had conquered most of Western Europe. Even more impressive, however, was the way it held out for so long following the reverses in its fortunes whilst outnumbered and having to contend with its enemies’ superior airpower and artillery.
“How did they do this? It’s too easy to say glibly, as many have done, that they were just better soldiers with better weapons. The truth is even more remarkable and is not just a reflection on the German Army’s undoubtedly high standard of training, its unrivalled defensive abilities and individual bravery – but on the strength of German soldiers’ commitment to their oath to Hitler and the Nazi cause … and the fact that if they didn’t follow orders the punishment was often summary.”
Supported by more than 300 detailed illustrations and photographs, many previously unpublished, Haynes’ German Infantryman Operations Manual is a comprehensive guide to the achievements and failures of the German Army between 1939 and 1945 using the usual Haynes treatment to show ‘how it was done’.
German Infantryman Operations Manual is priced at £22.99 and available from www.haynes.com. The book number is H6168. The ISBN is 9781785211683. It is published in September 2018.
About the author
Simon Forty has been involved in book publishing for over three decades and specialises in military history, having written and contributed to a large number of titles. Simon lives in Devon.
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