“Without question, this is the authoritative work on the German army from 1939 to 1945.”—Stephen E. Ambrose, from his Introduction
In March, 1945, the U.S. War Department issued a restricted document called Handbook on German Military Forces. The restricted classification was removed in 1953, but the handbook has until now remained virtually unknown. The book is a massive compendium of information on every aspect of Hitler’s forces. It gives credence to the contention that by 1945 U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall may have known more about the German military than did Hitler himself.
Exceptionally well organized and exhaustively detailed, the handbook examines German military personnel from the lowest levels to the High Command. It describes the Wehrmacht’s administrative structure, unit organization, field tactics, fortification and defense systems, weapons and other equipment, and uniforms and insignia. Moreover, it presents this abundance of information in a manner that is remarkable for its depth and clarity.
The book contains an astute analysis of the psychology of the German soldier and charts the ways in which the attitudes of Hitler’s men changed over the course of the war. It also considers the strengths and weaknesses of the German weapons systems, describes how Allied soldiers could make use of captured weapons, and offers advice on how Allied military personnel might avoid being captured themselves. Hundreds of tables, organizational charts, and illustrations, some in color, add further value to the book.
Handbook on German Military Forces will prove indispensable to scholars of World War II as well as to all devotees of military history.
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