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Devils Guard--A review.

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by C.Evans, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    The book is from the viewpoint fo the man that the book is mostly about. The mans book name is: Hans-Josef Wagemuller and he was an SS Obersturmfuhrer (First Lieutenant)

    He was stationed near Liberec Czecholslovakia in 1945. His unit was what they called a Partisanjager unit (Partisan Hunters) in other words, that units main duty was to hunt down Czech partisans and their main duty stations were behind the front lines.

    The book starts in 1945 ion a mountain near Liberec. The war has either ended or was about to. "Wagemullers" unit was stationed in a pass on the mountain. Their last orders were to "hold the pass".

    They had been there for a good period of time. As time passed, they were joind by soldiers of smashed and retreating units including: Engineers, A Signals Detachment, An 88 Artillery unit, a few Fallschirmjagers, some Gebirgejagers and a Wehrmacht Infantry Battalion. They numbered about 1,000 men.

    The book goes on and tells you of their fight with Soviet fighters, the surrender of the Wehrmacht Battalion and its murder by the Russians. They they decide to have a bit of revenge and destroyed Russian units that came up an opposing mountain to set up Artillery to destroy them with, but out of the jaws of death, they snagged a victory by destroying those Russian units.

    These men then fought their way toward the west and in the process lost 2/3rd of the survivors. They then separated into groups of 2-3 to try to make it back home.

    Along the way, Hans, traveling alone, met an ex-para, who joined him in trekking home. They made it to Lake Konstanz (where Hans was raised) and managed to make their way to Switzerland and temporary freedom.

    At one point after having to leave Switzerland, they were captured by the French and sent to a POW camp. There is where the beginnings of hie Forign Legion service "began."

    They had a choice: Join the Forign Legion and die, or stay in prison, he and many including an ex-Gestapo Agent, "joined" the Legion. They go through basic training which is somewhat described along with some small incidents with a French Sergeant.

    Eventually, these men gain in rank and actually held the same ranks as they did when serving in the Wehrmacht.

    He tells of many battles and other adventures that he is part of. Eventually they were allowed to form an all German Battalion under the command of a German (he).

    You learn much about booby traps, jungle warfare, camp life, ambushes, actually all out battles and how to win them. There is a large raid in China, and many adventures in between.

    This book is very well written and many of the facts stated in the book are fairly easy to find in libraries and on the internet.

    I have never read a non-fiction book before, that I just could not put down. The only books that can come anywhere close to this book, are the fiction series called: "The Sergeant" by: Gordon Davis.

    There was not a single boring paragraph in the books entirity. Your attention is so held, that you feel as if you are by Hans's side experiancing what you are reading. This book is The Bible of jungle Warfare-with the exception of a book written by a British Officer, Spencer Chapman.

    If you can find a copy, I suggest getting it, you will not be disappointed, and I will stake any reputation I have here, on that.

    The same goes for the book: "Shooting the War" by: Otto Giese. This is a ww2 book as seen through the eyes of a Uboat Officer.

    You just cant really get better than these. I know I havent read everything available but, of the thousands of books I have read, these are the best I have and read.

    On ww2 warfere, close seconds would have to be: SOLDAT, then Panzer Leader.

    Close third Panzer Battles but tends to get boring at times while reading about desert warfare. When you are reading of his involvement in Russia, its very interesting.

    Hope this not-so-of-a-review helps.
     
  2. Dinger

    Dinger Member

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    Yeah Chris-as you may remember I posted the 'origanal' who dunnit ;)
    But I concur it is the best/most graphic book I've read on a taboo subject-ex SS men in French service....
    I too was gripped from start to finish-you could almost become one of the characters!Now,I'm not pro-right wing,but you could almost feel sorry for these men who by circumstances of war happen to be on the losing side and have to fight again.Worst bit of the book?When they put the pliers on the VC's nuts!-I could feel that.......

    For what it's worth,
    Dinger
     
  3. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I totally agree with you. Since I had known more than one gentleman from this unit, its difficult for me to really form any other opinion other than, I dont blame them for what they did--especially if it saver their comrades lives.

    That part where the "stoneaged" warriors, who were shooting poisoned arrows into troopers chests and backs. I easily could agree with the Germans on how they handled that situation. I would not have took prisoners and would have done as they did, execute them.

    Terrorist techniques need to be met with terrorist techniques. As the good Bible says: "An Eye For An Eye".
     
  4. gwbyer

    gwbyer recruit

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    I read the Devils Guard in 1980 as a 19 year old, after my dad passed it on to me. I was so blown away by the story that I become a voracious reader of wehrmacht histories ever since. This book is timeless, easy to read, engrossing, and intelligent. And it paints the correct picture of the typical wehrmacht soldier, instead the tripe usually peddled by most cowardly western hacks. Enjoy, this is a book you'll never forget!!!
     

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