Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Death of the Wehrmacht


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 GrossBorn

GrossBorn

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 138 posts

Posted 21 January 2008 - 01:23 AM

Has anyone read this book and if so, was it worth purchasing?

Amazon.com: Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942 (Modern War Studies): Books: Robert M. Citino
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
It is sometimes harder to fight my superiors than the French.
-Heinz Guderian

#2 Weisenwolf

Weisenwolf

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 65 posts

Posted 21 January 2008 - 01:39 PM

Does this help....?......

This is not a book, it's a pair of specs. With a manual on how to use them. It really improves your sight many times! Or perhaps I should call it a crystal ball (but one that looks into the past rather than the future)....

No, seriously, after having read this book I've got the feeling I see the German "contribution" to the Second World War in a new light. Though the book is not perfect I find this one of the rare titles that really helps me understand the greater picture. Years ago I had the same experience with Brian Fugates book Thunder on the Dniepr. That one also wasn't perfect, even controversial, but it introduced a special way of looking at the Soviet war effort in 1941-1942. This book by Citino does likewise for the German war effort, only far less controversial. I have to say that with Mr. Citino's approach in mind I find explaining German behaviour in the early parts of WW2 so much easier than before. It really makes sense.

So, what am I going on about? Well, without giving away the entire contents of the book Mr. Citino states that the Germans have perfected the operational level of warfare to a point where they have lost sight of the strategic level. It has disappeared out of their minds completely, and as a consequence the Germans have tried to solve every problem they encountered at the operational level. Also, any setbacks would be explained at this level. Only when it was too late did the Germans sort of wake up, but by then it was too late.
The book begins by explaining the Prussian and German road up to 1942, and gives a believable explanation of the evolution of the German way of war over a period of 300 years. Then this way of war is shown in action in the year if WW2 leading up to 1942, and Mr Citino points out where the first cracks begin to appear.
Next comes a survey of all major operations in 1942, spread from Africa to the Soviet Union. The author explains why the operations early in 1942 still succeeded, and why the operations later failed. But rather than the way the Germans did it at the time, by looking at flaws in their operations only, he also and above all else points at the strategic level that has been totally neglected and the role it plays in the failures. And he does it in a very clear and understandable manner. For this Mr. Citino deserves every credit. I think he did a wonderful job.

The book is not just about how the German way of war worked and failed, it is also a fine summary for all the German major operations of 1942. These are dealt with in some detail, which makes interesting reading on its own. But it is as part of the overall approach that the "extra" of this book comes through.

Finally I have to say the book isn't perfect. I don't agree with every theory Mr. Citino mentions. I think they are positioned a bit more black and white than they sould be. This helps to make things clear and to make a point, but it makes it a little less acceptable as well. A little, mind, because it is still very convincing stuff.
Besides the theoretical issues there are also some printing errors. A few examples are: One group attacked from the north, the other from the north. Or mentioning actions that took place in North Africa in June 1940 where the fighting only started in December 1940. This should obviously have been 1942.
If you can get past these occasional errors though this is a title anyone interested in the German war effort in the Second World War should read. If I could give it six points, I would....

(Lift from Amazon.co.uk)

#3 Weisenwolf

Weisenwolf

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 65 posts

Posted 10 February 2008 - 04:41 PM

I am about half way through this book and so far it is going very well; it aims to explain the decline of the German War machine from late 1942 in the context of the German way of making war and it looks like he has done a good job of pulling together all the facts and making a sturdy argument.

#4 GrossBorn

GrossBorn

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 138 posts

Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:26 PM

Thanks for the info Weisenwolf...let us know when you finish if it was a worthwhile purchase. I am on a limited budget right now (divorce attorneys are expensive...) and have to make my history purchases wisely.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
It is sometimes harder to fight my superiors than the French.
-Heinz Guderian

#5 Weisenwolf

Weisenwolf

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 65 posts

Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:08 PM

No worries; I understand. I will let you know my verdict when I have finished it. Should be in the next week or so. ;)

#6 halder

halder

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 94 posts

Posted 12 February 2008 - 01:03 PM

Very good book indeed; an excellent overview of the 1942 campaign – and not just in Russia. It's nice to read some heavy duty military history that's actually readable!
Particularly useful is the notes section with a very handy annotated bibliography.
Definitely worth investing in if it floats your boat.

#7 Martin Bull

Martin Bull

    Acting Wg. Cdr

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,647 posts
  • LocationLondon, England.

Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:00 AM

Another book I picked up recently as part of my secondhand 'haul' of Eastern Front books from London's Charing X Rd.

I'd wanted to get it for a while and at first glance it looks excellent - I'm looking forward to reading it. As noted above, notes and bibliography also look impressive.

Author Citino has recently published a sequel : 'The Wehrmacht Retreats : Fighting A Lost War 1943' which I have now ordered from Amazon.....
"Stand by to pull me out of the seat if I get hit" - Guy Gibson

#8 Martin Bull

Martin Bull

    Acting Wg. Cdr

  • TrusteeOKF Trustee
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,647 posts
  • LocationLondon, England.

Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:01 AM

Right - I've finished reading this book and have to say that Wesisenwolf's review above is very fair indeed. It's important to note that Mr Citino is concerned with operational issues, high command and strategy ; there are no frontline first-hand accounts. Also, the 'barbarization of warfare' doesn't feature ; the author saves this for the last page where he points the way to other reading for this subject . Books about strategy are usually ones which I abandon 1/3 of the way through which is most certainly not the case here. Very readable and certainly not 'dry as dust'. Most importantly for me, Mr Citino includes copious notes which amount to an excellent crtitical bibliography - a top-notch 'reading list'.

Criticisms - only niggling ones. As pointed out above, there are some irritating publishers typos in the '1942' book. Also - and maybe this is just me - but in '1942' some of the style seems a little like the professor using trendy, 21st-Century language to keep the students on board. ( Not so pronunced in the '1943' book, so maybe the author is becoming more confident in writing for a broader audience ).

All in all, very highly recommended. There are certainly some excellent books coming from the US University presses recently. 1942 - 1943....for sure, if Mr Citino turns his attention to the Wehrmacht in 1941 or 1944, my pre-orders are certain.
"Stand by to pull me out of the seat if I get hit" - Guy Gibson




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users