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Hitler’s Panzers by Dennis Showalter (The Berkley Publishing Group, 2009, 377 pages)

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by Slipdigit, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    May 21, 2007
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    Development of the German mechanized forces prior to, and during World War II, is one of the more heavily covered historical subjects available today. Any numbers of books are available, from those that are dedicated to counting the lug nuts to volumes that consider the subject in such depth that the reader often needs to come up for air. Hitler’s Panzers (The Berkley Publishing Group, 2009, 377 pages), authored by Dennis Showalter, falls nicely between the two extremes by providing an enjoyably readable narrative of the German armored forces during the First World War, through to the cauldron of Berlin.

    Germany’s tentative and awkward steps into armored mobile warfare during the Great War did little to demonstrate the later abilities of the men and machines that made up the panzer and panzer grenadier divisions that sometimes obtained mythical stature in the Second World War. Hitler’s Panzer devotes two chapters to the mistakes and discoveries related to the art of mechanized warfare made by German military leadership late in World War one, through the Weimar period, before exploring the flower of German armored warfare in the 1940s. Showalter does this without bogging the reader down with endless minutiae, providing a good overview and providing detailed discussion where pertinent.

    The balance of the book gives a detailed look at the war, discussing the campaigns in turn, relating how each influenced subsequent operations, while weaving in the background ‘politics’ affecting the various decisions that went into the buildup of the German mechanized forces. The books ends with an epilogue that offers a brief discussion of how the lessons learned during the war were applied to the later Bundeswehr and how the leaders of the panzer were, and were not, later integrated into the West German armed forces.

    Showalter provides an easily read book, with enough detail to interest the experienced student of WWII, while remaining an easily an understood book for the novice. The occasional footnote adds needed information without interrupting the flow. My only complaint is with the maps included within the book. The scale of the maps was such that is was difficult to follow the operations without using outside maps. I hope and suggest that Showalter corrects that problem in a later edition.

    The student of World War II history interested in the why and how of German mechanized forces development will find Hitler’s Panzers to be a highly interesting read and the book will provide good reference material for anyone’s library. Why not add it to your Christmas or birthday list for the history aficionado in your life?
    JagdtigerI and dgmitchell like this.
  2. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

    Oct 12, 2009
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    Maps seem to be an ever increasing problem in the publishing world in the past several years, and it is not getting any better. My guess is that it must be an added expense to produce decent maps, and publishing houses are either cutting them out altogether, or resorting to the oversimplified, dumbed-down computer generated maps. It's frustrating for sure.

    Greg C.
  3. Noreaster

    Noreaster Member

    Jan 6, 2010
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    If I see that a book does not provide good maps I will not even think of putting down my hard earned cash for it. Maps in millitary history books are a must without them one can not really grasp the scope of operations being discussed. Using decent maps from other sources is one solution but it is one huge pain in the ass and not worth the effort.
  4. theblackalchemist

    theblackalchemist Member

    Dec 30, 2009
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    Nice Review,
    Got the book recently after reading about it here,

    it's really a good pickup.
    I'd say pick it up for anyone looking to read about the newly mechanized army, especially after the advent of tanks in WWI.

    dancing around the fire, reviving an old thread

  5. SteveM

    SteveM Member

    Jan 16, 2009
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