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Panzergrenadier, Hans Schmidt

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by KodiakBeer, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Hans Schmidt (17 years old) arrived as a replacement in the 1st SS Panzer Division in December 1944. He is assigned just after the debacle along the Ambleve, as the remains of the unit are moving south to bolster the 5th Panzer Army outside of Bastogne. He stays with LAH until the end of the war.

    I found it interesting because as a private soldier you get a view of everyday life late in the war - the food, shitty late-war rifles, lice, conversations between enlisted men when the officers weren't around. Along with that, you get the usual Waffen SS lies and distortions about atrocities, the holocaust, etc, that you find in every Waffen SS biography. Still, with all of the propaganda filtered out you are left with a pretty good picture of the reality of the war for the German enlisted man - information that is missing in the usual biography written by various commanders. Schmidt has a lot more to say about lice than strategy and tactics.

    An example of this micro view of the war is his commentary about the K98 issued him when he arrives in Belgium in late December 1944. He is issued a brand new rifle and is disappointed because of the rough condition and manufacturing shortcuts the late war production rifle exhibits. The rifle fails to function the first time he uses it in combat, though he doesn't really know why - it had been dropped when a stug he was riding on had slid off an icy road. He trades in his malfunctioning K98 for an STG44 and carries that for a few days until a junior officer points out that the unit has no more ammo for the STG44, once he fires the few magazines he has he will be without ammo. So, he again goes back and trades that rifle in for another K98 - an earlier production used rifle that functions well. This is the kind of war you hear about from Schmidt. He came into the war late and his experience is entirely one of defeat and hardship. His unit crumbles around him in the last desperate months of the war, until he eventually flees into the American lines to surrender.

    The book may be worth $60 to a reader, or not... depending on how dedicated an amateur historian you are.

    http://www.amazon.com/SS-Panzergrenadier-True-Story-World/dp/0966904745
     
    belasar likes this.
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yeah, isn't he? When you order the book, it comes directly from him. With my order he threw in two issues of "The Revisionist" a neo-nazi publication which tries to deny the holocaust, etc. For example, he attempts to make the point that all of those starving people in camps like Dachau were only starving because allied air shut down the German supply system, ignoring the fact that Germans right outside the camp were still getting plenty of food.
    Aside from that, you still get a pretty good view of the last months of the war for a low ranking soldier in this book.

    My purpose for ordering the book was because he was in the 1st SS Panzer Division, and I am always looking for material on the (US) 30th Infantry Division, so this looked like a good buy. Unfortunately, Schmidt arrived a couple of days after the final clash of 1st SS and the 30th in Belgium, so it was a bust for my purposes. Though, I may use a few of his anecdotes about how devastating and accurate US artillery was.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Thanks for the review Kodiak. I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt about atrocities because of his late deployment to the LAH, but since he sent you neo-nazi clap trap he lost that for me.

    $60.00 is far too steep a price, but I have found that in almost any book there is a kernel of something worthwhile to learn.

    Then again every once in awhile they are just total caca. :)
     

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