Titel: Division Das Reich im Bild.
Verlag: Nation Europa, Coburg, 1999
Zustand: Very Good
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This book is the classic official unit photo history of the premier division of the Waffen-SS in World War Two; which by wars end evolved into a Panzer Division that had fought from the first to the last day of the war on almost every front. This is their story in photos with captions in English and German. Originally formed as the SS-V.T. Division, it was composed of three of the original four regiments: Deutschland; Germania; and Der Fuhrer. In this capacity it participated in the French Campaign as a swift motorized division in the main drive on Rotterdam, after which it breached a strongly defended canal line in France; from which it attacked all the way to the Spanish border. After the blitzkrieg of France, the division was renamed Reich and transferred to Roumania. In the invasion of Yugoslavia in April of 1941, swift advanced units of the division captured the capital Belgrade, effectively knocking that country out of the war.
In the pre-emptive strike against the Stalinst Soviet Union, the unit was assigned to the Panzers of Army Group Center for the main effort, and participated in the massive battles of encirclement that characterized that campaign, coming to within a few miles of the Kremlin in the final bid to take the Red Capital. Exhausted from continuous action, the division now faced the Soviet Counter-Offesive in some of the bitterest winter weather it would ever face. Fighting for its very life, Reich staved off assault after assault amidst staggering losses on both sides; but Reich endured.
Pulled out of the line once the front stabilized, it was reformed into Panzer-Grenadier Division Das Reich and sent back to the front just as it was collapsing after the debacle of Stalingrad. Arriving in the nick of time with other Waffen-SS Panzer formations, it spearheaded the counter-attack at Kharkov that re-captured the city and re-formed the front. In the battle of Kursk, it thrust some forty miles into the Soviet lines, before that offensive was called off; after which it was re-formed again, this time to a full Panzer Division.
D-Day found the Division in Normandy, where it participated in all of the hardest fighting. Fighting in the Ardennes, the unit was finally transferred to the East again where it fought against it's old enemy the Communists with diminishing capacity to the very bitter end. This is their heroic story in photos, taken for the most part by the front line fighters themselves in the smoke, noise, fire, fear, fury, and death, of combat action; providing a colossal monument to one of the most potent and elite combat formations in military history.About the Author:
Holder of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves and Swords, Otto Weidinger was the last commander of SS-Regiment "Der Fuehrer." Among the very best field officers of the Waffen-SS, he served on the front lines throughout the war.
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