9780966638929 / 0966638921

Five Years, Four Fronts: The War Years of Georg Grossjohann


3.81 avg rating72 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:The Aberjona Press, 1999



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About the book:

A WWII German memoir of major importance, recalling the wartime career of a professional soldier and Knight's Cross winner. Significance. This book gives it to the reader 'with the bark on', is utterly devoid of self-serving, selective amnesia or embellishments, and conveys a sense of eminent humanity. Far from being consistently perfect examples of military efficiency or martial valour, the characters in this book cover the spectrum from coward and incompetent dolt, to eccentric, to near-saint and lionhearted warrior. Similarly, the quality of planning, support, and decision-making the author observed spans the range from imbecilic to uninspired to brilliant. Grossjohann never imagined his story would be published, but rather, strove to leave his honest account behind for his progeny. Thanks to the efforts of his widow, Edeltraud Grossjohann, and Ulrich Abele, the work's gifted translator, this story is now available to English-speaking students of WWII. Most importantly, this book covers several of the 'sideshow' battles and campaigns of WWII in Europe, and exposes the reader to a German Army that many readers will be surprised to find existed. The late Georg Grossjohann (1911-1992) enlisted in the Reichswehr in 1928 as a Zwolfender ('Twelve Point Buck'), a soldier bound for twelve years' service to the Weimar Republic. His World War II service began as an NCO officer aspirant in the Polish Campaign, and ended as a regimental commander, serving also in France 1940, Russia 1941-43, Western Front 1944-45. In between, he earned numerous decorations, including the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He was a professional Reichswehr-enlisted-man-turned-officer by a Wehrmacht in need of commissioned leaders for its vastly expanded ranks. He had no time for snobbery or frippery, and enjoyed life when he could. Far from being a cad or roue, however, he was a decent, straightforward soldier who shared hardship with his men, set the example, did his job...and expected others to do the same. Major units about which there is significant information included in this book include: German Forces 11th Panzer Division / 2d SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich' / 2d Parachute Division / 21st, 34th, 88th, 161st, 189th, 215th, 242nd, 244th, 269th, 332nd, 338th and 716th Infantry Divisions / 157th Reserve Infantry Division Soviet Army 4th Guards Army / 5th Guards Tank Army / 6th Tank Army / 8th Guards Army / 27th Army / 197th Rifle Regiment / 694th Rifle Regiment US Army 3rd, 36th and 45th Infantry Divisions / 442d Infantry Regiment Free French 1st Armored Division / 3rd Algerian Infantry Division / 9th Colonial Infantry Division Italian Army Celere Division

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