Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

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Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Jebir » 01 Feb 2011 20:42

Hello there

I've been looking around the internet for a copy of Wilhelm Tieke's "Tragedy of the faithful".
I have found plenty, but only from the United States.
Can anyone point me in direction of a european bookstore that has this book? It must be in English, so the German version is not a possibility.

(The reason I don't want to order it from the US is that Danish taxes etc. would mean that the book would end up costing twice the amount the bookseller wants for it... so if it's avalable in Europe it would be preferred)

Thanks in advance,

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 01 Feb 2011 21:09

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Larso » 11 Aug 2020 12:14

Rather than create a new thread, I'll put my review here -

Tragedy of the Faithful by Wilhelm Tieke

Well this book is as it is titled – the history of the 3rd SS Panzer Corps from its formation in 1943 until its destruction in Berlin. Its primary formations were the 11th SS ‘Nordland’ Division and the SS ‘Nederland Bde (later division). There were some smaller formations, and others (or elements) attached at various times, like 503rd SS Heavy Tank Battalion. Apart from its Germans, the corps consisted of men from quite a few European countries, including Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Sweden. Many of the men in Nordland were ethnic Germans from Romania. The author gives quite a lot of coverage to these groups, even when their numbers were modest, as this reflects his view of the corps as pan-European idealists united against communism.

After formation and some actions in Croatia, the corps serves in fierce fighting in Estonia, Narwa, Kurland and ultimately in the battles for Berlin. It seems the units are under constant attack and it is only through steadfast defence and courageous counter-attacks that it almost always holds its positions. While this appears to be the story of quite a few German units on the Eastern Front, the 3rd SS Corps does appear to do remarkably well. Tieke describes many actions, many at the company and even platoon level or lower. Aggressive and inspiring leadership seem to have underpinned much of this success. Ultimately though, collapsing neighbours and decimated battalions mean the Russian advances cannot be defied forever.

The small unit actions just noted are a strength of the book. These do become repetitive though. There is a smattering of first-hand accounts by participants but more of these were needed to really light up the narrative. Tieke has made good use of award citations and writes more specifically about the actions of fighting officers to give it a reasonably personal tone. A few stories were absolute chestnuts too, detailing incredible battles. Particularly that of Fritz Kauerauf of the 503rd, whose King Tiger lead the attack to Ziegenhagen. Others, like the story of the Jorgenson brothers (my paternal grandmother’s name) just stayed with me.

Following the withdrawal from Courland the shattered units are rebuilt quickly with naval and airforce men, so the earlier interesting pan-Eropean composition is largely gone. In the final battle, Nordland is the main formation but various units like the French SS battalion ‘Fenet’ are covered too. Quite a bit is written about the street fighting in Berlin, especially regarding the break-out attempts. These were led by the handful of remaining tanks (including Tiger IIs) but these were in vain. There is an extensive appendix with multitude of interesting details, including operations for detached units (the replacement battalions) with Wiking. Other material in here has medal citations, additional unit information, the number of Scandinavians, even a marching song!

Overall, the information was voluminous. One criticism I would make is about the author’s obsession with listing every mention of a unit in full. For instance ‘In the sector of the III/SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 24 ‘Danmark’, increased enemy pressure fell on the 9./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 24 ‘Danmark’ of SS Untersturmfuhrer Dam as well as on the remnants of 10./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 24 ‘Danmark’. This is why we have pronouns but surely just writing the 10th Company was sufficient? It doesn’t help that I and 1 look pretty similar with the font and small size selected. Frankly it was both tedious and confusing.

It should be noted that the author served with Nordland himself, so he is a natural booster of his former unit and comrades. This also points to the sympathetic, rather glowing title. He is certainly entitled to his view, however it is still problematic, ascribing high motives, even if legitimately held, when you’ve served Hitler. Tieke also doesn’t mention Nederland’s shooting of civilians in Courland either. Anyway, this said, no one seems to be praising Hitler anywhere and the men are as committed to each other, as in any other good military formation. Hence their tragedy I guess. Fighting to a very bitter end in a doomed and ultimately disreputable cause.
Last edited by Larso on 12 Aug 2020 12:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by pintere » 12 Aug 2020 03:52

Thanks for the review Larso! I've been considering this book for some time and this definitely provides some new impetus to put it further up on the priority list. Does he only discuss mostly the WSS soldiers, or does he also devote attention to the Heer units that were attached to the III. SS-Pz.Korps?

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Larso » 12 Aug 2020 11:58

He's very good at listing formations! So yes, the army ones on the flanks, or temporarily under 3rd Corps. There's also several of the Luftwaffe Field Divs too. He even mentions police and naval battalions/companies as applicable.

I'll go into detail about the appendixs on the weekend. There was a heap of interesting info there too.

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by krichter33 » 13 Aug 2020 06:40

From the German-centric authors, as opposed to the Soviet-centric (Glantz) Tieke is one of my all time favorites!!! Though a former WSS soldier, he's extremely professional in his writing. Of course, he doesn't really go into war crimes and is a bit praising of the German side, but that is to be expected. However, his books are EXTREMELY detailed tactically which is what I love! I don't know why, but that kind of "watching paint dry" listings of formations and movements, coupled with excellent maps, makes me a very happy person! I own all of Tieke's books, and if you want really tactically detailed works on the Germans there is no one better!

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Larso » 30 Aug 2020 03:05

"I don't know why, but that kind of "watching paint dry" listings of formations and movements, coupled with excellent maps, makes me a very happy person!"

I totally get that too!
Now as promised here is the list of items in the Appendices -

1. Precursor formations
2. Organisation and disbanding of the Finnish Battalion
3. The Finn's music platoon
4. The battalion marching song
5. Banat Swabians in the Waffen SS
6. German Cross in Gold citation for Eugen Deck
7. Knight's Cross cit for Phillip Wild
8. Recommendation for the Oakleaves for Fritz von Scholz
9. Rec for the Swords for Steiner
10. Rec for the GC in Gold for August-Georg Loderhose
11. Except from the War Diary of 23rd SS Division Nederland
12. Rec for the KC for Alrecht Krugel
13. Rec for the GC in G for Johannes Hellmers
14. Breakthrough of Korps Tettau to the Oder
15. The 'New' I/SS 23rd Norge ans I/24th Danmark
16. SS Battalion 503
17. Swedish volunteers in the SS
18. Joachim Ziegler a remarkable career.
19. Rec for the Oakleaves for Joachim Ziegler
20. Court Martial practise in the III SS Corps
21. Duty positions held in the III
22. Flak Battalion Nordland
23. The reconstitution of Danmark mid Apr 45
24. Personnel strengths
25. Foreign composition of Nordland
26. Foreign compostion of Nederland
27. Knights Cross holders of III SS Corps
28. Honor Roll of the German Army
29. Images from the Estate of Joop Cuypers

These topics are covered in over 100 pages, so there is some worthwhile detail amongst it.

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Re: Looking for Tieke - Tragedy of the faithful

Post by Cult Icon » 31 Aug 2020 14:24

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