- Posts: 6878
- Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19
Full marks for replying yourself.
While my earlier general remarks (none of which were directed specifically at your book, because I haven't read it) stand, I very much welcome your explanation as to your writing style.
I am rather old school and in this "post-truth" age of unreliable, indeed impossible, "alternative facts" I increasingly value primary-researched, bare bones accounts that stick closely to the known facts.
Sadly the publishing industry encourages reader-friendliness over content in the (from their point of view) understandable pursuit of profit. This is rarely to the advantage of the actual historical record.
Thanks and respect,
- Posts: 5
- Joined: 17 Jan 2016 06:07
- Location: Florida
While I do like to try to make history in the last century come alive today, I am very sensitive to the need to critically document everything I write. If it is speculation or hearsay, I tell the reader-- emphatically.
This particularly true for contentious subjects, and as those here know, Jochen Peiper is a first order magnet for difference of opinion.
My new book, Peiper's War has 423 pages in the narrative. The documenting end-notes extend from there to page 579-- 153 pages of sources and commentary on sources-- more than a third longer than the writing itself.
I am not moved by the obsession with counting tanks as shown in this thread. I had sources too and they don't differ from what is shown here. That all seems to be about saying that all good divisions lost most of their tanks in active battle. While that may be the case, I had documentation from one of the men riding in Peiper's tank when he took over the panzer regiment that they were fearful of the way the tanks were used at first. Moreover, Albert Frey, his superior at the time was not happy with the way Peiper was employing the tanks at the end of 1943, beginning 1944. Rudolf Lehmann, the chief of staff, was not happy either. I interviewed Fritz Kosmehl extensively and another in his tank, and another from Horst Schumann. Both initially had fear that only became trust after Peiper himself seemed to have realized that heavy tanks could not be used like Schützenpanzerwagen. These are words from people that were generally sympathetic to Peiper. I stand by my characterization. Moreover, I include those, like Hans Siptrott, who saw it fine. "Peiper was a daredevil (Draufgänger) and used his resources accordingly."
Also, not my opinion that the Pakfronten were a bigger problem than Soviet tanks. This comes from Peiper himself as described in the sources.
In telling that it was typical for Peiper in Russia to dash his SPWs around the countryside behind enemy lines like wild at night, this was also not my opinion, but what his adjutant Otto Dinse told me about their days in the East. "Each night, it was another wild ride." We had a memorable two hour interview in Anspach at the Hotel Sonnenhof in 1997. I sought out to interview every veteran that would speak with me and there were more than a dozen.
To close, I do appreciate everyone's interest and even a variety of opinions. But like everyone else, I get to have my impressions as well and they come from studying the Peiper story for twenty years.
At the end of my writing, I always like to think, what would JP say about this? He's not the only important opinion of course, but he is certainly central.
While he might not have been happy with how deeply I dug, I believe he would be sympathetic at least to my effort to tell all sides of the story. He'd also be pleased (perhaps) with the zeal with which I have pursued every available historical relic to reveal the landscape of fading history of a different time and Zeitgeist nearly 80 years ago. At least this is not forgotten and I leave it for future generations to ponder.
I do my best, even if it may not meet up with the standard others demand.