German divisional histories - quality and availability

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trollelite
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by trollelite » 20 Aug 2009 03:46

Well, I am not an expert of publishing , but I can say the paper quality of Doefler Bildband is not worse than, at least, Podzun or other private published titles. The problem is the feeling. one just feels the photo is somewhat odd, not crisp.

And I agree the paper quality of their Textband is almost offending, not too much better than newspaper.

The quality of photo in German books is generally worse than those from French or British ones. But in some Doefler titles ( for example textband of 14. Panzerdivision) the quality is simply outrageous. And the cover design is miserable.

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 20 Aug 2009 17:16

Finally in my collection, 50 ID history. I paid, as Jan-Hendrik would say, "crazy money" for it (100 Euros). 8O And when you pay crazy money for a book, you take a sharp intake of breath, because it could end up being rubbish.

So it's a good job it's very good. :) Although there aren't too many first-hand accounts, there are quite a few reports, documents and the like, lots of illustrations, but above all it's written with a panache that's lacking in most divisional histories; there are some vivid descriptions of combat. And the accounts of the fighting in and around Sevastopol are very comprehensive - just as I'd hoped. :)

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 09 Oct 2009 12:50

And so to a brand new history: Veit Scherzer, 46 Infanterie Division: Krim-Kaukasus-Kubanbrückenkopf-Isjum-Jassy (circa 60 Euros)

A few things you need to know. It's Scherzer. That's it really. :D Just as Kurowski is a name which says "avoid", Scherzer is a name which says "must buy" (you won't find me mentioning the two in the same breath again... :D )

It is everything a divisional history should be. Good narrative, good maps, and above all the voice of the men coming through loud and clear. Which they do, for the author has packed the book with diaries, letters and first-hand accounts over 650 pages. Photo reproduction isn't very good because of the quality of paper chosen, but for me words are far more important than images.

Ranks among the very best unit histories out there. With 76 ID, probably the best infantry unit history.

The only one of the Scherzer histories I don't have is 329. I think I'll be investing in due course.

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 11 Oct 2009 18:32

Alois Beck, bis Stalingrad (297 Infanterie Division)

Not a typical unit history, rather more like Kameraden unterm Edelweiss: Kriegsgeschichte der 2. Kompanie Gebirgsjägerregiment 100, an anthology of first-hand accounts from members of the division, mainly NCOs and officers, a few Landsers, edited by the division's Catholic priest, Alois Beck. These first-hand accounts make it a very useful source, but also make it different from the usual histories is that it contains a few colour images, some photographs, some paintings.

Not an easy book to find; copies sporadically pop up on Bookfinder and on eBay; there's currently one going for over 100 Euros on Amazon. :shock: It's not worth that much. I was lucky in finding a copy for 40 Euros, which is a far more reasonable price.

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 13 Oct 2009 07:26

Scheduled for weekend ...

a complete set of the legendary Vopersal 8-)

The Mercedes of the german Divisional histories (but still far away from the level that could really satisfy someone like me :P should have been 20 Volumes, than it would have been detailed enough :idea: ).

But I wish something similar would exist for 2nd or 12th Panzerdivision of the Heer :(

Jan-Hendrik

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 13 Oct 2009 07:49

A full set of Vopersal. * sound of Homer Simpson drooling * :D

I bet that cost a lot of money. Last time I saw a full set it was 600+ Euros on Booklooker.

Me I shall continue to buy the volumes piecemeal. One day I might actually see a copy of the final Band. Not even the IWM has a copy. 8O

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 13 Oct 2009 08:05

It is the heritage of one of our fellow researchers that left the stage not long ago :cry:

I did a promise to continiue his work...

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 20 Oct 2009 18:37

Some facts for a complete Vopersal edition:

- you get 14 Kg of Printed Work in high Quality and huge format
- 3,252 pages
- pictures, maps, reports in a quantity I do not want to try to count them

That looks that way:
Vopersal 002.JPG
Thanks for letting me spam around a bit :P

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 20 Oct 2009 19:29

That's a hideous carpet. :D :D

Very cool. I so want the last volume for when I write my Vienna book. One day it will be mine... :)

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 06 Jan 2010 11:38

Gottlob Bidermann, und litt an meiner Seite [132 ID], 1995 edition

English readers will probably know Bidermann from his excellent memoir In Deadly Combat. It's based on the original edition of und litt an meiner Seite which was revised in the mid-90s. From what I can tell, this second edition is an edited version of his memoir, mixed with quite a few extracts from the division's official papers, especially surrounding the fighting in the Crimea. On top of that there are numerous images provided by former 132 ID comrades and a comprehensive section on various personalities/award winners.

A couple of things which will surprise you: one is it's oversize, the other that it's in colour and B&W. It's very nicely produced (text over two columns - take note Helion...) and copies go for as little as £25. Well worth it.

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 26 Mar 2011 18:41

Blimey is it really more than 12 months since this thread was last touched upon? 8O

Barbara Selz, Das Grüne Regiment: Der Weg der 256 Infanterie Division aus der Sicht des Regiments 481

Proof that the old adage 'never judge a book by its cover' is invariably true. Das Grüne Regiment has a shockingly bad jacket (two Landsers sitting down, seemingly drawn by Andy Warhol :shock: ). Luckily the contents are top notch. The pages of this excellent volume are jam-packed with first-hand accounts, documents, diaries, orders. It's written by the widow of a divisional member who wanted to show her children what their father did in the war. Perhaps it's because it's written by the fairer sex that the book's so human rather than a dry read (e.g. a lot of the Podzun/Dorfler volumes).

The only let-down is the last 12 months, hurriedly dealt with - presumably a lack of access to material the reason.

Otherwise, lots of images (nearly 150), maps, loads of info. What's not to like?

Copies aren't that common, so expect to pay in excess of 60€ for the few floating around the web.

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by trollelite » 01 Apr 2011 22:57

256th is an interesting division, it survived a huge russian armored attack during first week of war, actually a great achievment by such Landwehr or Ersatz type divisions. As well its later action in Tver area.

Podzun is dry read? I never think so. Those Podzun books are often accused of too much personal experience, and not enough unbiased narrative about certain military action.

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 04 Jun 2011 16:13

Friedrich Wilhelm Hauck, Eine deutsche Division in Russland und Italien. Die 305. Infanteriedivision 1941 - 1945.

One of the later Podzun histories, and all the better for it as Hauck's book is an easy read packed with first-hand accounts. It's written in a surprisingly readable style (if you want dry, try the very dull original 13 Pz Div history...), crammed with maps, not too many images (two plate sections). The first 90 or so pages are devoted to the division's formation, march on Stalingrad and destruction; far more detailed is the rest of the book - the remaining 300+ pages are devoted to its role in Italy, so for anyone studying that campaign (I'm not one of them :( ) it would be invaluable.

I'd say a 4.5 out of 5. Definitely among the top infantry divisional histories, especially when you consider it's an "unsexy" unit. Not cheap though. Typically around 80€.

Next up (when it arrives in the post) Musculus' 111 Infanterie Division which I got for a Snäppchen on eBay :D ...

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Richard Hargreaves » 12 Jun 2011 12:44

Friedrich Musculus, Geschichte der 111. Infanterie-Division 1940-1944

Another "unsexy" unit very well served by a 400-page self-published history, written in 1980. It's a detailed narrative interspersed with reminiscences, diaries and first-hand accounts. It's particularly detailed for the fighting of 1943 and 1944, in particular the division's final battles in the Crimea (which account for the final quarter of the book). The only real let-down is the image section - just four pages of plates.

The big issue, however, is the cost - copies are currently floating around for €180+ :shock: so you really have to want/need it at that price.

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Re: German divisional histories - quality and availability

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Dec 2014 07:48

This is an informative thread, thanks

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