Book Review: 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich

In this video we review the new book The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich .  This book is part of the Casemate Illustrated series and is written by Yves Buffetaut.

Publishers Description:

The 2nd SS Division, “Das Reich,” was a battlefront mainstay for Nazi Germany throughout WWII—from the invasion of Poland in 1939 to the final surrender in May 1945. In between it was switched back-and-forth between east and west depending on the crisis, and it fought in nearly every major campaign, from Barbarossa to Normandy, and from Kharkov to the Ardennes.

Das Reich was the first Waffen SS division created (though the title “1st” was reserved for Hitler’s Leibstandarte). Originally named the Verfügungs Division, its regiments fought through the campaigns in Poland, the Low Countries, and France, earning the respect of Wehrmacht leaders who originally doubted the efficacy of SS units. Renamed “Das Reich” after the French surrender, its elements served as a spearhead in the Balkans campaign, achieving a daring capture of Belgrade.

In Operation Barbarossa, Das Reich fought with Guderian’s Second Panzer Group, first in the drive on Moscow, then toward Kiev, then Moscow again. Pulled out of the line after gigantic casualties, it seized Toulon in France, then was sent back to Russia, as part of the SS Panzer Corps, to retrieve the German debacle after Stalingrad. At the titanic tank-battle of Kursk, Das Reich was at the forefront.

In June 1944, as a full SS-Panzer Division, Das Reich played an infamous role in its approach march to Normandy, as the French Resistance temporarily reached a high tide. On the Allied invasion front, Das Reich not only escaped from the Falaise Pocket but was sent back into it, to retrieve other German units struggling to get out.

Das Reich fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was then transferred to Hungary, for Hitler’s last counteroffensive of the war. Failing to retake Budapest, elements of the division were able to mount a gallant defense of Prague. When the end came, some formations were forced to surrender to the Russians while others made it to American lines. Its reputation, for better or worse, had already been established.

This lavishly illustrated book by renowned French historian Yves Buffetaut lays out the full history of Das Reich in World War II, with rare photos, informative text, and true insights into a unique combat division in modern warfare.

Book Review: Allied Armor in Normandy

In this video we review the new book Allied Armor in Normandy  This book is part of the Casemate Illustrated series and is written by Yves Buffetaut.

Publisher’s Description:

Tanks were the beasts of the Second World War, machines designed to destroy anything and anyone in their path. Throughout the summer of 1944, the Allied forces readily employed tanks and armored vehicles to gain ground in the bloody campaign of Normandy. Heavily armed, they provided a kind of support which no number of infantrymen could offer, battling their way through enemy lines with their guns blazing. From the US 2nd Armored Division named ‘Hell on Wheels’ to the British ‘Achilles’ tank, the encounters they had in battle were explosive.

This volume of the Casemate Illustrated series explores the Normandy invasion from the perspective of the Allied Armored divisions, looking at how armored vehicles played a central role in the many battles that took place. It includes over 40 profiles of tanks and armored vehicles, from the American Sherman and Stuart tanks to the bulldozers and amphibious vehicles designed for the beach.

With detailed diagrams and many photos illustrating the composition of the Allied armored divisions and tank regiments present at Normandy, this volume explains the crucial part played by tanks in gaining a foothold in Normandy after the D-Day landings, as well as the significance of many other types of armored vehicles.

The Chieftain’s Hatch at Rock Island Arsenal

Here are a couple video’s from The Chieftain made at the Rock Island Arsenal.

 

Inside the Chieftain’s Hatch: Crusader

World of Tank’s Nicholas “The Chieftain” Moran takes a look at a late model Crusader tank armed with a 6 pounder gun.

 

Video: The Tanks of World War II: Renault FT

We start off the first of our episodes on the French campaign of 1940 with this look at the French Renault FT.  A veteran of the Great War, this early tank model soldiered on into World War II, albeit in a limited role due to it’s age.

Recommended book titles on the Renault FT

Daily Rant #3 The IS-III

In today’s daily rant we make a few corrections on the recent Tank Chat video on the Soviet IS-III Heavy Tank. We do greatly enjoy the Tank Chat series and have much respect for the good work that the Tank Museum does in preserving and educating the public about historic AFVs.

Daily Rant #2 Why the Stug?

In this daily rant episode we take issue with a point made in a recent video from Lindybeige on the StuG III.