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German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut

Yves Buffetaut
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Only one panzer division was stationed on the Normandy coastline on D-Day, and reinforcements were rushed to the area, thrown piecemeal into battle against the allies, plugging gaps and conducting frantic counter-attacks. Many of the panzer divisions sent in were "1944-type" divisions - including 12th SS Panzer Division, Hitlerjugend and the 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich. Thrust into the effort to repel the Allies from Normandy, they would be defeated within just ten weeks.

This volume of the excellent Casemate Illustrated series starts by exploring the initial struggle to gain control of Caen after the Allies had landed on the Normandy beaches. The battles over and around Caen eventually resulted in the destruction of the 7th Armoured Division by German Tigers, with British losses of twenty-seven tanks. The subsequent strategies devised by the Panzer Commanders during Operation Goodwood and Operation Cobra were not as successful, ultimately ending in disaster for the Germans as the Allies broke through the German lines towards the end of July 1944.

This book has over 100 black and white photographs showing the machines and the men who fought in them. There are also diagrams depicting the formations of the German Divisions with unit nomenclature attached. As is usual with a Casemate Illustrated book, there are excellent coloured profile of tanks and vehicles use by the panzer divisions. These are ideal reference sources for model-makers and historians alike. This is a detailed examination of the German Armoured forces in Normandy in 1944; focusing on the organisation of the 10 panzer divisions that took part, their weapons and vehicles, the battles they fought in and why, ultimately, their combined strength was insufficient to hold back a very determined Allied invasion.

I was privileged to receive a copy of this book to review as it is an area of specific interest to me. I rate it very highly as I do with all of the Casemate Illustrated series. This book give a hitherto unseen look into the late war organisation of the Panzer Division with excellent colour references to specific vehicles. What I enjoyed most was the references to the other motorised troops in the Divisions, including the Anti-aircraft gunners, the Panzer Grenadiers, the Reconnaissance Battalions and the Panzer Jaeger (Hunter) regiments. The tanks themselves range from old Somua S35's, Panzer IV's, Tiger I, Tiger II and Panthers; plus the JagdPanther and JagdPanzer and supported by StuG III, StuG IV, Flakpanzer 38(t) and Flakpanzer IV (mobelwagen). Non-mobile artillery was provided by various PAK's (Panzer Abwehr Kanone) towed by either Krupp Protze, Ford V3000 or RSO (RaupenSchlepper Ost). There is certainly a wealth of information for the model-maker or the historian.

For those who have an interest in Hauptsturmfuhrer (Captain) Michael Wittman, one of the colour pictures shows a Tiger I (e) numbered 007. This was the tank that Wittmann and his crew were killed in when ambushed by a Sherman Firefly of A Squadron, Northamptonshire Yeomanry on 8th August 1944.

German Armour in Normandy - Yves Buffetaut,
published by. Casemate ISBN: 978-1-61200-6437

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