Defenders of Fortress Europe: The Untold Story of the German Officers During the Allied Invasion
The year 1944 bore witness to the fifth long year of World War II. Death rained from the skies of Germany, her cities were ablaze or in rubble, the extermination camps operated with cold-blooded efficiency, and the Eastern Front's guns roared day and night. Hardly a German family had not lost a loved one. Most terribly, the Russian Front's floodgates creaked ominously. If they gave way, the Red Army would engulf the eastern marshlands--and perhaps the entire Fatherland--in a flood of barbarism not seen since the Dark Ages. Yet, as the Wehrmacht retreated, Germans still had hope. If the men of the Western Front could repulse the great invasion, dozens of units--including panzer divisions, SS regiments, and paratrooper formations--would arrive to thwart the Red advance. German scientists needed at least another year to develop their "wonder weapons," such as V-2 rockets, submarines, jet airplanes, and perhaps even an atomic bomb. Everything depended on the Western Front's warlords. Defenders of Fortress Europe introduces the men who had once believed they would conquer the world. By 1944, however, they were trying to throw the Allies back into the sea or just check them before they could reach Germany. The Fatherland's defense was in the hands of Nazis, non-Nazis, and anti-Nazis; professional soldiers and professional troublemakers; heroes, murderers, and war criminals; the efficient geniuses and the incompetent; the famous, the infamous, and the unknown; soldiers, sailors, SS men, and air force officers--all men who fought out of fanaticism, courage, personal ambition, a sense of honor, duty, love of country, misplaced patriotism, or, simply, habit.
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1The Atlantic Wall
3The Battles for the Hedgerows
12The Fall of Brittany
13What Happened to the Defenders of Fortress Europe?
APPENDIX 1TABLE OF COMPARITIVE RANKS
APPENDIX 2GERMAN STAFF POSITIONS
APPENDIX 3GERMAN UNITS RANKS AND STRENGTHS
APPENDIX 4CHARACTERISTICS OF SELECTED GERMAN AND ALLIED TANKS OF WORLD WAR II
APPENDIX 5LUFTWAFFE AVIATION UNITS STRENGTHS AND RANKS OF COMMANDERS
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12th SS Panzer 21st Panzer Division 2nd SS Panzer 5th Panzer 77th Infantry Division 7th Army acting commander adjutant Allied Americans April Army Group Artillery Regiment assumed command attack August Battalion Bayerlein Berlin born Brigade British Caen campaign captain captured Cavalry chief of staff Choltitz company commander D-Day December Dietrich duty Eastern Front Eberbach Erwin Erwin Rommel Fahnenjunker Falaise Pocket February Feuchtinger Field Marshal fought France Führer Funck German Geyr given command guns Hausser headquarters Hitler Infantry Division Infantry Regiment invasion January joined July June Kluge Knight’s Cross later lieutenant colonel Luck Luftwaffe LXXXIV Corps March Meanwhile named commander Nazi Normandy November OB West October officer Panzer Army Panzer Group West Panzer Lehr Poland promoted to lieutenant promoted to major Reichsheer Reichswehr Rommel Rundstedt Russia second lieutenant sector sent September served Soviet SS Panzer Corps SS Panzer Division SS Panzer Grenadier tanks troops U.S. VII Corps Wehrkreis Witzleben wounded