Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Book discussion and reviews related to the German military.

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by william russ » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:45 pm

Hi All,
Richard, your books are a good read in any language :D .

best regards, Bill
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:25 am

Cheers Bill. :beer:

Some might say they make more sense in Polish. :D From what I can tell, some Poles like the Normandy book, some don't, which is understandable because of its difficult birth. It was a very good learning process. As was Poland. No doubt I'll learn yet more once Breslau's done.

I have to say I wouldn't fancy translating my works as my style is quite tricky and a bit journalistic at times.
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:22 pm

And a review (I think), the gist of which is that it's a controversial book... which is news to me because all I look to do is tell a story... :[]

http://histmag.org/?id=3344
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Jan-Hendrik » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:05 pm

Well, he says that you did overall a good job (and accepts, that Your book was done for the anglian market (where for sure 95% of the readers know next to nothing about the september campaign *JH comment out :evil: *)). And that, in his opinion, you rely too much on german sources...but he admits that not many polish works have had a chance to see a translation into a foreign language.

:beer:

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:37 pm

Jan-Hendrik wrote:Well, he says that you did overall a good job (and accepts, that Your book was done for the anglian market (where for sure 95% of the readers know next to nothing about the september campaign *JH comment out :evil: *)). And that, in his opinion, you rely too much on german sources...but he admits that not many polish works have had a chance to see a translation into a foreign language.

:beer:

Jan-Hendrik
Aha, danke. :up: There are masses of books in Polish on the September campaign, but hardly any have been translated. :( Next time I guess I'll have to learn Polish as well... :roll:
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Jan-Hendrik » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:41 pm

Not so hard, but not easy, too....but who dared to wander through the depressions of french will have hope to learn this, too (speaking from experience :D :D ) :up:

:[]

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:07 am

A little French (no, not Sarkozy :D ) is in your inbox. :wink:

If only every language could be simple, easy to pronounce and common sensical like English. :D :D
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Jan-Hendrik » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:47 am

No comment on this from someone who's mother tongue is german :D :D

Thank you, dear friend

:beer:

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by ljadw » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:52 am

Jan-Hendrik wrote:No comment on this from someone who's mother tongue is german :D :D

Thank you, dear friend

:beer:

Jan-Hendrik
Nor from someone who had sworn like a trooper,when he had to memorize the declensions ,the Imperfekt des Konjunktivs and the Zweite Partizip ;I am still shuddering when I remember :(

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:02 am

A very fair review from the Polish Times who have approached it with an open mind; I keep reading elsewhere that the book is 'controversial'... :?

http://www.polskatimes.pl/dziennikbalty ... ,id,t.html
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Domen123 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:48 pm

I keep reading elsewhere that the book is 'controversial'...
They only write that it is "controversial" because you base almost entirely on German sources (including German accounts), and some of these German sources (especially accounts) are controversial, namely - Nazi or Nazi-like. But the fact that you based your book almost entirely on German sources is only the fault of the Polish side. There is simply a very minimal amount of valuable Polish works on the Defensive War of 1939 translated into foreign languages, so far. There is even a nice conclusion somewhere in these links to reviews (Histmag probably): "we should concentrate on promoting Polish works on this aspect abroad [...], otherwise we will only have fairy tales about Spartans near Wizna". I would only add to this that Poles don't even have fairy tales about Spartans near Wizna because it is Swedish.

Moreover to compare the battle of Wizna to the battle of Thermopylae you would have needed to have a Polish Ephiliates - and there was no such a traitor there. :wink:
The war of 1939 was closer to the war of 1914 than the German propaganda machine would have the world believe.
But as well was the war of 1940 (during which armoured-motorized divisions constituted just 12% of German forces, while in Poland in 1939 - 26%, so other twice that percentage) and the war of 1941 in the USSR, where encircling enemy forces in pockets was practiced as well as in Poland but on a much bigger scale. And yet this doesn't mean that Blitzkrieg is a myth, as you of course noticed in your book, so I will not pick at it. :wink: Blitzkrieg was very real and very innovative, yet in 1939.
Even with no opposition, armies had never moved so fast before.
Oh, probably they did before (Mongols, for example). But certainly they did later. It is quite surprising that 1. Gebirgs-Division (not any Panzer division) was the fastest advancing division in Poland in 1939 (since 05.09.1939 until 12.09.1939 - when it was stopped by heavy Polish resistance near Lemberg, after the failed attempt of capturing it - it was advancing on average 23,6 kms per day). And I don't know if it is surprising or not, but in France in 1940 and in the USSR during the so called "fast part" of Barbarossa, German fast divisions were advancing much faster than in Poland in 1939. In Poland for example 1. Panzer-Division was advancing on average 16,5 kms per day in period 01.09.1939 - 07.09.1939 (later of course it was almost not advancing at all, as it was involved in combats near Warsaw and then in liquidating the Bzura pocket), speed of other armoured-motorized units oscilated between 16,5 and 23,5 kms per day (during the "fast periods" of the campaign of course - because later in the campaign almost all of these units were not advancing but were involved in heavy fightings liquidating pockets, resistance nests, etc.). The highest result - 23,5 kms per day - is Guderian (mainly 3. Pz.Div.) in period 09.09.1939 - 18.09.1939. While for example in France in 1940 Panzer Gruppe "Kleist" was advancing on average 27 kilometres per day (during the period 10.05.1940 - 21.05.1940). Hoth was advancing - shocking - 61 kilometres per day in period 13.06.1940 - 19.06.1940 (from the Seine river to the city of Brest). Guderian between 13.06.1940 and 17.06.1940 had got similar advances to Hoth - around 60 kms per day. At the section of 2nd Army (and there Germans had got mainly horse-drawn infantry) they were advancing on average 33,4 kilometres per day between 13 and 25.06.1940. In the USSR (22.06.1941 - 16.07.1941) Guderian and Hoth were advancing on average 30 kms per day - also faster than in Poland.
Theorists had always said that only infantry could take and hold positions.
Germans found the way how to - maybe not hold positions, but survive inside enemy territory - using armoured forces (namely - "fortified", well protected camps).

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Domen123 » Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:23 pm

*
Ephiliates
E-p-h-i-a-l-t-e-s, Ephialtes - this appears to be the correct English spelling.

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:30 am

Hi Domen,

Thanks for the lengthy explanation. Ah yes, "Nazi" sources. There were many books published in 1939-40 by units, by war correspondents, by individuals. Almost all are tainted with Nazi propaganda/stereotypes, some of which I used (particularly in the chapters about combat in Poland and atrocities), but hopefully I weeded out most of the "tubthumping" Nazism. Contemporary accounts are a rich vein, but what's especially interesting is that many of these accounts were not "tweaked" by the authorities, but published in the soldiers' words; I found a lot of source material for the Gebirgsjäger accounts in the Bundesarchiv; they already featured the propagandistic language, the stereotypes, hatred of Poles and so on, showing how much Nazi ideals had permeated German society. The same is equally applicable to the 1941 campaign in Russia.

I would have loved to have included more Polish accounts - I know there's a wealth of material in Polish. Not speaking Polish, that was ruled out, so I had to rely on accounts in English or translated into German. There are masses of books about the Holocaust in Poland or the Polish experience under the Nazis, but hardly anything on the September campaign. I'm surprised the government didn't translate some of them; the Soviets translated many memoirs/books, especially in the DDR, to a lesser extent into English.

The impression I always get is that the September campaign to many Poles has been so lionised, so mythologised that it's a nolite tangere (do not touch!) - the nearest comparison I can think is the mythology surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk and Battle of Britain here in the UK.

Out of interest, do the many Polish accounts make use of German sources, or are they based largely on Polish sources?
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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Domen123 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:09 am

showing how much Nazi ideals had permeated German society.
These were not even utterly Nazi ideals, but yet Prussian ideals from the 19th century.

All started from Johann Georg Forster (who for the first time wrote about "polnische Wirtschaft" in his "Letters from Vilna") and the book titled "Soll und Haben" published in 1855. Also Prussian propaganda - it was yet after the partitions - invented the German "bürgerliche Klugheit" as the opposite of "polnische Wirtschaft".

Over 100 years of propagating stereotypes and vehement nationalistic Prussian propaganda (strictly connected with Germanization) influenced the Nazi ideology.

What is ironic is that the term "polnische Wirtschaft" was invented in the city of Vilna, which is considered as Lithuanian, not Polish. :idea:

Fortunately many Germans in 1939 were reasonable persons not touched by the Nazi propaganda, as can be seen both in Your book and in some German memories.
Out of interest, do the many Polish accounts make use of German sources, or are they based largely on Polish sources?
Hard question.

Many of them do, even the oldest ones (for example "Army Cracow" by lt. col. Wladyslaw Steblik, who was the chef of staff of Army "Cracow" in 1939).

In general I would say that Polish authors make use of German sources on a far bigger scale than inversely - German authors of Polish sources. That's why in German publications on the Polish Campaign we can find a lot of serious mistakes which are constantly being repeated. But there are some exceptions from this rule.
The impression I always get is that the September campaign to many Poles has been so lionised, so mythologised that it's a nolite tangere (do not touch!)
In popular culture, yes. But in professional literature - not. :wink:

But still there is no comparison with, for example, the level of mythologization and lionisation of American participation in WW2 in American popular culture. :D
the nearest comparison I can think is the mythology surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk and Battle of Britain here in the UK.
Not necessarily the nearest, I think that the same can be said about mythology surrounding some historical events of every nation.

For example Americans have got their Alamo, which is their "holy myth". Nobody mentions there that Alamo was a one huge mistake, that the commander of Alamo garrison was drunken during the defense, etc. British people are also mythologizing their country's participation in WW2 (not only Dunkirk and BoB), even nowadays.

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Re: Blitzkrieg Unleashed: Poland 1939

Post by Domen123 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:54 am

British people are also mythologizing their country's participation in WW2 (not only Dunkirk and BoB), even nowadays.
Just to mention the battle of Crete, which is considered as "pyrrhic German victory" (if against the British, then always must be pyrrhic) and the discovery of 5,500 German graves on the island after the war ended which caused the statement that they were all killed during the battle - this is always repeated in all publications on the battle (while de facto many were members of the Crete garrison who died from natural causes or were killed by local partisans between 1941 and 1945).

Another British myth - Montgomery is considered as a genius of war, sometimes as the best general of WW2 (something like Kutrzeba in some Polish myths).

But even more annoying are the British myths about French Campaign in 1940 and Polish Campaign in 1939, repeated e.g. by "History Channel", "Discovery", etc. Maybe not even myths are so annoying, but low factual level of these documentaries / articles in general (no any facts, no any battles, only repeating myths, etc.).

How common is to find info in any British / American source, that for example - "Germans reached Warsaw in 6 days", "Polish army was using 19th century tactics", "Germans didn't have Panzer Corps in Poland, Panzer divisions fought separately", "on 28.09.1939 Poland signed capitulation", "French were retreating / surrendering almost without resistance, only the British Expeditionary Corps fought bravely and succeeded near Dunkirk and this was the first turning point of WW2", etc.

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