Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Discussion, background, reviews, and critical analysis of works by Feldgrau.net members who are published authors.
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Jason Pipes
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Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Jason Pipes » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:29 pm

Place holder for discussions specifically related to forum member Doug Nash and his various published works.

Doug recently published one of the most widely regarded military history titles regarding the Eastern Front ever to see print in English.

HELL'S GATE: The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket January to February 1944

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Post by John P. Moore » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:59 am

I first met Doug Nash in 1998 at the annual reunion of the veterans from the SS-Panzer Regiment “Wiking” in Niedernhall, Germany. The respect that these fellow tankers from another era had for Doug was obvious. I was first informed that Doug would be attending the Treffen by the former Hauptsturmführer Günter Janke, a DKiG holder from the Artillerie Regiment”Wiking” and later 01 on the division staff, who I was traveling with and who had assisted Doug with his Tscherkassy research.

It was a pleasure to read his “Hells Gate” book published by RZM when it first appeared in 2002. The most interesting part of the book for me was the first-hand accounts of those veterans who took part in the breakout from the Tscherkassy encirclement in February 1944. I know a number of veterans from the “Wiking” and their experience at Tscherkassy is something that they always describe as a major milestone in their lives. The vividness of the writing made me almost feel like I was there. Doug carefully set the stage by providing detailed background information regarding all German and Soviet troops fighting in the area of operations. Doug’s understanding of what he was writing about was enhanced by traveling to the Ukraine and walking the former battlefield with a veteran from the German side who had actually been there in February 1944. I believe “Hell’s Gate” will rank as a classic military study and I have enjoyed reading the book more than once.

John

pzrmeyer2

Post by pzrmeyer2 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:22 pm

Great book, great researching author and veteran. Looking forward to his next book, and to see his eventual dream, the Forgotten Soldier movie, come to life.

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Post by John P. Moore » Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:09 pm

Doug - Could you please tell us when your interest in researching the German military first began and if your primary interests have changed over the years?

John

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Doug Nash
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Interest & Research

Post by Doug Nash » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:17 am

I first became interested in the German Armed Forces in WWII when I was in high school, circa 1971. I had always been interested in military subjects and modelling (tanks, aircraft, ships) but I finally settled on the Wehrmacht when I read two books - The Forgotten Soldier and Hitler Moves East. Something about those two works awoke an interest that has not yet dimmed. While I have broadened my horizons a bit over the years (branched out to study the American Civil War, the American Army in WWII, Landesknechts of the early Rennaissance Period, etc.), I keep coming back to the Wehrmacht.
What I try to do is to relate individual experiences with the operational aspects of conflict - to tie in what the average Landser experienced with the "Big Picture." I know a lot of people do that but what I think I do that's a little different is that I do my own research, focusing primarily on original source documents, like I did with Hell's Gate and my latest book Victory was Beyond Their Grasp.
The latter book sort of wrote itself, in that I had all of the operational documents and personnel records on a German infantry company at my disposal - so I tried to make the most of it. Having surveyed the body of works that deal with WWII on the Western Front from 1944 to 1945, I didn't find many that dealt with combat from the perspective of the German infantry company - there are TONS of books out there about the American and British experiences (lots dealing with just about every Allied division, regiment and company you can think of), but the only similiar books from the German side dealt primarily with the Waffen-SS or Fallschirmjaeger. So I thought, why not take these papers which I had anyway and write about what this individual company experienced?
Now that I've done that, I'm thinking about a couple of other projects. The first one that I've been doing research on already will be an attempt to portray the battles of Heeresgruppe Weichsel along the Oder River from Jan to Apr 1945 from an operational perspective. I won't try to compete with Tony LeTissier - no one has got the subject of individual experiences during those battles covered as well as he has - but what I will do is to try to deal with the fighting from the operational perspective of Himmler then Heinrici. The only one who has done that before was Wilhelm Tieke (whom I've met), but his book hasn't been translated yet and was written before the actual Soviet documents were made available. So that's something I intend to tackle in the next 3 - 4 years.
The other project is something I've been kicking around for a very long time - something that I've tentatively titled "The Face of the German Army." What I envision that to be is a book that will take advantage of my German document collection and portray each division in the German Army through the eyes of an individual who served in it & use his Soldbuch or Wehrpass photo to tie a face to that particular division. Sounds crazy, I know but using what I have and the images people have shared with me, I have most of them already. The hard part would be keeping each division entry/personal bio down to 1 page - each page would have a photo of the man, division symbol if there was one, then a paragraph with division order of battle, a paragraph on history and then the concluding paragraph with the individual's bio. It would be 400 pages or so, of course. Do any of you think that would be worthwhile? It would make the divisional histories far more personable, in my opinion.
Anyway, I intend to keep writing about the Wehrmacht - call me a romancer if you wish - but the whole story of the German Armed Forces has yet to be written and I intend to keep digging up the past and putting it out there for the rest of the history community.
Cheers!
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Post by KG voss » Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:51 pm

quote]Now that I've done that, I'm thinking about a couple of other projects. The first one that I've been doing research on already will be an attempt to portray the battles of Heeresgruppe Weichsel along the Oder River from Jan to Apr 1945 from an operational perspective.[/quote]

Pleaaase, do it ! :D that would be great and not so much has been written in english about the last months of the war in the east.
but what I will do is to try to deal with the fighting from the operational perspective of Himmler then Heinrici. The only one who has done that before was Wilhelm Tieke (whom I've met), but his book hasn't been translated yet and was written before the actual Soviet documents were made available. So that's something I intend to tackle in the next 3 - 4 years.
are you aware of this upcoming book by hansgeorg Eismann


http://www.amazon.com/UNDER-HIMMLERS-CO ... 167&sr=1-1


The other project is something I've been kicking around for a very long time - something that I've tentatively titled "The Face of the German Army." What I envision that to be is a book that will take advantage of my German document collection and portray each division in the German Army through the eyes of an individual who served in it & use his Soldbuch or Wehrpass photo to tie a face to that particular division. Sounds crazy, I know but using what I have and the images people have shared with me, I have most of them already. The hard part would be keeping each division entry/personal bio down to 1 page - each page would have a photo of the man, division symbol if there was one, then a paragraph with division order of battle, a paragraph on history and then the concluding paragraph with the individual's bio. It would be 400 pages or so, of course. Do any of you think that would be worthwhile? It would make the divisional histories far more personable, in my opinion.
What a sensational project too. I would also put the number of KC each division got during the war.

Anyway these two are really great project. :D

Olivier

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Post by Michate » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:11 am

I won't try to compete with Tony LeTissier - no one has got the subject of individual experiences during those battles covered as well as he has - but what I will do is to try to deal with the fighting from the operational perspective of Himmler then Heinrici. The only one who has done that before was Wilhelm Tieke (whom I've met), but his book hasn't been translated yet and was written before the actual Soviet documents were made available. So that's something I intend to tackle in the next 3 - 4 years.
Hello Mr. Nash,

there are a few more German language literature sources as well:

- "Seelower Höhen 1945". (=Vorträge zur Militärgeschichte Band 17). Editet by the Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt. Berlin and Bonn 1998. Contains artciles by Richard Lakowski and Karl-Heinz Frieser on 9th army January - April 1945 and of the fighting around Seelow.

- Richard Lakowski: "Seelow 1945. Die Entscheidungsschlacht an der Oder"
Lakowski's book is in the first instance a battlefield guide, but has some good operational data on the battle of Seelow in general and some detailed tactical data on some specific fighting as well.

Both Frieser and Lakowski often make use of a study created by the old Nationale Volksarmee shortly before the farewell of the GDR:

- Karl Stich „Der Durchbruch der Verteidigung der deutschen Truppen an der Oder durch die sowjetischen Streitkräfte in der Berliner Operation im Frühjahr 1945“, from 1989.
Author Dr. Karl Stich (Colonel of the Nationale Volksarmee) was a teacher at the military academy „Friedrich Engels“. Based on reference in the other books it seems to contain very detailed battle descriptions, OoBs+ strength returns etc. on the fighting at Seelow. Unfortunately so far I have been unable to locate a copy.
See also this link.

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:46 am

Well, as I told already I was not so happy with LeTissiers book....Having gone through ca. 20% of the material to be found in the Anlagebände of KTB Heeresgruppe Weichsel I am often astonished that good olde Tieke was the closest to the historical truth on the matter Battle between Oder and Elbe!

Jan-Hendrik

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Re: Interest & Research

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:20 pm

Doug Nash wrote:
What I try to do is to relate individual experiences with the operational aspects of conflict - to tie in what the average Landser experienced with the "Big Picture." I know a lot of people do that but what I think I do that's a little different is that I do my own research, focusing primarily on original source documents, like I did with Hell's Gate and my latest book Victory was Beyond Their Grasp.
Thanks for the insight, Doug. Really interesting.

It seems we have an almost identical outlook to writing military history. I call it the "panorama of battle" - trying to merge the experience of the front line soldier with the goings on higher up in a bid to give an overall picture (I cannot, of course, claim I always succeed). It's a style I've always admired since reading Cornelius Ryan and Paul Carell many moons ago.
The difference, of course, is that Doug can bring a senior officer's eye to the table which offers that extra insight, something a poor civvy like myself can sadly never do!
Doug's point about the divisional histories is so apt. So many of them give you no flavour of the men and their experiences (I've just been slogging my way through the 13 Pz one from the early 70s. It held all the joy of watching an autopsy...). So the "soldiers' book" with personal stories gets a very big :up: from me. Reminds me a lot of Hans Schäufler's Der Weg war Weit, a really excellent collection of first-hand accounts from the Eastern Front.

BTW, Doug, if you pm me your e-mail I'll send you the manuscript version of Blitzkrieg Unleashed. It heads off to the publisher tomorrow. At last!

Right, to Breslau. :[]
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Looking for a couple of people

Post by Doug Nash » Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:18 am

Hey guys (fellow romancers et al),
I'm trying to line up some possible reviewers for a book by Mark Reardon that is a vastly expanded War Diary (with commentary) of AOK 7 in Normandy. He's been working on it for the past several years and is just about finished, to be published by The Aberjona Press (it's in the hopper behind mine). Mark is already published (and is a frequent contributor to WWII Magazine) and is a head researcher and writer at the US Army Center of Military History as well as a friend.
Was wondering whether Richard Hargreaves or Timm Haasler might be interested in reviewing it and writing up a dust jacket "Blurb" for Mark. I say Richard and Timm because both have focused on the German Army in the West from Normandy until Sept. 44 and thus would have instant affinity for what Mark is trying to do. Also, does anyone have Niklaus Zetterling's email? He would also be a good choice, since he did the superb laydown on the German Orbat in Normandy a couple of years ago (I've also noticed that he's written a book about Korsun/Cherkassy - will be interesting to see what he's dug up).
Cheers,
Doug Nash
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:30 am

Hi Doug,

I'd be happy to review Mark's book. I used Seventh Army's diary, and especially it's telephone log and appendices, for my Normandy book. It's an indispensable source. I also made use of Mark's book on Mortain for my chapters on the breakout and Falaise pocket.
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Post by KG voss » Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:22 pm

Doug,

try this for Zetterling email adress .

[email protected]

about niklas's new book on Korsun, here is a comment from another forum :
Zetterling and Frankssons Tjerkassy 44


The book on Korsun/Tjerkassy was published two years ago in Sweden and is more similar to their book on Kursk than Zetterlings solojob Normandy. Just like Kursk it is easy to read and more populistic than Noramndy that indeed is more of a referencebook.I highly recommend it
Olivier

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Thanks!

Post by Doug Nash » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:07 pm

Olivier,
Thanks much - will be on the look out for his book.
best regards,
Doug Nash
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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African Campaign from German perspective

Post by Doug Nash » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:31 am

As I've done some research lately for a Wehrpass I recently added to my collection, I discovered that there really was not much in print that covered the North African Campaign from the German Operational perspective. I know there's lots of personal accounts, biographies, autobiographies and the excellent campaign studies done by Atkinson, Rolf, Strawson, Young et al, as well as the popular accounts, such as that done by Paul Carell Schmidt. But if you are looking for the German point of view, from say, the perspective of a Kesselring, or Nehring or von Arnim or a Cramer, there just isn't much out there. There are, however, the US Army Historical Manuscripts done shortly after the war and there seems to be a treasure trove of orginal documents captured in bulk when HGr Afrika surrendered on 12 May 1943. Before I dig further into this, does anyone know of a no-kidding published operational account from the German perspective??? (I've heard about Theil's Rommels verheizte Armee: Kampf u. Ende d. Heeresgruppe Afrika v. El Alamein bis Tunis , but I have not seen a copy.
Thanks -
Doug Nash
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Post by Richard Hargreaves » Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:52 pm

Hi Doug,

North Africa suffers from a real paucity of good accounts from the German viewpoint (there are not actually that many memoirs/personal accounts from participants published). I started work on an African counterpart to my Normandy book to plug the gap (and got as far as the summer of 1941), but it's on hold at the moment while I'll grapple with the Ostfront. :(

I've never seen a copy of Theil's book either, but I can recommend.

Baum, Walter und Weichold, Eberhard, Der Krieg der Achsenmächte im Mittelmeer-Raum, Musterschmidt, Gottingen, 1973

Reuth, Ralf Georg, Entscheidung im Mittelmeer: Die südliche Peripherie Europas in der deutschen Strategie des Zweiten Weltkrieges 1940-1942, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz, 1985

Taysen, Adalbert, Tobruk 1941, Verlag Rombach, Freiburg, 1976

Most of my material on Africa relates to 1941-1942 (chiefly war diaries and battle reports, with a few personal diaries and some of Rommel's papers) with very, very little on 1943 unfortunately.

There was a very good book about five years ago, The Bloody Road to Tunis, which drew on German records extensively.
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