Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Discussion, background, reviews, and critical analysis of works by Feldgrau.net members who are published authors.
Heinrich505
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Heinrich505 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:21 pm

Doug,
Please forgive my familiarity. Mr. Nash seemed so formal.

I just finished reading HELL'S GATE The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket Jan-Feb 1944. I have to say that I am really behind the curve here, as so many others have already read your amazing book. I am kind of embarrassed that I didn't come by it years sooner, as I have many excellent books in my library, and have always seemed to focus on the Eastern Front, mainly around Stalingrad. Having lurked this site for some time now, I read reviews of this book here, on the forum, and knew immediately I had to have this book. Wrangling the funds from my Fiscal Department (re - the wife) was a bit of a challenge, but I prevailed. Your book is simply amazing and worth every penny (well, lots of pennies actually).

I was aware of the battle from other strategic and tactical reads, but the breath, depth, and scope of your research was stunning. Please allow me to rave a little.

The details and the interviews are the parts I really enjoyed the most. I have always felt that if an author was able to draw you in and make you feel you were actually there, almost experiencing the fear, hopelessnes, despair, and elation of the moments, then the author had worked the magic they sought. It is one thing to detail some generals and colonels standing around a map table, calmly discussing where to move this unit, and casualty figures for that unit. You may feel you are looking over their shoulder, but really, so what. But when you describe, in graphic detail, the fears of men fighting to escape almost certain death, plowing through deep snow, Russian shells exploding all around, and your reader can see this happening in his mind's eye, then you have really succeeded. The magic takes over. And it did with your book.

You laid the groundwork in wonderful detail, and provided maps galore. I never really felt I was lost, as I could always go back a few pages and figure out where the unit was fighting. The photos were truly amazing, and literally put a face on the fighting men. Your interviews translated into gripping stories of desperate survival. Little details were just perfect. As the 57th Inf. fights their way out, Gen. Trowitz stands on the bank of that horrible stream, urging his men to safety. Then, the honor of the last man of the unit to cross was allowed to Oblt. Kandziora, of the Feldgendarmerie platoon, who had probably been the last to leave his traffic direction post in Shanderovka, and knowing how these things normally go, had figured his survival was close to nil, being the last of the last of the last to leave.

A rearguard officer, Eberhard Heder, finds himself in a balka near Pochapintsy, with leaderless men. A soldier shouts for an officer to take command and give them orders. The men desperately need leaders to save them. Heder takes control, finds a map, calms and controls the men, then leads them in charges to break through and cross the Gniloy. The men's courage was never in question, but they needed an officer to point them in the right direction....to save their lives. Heder does the only thing open to him. He leads.

Willy Hein, still seriously wounded, leads 500-600 men in a wild charge against tanks, with no anti-tank weapons for use. We read these encounters over and over again. Gerhard Mayer and thousands of soldiers and officers charging Soviet tanks and guns near Hill 239. Attacking with bayonets against armor and machine guns. Oberst Gerhard Franz watches in helpless rage as Soviet tanks bravely attack columns of wounded men in panje wagons, grinding horses and wounded into bloody pulp with their tank treads. Franz grabs a sniper rifle, and uses it to help hundreds of men break through Russian strongpoints. Franz then joins a massive charge of 4,000 or more men, bayonets out, led by an officer on horse back while roaring the ancient German battle cry "Hurrah" as they overwhelm a Russian position of tanks and guns. Tanks are blown up, and Russian tankers are actually taken prisoner, not butchered on the spot.

Obw. Krause and Gef. Fritz Hamann have the good sense to drag many panzerfausts with them. They run into a wall of Russian tanks, blocking their way. The troops are milling about, starting to panic or give up. What do Krause and Hamann do? What else! Of course they attack with their panzerfausts, blowing up several tanks each, taking prisoners, forcing the tanks to flee the insane Germans, and allow hundreds of men to continue their desperate treck towards freedom. When they get to the Gniloy Tikich, the same prisoners they took in their struggle against the tanks, now show them how to safely swim the stream, using their greatcoats as wings to help keep buoyancy. Doug, this is truly amazing stuff. I read with chills up my spine and sometimes tears in my eyes. Do you have any idea if Krause and Hamann survived the war?

Of course, Ferdinand Kaisergruber's odyssey is stunning. It was so neat to see your relationship with that survivor.

Well then, I guess you can see just how much I enjoyed your work of art. I could hardly put it down, and found myself looking forward to getting home from work, so I could read more chapters. Thank-you so much for writing this amazing book. It is easily a collectors item. I might never have found it were it not for Feldgrau.net and this post.

Heinrich505

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Simon H » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:21 am

"Victory was Beyond Their Grasp" is a truly enthralling piece of narrative. As yet another person who has tramped the hürtgen forest it offers more tantilising opportunities of understanding the peorple and events that made up this particular conflict. As is always exciting when such small unit information is published it helps to bring the story down to the level of individual soldiers, which is something I always like to read.

You won't be able to put it down! Well worth a place on your bookshelf.
Simon Harrold

WW2 Battlefield Relics: German Erkennungsmarken decoded.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Nicolai » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:07 pm

Victory was Beyond Their Grasp was excellent, so I'm definitely looking forward to the reprint of Hell's Gate. (Haven't had a chance to pick the book up yet to due to the high prices used copies are currently going for - $150 on Amazon.com and £150 on Amazon.co.uk :shock:)

Edit: Or, hmm.. There's a copy going for £67.46 on abebooks.co.uk, maybe I'll look around some more.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Doug Nash » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:49 pm

Nicolai,
RZM is planning on doing a 3rd Edition of Hell's Gate with an accompanying photographic volume, which will be all new. It has been in the planning stages for a couple of years, so it will probably be at least 2 more years before this comes out. Apologies for the delay! Also, glad you liked Victory was Beyond Their Grasp - I learned recently that a Texas businessman & lawyer (who was a veteran of the WWII U.S. 78th Infantry Division) had submitted it as a nominee for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction without my knowledge, and though it was accepted into the competition, it did not make the finalist round, and thus did not win (the results were announced just this past Monday 20 April). Oh well - maybe next book!
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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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Tom Houlihan » Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:00 pm

Doug Nash wrote: I learned recently that a Texas businessman & lawyer (who was a veteran of the WWII U.S. 78th Infantry Division) had submitted it as a nominee for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction without my knowledge, and though it was accepted into the competition, it did not make the finalist round, and thus did not win (the results were announced just this past Monday 20 April).
Congratulations, Doug! Even if it didn't win, being nominated is itself an accolade.
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Feldgrau für alle und alle für Feldgrau!

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Simon H » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:45 am

Indeed. Having it recognised, if not winning a Pullitzer prize it praise indeed. It was remarkable enough that the original fusilier documents should have survived and been found in order to be able to tell "the soldiers story".

Well done.
Simon Harrold

WW2 Battlefield Relics: German Erkennungsmarken decoded.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by John P. Moore » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:17 am

A Pulitzer Prize nomination is of real significance and recognizes a worthy author. The author's vivid writing style and depth gives the reader a real sense of being there and having an appreciation of what the members of the 272nd were experiencing, a characteristic not often found in such books written by people who were not there at the time.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Doug Nash » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:39 am

Thanks John - it was a pleasant surprise. The Texas veteran, Mr. Ed Malouf, had served in Company B, 311th Infantry and fought in the Huertgen from Dec. 13 1844 until the end of February when the 78th Division was finally able to fight its way out of that mess. Most of the men in his company that he sailed to Europe with in October 1944 did not make it to see the end of the war. Which was why I was surprised at first that he went through the effort to submit my book to the Pulitzer panel - turns out that when I wrote the book, it deals with the 78th ID as much as the 272nd VGD, inasmuch as the two division were locked in mortal combat for 3 months - so you really couldn't write about one without writing about the other. Which leads me to make a point - whenver someone sets out to write about an aspect of German military history, particularly if you're writing about a unit or battle, it's worth the time and effort to do research on whatever Allied unit the Germans were arrayed against - in the case of my book, that meant perusing thousands of pages of U.S. after action reports, POW interrogation reports, unit combat journals, post-combat interviews, and intelligence bulletins. That helped me to paint in a great deal of the picture that was missing from the German records.
Cheers,
Doug
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Frederick L Clemens » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:05 am

Doug Nash wrote:...Which leads me to make a point - whenver someone sets out to write about an aspect of German military history, particularly if you're writing about a unit or battle, it's worth the time and effort to do research on whatever Allied unit the Germans were arrayed against - in the case of my book, that meant perusing thousands of pages of U.S. after action reports, POW interrogation reports, unit combat journals, post-combat interviews, and intelligence bulletins. That helped me to paint in a great deal of the picture that was missing from the German records...
Agreed - the chaotic or missing German records from the late war period make that a must. And sometimes you get some surprising results. In my research of Meinrad von Lauchert's career, I have found that the German records show him MIA in late March 45. I might have expected to find what happened to him in the US Army records, however, they also listed him as MIA at the same time! He had dissolved his staff when pushed up against a river in the Eifel and told everyone to breakout on their own. The next point at which he turned up was mid-May 45 in Bamberg when he surrendered himself to US occupation authorities. Now, how a panzer division commander made it across half of Germany during Mar-Apr-May 45 without being detected by either side must have been quite a story. Unfortunately, that story may have died with him.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Nicolai » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:10 pm

Doug Nash wrote:Nicolai,
RZM is planning on doing a 3rd Edition of Hell's Gate with an accompanying photographic volume, which will be all new. It has been in the planning stages for a couple of years, so it will probably be at least 2 more years before this comes out. Apologies for the delay! Also, glad you liked Victory was Beyond Their Grasp - I learned recently that a Texas businessman & lawyer (who was a veteran of the WWII U.S. 78th Infantry Division) had submitted it as a nominee for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction without my knowledge, and though it was accepted into the competition, it did not make the finalist round, and thus did not win (the results were announced just this past Monday 20 April). Oh well - maybe next book!
Cheers,
Doug Nash


Neat, I'll probably wait for the reprint, it'll take me at least two years to finish all the other unread books I have to read first, so picking up a used copy would be pointless in any case. :D Buying new is the best way to make certain that I'll see more of the sort of books I like, too.

One question, though: what will the photographic volume be like? Is the relationship between it and Hell's Gate sort of like Platz der Leibstandarte and Last Victory in Russia (which complemented each other nicely)?

Congrats about the nomination.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Doug Nash » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:11 pm

Remy's concept (he's the editor/owner of RZM Publishing) is to take some of the hundreds of photos from the Korsun/Cherkassy battles that we didn't use (due to lack of space) and just make an accompanying photographic volume using those. What Remy did was to visit the Bundesarchiv-Fotoarchiv in Koblenz and using the serial numbers of the photos I dug up there in '96 to identify all of the contact sheets that I had taken them from - literally, there are hundreds, actually thousands, of photos taken between Jan & Feb 1944 from that operation that have never seen the light of day, anywhere, since they were taken over 65 years ago. There were so many there of such high quality that he was blown away by them - I knew that already, of course, but the other factor you must take into account is that you must pay not only for copies of each of the photos, but you must also pay for the rights if you reproduce them - so if you use hundreds of photos, it will cost you upwards of a 1,000 Euros. Remy plans to get started on this project after he gets done with his Arnhem book, so it's still a year or two away before Hell's Gate Vol. II sees the light of day ---
Cheers,
Doug
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by bil » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:06 pm

Congratulations on the Pulitzer nomination.Quite an honor.I really hate to wait 2 more years for the reprint,but with the accompanying photo book,the wait will be a bit easier to take.I sometimes do buy hard to find used books from Amazon ,but I prefer to buy them new if possible.The reason being any profit will presumably filter to the author eventually,whereas used it has already gone.Good luck with your projects. ---bil

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Re: Battle of Kovel

Post by Doug Nash » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:09 pm

RZM Publishing has managed to locate the owner of the Wiking Division's photo archive & will be publishing a book about the Battle of Kovel that took place from March - April 1944, as early as next spring. It will be along the lines of Platz der Leibstandarte, with the focus on the photos and the story behind them, as well as a historical narrative to tie it all together. Some of the photos, which are well known, have never before been properly identified and placed in their proper context. Now that we've located the source of the photos, who has kept them in the correct sequence, we will soon be able to offer to the public some of the most sharp & clear photos of the Wiking Division since the publication of Wenn Alle Brueder Schweigen. More to follow...
Abbott: This sure is a beautiful forest.
Costello: Too bad you can't see it for all those trees!

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by John P. Moore » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:10 pm

The long-awaited book, Kampfgruppe Mühlenkamp, arrived today. Even after seeing the draft, the final product greatly exceeded my expectations. Well done!!

The amount of research that went into the production of this book is very evident and I am well-aware of the scope of the authors’ research. Both authors personally knew many of the surviving veterans of Kampfgruppe Mühlenkamp who are featured in this book and that personal connection is apparent. The text is extremely well-written and the superb photos are accompanied by detailed captions. Most people appearing in the photos are correctly identified and considerable effort was expended to accomplish that. Remy has already described the special process used in creating all of these photos, most of which have not been seen before, ready for printing. The difference in image quality between what the reader will see in this book and the typical Waffen-SS book is remarkable. I believe that this book can serve as a positive example for other authors and publishers who desire to strive to create the best possible completed piece of work. This book is also fine example of an original piece of work on the Waffen-SS when it seems that more and more people are writing about the same tired old themes.

I highly recommend this 192-page book. It is reasonably priced at USD 85, however, people can receive a 25% discount by ordering directly from RZM.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Doug Nash

Post by Annelie » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:57 am

On your recommendation John, I ordered the book and it
just arrived. Had no idea it would be such a large sized book
12 " wide.

Going to do as you did...get a coffee and start reading. 8)
Annelie
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