Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Discussion, background, reviews, and critical analysis of works by Feldgrau.net members who are published authors.
rommel170
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by rommel170 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:15 am

Dear Stephan Hamilton,
When do your forthcoming book be available.I saw it in helion website stating it will be out in Jan2011,is it true?
Have pre-order it .hope it will be at same standard as or even surpass "bloodly street".

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:35 am

Hi Stephan,

Did you ever stumble across a couple of books by Gerd-Ulrich Herrmann in your studies?

http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_ ... 20Herrmann
No-one who speaks German could be an evil man

Stephan H.
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:08 pm

Volume I will be released in February. Volume II will now be released in early fall, as I’m still adjusting the content/scope. I keep finding more documents to add . . .

Richard – I have not come across this German author before. Both of his books were published this year and I have been working almost exclusively with primary documents over the last six months. Thanks for letting me know (and the Forum) that they are out there :up:

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Dutto1 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:54 am

Hi Stephan,

I am really looking forward to your next book The Oder Front 1945.As well as and Operational overview of the battles Army Group Vistula fought,is there many first-hand accounts in the text ?

Many Thanks

Ron

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:04 pm

Ron,

Three quarters of the book is made up of first person accounts and translations of primary documents. Most are from the senior commanders to include the complete translation of Heinrici’s postwar study of the battle (MS T-9) and the translations of the relevant operational reporting and telephone logs of the H.Gr. Weichsel KTB from 16 April-4 May. The book is mostly focused on the operational and not tactical level of fighting.

I also include some already published first person accounts of the breakout from the Spremberg Pocket, as well as previously published German accounts of the 9.Armee breakout that I have translated for the first time into English—the ones I hand picked contain quite a bit of combat action. I also include some previously untranslated Russian accounts of the breakout for perspective. In fact the main Russian account I include contains their view of what I believe is s.SS-Pz.Abt.502 leading the 9.Armee breakout.

This book contains far more original research and new material then I published in Bloody Streets and it is the first of what will be a 5-6 volume series on the fighting along the Oderfront and Berlin.

Volume II will be out later this year and is based almost entirely on primary documents from the KTB of HGr. Weichsel, OKH records, and a variety of other primary sources, as well as first person accounts of senior officers. It is a very different book intended to be more of an Annex to Volume I. It will contain a wealth of division KStN and Gliederung, strength reports, as well as operational summaries for almost all divisions that fought on the Oderfront from mid April through the end of the war. I’ll post more info on Volume II as I near the end of the first draft.

Cheers

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Dutto1 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:52 am

Hi Stephan,

Thanks for the reply.The book sounds stunning :up: :up: :up:
I was aware of volume 2 when i saw it on Amazon a couple of weeks ago,they are running good pre publication offers on both books,needless to say i will order the two of them in the next week or so.
I am quite amazed that you plan 5 to 6 volumes in total what will the other volumes contain ?

Regards

Ron

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:41 am

I'm keeping the other potential volumes under wraps for a while as I sort through my material and structure the rest of the series. Bottom-line is that there are thousands of pages of untapped German and Russian material for this period of the war and very, very little of it has been translated and published in English.

Cheers

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Dutto1 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:43 am

Hi Stephan,

I have come across a website that may be of interest to you.It is about the POW camp for special prisoners at Bridgend Wales,it held a large number of senior German Officers at the end of WW2 including Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici.The site contains photos and profiles on most of the men held in the camp.The link is

http://www.islandfarm.fsnet.co.uk

How is the book coming on,Helion have moved the publication dates a few times.

Regards

Ron

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:36 am

I do not foresee any other delays. We are working through the final layout now and I expect the book to be out the door by early June. Volume II will also be delayed as I have significantly increased the scope of that book to incorporate translations from new documents I received from both NARA and BAMA. Once I finalize what will be in the book, I'll update the Amazon.com description.

Cheers

Der Alte Fritz
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Der Alte Fritz » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:27 pm

I wonder if your forht coming book might help me in my chosen area of research.

I have been studying German defensive tactics and doctrine for 1943-45 to follow on from David Wray's article "Standing Fast". I have built up a fairly good picture of German defensive practices but have been unable to discover the level of command at which tactical innovation occurred. Compared with the Great War, where the General Staff gave the lead in officers such as Lossburg, there seems to be little tactical innovation or direction from OKH. Instead we find tactical directions been given by Armee Gruppe eg von Manstein or Model or at Armee level eg Heinrici at 4th Armee. But although I can find isolated examples I cannot build up a comprehesive picture.

The situation changed by 1945 with the appointment of Guderian who issued tactical directives from OKH, for example his Gross HKL. So there may have been a definite hiatus during the tenure of Zeitler.

Would your book or other research shed any light on these issues?

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:45 pm

I do discuss the development of German defensive doctrine, but merely as a way to provide context to what Heinrici accomplished in April 1945. There was never any real "development" of German defensive doctrine during the war, other than the guidance issued by Hitler in 1942 that drew on his experiences in WWI.

There is ample detail in the book about Heinrici’s defensive execution in April 1945, which he developed over his long years in command on the Eastern Front. His defensive orders issued at the end of March are translated in full within the book.

The text is at the operational level, meaning I do not go into implementation of Heinrici’s defense at the division level or below. Interestingly, Heinrici’s defense was designed primarily around the very predictable Soviet offensive doctrine instead of it being somehow a “uniquely” German doctrinal development. Heinrici recalled how he played his defense to the weakness of the predictable soviet offensive doctrine in the Carpathians when he was in command of Panzer Armee Heinrici, and he simply re-issued those defensive orders only three days after taking command of H.Gr. Weichsel.

Successful implementation of pulling back German forces before a Soviet attack was also tied to how favorable was the terrain being defended and the availability of operational reserves. Another critical factor was making sure that the division’s forced its implementation down to the company level. As Heinrici pointed out after the war, many junior commanders complained about having to build secondary defensive positions, especially when their primary ones were often well developed—they simply did not understand that if they stayed in their primary positions within the HKL they were going to be obliterated by the opening Soviet artillery barrage.

Cheers.

Der Alte Fritz
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Der Alte Fritz » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:30 am

Excellent, this seems to fit in very well with the information that I have to date, so it seems well worth a look.

This concept of 'dodging the artillery barrage' by some sort of withdrawl seems to have been first used by Heinrici in the winter of 1941 (one source quoting his published papers from 1941-2, I think). He seems to have used it again in the battles around Smolensk in 1943 when in command of 4th Armee. (No sources here but quoted by several secondary sources) But as you say, it was not a dogmatic implementation as for instance in the 4 'Road Battles' around Orscha in late 1943/4 where there was no space or depth to use it.

I did not know that he had used it in the Carpathians, presumably during the Lvov-Sandomir Operation, especially if a duplicate of the orders were used with H.Gr. Weichsel. It would be good to see a translated copy of these if possible.

What is of interest is that I cannot find any other unit other than 4th Armee in H.Gr. Mitte 1942-4 using this technique. I have found several units that did use it operating in various H.Gr. in the south but on examination these units had come from Heinricis command. For instance one infantry division operating in the Crimea in 1943 (recently transfered from 4th Armee) as described in "In Deadly Combat" by Bidermann. Raus, of course, quotes the technique being used by him in Poland as part of his 'zone defence'.

So this technique may have been confined to Heinrici's commands until quite late in the war. In fact there are field orders from Model during his time as commander H.Gr. Nordukraine, specifically 'ordering troops not to build secondary positions but to concentrate on strengthening the HKL' which were a repeat of earlier orders of Manstein's.

Regarding the digging of defences, I can sympathise with the junior officers. The best account I have of building a full three trench HKL and HKF positions by the fighting troops, 'Barbara Line' by the support troops and another fall back trench by Army construction troops is that it took 10 weeks before it was finished.

Thanks for your information.

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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Stephan H. » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:50 pm

Your observations are very interesting, indeed. I also believe that Heinrici began to develop his defensive technique during the battles of H.Gr. Mitte in 1942/43, but I did not delve into any primary documents of the 4.Armee—this was just beyond the scope of my current work.
Der Alte Fritz wrote:I did not know that he had used it in the Carpathians
It was in the Carpathians where Heinrici demonstrated mastery of his technique of withdrawing his forces before a Soviet artillery barrage, then defeating the immediate Soviet assault. This was a major german success that has gone almost unnoticed in any history because of the lack of primary documents on Armeegruppe Heinrici.

While in command of Armeegruppe Heinrnci, his Chef des Generalstabes was von Trotha. While there is no hard evidence I’ve located to date, I suspect that von Trotha (who replaced Wenck on Guderian’s staff after his car accident) may have influenced Guderian to appoint Heinrici as OB of H.Gr. Weichsel based on von Trotha’s comments about Heinrici’s defensive technique in the Carpathians. Von Trotha remained a strong supporter of Heinrici through the end of the war, and it was no coincidence that after Heinrici took command of H.Gr. Weichsel he requested that von Trotha be assigned to his staff as Chef des Generalstabes once again.

There are some potentially very good sources for Heinrici’s tenure as OB in the Carpathians, but I have not aggressively pursued them yet. I still have a few more volumes of the Oderfront to pen.

One last comment, Heinrici is one of the few German generals that served in continuous positions of command--with a few exceptions--from the start of Operation Barbarossa to the end of war in the east, ultimately taking responsibility for Germany's final defense of the war. His remarkable military career and overall wartime experiences deserves a thorough biographical study.

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Richard Hargreaves
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Richard Hargreaves » Wed May 04, 2011 2:01 pm

Richard Hargreaves wrote:Hi Stephan,

Did you ever stumble across a couple of books by Gerd-Ulrich Herrmann in your studies?

http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_ ... 20Herrmann
Well, you can save your money on Das Kriegsende 1945 - it's a basic intro to the fighting, an easy read for people who want to know more... but Experten won't find much in it.

As for the Schlüssel für Berlin, I've not seen it, but according to the blurb in the back of Kriegsende 1945, it's based largely on 1st Byelorussian Front documents so it might be useful.
No-one who speaks German could be an evil man

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Frederick L Clemens
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Re: Feldgrau Author: Stephan Hamilton

Post by Frederick L Clemens » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:54 pm

I don't know if this has been posted elsewhere but Stephan is scheduled to give a presentation on his new book at the Historicon in King of Prussia on Sat, 9 July at 9 am. See the schedule here: http://www.historicon.org/HIST2011/file ... ollege.pdf and more info about the convention here: http://www.hmgs.org/

Stephan, I will be doing two presentations myself - Fri, 9am on Sturmstaffel 1 and Sun, 9am on Battle of New Hope Church. I will look for you there and hope to make your presentation as well. :up:

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