German General Heinz Guderian was born on June 17, 1888. He served in World War One as a Signals & General Staff officer. After the war, Guderian stayed in the 100,000 man German Army, the Reichswehr. He became interested in the use of tanks and aircraft in warfare, as well as the role of radio communication on the battlefield, and his ideas became central to the development of what the Germans called Bewegungskrieg
(“warfare through movement”) and which the world came to know as Blitzkrieg.
After the rise of National Socialism, Guderian took part in the invasions of Poland and France, where the Blitzkrieg tactics proved very successful. Though opposed to the invasion of Russia, he very nearly reached Moscow in 1941. He was later relieved of his command by Hitler for ordering a retreat without authority. However, Guderian was later recalled and appointed Chief of the General Staff. His arguments with Hitler caused him to be relieved once again before the end of the war. Guderian surrendered to American troops on May 10, 1945, and became a prisoner of war. The Soviet Union and Poland claimed that Guderian was a war criminal, but he was released from U.S. custody on June 16, 1948. He became part of the US Army Historical Division’s Foreign Military Studies Program, and later retired in 1950 to write books until his death on May 14, 1954 at the age of 65.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Heinz Guderian
as Number 13 in their Command series by author Pier Paolo Battistelli and illustrator Adam Hook, and examines the military career of Heinz Guderian.
The paperback book has 64 pages. Included with the text are color and black & white photographs, color illustrations, color maps and detailed captions. The contents include:
- Early years
- Military life
- Hour of destiny
- Opposing commanders
- When war is done
- Inside the mind
- A life in words
- Further reading
The text in the book is well-written and extremely detailed. Battistelli covers the military career of Heinz Guderian very well, and it is obvious that the author has gone to great lengths to research Guderian and provide a very accurate history of him. It covers Guderian’s entire career, starting with his involvement in World War I, his time spent between the wars, World War II, and even his life after the Second World War.
As an added feature, the book includes a key explaining the various military symbols used such as unit designations, and a table of ranks that shows German officer ranks with their British and USA equivalents. Anyone interested in Guderian will find this book very informative and interesting. I didn’t notice and spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book, something one can’t always say these days.
Modelers will be especially keens on the 57 black & white photographs and two color ones throughout the book. Most of the photographs are nice and clear, however, there are some that have an out-of-focus look to them, while others appear to be too dark. I have seen several military photographs that have this look to them, so maybe that is just typical. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from a film, so that could be the reason. With that said, the quality of the photos is of no fault of the author.
THE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS:
There are three color illustrations by illustrator Adam Hook, and they are very well-done, nicely detailed and cover actions in:
- Montcornet, 16 May 1940
- Operation Barbarossa, June – July 1941
- The tank battle at Kursk, July 1943
THE COLOR MAPS:
One weakness of many history books is the map section. This volume has five color maps showing operations in:
- Breakthrough at the Meuse, May 1940
- Fall Rot (Case Red), June 1940
- Smolensk, July - August 1941
- Moscow, November - December 1941
- The Eastern front, June 1944 – April 1945
The captions are well-written and are very detailed, helping to explain the accompanying photographs thoroughly. Again, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors.
All in all, I am very impressed with the book. It details the military career of Heinz Guderian very well, and I would have no hesitation adding other Osprey titles to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
The Eastern Front
World War Two Blog
Thanks to Osprey Publications for the review copy. Be sure to mention that you heard about it here when ordering.