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Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941, Hermann Hoth

Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941, Hermann Hoth


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Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941, Hermann Hoth

Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941, Hermann Hoth

Hermann Hoth commanded the 3rd Panzer Group during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. In that role he played a major part in the German victories of 1941. This book provides his view of the period between the invasion of the Soviet Union and October 1941, but ends just before the start of the attack on Moscow.

Hoth produced a more balanced view of the fighting that some of his contemporaries. The standard line taken by many German generals was that Hitler's decisions were almost always wrong, and if he had only left the direction of the war to them, then the result would have been different. Hoth, at least in the mid 1950s when this book was written, was more willing to admit that sometimes Hitler had a valid point, and some of his orders produced significant German victories.

There has also been a tendency to portray the fighting of 1941 as fairly straightforward for the Germans, but Hoth doesn't support that view. He records hard fighting and a series of crises for the Germans, interspersed with dramatic victories. He also gives us an insight into the lack of an overall plan once the campaign was under way, something that is supported by other sources. If anything, Hoth perhaps overstates the problems faced by the Germans in the earlier part of the campaign, given the impressive advances made by them during the year.

Ironically the one chapter that is of little use now is the one examining warfare in the mid 1950s and the potential influence of tactical nuclear weapons, which at the same time overestimates the willingness of combatants to resort to nuclear weapons, and dramatically underestimates their impact (going as far as suggesting that infantry could avoid the effects of a nearby nuclear blast by sheltering in a fox hole!)

This is a useful primary source for the first part of the campaign of 1941, although one does have to be aware of Hoth's biases, and it’s a shame that he stops before the attack on Moscow, as his views on a period of German failure would have been interesting.

Chapters
1 - Introduction
2 - Background
3 - Destruction of the Enemy in the Border Areas, 22 June-1 July
4 - At Hitler's Headquarters, 26-30 June 1941
5 - From Minsk to the Western Dvina, 1-7 July 1941
6 - The Battle of Smolensk, 8-16 July
7 - Closing the Smolensk Pocket, 16 July-18 August
8 - Moscow, Kiev, or Leningrad
9 - The Operations of the Battle of Vyazma
Epilogue: Hermann Hoth's Career after the Battle of Vyazma

Author: Hermann Hoth
Translator: Linden Lyons
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Publisher: Casemate
Year: 2015



Panzer Operations : Germany's Panzer Group 3 During the Invasion of Russia, 1941

Hermann Hoth led Germany's 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Centre in tandem with Guderian's 2nd Group - during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow

By Hermann Hoth & Linden Lyons

Hermann Hoth led Germany's 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Centre - in tandem with Guderian's 2nd Group - during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow.

In this work, originally published in German in 1956, Hoth discusses his exact command decisions during Barbarossa - still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken - to reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign.

Hoth analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army's leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm's breakthroughs.

Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the future offensive use of armoured formations.

His first hand analysis is vital reading for every student of World War II.


ISBN 13: 9781612002699

Hoth, Hermann

This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

This book, originally published in German in 1956, has now been translated into English, unveiling a wealth of both experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the 20th century.

Hermann Hoth led Germany’s 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center—in tandem with Guderian’s 2nd Group𠅍uring the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow.

This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed post-war reflection, from one of Nazi Germany’s top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa—still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken—to reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign.

Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army’s leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm’s breakthroughs.

Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler’s momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall.

Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.

1 Introduction
2 Background
3 Destruction of the Enemy in the Border Areas, 22 June𠄱 July
4 At Hitler’s Headquarters, 26� June 1941
5 From Minsk to the Western Dvina, 1𠄷 July 1941
6 The Battle of Smolensk, 8� July
7 Closing the Smolensk Pocket, 16 July� August
8 Moscow, Kiev, or Leningrad
9 The Operations of the Battle of Vyazma

Conclusion
Epilogue : Hermann Hoth’s Career after the Battle of Vyazma by Linden Lyons
Appendices
Notes
Bibliography

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Hermann Hoth (1885-1971) began World War II in command of a motorized corps. During Operation Barbarossa he commander Panzer Group 3 of Army Group Center, and toward the end of 1941 was promoted to command of 17th Army. In June 1942 he was given command of 4th Panzer Army. In 1943, following the battle of Kursk, he was relieved of command. After serving six years in prison following the Nuremberg Trials, Hoth turned to writing and died at age 85 in Goslar, Germany.

Linden Lyons holds a master's degree in history from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He also studied German at the University of Freiburg and librarianship at the University of Canberra. He is passionate about languages, chess, and fencing, and lives in Melbourne with his family. He has also translated Panzer Operations by Hermann Hoth in the Wehrmacht im Kampf series, and is currently working on another translation for the series.

"Hoth’s writing style is direct and to the point yet it remains very readable and thought-provoking. He is a commander who cares very deeply about his soldiers and their well-being but also for the mentorship and development of his leaders. I would strongly recommend this book for any leader wanting to clearly understand what command (highlighted by bold, decisive action) entails in an operational context." (Military Review)

“The appendices include actual operational orders, but (unlike Guderian’s book Panzer Leader) this is not a memoir - it is a masterclass in what happened and how to command armour. For that reason alone it should be bought and read by anyone who thinks they know about tanks, command or staff work as well as those with an interest in military history. 5 stars.” (Army Rumour Service)

“It is interesting in seeing how a senior commander viewed the machinations of higher command and the impact on campaign performance.” (Miniature Wargames)

𠇊 useful study on how the German leadership failed to provide adequate logistical support to capitalise on the breakthroughs made by the Panzer divisions.” (Classic Military Vehicles)


Panzer Operations

DESCRIPTION
This book, originally published in German in 1956, has now been translated into English, unveiling a wealth of both experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the 20th century.

Hermann Hoth led Germany’s 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center—in tandem with Guderian’s 2nd Group—during the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow.

This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed post-war reflection, from one of Nazi Germany’s top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa—still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken—to reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign.

Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army’s leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm’s breakthroughs.

Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler’s momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall.

Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Introduction
2 Background
3 Destruction of the Enemy in the Border Areas, 22 June–1 July
4 At Hitler’s Headquarters, 26–30 June 1941
5 From Minsk to the Western Dvina, 1–7 July 1941
6 The Battle of Smolensk, 8–16 July
7 Closing the Smolensk Pocket, 16 July–18 August
8 Moscow, Kiev, or Leningrad
9 The Operations of the Battle of Vyazma
Conclusion
Epilogue : Hermann Hoth’s Career after the Battle of Vyazma by Linden Lyons
Appendices
Notes
Bibliography

DETAILS
Date Published : April 2015
Publisher : Casemate
Paqges: 224
Format: E-book, Hardback, Paperpack
Series : Die Wehrmacht im Kampf
Illustration : 16pp photos


Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 During the Invasion of Russia, 1941

This book unveils a wealth of experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the twentieth century, from a perspective rarely encountered.

Hermann Hoth led Germany’s 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center—in tandem with Guderian’s 2nd Group—during the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together, these two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow.

This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed postwar reflection, from one of Nazi Germany’s top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa—still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken—to reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign.

Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army’s leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm’s breakthroughs.

Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question of whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler’s momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall.

Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.


Panzer Operations — Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941

This book, originally published in German in 1956, has now been translated into English, unveiling a wealth of both experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the 20th century. Hermann Hoth led Germany's 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center — in tandem with Guderian's 2nd Group — during the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow. This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed post-war reflection, from one of Nazi Germany's top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa — still the largest continental offensive ever undertaken — to reveal new insights into how Germany could and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign. Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army's leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm's breakthroughs. Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler's momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall. Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.


Panzer Operations: Germany'S Panzer Group 3 During the Invasion of Russia, 1941 by Hermann Hoth (Hardcover, 2015)

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PANZER OPERATIONS GERMANY'S PANZER GROUP 3 DURING THE INVASTION OF RUSSIA, 1941

by Hermann Hoth, 224 pages, 16pp photos

This book, originally published in German in 1956, has now been translated into English, unveiling a wealth of both experiences and analysis about Operation Barbarossa, perhaps the most important military campaign of the 20th century.

Hermann Hoth led Germany&rsquos 3rd Panzer Group in Army Group Center&mdashin tandem with Guderian&rsquos 2nd Group&mdashduring the invasion of the Soviet Union, and together those two daring panzer commanders achieved a series of astounding victories, encircling entire Russian armies at Minsk, Smolensk, and Vyazma, all the way up to the very gates of Moscow.

This work begins with Hoth discussing the use of nuclear weapons in future conflicts. This cool-headed post-war reflection, from one of Nazi Germany&rsquos top panzer commanders, is rare enough. But then Hoth dives into his exact command decisions during Barbarossa&mdashstill the largest continental offensive ever undertaken&mdashto reveal new insights into how Germany could, and in his view should, have succeeded in the campaign. Hoth critically analyses the origin, development, and objective of the plan against Russia, and presents the situations confronted, the decisions taken, and the mistakes made by the army&rsquos leadership, as the new form of mobile warfare startled not only the Soviets on the receiving end but the German leadership itself, which failed to provide support infrastructure for their panzer arm&rsquos breakthroughs. Hoth sheds light on the decisive and ever-escalating struggle between Hitler and his military advisers on the question whether, after the Dnieper and the Dvina had been reached, to adhere to the original idea of capturing Moscow. Hitler&rsquos momentous decision to divert forces to Kiev and the south only came in late August 1941. He then finally considers in detail whether the Germans, after obliterating the remaining Russian armies facing Army Group Center in Operation Typhoon, could still hope for the occupation of the Russian capital that fall.

Hoth concludes his study with several lessons for the offensive use of armored formations in the future. His firsthand analysis, here published for the first time in English, will be vital reading for every student of World War II.


Panzer Operations

Astute readers may have noticed that to date I have shied away from reviewing any of the books written by German officers who fought in the Second World War. So why this book? I'll get to that, my thoughts on the author, and a word of caution for readers, but first let's discuss the actual book.

Originally penned in 1956 this is the English language edition, and a good one at that. The translation by Linden Lyons is excellent. His work fully holds up well in comparison to other notable military history translators working for the English language market (such as Stuart Britton - one of my favorites in making Russian publications available here in the U.S.).

The author, Hermann Hoth, is most notable for being the commander of Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). There is no question Hoth had a sound mind for conducting armored warfare at the operational level. For that reason I welcomed Hoth's choice to begin this publication by offering his opinions on what were then some of the most pressing current issues in military operations. This includes a prominent discussion of the use of armor during tactical nuclear warfare, which I enjoyed. His commentary on these issues reflected well the debate over the usage of such weapons in war during the 1950's. At the same time it reminds the reader of the vast potential for immense destruction held in such weapons.

From there, Hoth jumps into Barbarossa, including a detailed discussion of the planning, and his panzer group's role in the campaign. This is the bulk of the book. Hoth's analysis is welcomed in terms of providing readers a better understanding of the isues facing the German General Staff in constructing a viable invasion plan as well as the role of Prussian/German military history in influencing the thinking of these officers. Hoth is not afraid to point out mistakes, though Hoth does what really all of his peers would do after the war - that being to regularly deflect potential criticisms of their mistakes in prosecuting the war and its disastrous outcome for Germany onto Hitler alone. This was the standard play book for German military officers writing after the war and as part of a coordinated plan to present the German military leadership in the best possible light. Though Hoth finishes the book with offering up lessons for the usage of armor in modern operations it is his analysis of Barbarossa that is the book's strength but also it's weakness.

On the positive side, Hoth critically breaks down the plan for Barbarossa, what kind of considerations had to be taken into account, and the fundemental issues that were never really solved in terms of drilling down Barbarossa's disparate goals into a functional and targeted plan of operations. That and the narrative he provides on Panzer Group 3's operations during Barbarossa are why I think this book should be read (Hoth's insight into the nuts and bolts of managing large armored forces on the battlefield are well worth examining). That said, the problem is that I do not think this book should be read by anyone without an already thorough understanding of the war fought between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. An underinformed reader can easily be misled into believing that Hoth and his fellow officers, had they been listened to, would have won the war for Germany. This simply is not true.

In fact, many of Barbarossa's biggest problems as a plan came from within the German army. The Chief of the German Army's General Staff, Franz Halder, made numerous mistakes (among others) above and beyond what would be considered acceptable. Yet Hoth essentially gives him a free pass. Again, this is not uncommon, whether reading the memoirs of Guderian, Manstein, Mellinthin, or any of the other dozens of such post-war books penned by leading German generals of the Second World War the message is consistent - it was not our fault and we are not war criminals. This leads me to another strength of this English language translation.

Most of the English language translations of the German General's varied post-war works are typically just that - direct translations. This particular series of books that Hoth's new edition is a part of (Die Wermacht Im Kampf) has done is provide some badly needed context. In a closing Epilogue Linden Lyons briefly and clearly explains to the reader that Hoth was a dedicated Nazi and anti-semite. This makes it much harder for a reader to walk away from this book without concluding that Hoth was both a competent war time leader, but also a war criminal with truly repugnant views. This is important. When Manstein, Guderian, and many of their peer's memoirs were translated into English decades ago their self-serving claims of innocence even as the larger Nazi project of extermination unfolded around them were allowed to stand. Such editorial decisions played a key role in allowing American readers to dangerously distance these men from the true nature of the regime they willingly and enthusiastically served.

This translation's only true fault is in not providing the same contextual treatment to Hoth's repeated insinuations within the text that the Wehrmacht's military failings were mostly Hitler's fault alone. Thus, when Hoth discusses the July-August 1941 struggle between Hitler and his generals as to the direction of Barbarossa (the generals favored striking Moscow immediately, Hitler wanted to clean up the flanks first) there is no real corrective to Hoth's clearly biased opinions. This is a shame. One of the reasons I have chosen to give this book a qualified recommendation is that Hoth is not only someone who can write clearly about operational miltiary matters (with the experience to match), but also that when he chooses to do it he can be intellectually honest. For instance, he has no problem casting the German army's decision to maintain Operation Typhoon (Army Group Center's final drive toward Moscow) past the end of October as a mistake.

Overall, if you are an advanced level historical enthusiast of the 1941-1945 German-Soviet War I think you will have much to enjoy and even learn from this book. In addition, your pre-existing knowledge will grant you the ability to recognize when you are stepping in something else that Hoth is laying down. If you are not an advanced student of these topics I appreciate the publisher's decision to have Lyons write his excellent and much needed corrective to clarify Hoth's record as to war crimes. Nevertheless, I wish there would hae been just a bit more about the role Hoth played in his post-war work along with his former comrades toward casting blame for their failings on the very easy targets of Hitler and his equally vile political cronies. Even a few paragraphs in the Epilogue devoted to the larger decision-making blunders of the German army's leadership that played just as big a role in the Third Reich's ultimate defeat would have been very much welcomed. Had that been included I would have no problem recommending this book to more casual readers of these important events and not just those of you with a more thorough understanding of the war.



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