This book is based on the intelligence summaries created by the First Canadian Army during the campaign in Normandy and northern France. At its heart is a large collection of captured German material. This covers a very wide range of topics, including official tactical doctrine, weapon instructions, letters and diaries captured by the allies, and Allied intelligence reports and summaries.
The weapon instructions give us an insight into the way the Germans saw their own equipment. There is a document on the correct way to use the Panther tank which mentions the comparative vulnerability of the side armour, the need for flanking protection and its heavy fuel consumption, twice that of the Panzer III or Panzer IV and something that had to be considered before any use of the Panther in combat.
The impact of Allied air power and the dominance of the British artillery are constant themes, making movement difficult, and forcing the Germans to camouflage everything - there is even an instruction to make sure that horses were dug in.
Mixed in amongst the signs of imminent collapse is the timetable for a General Staff course that started in August 1944 and would have stretched into 1946 if it hadn’t been cut short at the start of 1945.
This is a fascinating collection of documents, providing a really valuable view of the German army during the battles in Normandy, a period when it came under very heavy pressure and eventually broke.
1 - The German Experience of Battle - Formations and Units
2 - Defending Normandy - Extracts from the Telephone Log of Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer Army, June, July and August 1944
3 - The German Experience of Battle - Soldier's Diaries and Memories
4 - The Individual Soldier's Experience - Letters to and from Home
5 - Tactics - General Directions
6 - Infantry Weapons and Tactics
7 - Anti-Tank and Artillery Weapons and Tactics
8 - Armoured Vehicles and Tactics
9 - Allied Evaluation of German Armoured Vehicles, Weapons and Tactics
10 - The Training of Senior Officers
11 - Shortages of Medical Supplies, Weapons and Equipment
12 - Discipline, Morale, Propaganda and Tensions Between the Army and the SS
13 - Casualties and Casualty Replacement
14 - The Effects of Allied Artillery and Air Bombardment
15 - Miscellaneous and Humour (Such as it Was)
Epilogue - The Wehrmacht Retreats from Dieppe, August 1945 - A French View
Author: Donald E. Graves