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Monday, December 18, 2017 - 01:57 PM UTC
Two new titles are available from Fonthill Media this December.
Strafbatallion, Hitler’s Penal Battalions by Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr. Hardback, 224 pages with 18 mono illustrations.

The story of Hitler’s (Strafbattalion) penal battalions during the Second World War.

• The German Army’s Strafbattalions were infantry units made up largely of convicts, felons, malingerers, thugs and the criminally insane
• Previously unpublished story of the units
• The accounts of the most famous Strafbattalion units in combat
• A story of little-known Nazi units: Hitler’s ‘Dirty Dozens’

When war broke out in 1939, Hitler created Strafbattalion (Penal Battalion) units to deal with incarcerated members of the Wehrmacht as well as ‘subversives’. His order stated that any first-time convicted soldier could return to his unit after he had served a portion of his sentence in ‘…a special probation corps before the enemy’. Beginning in April 1941, convicted soldiers, even those sentenced to death, who had shown exceptional bravery or meritorious service could rejoin their original units; however, those in probation units were expected to undertake dangerous operations at the front. Refusal entailed enforcement of the original sentence. The soldiers who ‘won back an honourable place in the national community’ had done everything that was asked of them from suicidal advance teams, shock troops, and laying mines under fire. By 1945, over 50,000 Wehrmacht troops had served in punishment regiments. Strafbatallion: Hitler’s Penal Battalions examines the penal units, their combat history and order of battle.

The Berlin 1945 Battlefield Guide, Part 1: The Battle of the Oder-Neisse by David McCormack. Paperback edition in 160 pages. Illustrations: 45 mono and 29 in color.

The essential guide to understanding the last few tumultuous weeks of the war on the Oderfront campaign

• A meticulously researched and highly detailed history and location guide
• Insights into the human face of war
• Period and contemporary photographs bring the history of the battlefield to life
• An essential guide crammed with useful information and facts for explorers of the Oderfront

This guide is specifically tailored towards travellers making the leap from escorted tours to independent battlefield exploration. Along with essential tour information, there are useful tips, hints and suggestions aimed towards making your battlefield journey as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. While some tour professionals and guide authors still favour traditional ‘stands’, author David McCormack has used his own experience of leading tour groups to produce a more accessible guide based around ‘viewpoints’. Therefore, what you have is straight-forward, easy to use guide, and uncluttered by unnecessary maps, diagrams and tables.

Each ‘viewpoint’ has easy to follow directions, along with tried and tested satellite navigation instructions to take you direct to the scene of the action. This easy to use guide will prove to be your indispensable tour companion as you begin your exploration of the Oder-Neisse battlefields. Includes an accessible layout and easy to follow tour instructions; circular tours designed for novice battlefield explorers; tried and tested satellite navigation addresses for every ‘viewpoint’; lunch breaks and dining suggestions incorporated into tours; profusely illustrated with period and contemporary photographs; unencumbered by unnecessarily overcomplicated diagrams and maps; and detailed historical sections, which include some remarkable first-hand accounts.
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I find these books so great because, like the Normandy guide books, you can take the time to walk in the footsteps of history and really see what happened. Same thing several years ago when I walked through a section of Berlin and stopped at one spot, recognizing it from a photo that showed that an abandoned King Tiger stood here in May of '45. Shiver.
DEC 20, 2017 - 05:16 AM
Strafbatallion, Hitler's Penal Battalions sounds like an interesting book to read.
DEC 20, 2017 - 08:05 AM

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