by: Randy Harvey [ ]
German Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Otto Moritz Walther Model was born in January 1891. During World War One, he gained considerable combat, infantry and staff experience serving as an officer, was wounded on more than one occasion, and was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Likely due to Modelís exposure to the high casualty rate of World War One, he developed an indifference to casualties, which others characterized as being hard-hearted. However, throughout his military career, Model was a popular commander with his troops, and always maintained a connection with them by visiting them in their front line fighting positions as often as possible.
After World War One, Model served in the 100,000 man German Army (Reichswehr) from 1919 to 1935, where he was promoted several times and given his own units to command. After the rise of National Socialism, he rose in the ranks, and was on the staff of the 4th Corps during the invasion of Poland, and then the 16th Army during the campaign in France. By the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he was commander of the 3rd Panzer Division. He fought his way across the Ukraine and Russian steppes with Guderian all the way to Moscow. During this time, he became a favorite of Hitler, who used him in Russia, and later after the Allied invasion in France and the low countries (Operation Market Garden). While doubting its chances of success, he obediently led the attack in the Ardennes known as "Watch on the Rhine" or the Battle of the Bulge.
Modelís slash & burn practices while in the Soviet Union led him to be labeled as a war criminal. At the close of the war, the Russians indicted him for war crimes, specifically for concentration camps set up in Latvia and the use of slave labor. This perhaps figured into his decision to shoot himself in April 1945 after the collapse of Army Group B.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Walther Model by Robert Forczyk (illustrated by Adam Hook) as Number 15 in their ďCommandĒ series.
The book comes in paperback with 64 pages. Included with the text are color and black & white photographs, color illustrations, color maps and detailed captions.
- The early years 1891 - 1913
- The military life 1914 - 41
- The hour of destiny 1942 - 45
- Opposing commanders
- Inside the mind
- A life in words
- Further reading
The text of the book is well-written and extremely detailed. Forczyk covers the military career of Walther Model very well, and itís obvious the author has conducted detailed research starting with Modelís service in World War I, his time spent serving in the Reichswehr between the wars, and his actions during World War II up until the time of his suicide. Also included is a military symbols key. Anyone interested in Walther Model and his career will find this book very informative and interesting.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS: There are a total of 47 black & white and 2 color photographs throughout the book. Most of the photos are nice and clear, however, there are some that have an out-of-focus look to them; others appear to be too dark. This seems typical with photos of this period. I do know that several are actually stills taken from films, so that could be one reason. With that said, the quality of the photographs is no fault of the author. Of the two color photographs, there is one of Walther Model himself. Given the limited amount of color photographs of the period, I was impressed by the book having any at all.
THE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: There are 3 color illustrations by Adam Hook, and theyíre well-done, nicely detailed and show:
- The Rzhev meatgrinder: Kampfgruppe Stieber repulses Soviet wave attacks during Operation Mars, 25 November 1942
- Model keeps the river Oka bridge open for his rearguard at Orel, 4 August 1943
- Model confers with the commanders of II SS-Panzerkorps in response to the British airborne landing at Arnhem, 1500hrs, 17 September 1944
THE COLOR MAPS: There are 5 color maps throughout the book and they cover:
- Modelís campaigns in the east, 1941 Ė 44
- Model stabilizes the AOK 9 front at Rzhev, January Ė February 1942
- Defence of the Rzhev salient, 25 November to 15 December 1942
- Modelís defence of the Orel salient, 18 August to 26 September 1944
- Modelís Operations in the West, 18 August to 26 September 1944
THE CAPTIONS: The captions are well-written, and are very detailed, explaining the accompanying photographs nicely. I didnít notice any spelling or grammar errors in them, which was true of the entire book.
All in all, I am very impressed with the book. It details the military career of Walther Model well, and I would have no hesitation adding other Osprey titles to my personal library, nor in recommending this book to others.
This review copy was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on Armorama when you make your purchase.