God, Honor, Fatherland
Contributor: Thomas Houlihan
Review Date: 22 Mar 2007
Complete title: God, Honor, Fatherland: A Photo History of Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" on the Easter Front 1942-1944
When I first received this book in the mail, I wondered if it was worth the $75 price I paid for it. By the time I was done leafing through it, I realized that it most certainly was! It is a photo book, meaning that the reader will not find quantities of detailed accounts of the division.
Aside from the first 10 pages, that describe the development of GD, the book is essentially divided into three major sections, chronologically. Beginning with 1942, the subsections for each year focus on different aspects of the division. For example, the first part includes subsections on the Divisional HQ, armored car tactics, the StuG Brigade, and "The Race to the Lower Don."
Within the 1943 section is a discussion on the Panzerregiment GD, tank maintenance, and education. The educational topics include the Close-Quarte Tank Destruction Course and the Feldkampfschule.
The last area includes topics such as the Flakabteilung, the Füsilierregiment, the Panzergrenadierregiment, and the Tiger Regiment. A few of the more pivotal battles are also outlined.
There are aspects of this book that will greatly appeal to historians and model builders. The first is that there are 19 short biographies scattered throughout the book, of some of the more major personalities. At the end of the book is a two-page bibliography that lists specific GD unit histories, unpublished GD documents, and dozens of general references that discuss this unit. Those that wish to learn more about this unit will find more than ample references here!
The strength of this book, however, lies in the photographs. There are 223 pages of 'book,' which include 285 photos. These photos range from small portrait shots, to two-page action photos. They include men from the most recent new-join, to the division commanders. In some cases, the production team managed to group photos taken at the same time into groupings, so that there are several shots of an event. What I truly appreciated was that most of the photos are captioned with not only a description of what is going on, but the names of the men in the photos! To me, that was a very nice touch.
This book is destined to become a classic visual reference for GD. It is strengthened by the help of the "many dozens of veterans, archivists, collectors, and friends" that the authors acknowledge, who "gave unstintingly and ceaselessly of their time, their memories, and their resources."
I would recommend this book as definitely worth the investment.
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945