12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend Vol. 1-From Formation to the Battle of Caen
The book is part of Casemate Illustrated Men/Battles/Weapons Series. This book is Volume One of the 12th SS Panzer Division history. The book covers the formation of the unit through the fourth Battle of Caen encompassing the events between February 10, 1943 and July 7, 1944, at which time they became part of the German forces trap in the Falaise Pocket. The book is divided into seven sections and an epilogue. It also contains a bibliography and index. The sections are as follow:
- The Battle of Caen Begins
- The Second battle of Caen
- The Third Battle of Caen
- The Fourth Battle of Caen
This unit is responsible for the creation of distinctive weapon used by the Germans during WWII. The photos are clear throughout the book. The unit is interesting as it was formed by Hitler Youth personnel and was the idea of the Hitler Youth leader Artur Axman. The formation includes all those youth born in 1926. This makes the average age of its members to be 17 years old. Although the unit was sent to Normandy they did not engage in combat at that time. It was at this time when they were involved in the massacre of 86 civilians due to an attack performed by the MAQUIS.
The unit was deployed to Caen where they fought the Allied forces until July, 1944 at which time they become part of The Falaise Pocket. They finally surrendered in Austria to the 7th US Army on May 8th, 1945. The answer to what weapon is they were responsible for creating. This unit created the mounted 2 cm Flakvierling gun mounted on the chassis of a Panzer IV. This weapon became the prototype for the development of the Flakpanzer Wirbeling. The unit fabricated the weapon during their stay as reserve troops for Normandy.
The book is concise and very informative. I enjoyed the Timeline Section with gives you a very concise timeline associated with this unit. If you enjoy history this book is for you.
I would like to thank Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review the book.