8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
This book is part of The Images of War Series published by Pen & Sword Publishers and distributed by Casemate Publishers. The book is divided into an Introduction, Four Chapters and six Appendixes. Most of the book is dedicated to photos taken from wartime archives. The introduction gives us a short synopsis of the unit. The unit operated mostly behind the lines and is responsible for many atrocities to the civilian population. This is the unit that is responsible for the elimination of the Warsaw Ghetto. Of the 30,000 men of this unit only 300 reached the German lines after their defeat in Budapest.
Chapter One introduces the birth of this unit, as well as the concept of the cavalry units used by the German Army. The chapter, although short, gives a history of the cavalry units between 1939 through 1942. There are many photos of the members of the units during basic training, as well as during relaxing times. The photos show the unit at rest as well as doing military maneuvers, reading compass, radio training, and the like.
Chapter Two is dedicated to the unit's campaign in the Eastern Front from 09/1942 through 12/43. At this time the unit starts performing atrocities against the Russian POW's. Their fanaticism and atrocities are well documented in other books. Photos of the unit in action are shown and some of the atrocities performed are stated. In Chapter Three the unit experiences in Croatia and Romania between 12/1943 through 04/1944 are documented with pictures of the men interrogating both "partisans", as well as regular Russian personnel.
Chapter Four describes the unit's operations between 11/1943 through 03/1945. The unit was transferred to Budapest at the end of 1943 and this is the place where the Russian forces destroyed the unit, as well as their final surrendering to the American forces in Austria. This is the chapter with the fewest photos.
Appendix I shows the structure of the SS Cavalry Brigade in Belorussia during 07-08/1941, as well as during the winter of 1942/43. Appendix II provides the Order of Battle during Summer 1943 and Autumn 1943. Appendix III talks about the Lineage of the unit showing its commanders, chiefs of staff, area of operations, and manpower.
Appendix IV provides the Order of battle during operation Spring Awakening (6-15 March 1945). Appendix V is the Order of battle for 37th. SS Freiwilligen-Kavallerie-Division Lutzow. This unit was comprised of ethnic Hungarians, underage German recruits, and the remnants of the 8th SS Cavalry Division. Finally, Appendix VI provides us with the conditions for recruitment for the Waffen SS.
I would like to thank Casemate Publishers for the opportunity of reviewing the book.