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The Germans in Normandy

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  991 ratings  ·  45 reviews

"The Allied invasion of Northern France was the greatest combined operation in the history of warfare. Up until now it has been recorded from the attackers’ point of view whereas the defenders’ angle has been largely ignored.

While the Germans knew an invasion was inevitable, no-one knew where or when it would fall. Those manning Hitler’s mighty Atlantic Wall may have felt

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published November 6th 2006 by Pen and Sword (first published October 1st 2006)
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4.13  · 
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 ·  991 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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"Wo ist die Luftwaffe ?". The million mark question on the lips of every man from the beach to Falaise. It's sobering to see how the one element from the other side's point of view that every single book on Normandy bothers to include can be so dominant in German memory.

The sensation of being grounded by industrial overkill is paramount, with WWI-style barrages by Montgomery and blood-curling accounts of Jabos grinding up entire convoys. The focus switches deftly from underneath the foliage hid
Stuart Whitmore
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Every one of the infantry divisions in France in 1944 relied first and foremost on the horse for transport. The horse pulled field guns, ammunition wagons, anti-tank guns; horse-drawn vehicles in Normandy outnumbered their powered counterparts two to one in the summer of 1944. The poorest divisions in France that year even lacked horses." That they were relying so much on horses, against the machines of the Allied forces, was just one of many eye-openers in this book. As even the Allied forces ...more
I really enjoyed this book as it provides a view of Operation Overlord and the subsequent battles in France from a German perspective. Lots of personal recollections fill the pages, from regular soldiers up to some of the highest officers. I think the part about the Falaise Pocket was the most interesting, and probably the most horrific. Some very interesting information about the failed July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler and how that affected the German command structure as well. Truly a wonder ...more
Jeff Dawson
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent account from the German point of view. One is astounded how the German army was able to hold the line for as long as they did against the numerical superiority of the allies. Every day, Rundstedt, Model, Dietrich, Meyer and Rommel knew it was only matter of time before the Americans, Canadians and British would find a weak spot and exploit it to the fullest. No matter how many communiques were forwarded to OKW and Berchtesgaden, the messages returned were, “hold the line.”
For the aver
The only thing keeping this from a five star book is the lack of personal accounts. There are plenty of diary entries from young German men who were on the front lines but I would have liked a more personal account like a Studs Terkel interview would give us. This was a great book and had a lot of information that we usually are not given. I have read a lot of WWII books and watched a lot of documentaries but this book revealed fresh information to me because it was told from the German's point ...more
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Second world war : Normandy again

A very good book. Recounts the history of the DDay invasion, with a very cose look at the German viewpoint. The Allied viewpoint is not ignored, but it is more in the background. Let us day that 85% of the tale is from the German viewpoint, and we can read what Rommel thought, but also what the common landser thought and wrote in letters, diaries and other.
The tale is gripping and compelling, and you can feel very strongly how the German soldier went very quickly
Nancy Gilliam
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great read from the other side

Reading from both sides of the same war is enlightening. The author did a very good job. So well that I just downloaded another of his books.
Billy Collins
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book addresses D-day from the other side and gives an interesting perspective on what happened when it was not written by the victor.
Alex Giovanniello
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
great book

Like it. Very informative of the German point of view. Good action stories and real life diaries of the men who fought there
Míceál  Ó Gealbháin
D-Day from the other side.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good and vividly graphic account of the German Experience in France, starting with the D-Day Invasion, and ending with the fall of Paris after the Falaise Pocket Disaster. Hargreaves tells the story of all four of the services involved, The Wehrmacht, the Kreigsmarine, the Luftwaffe, and the Waffen-SS as the MaterialSchlacht, the "Material War" of the Anglo-American Alliance is unleashed on them. This is the story of the incomplete beach defenses, weak garrison troops, overwhelming Land and Na ...more
Drew Zagorski
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hargreaves provides an outstanding narrative that tells the story from the German side of the Normandy invasion. Think Citizen Soldiers (Stephen Ambrose), but from the German perspective. The story begins with the German military preparations for the invasion through their exit from France. The author brings us into the lives of the soldiers on the front lines, as well as their commanders. Having read deeply on WWII, and especially the European side of the war, I was very interested in this book ...more
Roger Woodbury
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Over the years I have read a lot about the war in Europe but relatively few accounts presented the war from the viewpoint of the Germans generally, or especially the common German "grunt", or "Landser".

As I read I was impressed by how well Hargreaves captured the terror that the German troops must have felt nearly continuously once the Allied troops were ashore and their beachhead secure. I think this might well be the first book of its type that really hammered home that the war on the ground
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Any student of World War II history has read numerous accounts of how the Allied D-Day invasion progressed from the beaches through the countryside, reaching and liberating Paris. Like most such retellings, they're from the perspective of the victors. In "The Germans in Normandy" Richard Hargreaves turns this inside-out, recounting the experiences from the viewpoint of the German infantry, tank, and general staff soldiers. It makes a riveting tale, as the German occupiers went from a comfortable ...more
Tim Eiler
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A clear summary of the German perspectives regarding their country during the defeat on the western front from 6 June 1944 to just before the battle of the bulge. It’s possible to feel the human confusion and general suffering of the common soldier, the feelings of hopeless futility amongst the Wehrmacht and SS field leaders, and the relentless and hubris, almost intentionally devoid of any sense of the real situation, of the German high command. Well written. Explanatory and emotion-filled, mak ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four years on the German quiet front allowed Hitler to move most front line units to Russia and Italy. This fine book about the Normandy landings gives a very good perspective from the German viewpoint. No air support or naval support coupled with many untested and untrained units left no doubt in the final result. A good section on the plot to assassinate Hitler included. Recommended for those looking for a view from the German side.
Much more coverage of the Western Front outside of Normandy and much less first person accounts than I'd hoped. I understand that some framework is necessary to structure the narrative, but next to other account f the Normandy campaign this one pales. It lost my interest with the 20 page chapter on the Hitler assassination plot and it's aftermath ... none of which was in Normandy.
Jack Provine
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read

Well researched and well written. We always see the battles of the war from the perspective of the Allies while this book explains how the Germans lost so decisively and so quickly. It makes no excuses for the Germans and is not sympathetic to them or their ethos. But if you want to really understand Normandy and the German defeat read this book.
eric j mcquiston
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The D-Day battle in depth!

This book went into great detail about what happened during and after the invasion. It was a real eye opener to learn about what went on with the German defense.
Paul Downs
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Prompted by all the 75th anniversary of D-Day hype, I looked for a book about the German experience. This is it. Pretty good book, but glosses over some of the atrocities the Germans committed in France.
Fredrik Johansson
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
10 year ago, I was visit Normandy, at that time I haven’t read any books about D-Day. Now, after I read this great book and also other books, I ned to go back. Normally most books and movies is from the American view, so I really recommend to read this book.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Worthy History Lesson

This book offers an excellent history lesson and in some parallels to current state of the US military. Highly technical, considered superior to their opposition but complacency combined with politics making military decisions sealed their defeat.
Jun 19, 2019 added it
Excellent and factual well. Worth reading

A good read which keeps the readers intrest. 🤨If you have a desire to know the facts, this is a must read book.
Bob Allen
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"The story of the struggle for Normandy is an appalling one; the battle was, in Erwin Rommel's words, 'on terrible blood-letting'. (from the Introduction)

Both the Allied and German forces put most, if not all of their hopes for ending World War II on the battles over occupied France. Hargreaves does a masterful job of writing the history of D-Day to the final liberation of France from the German perspective. He talks about the logical hopelessness of the German defense, yet portrays the sheer wi
Harry F. Sharp, II
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I thought it was a sobering account of the fight for Normandy. The quotes from diaries and survivors made the book interesting and entertaining. The descriptions of conditions and events is very gruesome but it showed that facts are facts.
Donald Luther
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of what I read here was not new, but it was also interesting to read this presentation of events following the Normandy Invasion from the German point of view, without cross references to what the British knew about their situation, thanks to ULTRA. One part of that was confusing. Hargreaves offers a number of reports from German spies in Britain without referencing the fact that many, most, perhaps all of these reports going back to Germany were processed through the XX Committee.

But beyo
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
My interest in Operation Overlord and WWII was piqued by a recent trip to the American Cemetery and the beaches in Normandy, so I decided to do more reading on the subject. It's easy to find many sources of the Allied efforts in this world-changing battle, but books written from the Germany perspective are not so numerous. Hargreaves has brought together in this volume a lot of research and resources that summarize the strategy and tactics of the Third Reich. Each chapter is generously footnoted ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death did reap its harvest. The battle for Normandy exists in our popular belief from the side of the victors. After all, history is written by those who win wars. In this work, Richard Hargreaves gives us an in depth depiction of what it was like for the German soldier facing the Allied assault in the summer of 1944. Imagine waking up on June 6th, and staring out to see the largest armada ever assembled. One cannot escape the humanity described by the writings of the German soldiers themselves. ...more
Doug Tabner
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nearly every book about the Normandy invasion contains a chapter or two about the Atlantic Wall and the defenses that the Allies faced. This, however, is the first full book on the Normandy invasion and campaign told from the perspective of the Wermacht.
Well written and fast-paced, The Germans in Normandy belongs on every WWII student's bookshelf.
creig speed
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book gives a good account of the common German soldiers

This book is written from the perspective of the common German soldiers. They never stood a chance in the west. If only Staphenberg had succeeded killing Hitler so many lives would have been saved. The common landser was betrayed by their leaders. In the end he fought for what every soldier fights for and that's the man next to him.
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“It was too much for Adolf Hitler. In the summer of 1944, he began to vent his anger at the Luftwaffe for its failures from the Battle of Britain to Stalingrad and now Normandy. ‘Goering! The Luftwaffe’s doing nothing,’ he railed at the Reichsmarschall during one conference. ‘It’s no longer worthy to be an independent service. And that’s your fault. You’re lazy.’ Tears rolled down the Reichsmarschall’s cheeks. He reported himself ‘sick’ for future conferences and ordered his generals to deputize.” 1 likes
“Death reaped a terrible harvest’... The hideously charred body of a German soldiet, trapped in his vehicle at Falaise.” 0 likes
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