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In Deadly Combat (Modern War Studies)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  606 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Firsthand perspectives of German WWII infantrymen are rare, as respected historian Dennis Showalter (Tannenberg: Clash of Empires) points out in his excellent introduction. Bidermann, who is an 18-year-old private in the 132d Infantry Division at the beginning of this memoir, takes us through the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, passage across the Dnieper and southern ...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by University Press of Kansas (first published January 1st 1995)
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'Aussie Rick'
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, before launching yourself into this excellent book please take the time to read the introduction by Dennis Showalter as it will help explain the style of writing to be found in this book. The book was originally written for the survivors of Bidermann's regiment and division, not for the general public. Bearing this in mind you will have a better understanding and feeling for the author's account of his experience of fighting on the Eastern Front during WW2. At times you might find the n ...more
April 'Stacy'
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The memoirs are of a WW2 German soldier who spent almost four years on the Eastern Front. He gives an honest account of the action and horror while being on the front lines during the war. He actually wrote this book for the other survivors of his Army regiment and not for the general public.

As for the Eastern Front, Bidermann describes the enemy in great detail. At the beginning of the German invasion, Russian troops ran from the front lines due to fear of poison gas use since the German soldi
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy, that Gottlob, he was one lucky guy to live through the war. There must be 50 memoirs by Germans of life on the Eastern Front, but they're probably the only ones who survived it. This is a good, no-nonsense view of the Eastern Front. It is very clear-headed, militarily speaking. Morally, less so. Herr Bidermann insists no atrocities were committed by his unit or by anyone he knew. Well, maybe. I read it together with another first-hand account, that one by an Alsatian who fought in Russia fo ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
One of the best firsthand accounts of the Eastern Front. Much heavier on troop dispositions, divisional placements, and strategy than The Forgotten Soldier. His observations about the average landser's view of the Third Reich and Nazi government is very insightful. Must read for anyone interested in WWII, especially, in my opinion, as what is often overlooked as the real theater of that struggle.
John Thompson
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly gripping account of a horrid, horrid war.
Rob Shurmer
In the end what it is not the horrifically intense and close-up glimpse of combat on the Eastern Front that stand out, but rather the brief reflections and personal details that Bidermann shares Attending advent Mass in the Tatar mosque in the Crimea or sharing with pals the warmth of a Christmas candle and gingerbread from home on Christmas Eve during the assault on Sebastopol: "we had become old together and had developed a brotherhood between us, a closeness of spirit and trust that those who ...more
William G Shope Jr
Well written and easy to follow.

The book was very interesting. I learned a great deal about the Eastern Front warfare in Russia. The Author gives a good account of the fighting and life of the German Soldiers. I was able for the first time to understand why the Russians were able to defeat the German Army. I also learned to appreciate the fighting skill of the German Soldiers.

Sean Chick
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part is compelling. The middle has a kind of deadening monotony as the Germans fight off attack after attack. The book becomes less personal and more like a unit history with anecdotes. The final 70 pages though were superb, as he deals with imminent defeat while fighting for a horrid cause. This book was written years after the fact, but is perhaps the best version of the "clean Wehrmacht" myth you will encounter. The 132nd Division commits no atrocities. They are portrayed as victims ...more
I'm not sure why, but I was never really able to get into this book even though I was looking forward to reading it and had it on my to-read list for quite some time. It begins with Bidermann in the Crimea, and I did enjoy reading about something on the Eastern Front other than Stalingrad, but it never grabbed me. I think the best parts of this section were the Germans' interaction with the locals, although there wasn't a ton of that in here. This is pretty much what the first third of the book ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: warriors
Shelves: war
He is a noble man who was drafted into the military. As was (still is?) common in the German military, smart and brave non-commisioned officers were routinely tapped to enter officer candidate training schools after serving in the front for a time. He was in charge of a 37 mm antitank gun on the Eastern Front, southern Army group. He participated in the siege of Sevastopol. He was promoted to Lieutenant, eventually higher. Afterwards, his division was sent to the (Northern Army group's) Leningra ...more
Apr 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book by a german infrantry soldier about German infantry. It is a story about dedication to those who fought and died together in a no win situation. The writing is heavy in military detail reflecting that it was really written for other German soldiers. The author makes an interesting observation about how over the course of the war on the eastern front the two adversaries switched places. At the beginning, the German army dominated the Russian army in all phases of battle from leader ...more
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adolescents and adults interested in military history
A strong story, told articulately by a man who survived a time and place that most in his position didn't. The author fought in the worst of the combat between the Nazi and Soviet armies in World War II, and recounts his experiences simply and in a calm tone that acknowledges the desperation and savagery of what he is describing but remains matter-of-fact. It seems likely that this stems from the same calm under stress that enabled him to keep thinking and fighting when many would have been too ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good German soldier memoir.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box16
Excellent personal memoir of a German soldier on the Eastern Front in WW2.
Brent Woodson
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gave me different perspective of the war ... epic battles intense
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story, from only 65 years ago, is shocking in its total brutality, yet humble in its humanity. Stories from the eastern front add perspective to our lives.
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avery god read about a soldier serving on the eastern front
Cort Ockfen
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So real... as this book is written by a survivor of the Eastern Front.
Mike Salmans
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Simply a MUST READ!!
Maria Strayer
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Hasso von Moltke
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“It was widely accepted within the ranks of those fighting in the east that death on the battlefield was preferable to an unknown destiny in a Soviet prisoner of war camp. This mentality often played a role in the many acts of bravery demonstrated by individuals or entire units. During the closing days of the war it was not at all uncommon for entire companies, battalions, and battle groups to fight to the last man, the survivors going into captivity only when ammunition was exhausted and wounds were too grave to allow further resistance.” 0 likes
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