Book Review: Panzer Battles – F.W. von Mellenthin

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Panzer Battles, Author: F.W. von Mellenthin

Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 12, 1985)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345321588
ISBN-13: 978-0345321589
Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches

You can purchase Panzer Battles at Amazon


Panzer Battles, A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War – By F.W. Von Mellenthin.

Background:

The book follows FW Von Mellenthin’s experiences from the beginning of the war, from Ic-Intelligence officer to the General Chief of Staff in Poland, France, the Balkans and in Greece.

Mellenthin’s transfer to Africa as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intel) to Rommel from 1941 June to 1942 September, at this time he was to have had been diagnosed with battle stress, but in actuality contracted amoebic dysentery, thus relieving him for approximately one month back home for recovery.  By November of 1942 he was transfered to the Eastern Front until May of 1944. From May until August, General Hermann Balck was promoted to commanding 4. Panzerarmee in Ukraine, and South-East Poland.

In September of 1944, transfer (or the luck of  “promotion”) to Eastern France with his commander Hermann Balck, who was now promoted to commanding Heeresgruppe  G. From September 1944 to December 1944 both men operated in France, during the month of December, Mellenthin and a large number of Staff Officers were relieved due to an unauthorized retreat, during this same month, General Heinz Guderian had him reinstated as a Staff Officer, 28 December to February 1945. During that year as Ic to the 9th Panzer Division, he had the opportunity of participating in the Battle of the Bulge.

Between March and May of 1945 he was chief of staff to General Manteuffels’ Fifth Panzer Armee. Comprised of  piecemeal units defending the Ruhr against American and British Forces, Mellenthin was captured by the British at Hoxter, on the Weser River 3 May, 1945.

Mellenthin provides great detail to the art and science of Warfare. From 1939-45 the details of many well known armored battles are analyzed on point, with deliberation from the point of view of a Chief of Staff Officer (Ic-Intel).

Most of the book is acclaimed for his time as Ic*Chief of Staff to Rommel; What interested me was his time in the Soviet Union 1942-44: Describing the situation/battles, the psychology of the Soviets, and the employment of Mechanized (Armored) forces throughout the Southern Sector kept me reading. His time with Hermann Balck, a great tactician to Armor/Infantry/Artillery was not overlooked. Mellenthin gave great insight to the structure and communication of the command staff, and its lowers.

If you’re a fan of World War 2, armor, and the actual “birds-eye-view/ big picture” of employment, execution and analysis, I recommend this book to you.

Rating: 9/10

(Con: If only it was long, more detailed! Such a great read!)

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