Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Heaven & Hell: Diary of a German Paratrooper.

Picked it up on the bring and buy at Salute, I always like to read a bit from the other side of the conflicts.


Very good account of a German paratrooper from the second world war from training right up until his surrender to British troops at Rees, Germany in 1945, it's a no bullshit look at the training and tactics of a new type of warfare, he fought in Poland 1939, Narvik 1940,Crete 1941, Russia 1941-2-3, Sicily and Southern Italy 1943, Normandy 1944 and finally Holland and /Lower Rhine 1944-5 and is sent to England as a prisoner of war until 1946.

He starts off with enthusiasm for the war and the Nazi party but as his account goes on this enthusiasm for both dwindles as the war and years progress. His writing is short and to the point with literally dates sometimes following each other as he mentions little if nothing happened or if  their is action or casualties, he cares for his men and their survival, he has some discipline issues in the early days.

We learn what he thought, what he felt and what he went through and his transformation from an eager soldier into a war weary veteran wanting mainly to bring his men home safely, his description of the chaos and confusion of war is vivid and grim. Good read and great pictures throughout.

Service Medals:

Iron Cross First Class
Iron Cross Second Class
Luftwaffe Jump Badge
Luftwaffe ground assault badge
Close Combat Clasp in Silver
Wound badge in Silver
Narvik campaign sheild
Kreta Armelband



30 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting. I find books like these (veteran first hand accounts) are much more informative than the big hitting history books. I've read several by soldiers from both sides of the war and its the similarity of their experiences that stand out more than their differences.

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  2. He survived all that ... wow I'm amazed, what a life to look back at, truely amazing

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  3. Both you and Ray are reading right now. With winter setting in it's a good idea. I'm reading Heideggers Glasses right now.

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  4. It is good to get a look at the other side, and a guy who lived through all of the war is a good guy to get an opinion from, no matter which side he was from.

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  5. I bet with myself in Germany the book is certainly would be forbidden. We may only apologise and castigate ourselves, otherwise the protection of the constitution stands quite fast before the door. But the book would still interest me.

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  6. I would also recommend trying to get a copy of 'Deadalus Returned' which is Von der Heydte's account of the invasion at Crete. Its a very personal, and often moving account of the battle and one that brings out the personal loss the soldiers felt after the battle and the permanent effect it had on Von der Heydte himself.

    It can be a bit hard to get hold of but well worth it.

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  7. Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing.

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  8. it's always nice hearing both sides. That's why I adored THE READER with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, it gave such an unexpected but extremely simple perspective on the topic.

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  9. Glad it was a good read. Pictures are nice to have as well.

    I'm reading on an eReader for the first time and really digging it.

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  10. Now that looks like something I would actually wanna read! :D

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  11. Very interesting and FJ's were some seriously hard troops or at least the early to mid formations were. I've been reading material over them for awhile and some of the fights they went through are amazing especially on the eastern front. I think it's a common characteristic of Airborne troops in general.

    Christopher

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  12. Sounds like a darned good read, far better than any novel...

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  13. I enjoy this kind of book and have just added it to my "to buy" list.

    Pearl

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  14. Soounds like a must read Angry L! Will have a search for it.

    Did you catch the latest ep of Walking Dead? Starting to heat up. Characters are taking shape and some great Zombie action!
    Cheers
    paul

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  15. Will look out for that one, have you read It Never Snows in September, this is the German perspective on Market Garden, very interesting take compared with so many of the Brit It was born to fail view. Also finished Crete by Anthony Beevor and will be reviewing it soon, used to do them on the ASL blog but switching to my figure and board games blog now as I can move away from just WWII then.

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  16. Sounds like an interesting read, thanks for sharing.

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  17. It's a weird perspective to the war. Interesting.

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  18. Reminds me of the scene from Letters From Iwo Jima, where they discuss how the enemy isn't all that much different from themselves most the time.

    Of course most the time is key, especially when dealing with Nazis. Seems like a cool read.

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  19. Anything within this genre I absolutely love. You can't go wrong with this kind of history, thanks for the recommendation!

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  20. This would be really good to read. There often isn't enough told from the other side of the situation.

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  21. Certainly worth a look, thanks for the review.

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  22. interesting read... it must give a different perspective on the war

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  23. thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. :)

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  24. I've had a flick or two while guarding your desk, it looks like a good read!

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  25. This is good. Always hearing from other side also helps to understand and gives different perspective altogether

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  26. Sounds quite interesting! I'm going to have to see if I can find a copy.

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  27. This book looks something I would read, I just finished reading Russia's War by Richard Overy. I guess I'll read this one next.

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