When it comes to Joachim Peiper most people think of his actions during the Battle of the Bulge; This SS officer had a long career in the German army in the lead up to World War 2 and during it. Kagero has now published a title looking at his life and in particular covering the last years of the war written by Massimiliano Afiero.
This offering is a hard backed book of 112 pages. This book is A4 in size and has been printed in a portrait format on a good quality matt paper that in combination with the hard cover should provide many years of life.
The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
Ukraine, February - March 1943
Transfer to Italy
Ukrainian Front 1943-44
On the Normandy Front
The Ardennes Offensive
The Hungarian Front
Final Combat in Austria
Joachim Peiper Service Record Data
List of Awards and Promotions
I have to say that due to this manís activity during the Battle of the Bulge I was really looking forward to reading this offering; not in any glorification of the man but how he operated. When having seen films where he is portrayed or history covering the man he tends to be shown as a cold individual with a low consideration for life and so a book on the man held appeal.
This offering points me in the direction of a soldier who led from the front on the Eastern front and put himself in danger in order to achieve his goals. while it does not appear to be touched on here I can see that human life dropped in value with the attrition rates on the Eastern Fronts and so that may be where the opinion of him is formed. The portion looking at his time in the East leads me to believe he was a competent and able commander and generally popular with his troops.
The book then looks at the actions of the LSSAH on the Western Front just prior to the Allies landing. The unit is listed as being around Calais, but in reality it was seriously under strength and its units were not all around Calais. In combat after the Allied landings the LSSAH put up a good fight and cost the Allies dearly in their offence.
Moving on to the Battle of the Bulge we are shown a unit reduced to whatever they could get with a limited supply. The troops that took part on the Axis side during the operation were a very mixed group including Luftwaffe infantry. It is during this operation that Peiper's name is tarred with the massacre of 86 men captured from the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion near the Baugnez crossroads. The Germans said the men had been fired on trying to escape, but 40 of the dead were shot in the head.
I do like that the text in this book is a mix of that written by the author and the words of the men that were there. These alternatives are indicated at a glance by standard text and the men's own words written in Italics.
Peiper finished his war fighting in Hungary and Austria; he was captured by US Forces on May 28th 1945. Peiper faced many trials after the war spending 11 years in jail. Peiper finished his life in a house fire in his French home in 1976 after an attack by left wing terrorists.
The photographs in this title are a mix of those I have seen before and others I have not; what did surprise me was just how many photographs there are of Peiper during the war. The quality of the photographs is a mix of qualities that I feel the author was restricted in choices, but most are of a good quality.
I enjoyed reading this book and looking through the photographs provided. I found myself torn between the man covered in this book and the man I have always been lead to think of; the result is a book that made me think of Joachim Peiper in a new way and question what I thought I knew about him and if I am honest I like that aspect of this book. I did pick up on one error in that he is listed as dying 29 years before he was born.
Darren Baker takes a look at a book from Kagero covering SS Kampfgruppe Peiper 1943-1945 written by Massimiliano Afiero.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...