The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
The Waffen-SS was one of the most formidable German military formations of the Second World War – feared for its tenacity and ruthlessness in battle, notorious for the atrocities it committed. As a distinct fighting force derived from the Nazi Party’s SS organization, it stood apart from the other units of the German army. Its origins, structure and operational role during the war are often misunderstood and the controversy still surrounding its conduct make it difficult today to get an accurate picture of its actions and its impact on the fighting. Anthony Tucker-Jones, in this concise and fluently written account, provides an absorbing and clear sighted introduction to it.
He traces its development under Himmler from modest beginnings in the early 1930s as Hitler’s personal protection squad of elite soldiers to a force which eventually amounted to thirty-eight divisions. Towards the end of the war many Waffen-SS units were formed from foreign volunteers and proved to be of poor quality, but its premier panzer divisions thoroughly deserved their reputation as tough fighters.
Through accounts of the Waffen-SS’s major battles on the Eastern Front, in Normandy and finally in defence of Germany, a detailed picture emerges of the contribution it made to the German war effort, especially when Hitler’s armies were in retreat. The parts played by the most famous Waffen-SS formations – Das Reich, Totenkopf, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler among them – and their commanders – men like Dietrich and Hausser – can be seen in the wider context of the war and Germany’s defeat.
This offering from Pen and Sword is a hard backed book titled Hitler’s Armed SS – The Waffen SS at War 1939-1945 is authored by Anthony Tucker-Jones. The book is printed in portrait style, with 240 pages of a matt paper with a limited number of gloss pages covering photographic inclusion. The contents of this book are presented over 23 chapters which are as follows:
1 Panzer Elite
2 Policemen and Mountaineers
3 Himmler’s Foreign Volunteers
4 Hausser’s Junk Erschulen
5 Into Battles with an SS Corps
6 Waffen SS and the Ghettos
7 Fought to a Standstill
8 Leibstandarte’s Italian Coup
9 Das Reich and the Maquis
10 Hitler Jugend at Ardenne Abbey
11 Hohenstaufen’s Normandy Hills
12 Frundsberg at Hill 112
13 The Iron Fist
14 Loyal Catholic Ukrainians
15 The SS Flatten Warsaw
16 How Hohenstaufen’s Arnhem Victory
17 Budapest Massacre
18 Dietrich’s Autunm Mist
19 Himmler’s Winter Solstice
20 Humiliation in Hungary
21 Skorzeny’s Commandos
22 Hitler’s British Nazis
23 Superhero's or Monsters
This offering from Pen and Sword could never hope to cover the story of Hitler’s armed SS units over its 240 pages. The story and history of the SS units would fill tomes and so this book should be considered as a broad overview and introduction to the subject, with the reader then seeking out further reading covering the aspects of the SS that particularly interest them. What this title does do, is provide you with details of specific events and then within it’s allotted page count provide the reader with as much information as possible. The result is a book that has the potential to both please or not depending on what your expectations of the title are.
This Pen and Sword publication by Anthony Tucker-Jones does its best to cover a broad subject in 240 pages. I am sorry to say, that there is no way that the author could ever hope to cover the good, the bad and the ugly of the SS. What he has done, is satisfy my expectations in some respects and made me wish to seek out further information in other cases. In short, a good book restricted by its page count.