8th SS Cavalry Division
Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
by Ian Baxter
Ian Baxter has written a gem of a book that covers the 8 SS Division. The introduction of this book goes like this....The 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer was formed in 1942 from a cadre of the SS Cavalry Brigade which was involved in operations behind the front lines and was responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of the civilian population. In the spring of 1943, it fought on the Easter Front in the rear of Army Group Center and took part in large-scale bandit actions with elements of various Wehrmacht and SS and Police Units. An estimated 3,000 Russians were killed, the great majority of whom were unarmed. The division was also responsible for poisoning all wells, and at least two dozen villages were razed in a scorched Earth policy to hinder the Red Army's advance westward.
The division was then moved to the Southern Front and took part in the German retreat to the River Dnieper. In October 1943, it was sent to Hungary where Panzerjager and Sturmgeschutz armored units were used as part of the division. It saw action and reorganization where it later operated in Croatia using new recruits drawn from Hungarians.
The division was trapped in the siege of Budapest when the Soviet and Romanian forces surrounded the city in December 1944. The division was then destroyed in the fighting for Budapest and by the end of the siege, of the 30,000 men of the SS Corps, only about 800 reached the German line.
The book....what's in it?
The book is a soft cover book, dimensions are: 7 1/2" X 9 1/2"
There are 128 pages
It is a total English language book, no translation here to have to worry about.
The table of contents are:
Introduction - Page 5
Chapter 1 - Birth of the SS Cavalry Division: 1939-42 Page 7
Chapter 2 - Eastern Front: September 1942-December 1943 Page 41
Chapter 3 - Croatia and Romania: December 1943-April 1944 Page 67
Chapter 4 - Hungary: November 1944-March 1945 Page 95
Appendix I - Structure of the SS Cavalry Brigade in Belorussia Page 113
Appendix II - Order of Battle: Summer/Autumn 1943 Page 115
Appendix III- Lineage Page 117
Appendix IV- Operation Spring Awakening: Order of the Battle Page 119
Appendix V - Order of Battle: 37th SS. Freiwilligen-Kavallerie Division Lutzow Page 121
Appendix VI-Recruitment of the Waffen SS Page 123
Following are some photos from the book...
The publisher, Pen & Sword, have produced a book written by Ian Baxter that covers an operational unit that I knew little about. I knew that the SS had a cavalry division, I had just never run across information about the unit. I like how this book covers this material. It just goes to reinforce how important four legged horses were to moving the Wehrmacht when needed.
This book covers the training from forming the division all the way to equipping them for battle and their deployment to the Eastern Front. In particular, it covers the 1944 time frame which AMPS will be having a theme that will be centered around "1944", material covered in this excellent reference source. Nestled inside of this book are several photos that could seed a diorama idea for the 2024 AMPS International Show.
Complete with photos and text in English language, I was very pleased to be able to read this book without having to translate certain words in order for me to understand what is being said in captions. Everything is definitely in English and that is a good trait to try and stick to when writing English based refence materials that will be purchased here in the United States. The photos are crisp and it is fairly easy to see everything in them.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders to add to their library if they are serious about knowing all they can concerning the German Wehrmacht or SS on the Eastern Front.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review kit.
Reviewed by GLEN MARTIN
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