by: Darren Baker [ ]
The following introduction is provided by Pen and Sword:
‘May the army of millions of dead of all nations bear witness to humanity for the hope that future generations may learn to discard war as the best way to resolve their differences.’ Helmut Schneider
This is the little-known story of Heavy Panzer (Tiger) Battalion 507 told through the recollections of the men who fought with the unit.
The book was conceived during a reunion of the ‘507’ at Rohrdorf in 1982, where it was agreed to set up an editorial committee under Helmut Schneider, himself a veteran of the battalion, to search for as many survivors of the unit as possible and gather their reminiscences. The resulting account is a treasure trove of first-hand material, from personal memories, diary entries and letters to leave passes, wartime newspaper cuttings, Wehrmacht bulletins and more than 160 photographs.
The account follows the unit from its formation in 1943 and the catastrophic events on the Eastern Front, through battles on the Western Front and engagements against the American 3rd Armoured Division to the confusion of retreat, panic-stricken flight and Soviet captivity in the closing stages of the war. Honest and unflinching, this remarkable collection of autobiographies offers a glimpse into life in Hitler’s panzer division and is a stark testimony of a generation that sacrificed its best years to the war.
This offering from Pen and Sword is a hard backed book covering as the title states Tiger Battalion 507. This book is authored by Helmut Schneider with a forward by Robert Forczyk, Robert Forczyk has authored a small number of titles covering armoured warfare during WW2. This is Helmut Scheider's first and only title as this is a book covering his story and that of his comrades serving in Tiger Battalion 507 and this book has been available previously but this is the first time it has been published in English. This book is printed on 276 pages of a good quality paper that is stitched in, a big plus as far as I am concerned.
The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
Forward by Robert Forcyzk
Note on Geographical Names
Chapter 1 - Formation and Induction, Heavy Panzer Battalion 507
Chapter 2 - First Operations: Tarnopol-Brody-Kowel
Chapter 3 - Arrival on the Eastern Front
Chapter 4 - From Baranovicze to Scharfenweise
Chapter 5 - The Battle of the Narrow Bridgeheads
Chapter 6 - A Resting Place at Zichenau-Mielau
Chapter 7 - The Fighting between the Narew and Vistula
Chapter 8 - The Partial Return to Sennelager
Chapter 9 - The Battle of Paderborn
The book begins with a brief account of finishing school and going off to join the army and how a one of five panzer drivers went to form the Heavy Battalion 507. This book is a collaboration of the men that were a part of the 507 and because of that this is a great reference on life as part of a tank unit during World War 2. The text is provided in lots of different styles, but always seems to be the words of the men concerned once you get into the chapters.
The text is supplied from a number of sources including the memories of the contactable surviving members of the unit through reports and even diary entries. It is this aspect of the book that makes it such an interesting read as it takes you there in a manner of speaking. There are occasions when contradicting information is supplied, but that is often noted by the author and just goes to show how 40 years will play with your memories.
There are a good number of photographs provided in this title which are a mix of personal offerings to propaganda photographs. The quality of the images varies greatly due to the various sources, but they all have worth in my opinion. The captions vary from very good to limited as often the incident or persons' in the image cannot be remembered. One thing that this book says to me is that track breakages seem to be very common and a pain to remedy.
This is one of those books that you sit down to read for an hour and then have the other half asking "if you are going to bed tonight?" I enjoyed this title a great deal and enjoyed seeing and reading about life as a member of a Tiger crew. The details covering events from fighting to retreating and even formation of the unit were a very interesting aspect of the book. This is possibly the best title I have covered as regards telling the story of the crews of the tanks from more than one viewpoint.
Darren Baker takes a look at a great title courtesy of Pen and Sword titled 'Tiger Battalion 507'.
| || ||N/A|
| || ||ISBN 9781784384968|
| || ||£25.00|
| || ||May 18, 2020|
| || ||Germany|
Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ ]. All rights reserved.