Formed in 1943 with the express purpose of blocking the forthcoming Allied invasion in the West, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend carved out a reputation as one of the Wehrmacht’s foremost panzer divisions, as witnessed by its tenacious defense of Caen following the Allied invasion of Normandy.
The British Operation Goodwood against Caen in July 1944 was followed by Totalize in August, which bypassed Caen and attacked the Hitlerjugend positions. Within a week thousands of German troops were encircled in the Falaise Pocket. Around ten thousand Hitlerjugend soldiers escaped piecemeal, regrouping to fight in the battles along the Maas and the ill-fated Ardennes offensive of December 1944. Deployed to Hungary in 1945 to stem the Red Army advance, the division fought against overwhelming odds until the final battles in Austria, on Reich soil, in late April 1945. There the soldiers of the Hitlerjugend, despite the desperate situation and the superiority of the enemy, managed to achieve local success and launch desperate counterattacks even into the last weeks of the war.
Packed with photographs, maps and profiles, this Casemate Illustrated follows the actions of the 12th SS Panzer Division throughout its existence.
The Falaise Pocket
A New Defensive Front
"...a good introduction to the combat history of a unit involved in some of WWII’s bloodiest and most critical battles." ~AMPS
"...a nicely encapsulated history of those operations, along with short explanations of equipment, weaponry, and changing tactics along with the changing war situation." ~Historical Miniatures Gaming Society
"...with the aid of maps and crystal-clear photos in color, you will see for yourself how these kids, for the most part, do Hitler’s bidding and fight to the bitter end against overwhelming odds..." ~ARGunners.com
"Highly recommended." ~AMPS Indianapolis
“The author covers specific events during and after Normandy." ~Gun Mart