written by Robert Forczyk
illustrated by Adam Hook
This book is number 15 in Osprey’s ‘Command’ series.
In this 64 page book, the author describes the military career of Walther Model, the youngest Generalfeldmarschall in World War II and one of the greatest defensive commanders of modern military history.
Model’s reputation was that of a successful defense fighter against long odds. He had a skill for battlefield improvisation that was unique in causing serious defeat to his enemies. He developed a type of zone defense that matched his available resources. In the later part of World War II, Hitler utilized Model’s talent by placing him in command of the most critical fronts where he would temporarily restore the situation allowing the Germans time to recover.
This book give an inside look into Hitler’s favorite commander nicknamed the ‘fireman’. He may have been tough and abrupt, but the common soldier took comfort whenever Model took command of their position knowing full well that he would bring order and stability to the situation.
The author describes Model’s early years from 1891 to 1913; his military life from 1914 to 1941: including his World War I experience, his service in the Reichswehr 1919-1935, his Wehrmacht service 1935-1939, his mopping up operations in Poland and France 1939-1940, his Command of the 3. Panzer-Division, the Drive on Moscow 1941, Saving the northern flank.
He discusses Model’s defensive tactics; the Rzhev meatgrinder; Operation Zitadelle, April-July 1943; Holding off Operation Kutuzov, July-August 1943; Sword and Shield on the northern front, January-March 1944; The Fuhrer’s fireman, March-August 1944; The ‘Miracle in the West’, August-November 1944; Wacht am Rhein, December
1944 to January 1945; and the last measure, February-April 1945.
The author closes in the usual Osprey ‘Command’ series way of including a most interesting summary of information on the Opposing Commanders, Inside the Mind and A Life In Words about Model. Included are specially commissioned artwork and photographs drawn from the HITM archive and the Bundesarchiv throughout the book.
I found the book to be a good read on a very interesting subject. In my opinion, Model reminds me of General Patton in some ways. Read it and see if you agree.
Paperback: $18.95 US; $22.00 CAN