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8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer

...more Images of War from Pen & Sword

Title: 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer
Author: Ian Baxter
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39906-281-7

A new Images of War collection of archive images, one of a series covering the history of the various SS Divisions of WW2 from author Ian Baxter. A 127-page soft-cover book in the standard style for the popular series, and this time covering a fairly unique one, as Florian Geyer was one of very few horse cavalry divisions in WW2.
One of series of books on the individual SS divisions of WW2 this is a group that served on the Eastern Front, largely behind the lines on so-called policing duties, and they committed some terrible crimes against the civilian population, part of what is described as a 'scorched' earth' policy to do anything to delay the advancing Red Army. Their story is split across 4 chapters, covering the Birth of the Division, 1939-42; Eastern Front 1942-43; Croatia and Romania, Dec 1943-April 1944: and rounding things off with Hungary, November 1944- March 1945. Each one has some text to start, then a set of archive photos appropriate for each section. In addition, there are 6 Appendices with more, specific details regarding the unit.
I have long had a modeller's interest in the division for being horse mounted cavalry, but there is little coverage of them on horseback, so the bulk are little different to the stories of many other units on the Eastern Front. One particular photo that caught my eye is a solo motorcyclist, who is literally covered from head to foot in mud, along with his bike, it give a striking view of the conditions they faced. Some vehicles do feature, but the bulk are of the soldiers themselves. Their record suggests they were generally not nice men, but in Hungary in 1945 the division was destroyed, it gives the figure of just 800 men of the total of 30,000 made it out of Budapest at the end.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.


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