Synopses & Reviews
This book is the first and only comprehensive biography of the life of Generalleutnant Fritz Bayerlein (1899-1970), Erwin Rommel's former Chief-of-Staff and commander of the elite Panzer Lehr Division during World War II. Bayerlein is often quoted - and equally criticized - for his military failures and successes. His experiences with General Heinz Guderian in the invasion of Poland, France and Russia, along with North Africa, Hungary, Normandy and the Ruhr cover six years of intense war. During the Russian winter of 1943-1944, Bayerlein commanded the famous Berlin-Brandenburg 3rd Panzer Division. Officers and soldiers describe his battle experiences and provide valuable insight into the character and personality of this highly unusual panzer general. In addition, Spayd has edited many of the military manuscripts, articles and correspondence Bayerlein wrote which serve as the backbone of many of the chapters. In the process Bayerlein tells his own story and shows his feelings and frustrations on fighting a war of useless bloodshed. Using Bayerlein's experiences, blended with personal accounts, the biography is a discovery of the range of his temperament - from raging anger over decisions made by superiors, to the gentleness of giving chocolate to children. The author researched Bayerlein's life for over five years, discovering documents and photographs in military archives, visiting his friends, comrades and neighbors, learning about his early years, and family life. The author also had the cooperation and help of Bayerlein's nephew who shared intimate detals of his uncle's life - including many family and behind the scenes war photos. Bayerlein's personal friend, Manfred Rommel,provides remarkable insight into the man's nature. Over 340 photographs (many never before published and from his personal family collection), and twenty war maps drawn by Bayerlein, make this book a valuable addition to a military or biographical collection.