Book Review
Blood and Soil
Blood and Soil the Memoir of a Third Reich Brandenburger
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This introduction is as supplied by Pen and Sword.

The Brandenburgers were Hitlerís Special Forces, a band of mainly foreign German nationals who used disguise and fluency in other languages to complete daring missions into enemy territory. Overshadowed by stories of their Allied equivalents, their history has largely been ignored, making this memoir all the more extraordinary.

First published in German in 1984, de Giampietro's highly-personal and eloquent memoir is a vivid account of his experiences. In astonishing detail, he delves into the reality of life in the unit from everyday concerns and politics to training and involvement in Brandenburg missions. He details the often foolhardy missions undertaken under the command of Theodor von Hippel including the June 1941 seizure of the Duna bridges in Dunaburg and the attempted capture of the bridge at Bataisk where half of his unit were killed.

Translated into English for the first time, this is a unique insight into a fascinating slice of German wartime history, both as an account of the Brandenburgers and within the very particular context of the authorís South Tyrolean origins. Given the very perilous nature of their missions very few of these specially-trained soldiers survived the Second World War and much knowledge of the unit has been lost forever. Widely regarded as the predecessor of todayís special forces units, this fascinating account brings to life the Brandenburger Division and its part in history in vivid and compelling detail.


This offering from Greenhill books and provided by Pen and Sword is a hard backed book offering a special insight in German Special Forces during World War 2. This book is the story of Sepp De Giampietro who was a Brandenburger and that story translated into English by Eva Burke and with an introduction written by Lawrence Paterson. This book offers 276 pages of matt paper that is primarily text, but there are a number of personal pictures placed together in the book. This book can be considered as a personal history rather than a diary of Sepp De Giampietro. The book is broken down as follows:
Introduction by Lawrence Paterson
Translators Preface

1. Sterzing, 1938
2. The Big disappointment
3. Deutschland, Deutschland Łber Alles Berlin
4. The Beginning was so Innocuous the Pfeifermuhle, Allgau
5. Zur Besonderen Verwendung Bad Voslau
6. Tha Balkan Campaign Via Romania to Greece
7. The Vale of Tempe, Early Spring 1941 Solonica to Evangelimos
8. Athens, Spring 1941
9. The Invasion of Russia, Summer 1941
East Prussia
Josvainiai, Lithuania
Kedainiai, Lithuania
Dunaberg, Latvia
10. Bad Voslau and Oberjoch im Allgau, Early Spring 1942
11. Russia Summer 1942
Rostov to Bataisk
The Kuban Steppe: Kerch to Sussatski
At the Caucasus
12. The End of the War, Early 1943 to Spring 1944 Ohrdruf and Greece to Munich
13. The Return
Translators Notes

This offering from Greenhill Books is one of the type of offerings that really appeals to me; that of a personís story and so enabling you to walk in their shoes so to speak. The text as supplied via the translator and so is presented in a natural manner as opposed to pure translation where the words can seem jumbled. The writing style has provided the reader with an interesting look into the life of German Special Forces during World War 2, but also covers a short period prior to World War 2 were German civilians were under the control of Italy and wanting to return to being a German territory.

The time that Sepp De Giampietro spent in the Brandenburger Division makes for intense reading at times while also showing the stupid things that occur when serving with any armed force. The pictures of his comrades in life and their graves in death are very poignant as you look at very young men who died doing their duty as they understood it. I am sure that the time Sepp De Giampietro spent physically in combat will attract the most attention, but for me it is the time between combat and time spent with his comrades that catches my attention; letís face it anyone in the armed services even during conflict will spend more time not fighting.


For me it is the completeness in this manís story that makes this book worth picking up and spending time reading it. It sucks you into his story and lets you get an idea of what it was like fighting in some of the theatres of World War 2, and this approach grounds you in a different time with different ideas of what was right and wrong and how this person interacted with those situations. This book is one of those offerings where you find yourself not wanting to put it down, it drags you and has you wanting to know what happens next. I did pick up a couple of spelling mistakes in this offering, but in my opinion these do not detract from the appeal of this offering. I would recommend reading this book to anyone interested in events during World War two and also anyone who is interested in those people who share their experiences of combat.
Darren Baker shares with us a review of 'Blood and Soil the Memoir of a Third Reich Brandenburger, from Greenhill books courtesy of Pen and Sword.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781784383411
  Suggested Retail: £25.00
  PUBLISHED: Jul 21, 2019

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


This kind of memoir is what makes history so fascinating; to read the words of someone who has actually lived it and not the dried words of those interpreting after the fact. Living history like this is why we should all treasure those among us who have lived the events of the day; be they WW2 vets or anyone else who contributed in some notable way to our collective history.
JUL 21, 2019 - 10:31 AM