This is the first volume of a three-volume set that describes in detail the establishment and combat history of the 17. SS Panzer-Grenadier-Division “Götz von Berlichingen”. By order of Adolf Hitler, this division was established in October 1943 in France and trained there until its first actions at the beginning of June 1944. It was certainly a unique Waffen-SS division because it fought exclusively on the Western Front. It fought against Allied units in Normandy at Carentan, in the Coutances Pocket, in Operation Luttich, and in the Falaise Pocket, and then retreated to the Seine and Meuse rivers. It refitted in Lorraine and the Saar for further engagements against American and Allied forces.
This very detailed history excels on three levels: the author provides a continuous account of the overall situation on the Northwestern Front, daily and hourly reports on the actions of the division’s units, and humanizes the fighting with many personal accounts by its soldiers. The numerous maps and appendices provide a detailed picture of the division, its sub-units, and decisions undertaken by the higher command.
With publication of the three volumes, any serious historian will have available to him an impressive divisional history that provides new information regarding combat in Normandy and later fighting until Germany’s surrender. This 3-volume set is one of the best German unit histories, and stands proudly next to the divisional histories written by Weidinger, Lehmann/Tiemann and Hubert Meyer.