Book Review - Death of the Wehrmacht
The German Campaigns of 1942
University Press of
Kansas, , 2007, 978-0-7006-1531-5, 431 pp. Lawrence
Reviewed by Dr Albert Palazzo
Sometimes a book remains unread and overlooked for far too long. This was the case for my copy of Robert M Citino’s, Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942. I have read and enjoyed other works by Citino, so I was not surprised to discover that this book is also excellent. The Death of the Wehrmacht explains how an army that was so rampantly victorious in the war’s opening years became unstuck so quickly in 1942, the Second World War’s turning point. Citino offers an important story that holds lessons for all contemporary military professionals.
From the book’s title, a reader might expect a campaign history and, in part, this is the case. Citino offers an overview of all the German campaigns of that fateful year, from North Africa to the Balkans and most importantly to the
Citino fixes this book in
Citino shows how Institutional culture acted as a limiting factor on the options available to German commanders. Invariably, no matter the situation, the solution they took was to attack. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel led his Afrika Korps deep into
Some attributes of the German Army have entered into the ways of war of other states. The most significant is the concept of Auftragstaktik, which the Australian Army, and other forces, knows as mission command. Australian Army doctrine extols mission command and leaders are supposed to allow their subordinates to get on with the task assigned, and not interfere. Despite being doctrine, it does not work well in the Australian context. Perhaps commanders are reluctant to let go because mission command is the product of a foreign culture and it does not resonate with the Australian understanding of war. Military culture, like all culture, can not be grafted onto a foreign host, as the attempt to pound
Those readers who have a long-neglected book in your collection take heed. There was a reason you added it to your shelf, even if you cannot now remember. You might find yourself as I did with a good book that should have been read sooner. Citino has produced an impressive work of utility to the military professional. It should be read. If you have a copy, give it a go. If not, get one.
The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.
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