Panzers in Defence of Poznan 1945 by Maciej Karalus and Jaroslaw Jerzak is the first book published in English to describe the bitter battle for Festung Poznan in 1945. That Polish city, occupied by the Nazis since almost the very beginning of the Second World War in 1939, was declared a fortress (Festung) on January 20 1945, and for the whole month it saw heavy fighting between Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops and the Red Army advancing directly towards Berlin. Among the garrison of the fortress a special part was played by a small heavy Panzer unit which possessed just 1 Tiger tank, 2 Panthers, 1 Panzer IV and a handful of Sturmgeschutze. Despite the difficulty and sparsity of sources, the authors were able to acquire an impressive wealth of information and memoirs, as well as rich iconography.
Before Poland was able to regain her full political autonomy in 1990, the fighting in Poznan was described only by Zbigniew Szumowski and Stanislaw Okecki. These, however, were poor compilations, only marginally touching upon the participation of German Wehrmacht. These authors looked upon this subject through the lenses of Soviet documentations and historiographical propaganda of their times. Sadly, they could not or would not make use of the documents in German archives. Their cardinal mistake was to overestimate the strength of the forces at play (especially on the German side), and the glorification of the Soviet victory, foregoing an honest analysis of the losses of human life as well as equipment on both sides.
This is the first book in English that allows the reader to follow the street fighting in Poznan through the eyes of the Wehrmacht soldiers, documenting the story of the German armoured forces engaged in the battles for the city.
About the Authors
Maciej Karalus (born 1974) is a passionate and independent researcher of World War II history, and particularly of the battle for Festung Poznan in 1945. In 2003, together with Jaroslaw Jerzak, he published Armoured Assault Reserve - Poznan 1945, which has launched a series devoted to the events of Festung Posen in 1945. The series contributed significantly to the growing interest in the history of the battle for Poznan. Since 2002, he has been an active member of the POMOST (Bridge) Association for the Polish-German reconciliation, and publisher of POMOST Publishing House since 2007.
Jaroslaw Jerzak (born 1956, in Poznan) is a member of the Festung Poznan Aficionados Association. He is passionate about the subject of the fortifications of Poznan, armoured warfare and the history of the fighting for the Poznan Fortress in 1945. He has served in the Polish armoured forces, where he acquired a deep interest in the use of tanks in all theatres of battle in World War Two. He is the co-author of Armoured Assault Reserve as well as the author of a book about the Soviet armoured forces in the battle for Poznan.
This is a well produced book, with some interesting images (mostly after the battle photos) and includes footnotes and useful appendixes. The first hand accounts from German participants (including civilians) are of note, and are one of the highlights. * Recollections of World War II 07/12/2018 *