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‘The author is a sympathetic narrator and he has told his story… with genuine verve and style… [His] South Tyrolean origins, and his role in the Brandenburg Division make the book very distinctive.’ Roger Moorhouse.
The Brandenburgers were Hitler’s 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 author’s 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 today’s special forces units, this fascinating account brings to life the Brandenburger Division and its part in history in vivid and compelling detail.
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