#87 – D Day Through German Eyes, Holger Eckhertz BOOK REVIEW

October 8, 2018
krauserpua

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That’s a half-assed cover

How many of you dickheads have played Company Of Heroes?

I have a strange fascination with the RTS genre in that I always think I want to play them [1] to the point of resolving “when I get home I’m gonna give it a crack” but then the moment I start I realise I’m all at sea. What actual tactics should I be using? It all degrades into a select-all-then-rush scrum. It would seem I’m just not very good at them.

In contrast, I’m fucking ace at Advance Wars. Make the thing turn-based and I’m completely in my element. Since the first Advance Wars game was released on the Game Boy Advance I’ve been a hardcore fan of the series and invested about two hundred hours into each of the four games. It perfectly suited all the long bus, train, and airplane rides I was doing at that point in my life. I could board a plane in Narita Airport, flick on the GBA, and then like magic I’d find myself at Heathrow twelve hours later having been so absorbed as to lose track of time completely.

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Quite literally the best game ever made

I really am getting ahead of myself here. Sorry.

The only RTS game I ever completed was Command And Conquer Generals and ever since I’ve dipped into C&C but then dipped back out as I can’t fathom any actual tactics [2]. It’s unsatisfactory to my precise orderly mind to just cluster my units together in a random attack and then watch me overwhelm the enemy AI with brute force. I heard Company Of Heroes was the most tactical of RTSs so I looked into that and got very excited indeed. It looked like a Sven Hassel novel simulator.

Jesus, it looked great! Explosions, tanks, infantry, MG nests, and all done on the Normandy and Eastern fronts. Then….. I got confused and gave up. Right then, that finally gets me to today’s book, D-Day Through German Eyes (volume 1). This is my second stab at a free Kindle Unlimited book and I’m already seeing why people get so excited about the system.

Company of Heroes

Wheels Of Terror, the videogame

Vox recently discussed a reader’s theory on why e-books are a dying business despite the roaring success of Kindle Unlimited. Read the post here. To summarise, there are increasingly two types of internet-savvy reader. Firstly, the “super readers” who burn through a book or two per day on their e-reading device. These folks are reclusive hermits or spend a lot of time commuting (or skiving) and thus reading is their primary time-filler, where others in a similar situation but of different mind may prefer Netflix or Sudoku. Kindle Unlimited is perfectly pitched at such readers because there’s an effectively unlimited amount of reading available for a pittance, all on-demand on their device. I’m only two books into using the service and I’m already a convert. It’s really astonishing how much good stuff is on there, not to mention the weird niche trash too.

The second type are the “premium paper” readers who may not read so much but have an emotional identification with books such that they like to own high quality editions of the books they do like. They may even re-read the same book several times. For a long time, this described me. It’s quite normal for me to drop $50 for a single volume of a book I really like just for the pleasure of owning it. For example, consider these beauties.

Alexandre-Dumas-Set-Folio-Society

They look even better on my book shelf

I suspect many Sigma Wolf customers are the same. It’s why I instinctively lavished extreme care upon the quality of the books. Important though the content is, there’s a unique pleasure in owning a high quality edition. So now that I travel a lot I find myself switching between both super-reader (while abroad) and premium-paper (while home). Vox’s theory is that normal e-books have fallen between the two stools: too expensive for super-readers and too transient for premium paper buyers. I agree.

Anyway, I’ve gotten well off track. Let’s return to D-Day Through German Eyes.

This book made me want to play Company Of Heroes again. It’s a series of five interviews conducted ten years after the end of WWII to give a cross-section of German soldiers posted at the static defences of the Atlantic Wall. Each of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches are represented as are different branches of the Army in a grenadier, an infantry corporal, an engineer, and an artillery second lieutenant. Each man talks through the events of the evening preceding Operation Overlord and D-Day itself.

Notable themes are how the German troops speak of ‘defending France’ and that Nazi propaganda of the time had convinced them that Europe was united by Hitler and defending it from the international bankers of America, the global imperialists of Britain, and the communist hordes of Russia. Frankly, I think they weren’t far wrong. Here’s an example in chapter three:

It is overlooked, perhaps forgotten, by almost everyone today that we were there to defend Europe against the multiple threats represented by the Allies. We saw the British as an outdated Imperial force, organised by freemasons, who sought to turn the clock back one hundred years to the days when their word was the law around the world [3]. Why should they be entitled to install their freemason puppet, De Gaulle, in France, to rule as a proxy? The Vichy government had three consistent points in its propaganda regarding the threats to the French people: these were De Gaulle, freemasonry and communism.
As for the American state, we perceived that as controlled by the forces of international finance and banking [4], who wished to abolish national governments and have the world run by banks and corporations. And there was the definite sense that both these countries, England and the USA, were being manipulated, controlled, by the Bolsheviks in Moscow. I stress that these were my views, and they were very common views, at the time.

Looking at the collusion between the Hillary campaign and Russia, of China’s ownership of much of the Democrat party and Hollywood, of the Jewish control of Wall Street and social media, and the blatant fascism of the Obama administration [5]…… well, not much has changed since 1944. I suppose Iran’s control of the Obama presidency is the only new element. I happen to think the Nazis were cunts – socialist cunts – but there were no good guys in World War II and the whole thing was a shit show. Think of how much could’ve been achieved if instead of slaughtering each other, Europe had banded together and slaughtered Africa or the Middle East instead. We could’ve won back Constantinople!

Other notable themes are that all the soldiers sensed an invasion was coming that summer but German intelligence couldn’t predict exactly when or how it would occur, that Operation Overlord succeeded due to the overwhelming force Allies had against stretched Axis defenders, and that all the Germans report the Allies having total naval and air superiority.

My one qualm with this book is that I suspect it’s not an accurate account of the soldiers interviewed. All five veterans present extremely lurid accounts of battle, with limbs flying up from shell-blasts, guts hanging off tree branches, and men stumbling around as flaming torches from flamethrower attacks. It’s too gruesome and sensationalist to be believable. These men are describing possibly the most harrowing day of their lives in which they were pounded into submission, failed in their primary task (to repel the invaders), and saw dozens of comrades violently killed. I seriously doubt they’d talk about it like a Sven Hassel action scene.

Wolfenstein

Chapter 6 was cut because it was deemed slightly unrealistic

So is it all real? Did the editor spice it up with additional description? Were there no veterans at all and the ‘interviews’ are a creation of the writer’s own mind? I have no idea. I’d read this with the same mentality you’d watch a YouTube daygame infield: for entertainment. Assume the creator is lying his ass off.

If you’re in the USA and would like some premium-paper editions of my books with full-colour interiors then well, sonny Jim, it’s your lucky day. Go to my sales site here and it’s all very straight forward. Sadly that service doesn’t extend to countries outside the USA, but you can get the latest versions of my books by looking at my product page here.

[1] And to “git gud” at them.
[2] I’m not saying there aren’t any tactics, just that I can’t fathom them.
[3] I’d quite like that, now that I think of it.
[4] Jews.
[5] Actual fascism, in the Mussolini sense of organised collaboration between trades unions and business, with heavy government regulation of the economy, totalitarian state, and a negation of individual liberty, all propped up by outrageous money printing and debt creation.

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