Bloem,Helion & Company, Solihull, England, 2004.
This is an amazing
book. It is 126 pages, by Walter Bloem
in English. It details his experience as a
reserve Captain in command of active duty Company
number two, First Battalion, of Prussian Grenadier
Regiment, Prince Carl from Prussia, second
Brandenburg, number 12. This is supposed to be
the first of three books by Bloem that will be
translated and republished by this company. Here is a guy who went to
his reserve duty, went home and found the world
headed towards war in 1914. He got mobilized,
prepared for his Regiment, went to the Regiment, and
found out that he was to command Company number two even though he was a reserve officer. The
original company commander had been told off to go
to another reserve unit. Some long talks was
through the reception of the company mobilization,
moving to the front, marching into Belgium, and
eventually meeting the Old Contemptibles at Mons. He
goes through the initial battle, and all the way to the
Marne. He then goes to the retreat with the
same company until he is wounded and evacuated from the
battle zone. If you are interested in the changes of
warfare in 1914, here it is in English at the
company level. Also from the German side.
Interesting and a fast read. It is made up of
18 chapters that are all short. Sort of the ultimate
bathroom book, you can knock out a chapter and come
back to it tomorrow. It is hard back, and
quite expensive, $31. To me it's worth it.
This shows early war at the company level.
Storm of steel, shows you the later war at the
company level. Reading both volumes gives you
an incredible comparison then wondering why they got
chopped up so bad. He expresses a lot of
personal emotion about the loss of different
individuals. He talks a lot about Belgian partisans
which shows a completely different face on German
atrocities in Belgium. Here was an officer who
bought the story hook line and sinker about civilian
partisans. He was one of these guys who
actually saw an Indian behind every bush.
It is also quite
refreshing that as an officer Bloem is not the idiot
that Martin was. Bloem takes his role very
seriously and tries very hard to lead his children
as he calls them. The book is 150
pages shorter than the German version.
It's pretty obvious that something got lost in the
translation. Also the translation is pretty
lousy as far as ranks and unit structure. He
calls platoons sections for instance. I
recommend the book I just wish it didn't cost that
He is not entirely objective and many of the myths that have been created in English-language histories use this as a direct source. It is contradicted repeatedly in other sources. Because there is an English translation people rely on this uncritically. Well worth a read but also worth following up.