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Walter 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 much. $31.

 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.






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