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Subject: Detailed Campaign Reportsof the Armies in World War Two? rss

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J

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Not a book, let alone a series, and only at the detail of an armoured division commander not the lower officers, but I did manage to find...

http://dragoons10.tripod.com/1pad_op_rpt.doc

A collection of the operational reports of General Stanisław Maczek, commanding officer, 1st Polish Armoured Division, covering 07-Aug-44 to 06-Oct-44 (Normandy/Totalize-Tractable, the Falaise pocket, and subsequent operations along the channel coast).



I might also recommend (at some expense) the large "coffee-table" hardbacks "Panzer Truppen" volumes one and two, as these include a number of quotes from selected tactical reports as well a wealth of organizational and doctrinal data. Only covers actual tank units however.

Sorry, that is the best I can do.

edit - I do find with things like "official records" (the magnus opus of the ACW comes to mind as the beast of that sort with which I am very familiar) that the officers writing the reports can be somewhat disingenuous(?) in some cases in describing events with their own agendas, so often the "primary sources" might actually NOT be the most factual as many in fact DO have the kind of 'judgement' to which you are referring.
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Stance Nixon
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IF you are doing research and can afford the cost (I have no idea what the cost is, shipping? + copy fee + research fee???).
The National Archives has massive ammounts of stuff that was written by the German officer corps. I have one micro-fiche real on the eastern front some place at home.
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Mark Luta
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To further elaboarate on one point above, the Soviet (Russian) 'version' of WWII along the lines asked for is probably going to be impossible to find. It seems pretty much the consensus of historians that Soviet records of WWII were extensively rewritten under Stalin, then after the legacy of Stalin fell from favour, probably edited and rewritten at least once more. The authenticity of any 'primary' sources surfacing after 1991 would be highly suspect, the agendas described above being very much in place in the new Russia.

From a historical standpoint, this is not at all unusual. Most of what we 'know' about history is probably wrong in the details. For examples, the Romans had no qualms about rewriting events at a later date to support an agenda. Culturally, they tended to magnify defeats as much as they glorified great victories--Carhae may well have been a much greater defeat than Cannae, but the story of the wars with Carthage just reads so much better if Rome recovers from her worst defeat ever to devastate the African nation. Geneologies were purchased from the best researchers--a nobleman wanted to marry his slave girl, a good researcher could always 'find' a Greek nobleman who had won a great battle against the barbarians in her lineage to justify the match. India and China would rewrite the records of nations subsumed into their empires, to support their own viewpoints.

And while I agree those American military volumes on WWII are certainly informative, having helped write reports and then sat in the briefings to senior officers about the version which is to be published, I can certainly verify there is quite a bit of give and take as to what makes the final version, and how it is worded. So even there, it is useful to look at things such as memoirs, contemporary newspaper articles and film (with the caveat that newspaper articles were heavily censored and film footage both censored and edited), contemporary writings and films not specifically related to the war often contains interesting bits of information. (Mildly interesting more recent tale of this--for any who remember the Robin Williams film 'Good Morning Vietnam', there was actually an interview with the real man 'portrayed' in the film, and he stated that nothing in the film ever happened to him! He did say he disagreed with some of the censorship, but never rebelled to the extent Williams' character did. And while probably no one considers that film historical, it surely forms a picture of a series of events in many people's minds, events which never took place!)

And on the comment of research, many of the original documents and photographs are only going to be available to historians of some repute, simply because of the age--in some cases this is true of copies as well, as these are ageing. Thus, it becomes increasingly difficult to verify sources, even as more information becomes available in the internet age--it is a quite simple matter to produce edited versions of documents which are indistinquishable from real ones imaged online.
 
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Stephen Graham
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Several nations have official histories of World War Two. If you live near a major university, they may have one or more of the British, Indian, Japanese, German, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand sets.

All of the Australian histories are available on-line: http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/.

The 50-volume New Zealand Official History is also available on-line: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-WH2.html. If you look around on that site, you can also find more detailed work on the activities of the 3d New Zealand Division.
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しんぶん赤旗
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You beat me to it. I was just about to post the link to the NZ official histories. I found them online about two weeks after I had paid about two and a half grand for 32 volumes from the set. My wife wasn't impressed...
 
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Stephen Graham
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Quote:
Yeah, I fully agree that any document including military histories will contain opinions and slant stories a certain way ... that's to be expected, it's human nature.


One thing to pay attention to is when the volume was written. Volumes written closer to the present day are more likely to be objective. Whether or not certain individuals are still influential within a military hierarchy can make a difference.

Then there's the entire code-breaking issue.
 
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