The Reaper's Harvesting Summer

The 12-SS Panzer Division 'Hitlerjugend' in Normandy: June-September 1944

Angelos Mansolas

A detailed history of the 12.SS-Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend' during the Normandy campaign, based on the original war diaries and personal accounts. Being in constant action from June to early September 1944, the division experienced some of the most ferocious fighting of the entire campaign losing 60% of its original force in the process.
Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
110 color and black & white
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781558171
Pages : 368
Dimensions : 9.21 X 6.14 inches
Stock Status : In stock


"I know every single one of these grenadiers. The oldest is barely eighteen. These boys have not yet learned how to live, but by God they know how to die!"

These were the words of the division’s commanding officer, SS Oberführer Kurt Meyer for his own men – men admired even by their very opponents. Established in 1943, the 12th SS Panzer Division was designed to become an elite unit, consisting of 17 year-old youths, "… a generation of future soldiers, tough as leather and hard as Krupp steel," commanded by a nucleus of hardened SS officers and NCOs. This is a detailed history of the division from its formation, all through the Normandy campaign where it received its baptism of fire. Although employed in the field for the first time, those young Waffen SS soldiers fought with a tenacity and ferocity unexcelled by any other unit Allied or German deployed in the invasion front, defending doggedly every single yard of ground from Caen to Falaise – a distance of just 25 miles, for which the Canadian and British forces fought hard to capture, paying a high price in human lives.

About The Author

Angelos Mansolas was born in 1962, in Athens, Greece. Interested in aviation from an early age, he served for 30 years as a Communications Technician in the Hellenic Air Force, retiring in 2012 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He is a dedicated military aviation researcher and has worked as author and aircraft colour-profile artist for several Greek-language history magazines, writing articles and monographs; he currently works for Greek magazine ‘Military History’. He specializes in Byzantine History, American Civil War, Military Aviation and the battles of the First and Second World Wars.


1 Ascendance: Formation and Training, June 1943-May 1944; 2 Organisation, Equipment and Tactics; 3 The ‘Little Fish’ of D-Day: Tuesday, 6 June 1944; 4 Baptism of Fire: The First Battle for Caen, Wednesday, 7 June 1944; 5 Crime in the Abbey; 6 The Battles for the Canadian Salient, 8-10 June 1944; 7 The Renewed British Offensive and the Second Battle for Caen: 11-24 June 1944; 8 Operation ‘Epsom’ and the Third Battle for Caen: 25-30 June 1944; 9 Operation ‘Windsor’: Prelude to the Final Assault, 4-5 July 1944; 10 Operation ‘Charnwood’: ‘We Were Meant to Die in Caen’, 8-9 July 1944; 11 Rest and Refit: 12-17 July 1944; 12 Operation ‘Goodwood’: 18-21 July 1944; 13 An Unexpected Threat: The Battle of the Grimbosq Bridgehead, 6-8 August 1944; 14 Operation ‘Totalise’: ‘One Bomber for Each One of Us’, 8-11 August 1944; 15 Operation ‘Tractable’: 14-15 August 1944; 16 Thermopylae of Normandy: The Defence of Falaise, 16-18 August 1944; 17 The Narrow Lanes of Death: The Falaise Pocket, 18-21 August 1944; 18 Demise: Withdrawal Battles Across the Franco-Belgian Border and Return to Germany, 21 August-8 September 1944; 19 Reckoning and Trial; Appendix I 12.SS-Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ Order of Battle 6 June 1944’; Appendix II 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Order of Battle 6 June 1944; Appendix III 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade Order of Battle 6 June 1944; Appendix IV 12.SS-Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ High Award Recipients for Actions Committed During the Normandy Campaign; Appendix V Military Rank Equivalents; Appendix VI Kampfgruppen (KG) Used by 12.SS-Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjugend‘, June-September 1944; Bibliography.

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