A European Anabasis

Western European Volunteers in the German Army and SS, 1940-45

Kenneth Estes

Date Published :
July 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
42 b/w photos, 8 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781909384521
Pages : 210
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911628354
Pages : 210
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
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Kenneth Estes studies the 100,000 West Europeans who fought against Russia as volunteers for the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. A retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, Estes shows tremendous knowledge of combat and writes gripping battlefield prose.

Two-thirds of the West European volunteers came from Spain and the Netherlands, yet Estes demonstrates wide range and covers Flemish, Walloon, French, Danish, and Norwegian combat units. Avoiding over-generalization, the author distinguishes carefully among the Danes and Flemings who fought competently with the SS-Wiking Division and later with Nordland, the courageous but poorly-armed Spanish, the ill-trained Dutch and French in Landstorm Nederland and SS-Charlemagne, and the Norwegians who after a first wave of enthusiasm held back altogether.

Estes pulverizes the Nazi propaganda notion of a multinational European army defending 'Western civilization' against 'Bolshevism'. He shows that West Europeans, mainly of the urban working classes, volunteered from a mix of motives -adventure-seeking, ideology, hopes of personal advantage or material gain, a desire for better food, or a wish to escape a criminal record at home. He demonstrates that the best-performing foreign legions were trained and led by German officers and formed parts of larger SS units, and also that the Wehrmacht placed little value on foreign formations until its other manpower reserves ran out in 1944-45.

This is a landmark work on a subject, which has been much written about, but rarely understood or described as perceptively as in the pages of this book.

About The Author

Kenneth W. Estes, a Seattle native, is a defence consultant, professor of history and writer who pursued a 24-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Graduating in 1969 from the Naval Academy, he trained as a tank officer and served as a company grade officer in the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions, interspersed with academic tours of duty. After completing a variety of command and staff assignments in the U.S. Marine Corps he retired in 1993.

Ken earned his master's degree in History at Duke University in 1974, the doctorate in Modern European History at the University of Maryland in 1984 and taught at Duke University (1981-84) and the Naval Academy (1974-78), all while a serving Marine Corps officer. He also completed the Army Advanced Armor Officer Course and attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He edited the Marine Officer's Guide and the Handbook for Marine NCOs 1983-2009, wrote ten other books since 2000, contributed chapters in other works, and has written extensively in military journals for over 40 years. Since retiring, he has continued to teach at colleges and universities in Europe and Seattle and engaged in consulting work in support of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies, the US 1st Armored Division, and Marine Corps University.

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