Heeresgruppe Weichsel, or Vistula, was created on the order of Adolf Hitler in part to organise the national defence on German soil. Relying on primary documents from Heeresgruppe Weichsel and Oberkommando des Heeres that are reprinted in their entirety along with summary translations, this new volume examines why the command came into existence, what was its priority compared to that of other commands in the East, and how that translated into men and material support for its combat divisions. Volume 2 is divided into four parts. Part I: Formation and Operations of the Heeresgruppe, 21 January-15 April reviews the formation of the Heeresgruppe, its importance in the East, who made up the initial command staff under Himmler, and examines the planning of its key military operations. Part II: Units, Strength, and Supply, 8 February-15 April 1945 looks at the overall manpower and Panzer levels of the Heeresgruppe and details the combat readiness of the majority of its combat divisions using available strength reports and divisional Gliederung. Part III: Ostfront Operations: Fuhrervortrag, 25 March-21 April presents the OKH guidance issued to the various Eastern Front commands based on Hitler's daily conferences. Heeresgruppe Weichsel's role and priority along the Eastern Front is placed in context from the time Heinrici took command through the Soviet breakthrough marking the end of the Oder Front's defensive operations and the start of the battle of Berlin. Part IV: Final Battle of the 3.Panzer Armee, March-May 1945 covers the final operations of the 3.Panzer Armee from the perspective of its three senior officers using the previously unpublished wartime diary of General der Infanterie Martin Gareis and the postwar interviews of Generaloberst Hasso-Eccard Freiherr von Manteuffel, and Generalmajor Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand.
A. Stephan Hamilton is the author of 'Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945' and the previous volume in this series, 'The Oder Front 1945: Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici, Heeresgruppe Weichsel and Germany's Final Defense in the East, 20 March -4 May 1945' (both published by Helion). He has spent the majority of his spare time during the last decade researching and writing about the final months of World War II in Europe. When not writing a book, he works full time and serves as a Major in the United States Army Reserves. He is a recent graduate of the U.S. Army Reserve's Command and General Staff College and holds a B.A. and M.A. in History. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife and two children.