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The German Freikorps 1918-23 (Elite)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The German Freikorps 1918-23 (Elite).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Carlos Caballero Jurado(Author) Ramiro Bujeiro(Illustrator)

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The troops returning home to Germany after the 1918 Armistice found their country riven by internal unrest, and its eastern borders threatened. Though reluctant to support the new Republic, the many Free Corps formed by ex-Imperial soldiers fought furiously against Communist revolutionaries at home and Polish and Bolshevik Russian pressure on the frontiers. Later providing much of the manpower for the new Reichswehr, the Free Corps would have strong links with the nascent Nazi Party. This concise account of a little-known but central episode in the history of 20th century Germany is illustrated with rare photographs, and ten colour plates showing unprecedented details of uniforms and insignia.

Carlos Caballero Jurado was born in Ciudad Real, Spain, in 1957. He served as an NCO in the Spanish Army's Division Brunete (1st Armoured Division); and later graduated with a BA in History from the University of Alicante. He has written and co-written four Osprey titles; he is also the author of fourteen other books and numerous articles on military historical subjects, and his work has been translated into English and German. Ramiro Bujeiro, previously the illustrator of Osprey's Warrior 23: US Marine in Vietnam, and Elite 68: The Military Sniper since 1914, is an experienced commercial artist who lives and works in his native city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His professional background includes many commissions as a figure illustrator and strip cartoonist for clients all over Europe and the Americas, including many years' work for IPC magazines in Great Britain.

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Review Text

  • By MR A G Whyte on 6 January 2005

    The book provides not only an efficient survey of the uniforms, insignia, weaponry and equipment of a little-known and disparate group of people, with the attention to detail and gorgeous illustrations present in all Osprey titles, but also an engaging, chronological narrative of what was in effect the German civil war. The book covers a period during which Germany was on the cusp of becoming the first Western European communist State, covering the time-frame between the November 1918 armistice and the 1923 Munich Putsch. The political motivations behind the opposing sides namely reactionary nationalists (from which the Freikorps emerged), the Government of the fledgling Republic, communist forces and also foreign forces, notably those of the newly-independent Poland are clearly explained, and the various theatres in which the Freikorps (FK) engaged, from the streets of Hamburg, Berlin and the Ruhr through to the border regions of Silesia, and even as far afield as the Baltic States, historically an area with strong German ties, are outlined in chronological order.The book notes the obvious extent to which the FK were the precursor of Nazi paramilitary organisations, notably the SA; however the book does not give in to historical determinism; it admirably conveys the ephemeral and localised nature of many of the FK units.The FK didn't really fight in many conventional military campaigns, but were more involved in street fighting and guerrilla warfare against their opponents, often conducted with shocking violence.The fact that the FK were largely comprised of ex-soldiers, often disaffected veterans of the Great War, meant that they possessed the experience, aggression and tendency towards a militaristic hierarchy necessary to outclass comprehensively their opponents, who often outnumbered them. The FK's success, whilst to an extent hastening their demise once their job was done, ensured the outcome of the "Civil War" was quite different from that occurring along similar political fault lines in Russia, altering dramatically the course of European history.As one would expect from Osprey, the colour plates also do a lot to convey the spirit of the FK. At first glance the uniforms resemble those of the Great War but closer inspection reveals just the extent to which the units were equipped on an ad hoc and non-standard basis - Germany's official military strength was of course strictly limited by the terms of the Versailles treaty - often having to make do with what they could lay their hands on. Some units were well-equipped, others little more than a glorified lynch mob. This perhaps means that weaponry is harder to cover in detail than would be the case for "official" governmental forces.Opponents of the FK also get at least one plate to themselves, including the Red Army of the Ruhr and Nationalist fighters in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, though I should have liked to have seen the illustrations confined to the FK. The subject of their communist opponents in particular would make a good topic for a future Osprey book in the same series. Insignia are covered in great detail also, the Hakenkreuz (swastika) and Totenkopf (skull and cross bones) more associated with the Nazi era being the most ubiquitous.In conclusion, an excellent survey of a little-known period, its readability making it of some interest to the casual reader as well as students of the period, though it is perhaps a little academic (and sinister!) for some. The concluding section which puts the FK into historical context and examines themes running throughout the topic is a nice touch as well.

  • By Josito on 27 November 2013

    Very complete historic information and excellent colour plates.As always, Osprey is a good chance to enjoy History.My favourite collection.I have read all volumes dedicated to First World War and this bookis the perfect end to my collection.


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