The first book-length account of the initial phase of Operation NORDWIND, the last German offensive on the Western Front in World War II, Seven Days in January is also a personal memoir by a key participant. For perspective, the author includes a detailed, yet concise, summary of his division's operations during three years of combat against the Soviets on the Arctic Front near Murmansk, and its epic 1,000-mile fighting withdrawal across Finland and Norway after the Finns concluded a separate armistice with the USSR in 1944. With this as background, the author focuses on a day-by-day description and analysis of Operation NORDWIND, based on not only his personal experience in the campaign, but on extensive use of both German and American archival sources and dozens of interviews with the combatants of both sides. A gripping and detailed account of an important, yet until now obscure unit's participation in the last critical contest on the Western Front in WWII. Includes 36 highly-detailed maps, including eight textured 3-D maps derived from satellite imagery to facilitate the reader's fullest possible understanding of the terrain's effects on operations. 6" x 9" format; photos; index.
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Wolf T. Zoepf was a Latvian expatriate of German ethnicity who joined the Waffen-SS on his 18th birthday in 1940. A veteran of three years of combat against the Soviet Army on the Arctic Front, he earned his commission in 1943 and returned to his unit, the 6th SS-Mountain Division in time for its final year of combat against the Soviets and the long march across Finland and Norway in late 1944. Second in command of his mountain infantry battalion, he fought in his unit's the infiltration through American lines and subsequent attack on the key crossroads town of Wingen-sur-Moder in January, 1945, and was wounded and captured while leading the exfiltration four days later. Released from American captivity in early 1946, he and his boyhood sweetheart raised a family in the Federal German Republic after the war. A civil engineer with wide construction experience in Africa and Asia, he was also president of the German-Latvian Cultural League and an active member of the German War Graves Council. A prominent member of his wartime unit's veterans' group, he played an instrumental role in arranging what became a series of highly controversial joint reunions between the veterans of his unit and American veterans of the 70th Infantry Division Association, the Germans' main adversary at the battle of Wingen. Ultimately, Wolf was made an honorary member of the 70th "Trailblazer" Division veterans' association, and was widely liked and respected by his men and former enemies alike. He unexpectedly passed away on 8 January 1999, just days after finishing this book, and exactly 54 years and a day after he led his men out of the American encirclement at Wingen.Review:
"...an excellent documentary that treats successes and failures of both sides equally objectively...presented fairly and interestingly." -- Army magazine, July 2001
"An engaging first person account...a fine book that provides an exciting story...with expert analysis about small unit tactics." -- The Journal of Military History, January 2002
A fine story by someone who tells all the nitty-gritty of this desperate action. -- Stone and Stone World War II Books
Aberjona Press continues to publish the best in military accounts...Seven Days in January is a literary masterpiece. -- Military Heritage magazine, August 2001
Zoepf tells a great story...anyone with any interest in the European campaign will find this a compelling, valuable read. -- World War II Magazine, November 2002
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