Using first-hand accounts and rare and unpublished images, this highly illustrated title tells the full story of the German reconnaissance troops in World War II.
When the Wehrmacht was first formed in 1935, tactical reconnaissance was carried out by motorcycle rifle units (Kradschützen). However, with the development and large-scale introduction of wheeled armoured vehicles in the late 1930s, motorized reconnaissance battalions (Aufklärungs-Abteilungen) were introduced. Equipped with a mixture of armoured cars and motorcycles, they often operated far ahead of battlefront to survey the terrain, observe enemy positions and identify enemy forces – key information required ahead of any armoured assault. In the second half of the war, with Germany on the strategic defensive, armoured reconnaissance troops found themselves increasingly drawn into combat operations, and even holding sectors of the line. At the same time, more modern equipment was introduced with motorcycles phased out and purpose-built armoured personnel carriers (Schützenpanzerwagen) introduced.
Renowned armour expert Thomas Anderson draws on first-hand accounts and rare and previously unseen photographs in this comprehensive and fully illustrated study of the Panzer reconnaissance troops, the crucial eyes and ears of the German armoured forces of World War II.