One of the most infamous of all Waffen-SS formations, the 3rd SS-Panzer Division "Totenkopf" has always been identified as the very essence of the notorious "Black Order." Associated with war crimes in official historiography, formed initially with personnel coming from guard units from concentration camps, the unit was nevertheless able to prove itself on the battlefield, distinguishing itself in all of the main campaigns in which it fought, from France to the Russian front. This first of two volumes tells the story of the "Totenkopf" from 1939 to 1943: from the campaign in Poland in 1939; its employment on the Western Front in 1940; to the early campaigns on the Russian Front. Volume one culminates in the bitter fighting on the Demjansk front and to the Kharkov counteroffensive in 1943, finally ending with Operation Zitadelle. As with all of the volumes in this series, the detailed history of the division is accompanied by many first-hand accounts, documents, extracts from official reports, and from the division's war diary, and by over 860 photographs and maps.
Massimiliano Afiero is a historical researcher on the Axis forces of the Second World War, and for at least thirty years has contributed to numerous military history magazines, publishing hundreds of articles and about thirty books, with particular emphasis on Waffen-SS units.