Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk

The Men of SS Panzer Regiments 1, 2 & 3 in Operation Citadel, July 5-15, 1943

Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk

Books by French MacLean

This Date in History: June 13

Odilo Globocnik

Odilo Globocnik, SS-Gruppenführer, born April 21, 1904 in Trieste, Austria, Gauleiter of Vienna, SS and Police Leader for Lublin, in charge of Operation Reinhard, Higher SS and Police Leader for the Adriatic Coast (Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer für das Adriatische Küstenland), winner of the German Cross in Gold and German Cross in Silver, committed suicide by poison on May 31, 1945 at Paternion, Austria (in the district of  Villach) in the Austrian state of Carinthia), said on June 13, 1938 on power: “It was always easier to acquire power than to use it and maintain it.”  (2,000 Quotes From Hitler’s 1,000-Year Reich)

British soldiers took Globocnik’s body to be buried in a local churchyard, but the priest reportedly refused to have Globocnik resting in consecrated ground.  A grave was dug outside the churchyard, next to an outer wall, and the body was buried.


The greatest tank commander in the world, Michael Wittmann. 

On June 13, 1944,  Michael Wittmann and his 2nd Company in the 101st SS Heavy Panzer Detachment, as well as elements of the 1st Company and elements of the Panzer Lehr Division, began what would later become famous as the Battle of Villers-Bocage in Normandy, France.  At one point he commanded Tiger 205.  At Hill 213 and the village itself, Wittmann’s 2nd Company engaged elements of the British 22nd Armored Brigade.  When the fighting was done the next day, the British brigade had suffered some 217 casualties while losing twenty-three to twenty-seven tanks.  Wittman’s company lost one man killed and three wounded.  (Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk: The Men of SS Panzer Regiments 1, 2 & 3 in Operation Citadel, July 5-15, 1943)

Where mysteries are solved!

As in The Fifth Field; why and how 96 American Army soldiers were executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II. And how they are now buried in a secret cemetery in France. And why those records were kept in a closet for six decades. Or in American Hangman, was the US Army Hangman at Nuremberg later murdered on a remote Pacific atoll? Did you know that the Waffen-SS scoured German prisons in World War II to use hardened criminals in combat, much the same as the Russians do today in the Ukraine? Read The Cruel Hunters. Or maybe you like Wild West adventures. Did you know that two years before Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Bighorn, a wagon train of some 150 of the best shots on the frontier traveled part of Custer’s later route in search of the Lost Cabin Gold Mine, ran into Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and 1,400 warriors and survived? And that the longest successful rifle shot of the Wild West happened in their climactic battle? And that you can see where in Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold & Guns.

I had a great life spending over thirty years in the Army; was able to help defend the country in two wars with a bunch of tremendous soldiers and any success I may have had was due to each and every one of them; as I frequently tell my friends — I am no hero, but I served with heroes and you can’t do any better than that. I was also able to see the world, help develop complex technology and understand that I lived in a pretty special country. The only downside to all that Army time was that after I retired, doing regular day-to-day living was pretty boring.

So I started to write. It didn’t and doesn’t bring you much money, but it sure has been interesting traveling around the country and the world to chase after historical mysteries. I came across a page or two in some World War II history books, for example, on some special Waffen-SS unit in World War II that was composed of criminals let out of jail — but there were not that many details about it — and by luck I ran into detailed records of the unit buried in our National Archives. That led to The Cruel Hunters: SS-Sonderkommando Dirlewanger Hitler’s Most Notorious Anti-Partisan Unit.

Several more books on Germany in World War II followed: the dark side with works on concentration camps, Einsatzkommandos, and the Destruction of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto, and more-traditional writings on Luftwaffe Knights Cross winners and U-Boat sailors. That was fun, because I was able to interview many of them.

On a trip out to the Little Bighorn, I began to wonder what life was like for the basic enlisted cavalryman. All the existing books talked about officers — George Custer, Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen — but what about the hundreds of privates and sergeants? That search led to Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, which was able to win the John M. Carroll Award.

Then, in 2001, I discovered U.S. Army records that were languishing outside Washington, D.C. that contained the story of 96 American soldiers who were court-martialed in Europe and North Africa in World War II and subsequently executed by the Army — not the German Army, but our own Army. And they were buried in a secret cemetery northwest of Paris that is not shown on any map! It took me a decade to run down all the loose ends, but we finally got the story, which led to The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II, which subsequently received the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Award. In fact, if you only read one of the books, read this one! Because it will show you that if you are willing to hunt for the truth long enough, you can find it and document it.

I stumbled across a little known battlefield in southeast Montana on a bed & breakfast ranch (The longest shot of the West happened nearby,) and that turned in into Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold and Guns: The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition and the Battle of Lodge Grass Creek. It is the saga of a Montana wagon train in Montana in 1874 that was searching for gold. The 150 gold miners, buffalo hunters and Civil War veterans did not find any gold, but they did run into Sitting Bull and 1,400 of his closest friends. You can visit the route they took today as many of their campsites and their three major skirmishes with Sitting Bull are all shown with GPS coordinates that you can just plug into your device.

I helped a great friend finish his own non-fiction book on the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, as well as a magazine article analyzing the Little Bighorn Cook-Benteen Note (it might have been “doctored” after the battle.) His book is titled Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre. (Spoiler Alert: The Bolsheviks lied about what happened, and there was an American Army officer closely involved with the event.)

Then I finished a massive book on the German offensive at Verdun in 1916, but so far have been unable to contract with a publisher, so if you know of one that might be interested let me know!

More successful is a biography of Master Sergeant John C. Woods, the U.S. Army hangman in Europe at the end of World War II, who stayed on to hang numerous Nazi war criminals at Landsberg and Nürnberg in 1945-46. American Hangman: MSgt. John C. Woods: The United States Army’s Notorious Executioner in World War II and Nürnberg.

The latest book is on the Tiger tank crews of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk is the first work in any language concentrating on the crews, rather than the tank; there are over 220 crewmen that rode on these super tanks.

An upcoming book is on my father’s experience as an Infantry soldier in the 9th Infantry Division in World War II. He fought in the Hürtgen Forest, a place called Merode Castle, and The Battle of the Bulge, and will be about what it was like to be a young infantryman in these bloody battles. They had a really tough time; in just the last eleven months of the war, they had 88 killed in action and several hundred wounded. But they only had 177 soldiers assigned and you’ll see some guys were wounded up to three times and some replacements arrived at the company in the morning and were dead by sundown. I’ve put my heart and soul in this because of my father and I think it will be the last book I write — and clearly the best I believe.

The best news is that Schiffer Publishing will publish the book. I turned in all material to them in May 2023. My guess is that it will come out in 2024, appropriate as that will be the 80th Anniversary of the Hürtgen Forest and The Battle of the Bulge!

Two books are ready for you right now, completely FREE, and can be found in the E-Books section. Both are novels. One is a crime novel set in Puerto Rico that touches on the murder of famed boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho, and the other a new version of “Dante’s Inferno” with World War II personages occupying the various levels of hell. Both books are downloadable in three formats. There are no ads or commercials in either one, and both are ABSOLUTELY FREE.

Another observation I made while in the Army was that the world is a dangerous place and unfortunately a lot of that danger is coming to our own country. September 11, 2001 should have been a wake-up call, but too many lessons have already been forgotten and acts of terror now occur in large cities and small towns across the country. So I have also started several projects to help people organize their thoughts on personal protection (such as the Walther PPQ M2 .45 ACP pistol,) and how we might want to analyze some of these enemies to our nation (see Strategy, Weapons and Tactics).

So come on inside and go on Your Own Adventure!

Latest News

Publication Date Dying Hard: September 28, 2024

September 28, 2024

Schiffer Publishing has announced the publishing date for Dying Hard Company B, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th US Infantry Division in WWII.  You can go their website for details; let me cut to the chase.

Book will be about 345 pages long; 10 maps showing Company B throughout the war, with emphasis on 1944.  16 pages of photos, but three of those pages are composites showing about 45 soldiers in the company.  Many of the rest, 34 pix, are combat photos, many of which have never appeared in a history book before.

So, why should you read it? 

Most importantly, it puts YOU in Company B. In North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, the Hürtgen Forest, Merode Castle, Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line, Remagen Bridge, and a nice little hellhole called Stalag VI G.

Secondly, you will fit right in with us in Company B. 

How do we know?

When something in life knocks you down, you get back up, wipe the blood off your nose, and say: “Is that all you’ve got?” you’re in Company B.

If people told you that you were too small, too slow, too poor, or too anything, and you proved them all wrong, you’re in Company B.

You love dogs?  In 1942, a young soldier found a stray dog in the Aleutian Islands and took care of him until reassigned to the States. Putting the dog, named Buff, in his duffel bag, the trooper took him on the long journey.  Months later, the soldier climbed aboard a troopship—Buff hidden again in his duffel bag—and sailed to Europe
and Company B, where Buff served as a mascot and helped pull guard duty.  So if you love dogs, you’re in Company B too.

So, rise and […]

April 14, 2024|

The Final Witness

I just read — for the Second time — The Final Witness: A Kennedy Secret Service Agent Breaks His Silence After Sixty Years, by Paul Landis, a Secret Service agent not interviewed by the Warren Commission, who quit the agency in 1964, and who kept silent until recently.

Maybe if the commission had interviewed him, future US Senator Arlen Specter wouldn’t have wasted everyone’s time on the “Magic Bullet Theory”, with its mystical properties of changing direction, that enabled the conclusion that the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole shooter of President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John B. Connally.

Let me cut right to the chase.  If you ever had, or have, a passing interest in the Kennedy Assassination or were/are a full-fledged “addict” of the most-significant crime of the 20th century, buy this book.  Read this book.  Underline significant passages in this book so you don’t have to waste time finding them when you read this book again; and maybe again after that.

The book had a one-month backlog on Amazon.  I now not only have a copy for myself, but have also bought the book for several friends.  You have a lot to read in life, but this is an easy read.  The first 130 pages are about Agent Landis’ life before November 22, 1963.  He writes well and you’ll blast through these so quickly it will seem like you’re skimming.

Then you are at the heart of the matter, lasting about 30 pages.  You will either believe Agent Landis, or ascribe that he is too old to remember details, or that he has an axe to grind why he did not remain in the Secret Service, or that he just wants to make money.

Let’s quickly examine all three […]

February 17, 2024|
Go to Top