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Samuel W. Mitcham
Born 1949
Nationality American
Occupation Author

Samuel W. Mitcham is an American writer of military history who specializes in the German war effort during World War II. He is the author of more than 40 books.

Education and career

Mitcham was born in Mer Rouge, Louisiana, in 1949. He was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He studied journalism at Northeast Louisiana University and science at the North Carolina State. Mitcham earned his Ph.D. in geography in 1986 from University of Tennessee. He was an assistant professor of earth sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Mitcham was consulted by CBS, BBC, and the History Channel.[1][2]

Non-fiction author

Mitcham is the author of more than 40 books on military history, including orders of battle, operational studies and prosopography, focusing on the careers of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS figures. In Defenders of Fortress Europe, Mitcham utilized over 200 previously unreleased personnel files to build a picture of the German command class facing the Allied invasion. He focuses on personal and political differences among the officer class, which ultimately contributed to the defeat of the German forces in Normandy. Mitcham also explores their motivations, often highly self-serving. He shows that the in-fighting took on political as well as class dimensions, as illustrated by the power struggle between Gerd von Rundstedt, the nominal commander in the West, and Erwin Rommel, the de facto leader in Normandy.[3]

Mitcham's work on the Eastern Front, the 2001 The German Defeat in the East, 1944-1945 utilises outdated secondary sources and provides a single-sided German perspective. The historian Lee Baker describes the book as "not about the defeat of Germany on the eastern front by the Red Army, but rather a tale of German heroism and bungled orders from German command structures". He further characterises the book as "very old-fashioned" and relying "solely upon German sources or obsolete interpretations from the Cold War era".[4]

Selected works

  • Vicksburg: The Bloody Siege that Turned the Tide of the Civil War. Regnery History, Washington, DC 2018, ISBN 978-1-62157-639-6.
  • With Gene Mueller: Hitler's Commanders. Cooper Publishing Group, London 1992, ISBN 0-85052-308-7.
  • Why Hitler?: The Genesis of the Nazi Reich. Praeger, Westport 1996, ISBN 0-275-95485-4.
  • The Rise of the Wehrmacht: The German Armed Forces and World War II. Praeger Security International, Westport 1998, ISBN 978-0-275-99641-3.
  • Retreat to the Reich: The German Defeat in France, 1944. Praeger, Westport 2000, ISBN 0-275-96857-X.
  • The Panzer Legions: A Guide to the German Army Tank Divisions of World War II and Their Commanders. Greenwood Press, Westport 2001, ISBN 0-313-31640-6.
  • Hitler's Field Marshals and Their Battles. Cooper Square Press, New York 2001, ISBN 0-8154-1130-8.
  • Rommel's Lieutenants: The Men who Served the Desert Fox, France, 1940. Praeger Security International, Westport 2006, ISBN 0-275-99185-7.
  • Defenders of Fortress Europe: The Untold Story of the German Officers During the Allied Invasion. Potomac Books, Washington, D.C. 2009, ISBN 978-1-59797-274-1.
  • Eagles of the Third Reich: Leaders of the Luftwaffe in the Second World War. Crécy Publications, Manchester 2010, ISBN 978-0-85979-149-6.
  • Blitzkrieg No Longer: The German Wehrmacht in battle, 1943. Pen and Sword Books, Barnsley 2010, ISBN 978-1-84884-302-8.


  1. Author profile
  2. Samuel L. Mitcham, Publishers Weekly
  3. Bradley Nichols (February 2011): Nichols on Mitcham, 'Defenders of Fortress Europe: The Untold Story of the German Officers during the Allied Invasion', H-Net
  4. Baker, Lee. "Reviews: The German Defeat in the East, 1944-1945, by Samuel W. Mitcham". Journal of Slavic Military Studies. Jul-Sep 2008, Vol. 21, Issue 3, pp. 593-594. doi:10.1080/13518040802313985. (AN: 33998522)

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