Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (World War II Libary) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0440208020
ISBN-10: 0440208025
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  • Length: 355 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This unique memoir tells the story of one of the field-grade officers whose martial skills sustained the Third Reich against a world in arms. Von Luck fought in the Wehrmacht's armored forces for six years in Europe, Russia, and North Africa; then spent five years in a Russian labor camp. His narrative is as free from cant as it is from braggadocio and false modesty. It presents a soldier, a warrior, and a leader who never failed his men, and whose courage never faltered. It also portrays someone whose comprehensive lack of insight into the nature of the regime he served will be difficult for many readers to credit. Yet von Luck's sincerity is apparent; and his was a mind-set too widespread in Germany to be dismissed as mere self-exculpation. Failure to understand it leaves the Nazi years a mystery. Recommended for collections in this area, especially as a counterpoint to Sieg Heil!: War Letters of Tank Gunner Karl Fuchs, 1937-1941 ( LJ 9/1/87), whose narrator served in the same division as von Luck on the Russian front.
- Dennis Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"For sheer breadth of recorded experience, no soldier's memoir can match it."
--Military History Quarterly

"One of the more valuable World War II memoirs...an exceptional volume."
--Booklist

"A soldier, a warrior, and a leader who never failed his men, and whose courage never faltered."
--LibraryJournal

"The ultimate professional soldier...a personal history that may provide guideposts for the future."
--Topeka Capital-Journal

Product Details

  • File Size: 5329 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (October 9, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 9, 2013
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F8FA42Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,797 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Martin on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read countless World War 2 history books; some I struggled my way through, but others have been fascinating reads. So for example, Beevor's 'Berlin' and 'Stalingrad' were certainly easier than Wilmot's 'Struggle for Europe'.

I found von Luck's story fascinating because of the hundreds of anecdotes and observations that you seldom come across in more strategic history books. He certainly lived up to the English word 'Luck' and that he survived conflict from 1 September 1939 until the defense of Berlin 1945 and then another 5 years in a Russian prison camp is extraordinary.

For serious students of Rommel, this book is a must as it highlights a number of personal interactions between von Luck and his commander. The French campaign is described in great detail and von Luck gives some wonderful descriptions of Rommel's tactics and how he wins his men's loyalty. The story of von Luck's capture of Fecamp would be humorous if it wasn't warfare. To me this account of the capture of the harbour was a highlight of the first hundred pages of the book. I'd suggest at this stage you'd either be hooked to continue reading or otherwise don't waste your time as the rest of the memoirs are filled with similar such stories.

I also loved reading about the post 1945 years, the harsh years in captivity and how he created a new life for himself after his release in January 1950. He won my admiration and yet all through the memoirs you do sense his constraint in retelling these years. He does not glorify war and actual specific details of battle are often quite impersonal.
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By A Customer on September 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
A Quick Review of Panzer Commander
Panzer Commander is one of the most recommended World War Two titles in the English language (it is included in AMAZON's Top 50 military history titles). At its heart, it is the war memoirs of one of Nazi Germany's most decorated soldier, Colonel Hans Von Luck. Von Luck, a tank commander in the truest sense of the word, found himself involved in some of the most memorable actions of the war: from the invasion of Poland, to the Battle of Berlin. Through his memoirs, one can obtain a rare perspective: that of a German soldier fighting for the glory of the German Reich. The reader is also able to obtain a unique behind-the-scenes look at German operations during the twentieth century's largest global conflict. As a result, his book has been read by some of the most respected military leaders and historians of the twentieth century. Von Luck writes with a very direct style. He offers no excuses and begs no forgiveness for serving the Nazi regime. He fought because he was a soldier sworn to obey his political masters in Berlin. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. It soon becomes clear that this strict, Prussian military mentality, which asserts itself throughout Von Luck's career, would serve the Nazi war machine well. With a clear set of orders, the Germans proved themselves virtually unstoppable. If it were not for the Allies superior war production, Von Luck maintains, the armies of Hitler would have achieved complete victory. Is this an overly optimistic claim? Perhaps. The Allies had their own strengths. For example, Americans demonstrated the unique ability to operate without preformulated plans and could quickly adapt to any situation, something that would prove to confound the Germans time and again.
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Format: Paperback
Hans von Luck provides us a wealth of information in an extremely readable style, highlighting his career in North Africa under Rommel, his Western Front experience, and finally his capture and imprisonment for years under the Soviets. Von Luck is truly a "gentleman officer" and discusses the campaigns with cool detachment and frankness -- his anecdotes of radio transmissions with British officers when trying to find each others' men, lost in the desert wastes, lets the reader know that war, while terrible, still retained vestiges of chivalry. And his imprisonment in the Caucasus gave him a sympathy for the average Russian while showing us his leadership and survival skills in the same light. He is a remarkable man providing a remarkable story of what a senior panzer officer saw on three fronts during WWII. This is clearly one of the best books for any WWII library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love to read about ordinary people who have lived through extraordinary events. Such is the case with Colonel Hans Von Luck (Full name Hans-Ulrich von Luck und Witten, 15 July 1911 - 15 January 1997), who was a Colonel German Armored Forces (Oberst im Panzerwaffe) during World War II.

Von Luck writes about World War II from the German perspective. And what a story! From the German invasion of Poland to the invasion of Russia to the first American battles in North Africa to the invasion of Normandy to his capture and imprisonment by the Russians outside of Berlin, he saw it all.

Some reviewers here have panned Von Luck because he seems somehow try to skirt or evade what he did as a solder. Nonsense. Soldiers kill their enemies. That means he indirectly or directly (through his leadership) killed Poles, Russians, English, French and American soldiers in the many actions he saw. It certainly doesn't make him a Nazi or a war criminal. He was a professional soldier and he served his country with distinction. I have met one or two German soldiers from that period- just because he was a Vermacht Panzer officer doesn't make him a boor, a bullet brain, a Nazi or a war criminal. And just because he doesn't pour out his guts about some things he'd rather forget doesn't put him in denial.

But Von Luck would never have written this story if it hadn't been for his friends: historian Stephen Abrose (Band of Brothers) and one of his English opponents, Major John Howard of the 2nd Ox & Bucks. Howard and Von Luck had become friends long after the war while teaching Belgian officers about lessons learned- and it was Howard that introduced Von Luck to Ambrose, who eventually urged him to write this book.
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