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Panzers on the Eastern Front: General Erhard Raus and his Panzer Divisions in Russia, 1941-1945 (World War II German Debriefs) Hardcover – March 1, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"General Raus was clearly one of the more outstanding German Army commanders in World War Two . . . valuable . . . is obviously writing from personal experience and his accounts have a consequent immediacy which makes for an exciting story . . . the last chapter of the book is of particular interest, because it includes a detailed, and mostly verbatim, record of very frank discussions between Raus and Himmler, then Raus's army group commander, about the conduct of operations on the Eastern front. Himmler seems remarkably receptive to Raus's concerns and, following these discussions, arranged for Raus to brief Hitler on the Pomeranian battle in person, from which followed the former's dismissal referred to earlier . . . Peter Tsouras has put together a book which gives us an illuminating picture of what fighting against the Soviet Army of World War Two must have been like, both at unit and formation level."
– Bill Woodhouse in Tank: The Journal of the Royal Tank Regiment


"It makes an enthralling read. Recommended."
– William Piggott in Military Modelcraft International

"It is a gem of a book for serious students of the war, providing many insights on tactics, psychology and military lessons. As the good introduction by Peter Tsouras outlines, Raus is one of the great unsung commanders of the 20th century."
– Military Illustrated


"This reviewer's advice is to get this book if you have ANY interest in German armored operations in World War II. General Raus, though not as well known as some of his contemporaries, was a master at mobile, combined-arms warfare. Time and again, he outfought larger units and brought his troops through. The book moves quickly, holding the reader's interest, giving large doses of information without bogging down in technical details. I highly recommend this book." – Don Barry in Internet Modeler

About the Author

Peter G. Tsouras is noted military historian and a leading writer of alternative history with 22 titles to his credit on subjects ranging from Alexander the Great to the American Civil War and the Second World War. He recently retired from the US Government as a senior intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served with the 1st Battalion 64th Armor on active duty with the US Army and subsequently retired as Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Army Reserve. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Series: World War II German Debriefs
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; First edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739426443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739426449
  • ASIN: 1853674893
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was an excellant example of german battle tactics on the eastern front. It probably is too dry for the casual reader of military history, but for someone wanting to delve into more detailed discussion of ostfront german tactics, this book can be very enlightening. It basically is derived from interviews with General Raus by U.S. officers post WW 2. His discussion of highly fluid actions and his ability to win them is of great interest to the avid military reader and should be to officers in our U.S. armored forces. General Raus' name is obscure to western historians, but was well known to OKW as someone to get you out of a tough situation. "Raus will pull us through!"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found it a very interesting read to say the least. The never-ending myth of German technical superiority is indirectly proven absolutely false. Raus recounts the advances to Leningrad as a succession of bridgehead operations, and the joys of facing KV1s with wave infantry attacks. An interesting aspect of the book is the drastic effect deep winter weather had on both protagonists. The way Raus and his officers handled it passively and actively is quite an eye-opener to creating opportunities from what could be seen as a drastic deficit. It is the German command and control that produces the victories in the book, as well as simple concentric axis of advance. If the German armies were truly left to the professionals in WW2, history in Europe might well have turned out quite different.

I must admit a weakness in the book is the fact that Raus never once confesses to being beaten by the Russians. His retreats, such as at Stalingrad, seem to be someone else's problem rather than his high casualities calling the end to an operation. You get the feeling that he would keep attacking with his shattered troops due to some ubermench powers his troops seemed to possess. The fact his logistic support was pretty ordinary doesn't seem to rate a mention with him, but one wonders if a lot of what he wrote is caught up in the emotion of the battles without an exceptional grasp of the global geo-politics in play while these battles played out. To draw on a story I read about; at the Vietnam Geneva peace talks a US general turned to Giap and stated, "You know what? You never beat us in any battle we fought. We won them all." Giap turned to him and stated, "This is irrelevant here."

Overall, a very educational text for genuine insights into WW2 German operations in very trying circumstances.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely useful text that discusses in detail the tactical and operational aspects of the German battles on the eastern front. The weaknesses are (a) poor maps (get your own map of European Russia circa 194X) and (b) choppy organization caused by assembling the manuscript from many memos and a draft of Raus' autobiography. Even with faults this is a true "must read".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Col Raus, a staff officer of many years, began Barbarossa with his first notable field command within the 6th PzD of AGN. By the time AGN had penetrated the Baltics and was heading for Leningrad, Raus had received two decorations and a promotion. He quickly proved to be a wily tactician and an able leader that gained the confidence and respect of his troops. Before his forced retirement in March 1945 from an irrational Hitler, he would command at divisional, corps, and army level of some of the most important battles of the war.

This is a competent and interesting but not an exhaustive study of the man and the immediate battles that confronted him during WWII.
The book, which was predominately sourced from writings of Raus after the war, begins with a brief history of his career and a general overview of his engagements before expanding his battles.There are 23 engagements the author describes as well as analysis of each battle. Both the description and analysis, though concise, was good and helpful.

Perhaps reading about the assaults of an Army Group like you read in a David Glantz book (Barbarossa, Typhoon, Stalingrad, Kursk, Leningrad) is more impressive, but you will still learn interesting aspects of Raus and these micro battles that you won't find in the macro books.

Included with the narrative are twenty black and white maps. I thought these maps were good and helped the reader follow the battle action. Several maps also helped in following the battle action in those macro books when its map was blurred or darkened. While there were no photos, there were twenty action drawings that were interesting; you may like them also.

The book also has footnotes, an impressive reading list of secondary authors and an index.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book I got to know this german general very well. His story is well written and is easy to follow the engagements and his career in the german army. Many engagments are discussed and one of the best generals by far the germans had. His career and ablities to grasp situations is amazing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the books which in my view is essential reading to obtain a balanced view of what actually happened on the Eastern Front. It gives one a reasonable insight into the methods of the Germans and the Soviets, the fighting qualities of the common soldiers and the officers and the very important factor of the difference in the very top leadership of both, with Hitler clearly being a very incapable leader.
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