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|Catalogusprijs digitale editie:||EUR 10,89|
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Panzer Ace: The Memoirs of an Iron Cross Panzer Commander from Barbarossa to Normandy (English Edition) Kindle-editie
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It is the perfect compliment to the J.J. Fedorowicz publication (from 2000) of "The Combat History of Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503" of which the author was a part (he also contributed heavily to this Fedorowicz volume, thus there is some duplication of information). There are many photos previously unpublished, as mentioned by other reviewers; some coming from the author's private collection and some from other surviving members of his unit.
There are also numerous details that would assist military modelers such as the individual tank numbers of the Tigers in his company, things they carried on the outside of their tanks, and many interesting battle details from both fronts. I was particularly interested in the chapters on his experiences in the Normandy Campaign, one of my main areas of interest. But even the chapters on the Russian Front were fascinating and riveting.
I found this book hard to put down, and how many times can one say that about a war memoir, particularly from a German soldier? The author had a keen eye for details of interest and writes in an engaging manner. It's almost as good as those I've read that were written by professional journalists.
I am very glad this volume was translated from the original German edition, allowing me to happily add it to my personal library. I highly recommend it if you have even a passing interest in W.W. II and veteran accounts. As a German memoir it is one of the best and may be the best memoir of a Tiger tank commander. There just aren't that many out there. A rare gem!
A most amazing book detailing whst it was like to be a commander of Tiger tanks. Certainly he was amazingly lucky to survive the war though he went from battle to battle to hospital and back to battle again. If you like tiger tanks, you are used to seeing the same photos used over and over again in different books. This books was filled with photos I had never seen before, sharp, high quality images. The number and quality of the photos alone are worth the price of the book. It is an extremely good read, well written, and exciting.
The book is divided into 10 chapters (with nice presentation of main events during the period described) and I was glad to see professional forewords by dr. Robert Forczyk and also the author.
After the first chapter (“The second World War begins”), the author described in Chapter II’s 100 pages his first battles during the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa (“On the Eastern Front June – August 1941”). Operations at Stary Bychow, Breaking through the Stalin line or Battle for Roslav - where author was wounded for the first time - are excellent descriptions of the daily tanker’s life and sacrifices.
Author’s convalescence and additional training are detailed in”My quiet time in the Reich (February 1942 - January 1943) before going “Back in Russia (January-May 1943)” as tank platoon leader to participate in the bitter fights for Rostov. The story of the Battle of Kursk -“Operation Zitadelle (June-July 1943) - includes the encounter with SU 152, stepping on a mine (engineer training before operation paid off) or his second wound on 14.07.1943.
After another year, his unit was transferred to France to fight against Allied forces. The next two chapters, “The invasion Front, 1944” and “Operation Goodwood” are filled with Western Front experiences.
“At Sennelager Camp (September-October 1944)” is a very short chapter about a training/reorganization period with more information from photos than text. One photo shows unteroffizer Kurt Knispel, tank ace at 23 years old with over 160 kills (KIA 28.04.1945).
Chapter IX - “The Collapse (1944-1945)” describes the armored operations in Hungary (military coup included) and also the Battles for Gyongyos, Szolnok, etc. Wounded for the third time, Oblt. R. von Rosen is hospitalized in a Luftwaffe hospital in Bratislava.
In the last three chapters “Military Hospital and the End of the War (February-July 1945)”, ”Home Again” and ”A prisoner of the French”, the author recalls the humiliation of defeat and surrender, but also the brutality of French occupation.
Eventually, worth mentioning is the von Rosen’s resume at the end of book. In 1955 he (re)started a military career being commissioned into Bundeswehr as Hauptmann and he retired as major-general in 1980.
The book is filled with an impressive number of contemporary photos (over 400), plus some sketches. Some photos have even some interesting (tactical) comments. Sometimes I found disturbing to start a narrative just to be interrupted by more than 10 pages of illustrations. I had to flip back several pages in order to remember the initial phrases. As throughout the text, the photo captions pay a special tribute to his former comrades and friends.
The volume ends just with a short epilogue and no notes or index sections are provided.
One of the more valuable WW II memoirs! Recommended!